Working with 4 and 5 year old children, I tend to use names a ton in my teaching. I find it fun to create new ways for children to have fun learning their names, their friends’ names, the letters and sounds in their names, etc. So when I saw Under the Big Top’s picture of last-name snowmen, I was a little too excited! Combining arts & crafts, letters, children’s names, and snowmen — it seemed like a fun idea to me.
Mary Poppins agreed with me, so we planned it for the last week of November. This way, we could have the finished products up during the first week of December. It turned out to be a real blast for both the kiddos, Mary Poppins, and me. The end results definitely made me smile, and the other teachers got a kick out of the name snowmen, too.
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For this activity, we used:
- various colors of construction paper
- wiggly eyes
- stick-on eyes
- craft jewels
- wide variety of pom poms
Mary Poppins and I pre-cut circles out of white construction paper. They were all about 3 to 4 inches across. I also traced some hat shapes on different color papers.
When the children sat down at my table during centers, I explained the plan. Each letter in their first names would have its own “snowball” (white paper circle). The face of their name snowmen would also get one snowball. Each child created his snowman’s face and hat first, and there was a lot of creativity at play! We had upside-down hats, wiggly eyes on hats, huge button noses, and so many more interesting creations. It’s always nice to see each child’s personality and individuality come across in activities like this.
Once the snowmen faces and hats were complete, I had each child write the letters in her name on “snowballs”. The kiddos did a wonderful job writing just one letter on each circle. Only 1 or 2 children needed help putting the letters in the correct order or writing certain letters.
Then it was on to assembling the snowmen. The kids stacked the letters in their names, then added the snowmen’s heads on top. They all turned out even cuter than I thought they would! In addition to the fun, creative side of this project, the children touched on many valuable educational tidbits:
- The letters need to be in the correct order to form their names. “Where’d my ‘e’ go? I can’t spell my name without the ‘e’!”
- Some children have longer names than others. “Hey, your snowman is taller than mine! How many letters are in YOUR name?”
- There are some commonalities within the children’s names. “My name ends in ‘-er’ just like his name!”
- Capital letters versus lowercase letters. We discussed this as the children were writing their names, but the kiddos didn’t always apply it correctly while writing.
- Letter formation. There was much discussion about the different ways we form the letters of the alphabet.
I brought some of the extra pre-cut circles home with me, much to Engineer’s and Girly Girl’s delight. Those two used buttons and colored glue to create snowmen of their own. They didn’t make name snowmen, but they had a blast making snowmen anyway!