Winter Fine Motor Play with Styrofoam “Snowballs”

It’s day 2 of the Winter Play Days, a series I’m co-hosting with Shaunna of Fantastic Fun and Learning, Rachael of Nothing If Not Intentional, Ann of My Nearest and Dearest, Chelsey of Buggy and Buddy, and Jessica of Play Trains!  Today, I’m sharing an idea for winter fine motor play using Styrofoam “snowballs”.

Winter Fine Motor Play with Styrofoam "Snowballs"

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using styrofoam snowballs for winter fine motor play fun

Styrofoam balls
Smoothfoam balls
Wooden golf tees
Rubber bands

Set Up
I placed a large handful of rubber bands into a bamboo bowl I’d picked up at a discount store (the kiddos seem to love using it, so it’s been involved in a lot of our play recently).  The bowl of rubber bands went onto a wooden tray along with the Smoothfoam balls and golf tees.  I set the tray down on one of the tables in my classroom and invited the children to come and explore.

Winter Fine Motor Play with Styrofoam "Snowballs"

How the Kids Played
As usual, a few interested children came up to the table as I was setting up.  As soon as I said they could play, they were into the activity!  :)  At first, a few of the children tried to attach the balls together with the rubber bands.  They did so by first hammering tees into two balls then attach rubber bands to the tees.

Winter Fine Motor Play with Styrofoam "Snowballs"

Other children just enjoyed hammering the tees into the “snowballs”.  Since the Smoothfoam balls are a bit denser than regular Styrofoam, they had a hard time just pushing the tees in.  They didn’t mind though — it just gave them an excuse to use hammers and mallets!

Winter Fine Motor Play with Styrofoam "Snowballs"

Some of the students remembered seeing larger Styrofoam balls in our class closet.  They were from an open-ended art activity I’ve done for a few years now.  At the kids’ request, I pulled them out.  They were excited to connect the different sized “snowballs” using the golf tees and mallets.

Winter Fine Motor Play with Styrofoam "Snowballs"

Some of the children were frustrated with the balls at first.  Since they’re round, it was difficult to just hammer the tees into the balls.  A few kiddos were happy to hold the ball still with one hand and hammer with the other.  Others weren’t so happy to do so.  While searching for an answer, one of the kids found some of my paint cups in with the art materials.  It turns out that the cups were the perfect size to hold the balls.  This made the activity a bit easier for those overly enthusiastic hammerers!

Winter Fine Motor Play with Styrofoam "Snowballs"

The rubber bands weren’t used too much during this winter fine motor play.  I included them because of the kids’ love of odd geoboards, like our pumpkin geoboard.  They just weren’t interested this time, though.  It’s always interesting to see how children use, or don’t use, materials I set out to play with.

Winter Fine Motor Play with Styrofoam "Snowballs"

Ideas for Next Time
I didn’t have the mallets or the cups out for the kids originally.  They had to ask me for them, which wasn’t a bad thing.  However, it might make for a less frustrating time if all of the supplies are out ahead of time.  Perhaps including a variety of Styrofoam ball sizes would add a different dimension to the activity.

Do you have any winter fine motor play ideas to share?  If so, I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!  If you’re looking for more winter activities for the kiddos, I have a ton saved in my Winter Pinterest board.

Winter Play Days
If you haven’t already done so, please check out my first activity in the series — Cookie Cutter Snowman Art.  Be sure to see what my co-hosts have to share today:

Sparkly Snowflake Winter Play Dough from Fantastic Fun and Learning

So Long Snowman, Make a Snow Horse Instead! from Nothing if Not Intentional

Pretend Snow Sensory Play with Trains from Play Trains!

Snowy Pinecones Kids Craft from My Nearest and Dearest

Winter Crafts for Kids: Create a Symmetrical Snowflake from Buggy and Buddy


    • says

      Thanks, Chelsey! Yes, this does seem to appeal to a variety of ages — I had some of the 3 year olds pop over to play, and my 6 year old son got a kick out of it as well. :) The wooden mallets are a must!!


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