In the book In the Snow by Huy Voun Lee, Xiao Ming and his mother walk in newly fallen snow and his mother shows him Chinese characters by writing them in the snow. They discuss how the characters look like the items they are describing. Despite our lack of snow in Chicagoland this season,we made our own snow and practiced writing in the snow at our kitchen table, making English letters rather than Chinese characters as they did in the picture book.

Writing in the Snow

To my surprise, Strawberry actually did not want to participate at first, probably because she was so disappointed it was not real snow. But once she saw me mixing baking soda and shaving cream and making a true mess at the kitchen table, she was delighted to join in.

We had already read the story book about writing in the snow. In this video, she plays with the snow and writes a few letters. She ended up playing in our fake snow for more than an hour, and she wanted to play even longer. The baking soda and shaving cream mixture was sticky at first but quickly became a soft mix of cool substance to form and play in. It is actually much more pleasant than playing in the real snow,which is often cold and icy in Chicagoland (but as an adult, I’m biased, of course).

Learning through Play

Although this really was a simple activity to put together, reading the book and playing in fake snow helped her learn a number of things.

  • Chinese characters differ from English letters. (social studies/culture)
  • Sensory play can be calming. (sensory play/emotional regulation)
  • Forming letters is fun. (early literacy, fine motor skills)
  • We learn through play.

What could be better than that?

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Great Idea for literacy learning on a snowy day! Practice letters by writing in the snow. Inspired by a picture book. Idea for "fake snow" for non-snowy days included too.

See the other books in the series to take this type of learning outside in all seasons and places.


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