This Arctic small world lets the kids play and explore so many early learning skills. It definitely deserves a place on your list of winter activities for preschoolers.
getting chilly with an arctic small world!
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Dry, pretend snow (I found mine on clearance after Christmas at a local craft store)
Glass gems (blue, green, and clear)
I placed about a bag and a half of the pretend snow in our sensory tubs, then added some of the arctic animals. The glass gems were poured into the bamboo bowl my students love so much, along with arctic animals that live in the water. I placed cotton balls in the pretend snow, too. This created a snowball/snowdrift effect, with the pretend snow covering the cotton balls.
Related: Arctic Animals Preschool Printables
How the Kids Played
Wow, did the kiddos have a TON of stories to tell with this arctic small world! I had set everything up before the school day began, so they could delve into it right away. A few came in and exclaimed, “Oh what is this?!” Without waiting for an answer, they began to grab the arctic animals and some of the “snow”. When I asked what was going on in bins, they started to tell me a very intricate story.
Related: Arctic Sensory Bin
First, a super giant snowstorm began over the ocean and froze all the water. From there, all of the arctic animals worked together to bring the ocean animals onto land. They didn’t want any of them to be frozen in the water.
The animals traveled far (into the other sensory bin), where a gigantic storm was approaching. It snowed so many inches over all of the animals! That was just a small snippet of the story they told and acted out for about 20 minutes!
After acting out the arctic small world story, some of the children moved onto different pretend play ideas. They pretended to be giants cooking in the arctic. They used their hands to scoop and spread the snow, mixing it with the glass gems in the bamboo bowl. They added all of the animals in their concoction, then proclaimed it was a “big snowy cake!”
The kids also enjoyed the sensory part of this activity. Many loved feeling the smoothness of the jewels and the softness of the pretend snow. Some of the children kept putting their hands in and out of the snow, letting it run through their fingers.
Have you ever created an arctic small world for your children/students? What different materials did you include?
Winter Play Days
This concludes this Winter Play Days series! I hope you’ve found a few new ideas to incorporate into your wintertime play and learning. Please be sure to check out my previous posts in this series – Cookie Cutter Snowman Art and Winter Fine Motor Play with Styrofoam “Snowballs”. My co-hosts have some great ideas today, as well:
Done-for-You Preschool Resources
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