This winter themed snow and Arctic model activity will ignite children’s curiosity and engage them in outdoor physical play. Children love to explore and follow your lead searching for hidden objects, particularly if there is a surprise to be found at the other end!
Playing follow the snow trail gives a children confidence to explore and participate in an activity with children of differing ages. Physical benefits of encouraging outdoor exercise include building stamina and aiding muscle development. Running in circles, zig zags or your chosen type of snow trail will help improve their balance, agility, and coordination. There are clear cognitive benefits to playing search and find games, which challenge children at all levels. From babies to young children, there is an early identification that teaches them the concept of object permanence; that things can still exist even though they might not be able to see them.
Searching for objects encourages children to use their imagination; encouraging them to develop problem-solving skills as they follow the trail to work out where the object can be found. It also gives them an opportunity to develop their social skills as they play with others, learn to deal with conflicts between participants, take turns, and practice the other skills that will enable them to work effectively in teams.
You will need
- Insta Snow
- Schleich Arctic and Antarctic Set
- Coloured Card
- Rainbow Snow Set (optional)
- Snow Blanket (optional)
- Small World Under the Sea kit (optional)
- Choose a suitable location for your outdoor trail, bearing in mind the requirements of your group
- Make up the insta-snow as per the directions on the packet
- Create a trail of snow along the ground, passing through any areas of interest in your chosen setting
- At the end of the trail, place your arctic animals in a large tray along with plenty of extra insta-snow and any other themed items you have available
- Once set up, guide your children along the trail, allowing them to take the lead and examine their surroundings as they see fit. Finding the tray at the end will be a great surprise for your group who will love exploring the various animals, and can melt the ‘snow’ simply using a glass of water at the end!
Our helpers really enjoyed this activity! They used the snow trail to locate the tray filled with a bowl of water (with added blue food colouring for a sea effect), snow, blue film and cotton wool to create a higher mound for the penguins to sit on. They were curious. They picked up and explored each and every one of the arctic animals. They then ended the activity with using a small cup to pour the water all over the snow, they could see the blue marks they were making.
Adapting the Activity
You can of course differentiate the simplicity of difficulty of the trial according to the needs of the child. You can adapt this activity for children with special educational needs so that it is inclusive to all as wheelchair users can also participate.
- Add colour to the snow for added benefits of learning colour and developing language skill
- Add signs “this way” or “look under the tree” for literacy embedded skills
- Add numbers of steps left to go to find the arctic animals to embed number
- Adapt numbers to help problem solving such as 1+1 steps=2 steps through visual aids around the trail
- Place objects high up on a step, behind a tree or below items to help learning of volume and prepositions
- Make huge circles of snow or a triangle shape for them to follow with the tuft tray in the middle.
EYFS learning goals supported by this project
ELG01 Communication and language development: listening and attention; Listens to direction to follow the snow trail, maintains interest and concentration.
ELG02 Communications and language development: understanding; understands simple sentences including understanding of prepositions to find the arctic animals.
ELG03 Communication and Language development: Speaking; Learns new words very rapidly and is able to use them in communicating, for example penguin, snow and trail.
ELG04 Physical development: moving and handling; Squats with steadiness to rest or play with object on the ground in the tuft tray, and rises to feet without using hands, experiments with different ways of moving in order to follow the trail.
ELG06 Personal, social and emotional development: Self confidence and self awareness; Explores new toys and environments, but ‘checks in’ regularly with familiar adult as and when needed, Welcomes and values praise for what they have done.
ELG11 Mathematics development: Numbers; Creates and experiments with symbols and marks representing ideas of number.
ELG14 Mathematics development: Measure shape and space; Enjoys filling and emptying containers, shows an interest in shape and space by playing with shapes or making arrangements with objects, shows awareness of similarities of shapes in the environment, Uses positional language, shows interest in shape by sustained construction activity or by talking about shapes or arrangements, Shows interest in shapes in the environment.
ELG14 Understanding the world: The world; Enjoys playing with small-world models such as the artic animals, Notices detailed features of objects in their environment as they pick the objects up and observe the small details.
ELG16 Expressive art and design: exploring and using media and materials; Explores and experiments with a range of media through sensory exploration, and using whole body. Notices and is interested in the effects of making movements which leave marks.
Fozia has a wide range of experience in childcare and delivering the EYFS. She is also a lecturer at Wiltshire College teaching and certifying childminders including early years outcomes, the characteristics of effective learning and the statutory framework. She has extensive experience in managing and working with students with profound learning difficulties and challenging/behavioural issues. She is currently studying at Yeovil University as SEN specialist teacher at degree level.
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