Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Temps are in the 90s~Time to Jump into the Deep End of the Pool

Welcome to my first post on Rainbows2Snowflakes. While I definitely know what direction I intend to take with this blog, I will more than likely modify the paths I travel to reach the final destination.
Rainbows2Snowflakes is intended to be a friendly and informative online space to distribute and share ideas for activities, projects, and children’s literature. As we are all forever learners, many of the activities will appeal to a wide audience and age range. However, for the duration of this summer, the posts and ideas will be geared towards children ages four through eight.

Since summer has unofficially begun and the pools are now open, I thought I’d join in with the summer fun and jump right into the deep end of the blog pool with my first activity from The Sizzling Summer Snow Day thematic unit. Over the course of the next few weeks, I will post different ideas and activities from this summer unit. Some of them are easy to do with few materials required and some of the activities are more elaborate and require careful planning. When all activities have been added, I will add a link to the entire unit, just in time for the super sizzling days of July and August.
Activity 1—Sticky Snowman Snowball Sort—Twice the Fun
Marshmallows are such entertaining treats. They squish. They roll. They stick to just about anything. This marshmallow-themed activity will provide both a fun afternoon of learning and play as well as an educational boost for the little ones in your life.
Ages: 3-8
Time to complete: Part 1—15-20 minutes; Part 2—45-60 minutes
Hint: To make sure your children have super clean hands for this activity, instead of singing the usual Happy Birthday song while they was their hands, sing Jingle Bells while they splash in the soap and water. The kids will love singing the Christmas song in the summer and they will have squeaky clean hands when they are ready to dive into the bowl of mixed-up marshmallows.
4 nesting bowls
3 small bowls, 1 cup sized
3 bags of marshmallows in 3 sizes (available in big box stores)
Rice Treat ingredients—1 10 oz. bag marshmallows, 3 TBSP butter, 1 tsp vanilla, 6 cups rice cereal
Embellishments: Mini M & Ms, fruit rolls, pretzels, powdered sugar (optional)
Cookie sheet coated with non-stick spray
How big is your marshmallow—Part One
1. Prior to the activity, place the marshmallows in the largest bowl, making sure they are mixed, as shown.
2. Arrange the remaining bowls by size from smallest to largest in front of the large bowl.
3. Discuss the sizes of the three types of marshmallows.
4. Sort the marshmallows by size into the corresponding bowl.
Make the fun count by counting your snowballs
Use three 1 cup sized bowls and have the children predict how many marshmallows of each size it would take to fill that bowl. Fill the bowls, one at a time, with each size marshmallow. Count the total number of marshmallows it takes to fill the bowl.
Ask: Why did it take more of the small marshmallows to fill the bowl than the other two sizes?
Create a Crispy Summer Snowman—Part Two
A fun follow-up activity to the marshmallow sort, this activity uses the marshmallows from Part One and continues to reinforce the concepts of comparing items by size as well as counting skills.
Hint: Step 1 should be completed by an adult.
1. Create the marshmallow treats.
            a. Melt the butter over low heat.
            b. Melt the marshmallows by stirring them in the melted butter over low heat.
            c. Remove the melted mixture from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
            d. Stir in the rice cereal until coated with the melted marshmallow mixture.
2. To prevent the mixture from sticking to your hands, apply a coating of butter to the palms of your hands.
3. Grab three clumps of the mixture and place them on a cookie sheet coated with non-stick spray, making sure there are three different-sized clumps.
4. Roll the clumps into firm ball shapes and allow to stiffen slightly before proceeding to Step 5.
5. (Optional) Roll each of the balls in a layer of powered sugar, leaving a quarter-sized area that is not coated. The uncoated area will be used to help the balls stick together to form the snowman.
6. Assemble the snowman by placing the balls from largest to smallest, pressing them together to stick.
7. Decorate the snowman with the candy, fruit roll, and pretzels.
Have fun with this activity!