Playing by the book

Reviews of kids' books and the crazy, fun stuff they inspire us to do

Snowy reads and a penguin playscene to print

Posted on | January 24, 2013 | 12 Comments

We’ve had a lot of snow this week and one of the ways we’ve been really enjoying it is by using it as an excuse to return to some favourite wintry books/scenes. First up we made Sugar Snow, inspired by the classic description in Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

I boiled up a jar of maple syrup, using a jam thermometer to tell me when it got to the firm ball stage. This took about 10 minutes. Then I poured the bubbling mixture onto fresh snow, where the maple syrup immediately hardened into Sugar Snow.

sugarsnow1

sugarsnow2

The Sugar Snow was delicious but very, very chewy – not one if you’ve got wobbly teeth!

Next we made an igloo, inside which we told stories, and reminisced about Holly Webb’s The Snow Bear (which we reviewed here), and the utterly gorgeous picture book Immi by Karin Littlewood (which we reviewed here).

igloo1

igloo2

I also brought the snow theme into my school story + craft sessions, and read Penguin and Pinecone by Salina Yoon. This simply illustrated book is quite literally full of heart (you’ll have to read it to see what I mean). The pictures are great for the youngest of listeners who appreciate bold, uncomplicated pictures, the penguin is undeniably cute and the story is perfect if you want a smattering of snow without any reference to Christmas.

You can get a good idea of what the book is like from this trailer:

Having read the story I helped my 30 5 and 6 year olds create their own play set for Penguin and Pinecone. I gave them each a pinecone (I collect these every year when a local tree sheds them) and a short stretch of felt, with a small snip in it, so one end could be threaded through the other to create the scarf around the pinecone.

penguinpineconeplayscene

To make the sledge each child had a craft matchbox, an elastic band and a small piece of pipecleaner. I prepped the matchboxes by making a hole in the matchbox drawer, and each child then threaded through the elastic band and inserted the pipecleaner to keep the elastic band in place.

matchboxinside

We stuck lollypop sticks on the side to make sledge runners, and then we made pine trees and penguins using the templates below.

templatesnapshots

I printed this template on to green paper for the fir tree crowns and used strips of brown paper (about 8 inches long by 3 inches high) for the trunks.

The penguin templates can be downloaded here. They work fine printed onto regular paper, but for something more robust you could print them on card.

If you’re looking for some snowy, kid friendly, non christmassy music I can recommend:

This has some great lyrics!

A dreamy song for swirling around like snowflakes, with a pretty gorgeous video.

An all time classic…



For other activities to go with Penguin and Pinecone you could try:

  • Making a penguin out of a pinecone, using this tutorial from Martha Stewart.
  • Growing your own pine tree from seed. You can order some here from Forestart.
  • Introducing your kids to knitting, using this finger knitting tutorial from Flax and Twine.

  • Have you had snow recently? Or are you suffering in summer heat?

    Disclosure: I received a free copy of Penguin and Pinecone from the publishers. I was under no obligation to review the book and I received no payment for this review.

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    Comments

    12 Responses to “Snowy reads and a penguin playscene to print”

    1. Stacey
      January 24th, 2013 @ 1:32 am

      I love your igloo! We haven’t had much snow at all for the past two years- we have a storm coming on Friday and I really have my fingers crossed that we get enough to play in!
      Stacey recently posted..Books for No Name Calling Week

    2. Amy
      January 24th, 2013 @ 3:28 am

      We recently tried sugar snow, and it was yummy, but it didn’t look as good as yours.

      And I wanted to make an igloo (since we also have an abundance of snow), but my boys are too little to be much help, and I wasn’t motivated enough to do it on my own.

      We have read and loved Penguin and Pinecone, but I love all your extra activities to go along with it. We are going to be learning about penguins when I teach preschool next, and so I’m going to pin this activity and hopefully use it with them. Thanks for the great ideas!
      Amy recently posted..The Enormous Egg by Oliver Butterworth

    3. Zoe
      January 24th, 2013 @ 6:52 am

      Hi Stacey, yes, we hadn’t had snow till last week and now less that a week later, most parents are wishing it was gone, but not me! I love it. Taking the girls to school on the sledge is a good way to start the day!

      Hi Amy,We were really lucky with our snow – it was just perfect for building – just the right amount of stickiness, and that made the building of the igloo quite easy.
      Zoe recently posted..Snowy reads and a penguin playscene to print

    4. Catherine
      January 24th, 2013 @ 8:23 am

      We made an igloo too, great idea to make it a storytelling igloo :) How did you make the coloured spots? Food colouring?
      Catherine recently posted..That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown by Cressida Cowell

    5. The Willoughby Book Club
      January 24th, 2013 @ 8:25 am

      Wow – your igloo looks amazing! Definitely attempting a build this weekend (if the snow is still here).

      It’s our first visit to your site today…love it!

    6. Elli
      January 24th, 2013 @ 9:02 am

      I have igloo envy! Not nearly enough snow round here to make one of those.
      Elli recently posted..The Cough

    7. se7en
      January 24th, 2013 @ 9:41 am

      It is so hot today we could do with some of your fabulous snow!!! Though If we ever actually got snow we would probably die of exposure just at the thought of stepping out in it!!!
      se7en recently posted..A Weekend of GiveAways: An Awesome Scientific Selection of Sibo Books…

    8. Sam
      January 24th, 2013 @ 10:08 am

      Goodness, the last time I had sugar snow was in Canada! We were taken outside at school to make it. I keep telling Holly about it but never know how to do it – I thought you just poured maple syrup directly onto the snow. So thanks for putting this up or I would have done it wrong! Love the little decorations too and the igloo. I think our snow is melting now, though we had a fair amount.
      Sam recently posted..The great Kenneth Williams reading The Wind in the Willows

    9. Helen D
      January 24th, 2013 @ 9:19 pm

      What lovely activities! Definitely want to try the sugar snow next time we get some (which I guess may be 2014 now… Sigh…!) fab igloo too, great place to read snowy stories.
      Helen D recently posted..Book App Narration – Big Bad Wolf or Fairy Godmother?

    10. Melissa @ Honey Bee Books
      January 25th, 2013 @ 10:22 am

      So jealous of your snow :) It’s so hot here in Australia at the moment. Your Penguin and Pinecone play set is so adorable. I love the matchbox sled.
      Melissa @ Honey Bee Books recently posted..Sammy and the Skyscraper Sandwich

    11. Zoe
      January 25th, 2013 @ 4:14 pm

      Thanks Melissa – I’ve been thinking about how hot it has been in Australia – almost unimaginable for us at the moment!
      Zoe recently posted..Snowy reads and a penguin playscene to print

    12. Heather
      January 26th, 2013 @ 10:29 am

      I need to go and make myself, I mean the kids *ahem*, an igloo right now! Awesome!
      Heather recently posted..Fire Safety in the Home

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