“Having grown up in North Carolina on sandy beaches, I often think of freshly fallen snow as a sculpture medium,” said Daycroft School’s Art Teacher Suzanne Higgins. “I like to provide children with a variety of cups and buckets, often from kitchen stock, to shape the snow; even though our best tools are typically our own hands.”
This past week, Higgins brought her Daycroft students outside to enjoy the fresh air and slightly warmer temperatures. “Our toddler and preschool teachers often bring snow into the classroom using their sensory (large tub) tables, when windchill temperatures have prevented them from going outside to play,” explained Higgins. “But nothing beats being outside when we can.”
Here are a few fun winter art activities to do with the family.
Activity: Snow Painting
“I had not thought of snow painting until I saw a vibrant snowman a few days ago on Facebook,” Higgins continued. “I looked up ‘snow painting’ and discovered how easy it would be to do with students – all we needed was food coloring, cold water, and spray bottles. Even though the state of the remaining snow wasn’t sculpture-worthy, it was fun to color. It will be interesting to see what can be done with snow sculptures in the future.”
Supplies Needed for Snow Painting
- Food coloring (start with the primary colors: yellow, red, blue)
- Spray bottles (three or more)
- Cold water (hot or even warm water will melt the snow)
- Enough room outside to spray away
For complete directions and additional snow painting ideas and pictures, click here.
As the snow comes and goes in Michigan’s winter, there are additional fun art activities that you can easily do with things you already have in your home.
Activity: Colorful Rice Mosaics
“Rice is a great sensory material for little ones and I recently discovered how easy it is to color,” said Higgins. “One of our preschool parents was telling me yesterday that she colored rice with her 4- and 9-year-old children over the break and they had their hands in it, fully engaged all afternoon. Now, she has the rice they colored displayed in a clear jar on a shelf, and it’s simply gorgeous. The rice is so saturated with color that it brings a smile to our faces on these dark, winter days.”
Although most of our classes are in-person, I do guide a small group of Daycroft’s remote preschoolers in art-making over Zoom,” continued Higgins. “We used sticky-back foam from SCRAP Creative Reuse to press the rice into colorful mosaics as shown in this photo.
Supplies Needed for Colorful Rice Mosaics
- Food coloring
- White rice
- Ziploc baggies
- Bin or container
- Sticky-back foam, if making a mosaic
For complete directions and additional photos, click here.
Activity: Rock Friends
“Earlier this year, the Daycroft kindergarten class painted hand-sized rocks with acrylic paint to place in the rock bed in front of our school,” shared Higgins. “Children can paint rocks to decorate outdoor gardens, to give as gifts or to keep as pocket friends.”
Supplies Needed for Rock Friends
- Acrylic paint
- Markers (if your child would like to draw a face on their rock)
For directions on how to make more advanced rock friends with googly eyes and felt (not recommended for toddlers because of the choking risk), click here.
Using What You Have
“I guess something that artists are aware of is that humans love to create with a single plentiful material whether it is snow, rice, rocks, sand, playdough, etc.,” explained Higgins. “I make huge batches of playdough with and for students so that they can explore a mountain of dough.”
“Art-making can be limited by always having a small portion,” Higgins continued. “There is no wonder that children get excited about creating with a stack of boxes, an endless amount of tape or a tub of water. It doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming; just look around the house at what you have available and don’t be afraid to get creative with your little one.”
Suzanne Higgins is Daycroft School’s Art Teacher. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art from Meredith College and a Master of Arts in Art Therapy from The George Washington University. Learn more about Daycroft’s curriculum for toddlers through 6th grade here.