The Snowy Owl, also known as the Arctic Owl or White Owl, nests on Arctic tundra habitats throughout its northern circumpolar breeding range—often adjacent to coastal Arctic seas. This is one of the largest owls in the world, and has the most northerly breeding and wintering distribution of any owl species. Plumage is unmistakable in this species. Adult males are almost pure white, and adult females are white with brown barring. As part of our snowy owl component, we created both these creatures and their nests. The materials used by your little ones include feathers, clay, googly eyes, and sticks! In addition to learning about the snowy owl, students accessed several areas of development, including lateralization, sensory registration and divergent thinking.
The arctic hare lives in the harsh environment of the North American tundra.
These hares do not hibernate, but survive the dangerous cold with a number of behavioral and physiological adaptations.
They sport thick fur and enjoy a low surface area to volume ratio that conserves body heat, most evident in their shortened ears.
These hares sometimes dig shelters in snow and huddle together to share warmth. To help us learn more about these creatures, we created these shelters using Insta-snow.
Following a short book on Arctic hares, students enjoyed burrowing around the snow with their friends!
During our week of royalty, we learned about princes and princesses.
Several students were particularly interested in learning about Queen Elsa from the Disney movie Frozen.
To build upon this interest, we created ice castles out of ice cubes and blue glitter.
Students selected their favorite princess and built their perfect ice home!
From birth through to early childhood, children use their senses to explore and try to make sense of the world around them. They do this by touching, tasting, smelling, seeing, moving and hearing.
Providing opportunities for children to actively use their senses as they explore their world through ‘sensory play’ is crucial to brain development – it helps to build nerve connections in the brain’s pathways.
This leads to a child’s ability to complete more complex learning tasks and supports cognitive growth, language development, gross motor skills, social interaction and problem solving skills.
For this activity, we used a few different materials to create snowman slime. We first combined corn starch and water to create the “slime”. This is a malleable substance that appears as a solid when placed on a hard surface and liquid when it is picked up.
Following this, students added black rocks, foam sheets, and black cardboard. These materials made up the eyes, nose, and hat of the snowman. Lastly, we explored the substance, watching it ooze through our hands as we played with it!
Play dough activities are a great way to help young children develop fine motor skills as well as bilateral coordination skills!
There are many other benefits as well. For one, play dough provides a great sensory medium, which can be used to help children who struggle with sensory processing.
Play dough play can also help develop coordination skills.
For example, young children will use hand-eye coordination to cut, poke and prod play dough and when using cookie cutters in the dough.
Lastly, manipulating play dough helps to strengthen hand muscles and develop control over the fingers.
For our week of snowman-themed activities, we utilized this medium to create our very snowmen.
We did this by combining play dough, googly eyes, pipe cleaners and rocks. We had so much for creating and then tearing down our creations!
Many preschoolers are able to use numbers arbitrarily; pretending to count, or mixing up numbers and letters.
From about the age of four, preschoolers will begin to show one to one correspondence, or the ability to count objects correctly, as well as recognize most numbers 0-9 and sometimes recreate numerals when given an example.
As with many preschool skills, it is important for young students to be given many different opportunities for to see, touch and use numbers throughout the day. Including numbers in thematic play is one way that they can begin to recognize numbers.
For this activity, your little one participated in a sorting/numeral recognition activity that tied in with our snow owl theme. Using manipulatives and pictures of owl nests(with numbers printed on them), your little one practiced sorting and matching groups of snow owls with their corresponding numeral.
Although the formal study of reading and writing does not occur until kindergarten, young children are capable of recognizing letters and their functions.
Providing regular opportunities to practice pre-reading skills, is essential in gaining knowledge of the alphabet and its association to how words work.
Using insta-snow and our fingers, we practiced tracing the letter S.
Throughout the week, we have been talking about different words that start with the letter S.
We have additionally been singing songs that reinforce the different sounds that S makes. Lastly, we traced these Ss, then constructed snowballs out of our insta-snow!