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Snow Painting In The Early Years - This winter early years activity is the last of the current 6-part series of early years music articles featuring a new activity each month. It was taken from an article on arts activities trialled for 1- and 2-year-old early years children, with added musical suggestions (recordings on YouTube).  

A Finnish study, (Lehikoinen, 2023) considered 6 different ways to explore early years creative activity for 1 and 2-year-olds. The focus was on successful engagement as this age is known to be tricky, with limited ideas for under 3s in the arts. To achieve this, 6 early years activities were devised, specifically for this age group: 

  • Dance-painting – paint feet, move to song (part 1, July 2023) 
  • Magic dough – create playdough objects from songs (part 2, August 2023) 
  • Digital drawing – taking pictures or creating pictures using technology (part 3, September 2023) 
  • Musical drawing – drawing or painting while listening to music (part 4, October 2023) 
  • Balloon painting – painting using balloons, and paint-filled balloons (part 5, November 2023) 
  • Snow painting – painting using snow! (part 6, December 2023) 

This month, we are focusing on snow painting

Snow painting is literally that – painting on snow! It looks great and is easy to do – and if it’s too cold to stay outside for too long, bring it in on trays or tubs, and keep snow painting going! 

For this early years snow painting idea, it is useful to use: 

  • liquid watercolours in pots/tubs – diluted in cold water (so that the ice doesn’t melt) 
  • small containers/trays (bring snow inside if children get cold) 
  • different size paintbrushes 
  • pipettes/droppers 

Make sure the colours are bright enough, and be aware that colours will run into each other as the snow melts. Then drip colour or paint it onto the snow and watch a picture appear! Bonus tip: make snow creatures to add to your snow picture! It is this simple and needs no further explanation, so as a painting activity for children, it is perfect for this age group! 

Weather can be so magical, and the songs this month celebrate it. This is also a great creative way to develop awareness of how the weather changes through the seasons. 

4 Songs for Your Snow Painting Adventure

Frosty Weather 

Frosty weather 

Snowy weather 

When the wind blows we 

All stick together 

This song can be used as a circle dance or a free movement song, depending on the confidence of the children in the group. 1) As a circle song, children hold hands, walking around in a circle as they sing the first three lines, “Frosty weather, snowy weather when the wind blows, we ...” As they start the next line, children run to the middle of the circle to “stick together”. 2) As a free dance, use words to create the imagery of soft, gentle leaves, blowing where the wind takes them, as children move freely to the first three lines of the song. In both situations, the last line could become chaotic, so it will help to emphasise beforehand that leaves blow together gently, they don’t bump and bash each other, but gently touch and move away. 

Rain Rain 

Rain, rain go away 

Come again another day 

Rain, rain go away 

All the children want to play 

This is a lovely song for a few reasons. Songs that involve chanting to rhythm are wonderful ways to get new or unfamiliar groups working and singing together. This song only uses two notes, so it is a great way to get children to hear the difference between high and low notes – this is a lovely way to develop their ability to sing in tune. Finally, once children can hear and copy the high and low notes accurately, they will be able to play the tune on simple tuned percussion instruments – xylophones or glockenspiels, chime bars, and even ukuleles (the two middle strings). 

Twinkle Twinkle  

Twinkle twinkle 

Christmas Star 

How I wonder 

What you are 

Up above the 

World so high 

Like a diamond 

In the sky 

Twinkle twinkle 

Christmas Star 

How I wonder 

What you are 

Singing along to this Christmas variation of "Twinkle Twinkle" is a magical way to get children exploring the paint and ice/snow while keeping them focussed on different ways to think of stars: multiple pinpricks in the sky, bright guiding lights, ornate and fancy shapes, or a burning streak of light shooting across the sky! Creating a few different examples for children to imitate often leads to some children creating their fanciful ideas of stars, while it gives other children a starting point to copy and begin to develop their imagination. 

Snow is Falling 

Snow is falling 

All around me 

Children playing 

Having fun 

It’s the season 

Of love and understanding 

Merry Christmas 

Everyone! 

The first verse of this popular Christmas song is perfect for this time of year, celebrating snowfall! Dance around and sing if you are lucky enough to be together in snowfall or use indoor ways to explore playing in the snow. If you are “being” snowflakes, it is helpful to remind children that snowflakes never crash into each other, never knock each other, but gently blow up into each other and away. Play scarves are fantastic reusable items that can gently float if you're indoors. Alternatively, a box of white tissues or sheets of kitchen roll could be used, giving children the opportunity to develop their hand-eye coordination as well as fine motor control. This is as they practise keeping tissues uncreased and level so that they can gently float to the floor. Clean-up tip: once the floor is covered with white tissue, announce a “snowball fight”, gathering up tissue to throw, first gently at each other – and then in the bin! 

Snow is such a magical experience for children, turning the world into a completely different environment. Not only the appearance but the sounds and the smells, change everything, making the whole world different when it snows. Enjoy snow painting and musical exploration! 

About the author:

Frances Turnbull, a musician, researcher, and accomplished author, boasts a skill set that encompasses both music education techniques and a Master's degree in Education from the University of Cambridge. Frances' literary contributions shine a spotlight of music, dance, and movement within early years education.

About the author:

Frances Turnbull, a musician, researcher, and accomplished author, boasts a skill set that encompasses both music education techniques and a Master's degree in Education from the University of Cambridge. Frances' literary contributions shine a spotlight of music, dance, and movement within early years education.

About the author:

Frances Turnbull, a musician, researcher, and accomplished author, boasts a skill set that encompasses both music education techniques and a Master's degree in Education from the University of Cambridge. Frances' literary contributions shine a spotlight of music, dance, and movement within early years education.

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