Bring the snow inside and make an easy snow paint recipe for a snow painting sensory bin. Then add DINOSAURS! Your winter activities for preschoolers need to include this idea, take my word for it.
Oh how I love activities that touch on the many interests of the kids!
Happy Kids? ✔✔✔
There’s just so much to love about this very simple winter sensory bin. AND you can easily switch it up for fans of unicorns or dragons or anything else, really.
Oh, and don’t worry, I’m going to include some ideas if you live somewhere it doesn’t snow.
Let’s start off with all of the painting fun, shall we? The paint you’ll need is SUPER easy to make. We’ve made it countless times . . . really, I can’t even count how often we’ve done this (I sat and tried to just now).
Snow Paint Materials
Here are the items we used to make our snow paint:
- Food coloring
Yes, that’s it! Of course, you’ll need some kind of container to house the paint. Here are a few suggestions:
You can also just put your paint in some bowls. If that’s the case, be sure to grab some paintbrushes or pipettes to pair with the bowls.
How to Make Snow Paint
Once you’ve grabbed what you need, it’s time to make the snowy paint. Something tells me you already know where this is going!
First, add water to your container of choice. As you can see in the pictures, this dinosaur snow bin was paired with paint in condiment squirt bottles.
Once you have the water, it’s time to add in the food coloring. Start out with just a couple of drops, adding more if you want the color to be darker.
Related: Water Balloon Snow Painting
Then put the top on the bottle and give it a good shake. If you’re using bowls, stir the water so the coloring disperses evenly.
After that, it’s time to let the kids get to painting and playing!
How to Paint Snow
Well, this really depends on which tool you and the kids chose for this snowy sensory bin.
If you’re using bowls, the kids can dip paintbrushes into the snow paint and then paint it onto the snow. Or give them some droppers to transfer and drip the paint onto the snow.
If you’re using spray bottles, show the children how the bottles work. Some kids might already know, but there will likely be some who don’t. And how fun it is to teach kids how to use a spray bottle!
Same goes with the squirt bottles. Model how to open and close the bottles. Let them practice squeezing the bottles to paint. There will definitely be some experimenting with just the right pressure needed to paint rather than squirt all the paint out at once.
Dinosaurs in the Snow Sensory Bin
Now that we’ve covered making and using the snow paint, let’s jump into the snowy sensory bin!
Grab some snow and add it to a sensory table or tray. If you have a lot of snow and a big sensory bin, you’re going to need quite a bit of snow. There’s nothing wrong with that!
Smaller bins and fewer kids might require less snow. That’s all up to you, really. I know a lot of kids who would be happy to have a big sensory table full of snow all to themselves.
Related: Melting Snowman Science
Let the children help you add the snow to your sensory table. Have them carry buckets and shovels outside with you to gather the snow. I’ve found the kids rather enjoy this part of the process too!
Once you have the snow, place the snow paint and dinosaurs nearby and review the rules. Keep the snow in the bin, keep the paint on the snow, and wipe up any spills are always good guidelines in my opinion.
Oh, and I should mention you’ll want a mat or tarp underneath your bin or table. I’m a big fan of those no matter what’s in the bin, though.
Playing and Learning in the Snow
Give the kids a dinosaur-themed snow painting sensory bin and watch the awesomeness that ensues. Yes, I said awesomeness. I stand by my word choice.
As with all of the open-ended activities I share here on Fun-A-Day, the kids will interact with this sensory bin in different ways. And that’s one of the best things about open-ended activities. They meet kids where they are; natural differentiation is built in.
Some children will love just playing with the snow. They’ll poke it and squish their hands in it. And then they’ll likely exclaim, “My hands are cold!” So some of your students might end up wearing mittens as they play with this bin.
Other children will hone in on the dinosaurs. You’ll get all kinds of fun stories about dinosaurs tromping in the snow. There might even be some growling and dinosaur snowball fights. These children might be interested in learning about dinosaurs that thrived in the snow.
The snow paint will capture some of the kids’ attention. They’ll want to paint all the things in the sensory bin! These children might even get caught up in color mixing and observing what the paint does to the snow.
Many of your students will have a blast incorporating everything – the snow, the dinosaurs, and the paint! Something tells me you’ll be very entertained by how the children play and interact!
Related: Cloud Dough Dinosaur Sensory Bin
While they’re having fun, the kids are learning, too. Here are some of the skills they practice:
- Turn taking
- Conversational skills
- Sensory exploration (sight and touch, maybe even some hearing)
- Fine motor skills
- Stages of matter
All that fun and learning packed into one simple activity!
How to Make Fake Snow
I know not everyone lives where it snows, and I completely understand! I happen to love snow still, but I’ve lived a few places where it was a very rare occurrence.
If that’s the case, consider incorporating pretend snow into this sensory bin. You can still use the paint with it, but it won’t be exactly the same experience. I highly doubt the kids will care too much though.
You can learn how to make snow with flour and use that in the snow paint sensory bin. Or try some of these other alternatives:
- Cornstarch and shaving cream
- Stale marshmallows
- Cotton balls
- Insta-Snow powder
You can also freeze some ice cubes and use those in place of real snow. Maybe track down some dinosaur-shaped ice cube trays to keep with the theme! Or set up a frozen dinosaur excavation bin for the kids, then let them paint the icy dinos.
You have a lot of choices, even if you can’t get your hands on real snow. The children will have just as much fun and have just as many learning opportunities!
Winter Lesson Plans
If your students enjoyed this snow paint and dinosaur fun, they’ll love these themes from Preschool Teacher 101.
Be sure to sign up for our membership waiting list while you’re there – members have even more at their fingertips!