Winter Pretend Play – Scooping Snowballs

My preschool kiddos had a blast with this super simple winter pretend play idea.  It also served as a bit of sensory play and fine motor play.  So easy to set up, but it really packed a punch!

Winter Pretend Play - Scooping Snowballs

“snowy” winter pretend play

What We Used

  • Lots of cotton balls
  • Glass containers
  • Plastic scoops
  • Kitchen tongs

Set Up
Nothing to it!  I simply placed all of the items in our discovery center (aka sensory bin).  It’s right next to our home center, which made it easy for the kids to go back and forth with the materials.

Winter Pretend Play - Scooping Snowballs

How the Kids Played
The children used the scoops, tongs, and their fingers to transfer the “snow” into the glass containers.  Some of the children tried to see how many cotton balls they could stuff in the containers, while others liked dumping the snow out.  Still others enjoyed the winter pretend play by making “snow soup” and “honey snow” for their friends.  There were many deliveries of the “honey snow” to friends around the classroom.  A few of the kiddos pointed out that the cotton balls made the jars look like funny snowmen.  We had sticker eyes out for a different project, so we added some eyes to the jars.  For part of center time, the snowmen jars were decorations in our home center kitchen.

Winter Pretend Play - Scooping Snowballs

Concepts Touched Upon

  • Pretend Play – There were lots of conversations about making different kinds of snow, the best way to make deliveries to their friends, etc.
  • Fine Motor Skills – Using the tongs and their fingers gave the kids a good fine motor workout.  Opening and closing the clamps on some of the jars did the same.
  • Sensory Awareness – Feeling the cotton balls and talking about how its consistency is different than real snow.  The textures of the glass jars were different as well.
  • Math – Some of the children counted how many cotton balls were in their jars.  Others measured the snowballs as part of their “snow soup” cooking.

Other Ways to Play
I’m considering adding a different kind of “snow” for this winter pretend play.  That would change it into a different sensory experience, but the pretend play aspect would be the same.  Also, I would suggest plastic containers with younger children.  My preschool students didn’t have a problem with the glass jars.   However, a younger child came in after school and became frustrated that the cotton balls didn’t come out fast enough.  He ended up smacking the jar on the bin and then it broke (no one was hurt though).

Winter Pretend Play - Scooping Snowballs

Do your kids/students like winter pretend play?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

For more winter ideas, check out my Winter Pinterest board.  I’m always adding to it when I find more great activities to share!

Follow Mary Catherine @ Fun-A-Day!’s board {Seasonal} WINTER Activities for Kids on Pinterest.


  1. says

    It always amazes me how kids can do so much with uncomplicated things. Your post is such a reminder to keep it simple. I love “honey snow”! So creative.


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