Sunday, 8 December 2019

'The Snowman' Tuff tray ideas and activities

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...oh yes! It's that time of year again folks, and based on the fact we have already been watching The Snowman on DVD and reading The Snowman by Raymond Briggs since November, I have been busy putting together 'The Snowman' Tuff tray and activity ideas for you - including a link to a blog post and video of how to make your own Snowman squeezy-oobleck sensory ball!

The Snowman sensory ice melting tuff tray ideas and activities
You'll have probably noticed by now that I love a good Tuff Tray Activity, and whereas I usually resort to posting them straight to my Instagram page, this time I shall provide you with  a little bit more information! Carry on reading below for information on how to put together this fab, snowman melting tuff tray activity...

'The Snowman' Tuff tray ideas and activities

What will you need for The Snowman Tuff Tray Activity?

(NB: These links are affiliate links, which means I may earn a small amount of commission from qualifying purchases, although it does not cost you, the buyer, any more. Thank you for supporting my blog.)



Click on the images for prices and more info:





Setting up the Snowman Tuff Spot Tray activity:


Before setting up this activity, I made sure my little ones were familiar with the story. We watched the DVD and read the book together, talking about the images and the storyline. Of course, the book and the film are actually wordless, which means not only are they inclusive for all children, they also lend themselves really well to noticing facial expressions, talking about emotions, discussing what is happening and predicting what will happen next...

You'll also need to pre-freeze some balloons filled with water in order to make your snowman. Fill 2 balloons with tap water, one slightly larger than the other (optional extra - add some cornflour to the water to give your snowman a white appearance, and an extra sensory element when it melts!) and place them in the freezer for a few hours. If possible, pop an ice pack on top of the balloons to weigh them down slightly and give a 'flat edge' for when building the snowman.

The Snowman book by Raymond Briggs

Preparing the tuff tray: First of all I covered our Tuff Tray with a space blanket, otherwise known as a hypothermia blanket (linked above) - this gave it a real wintery feel and had an added sensory element of being crunchy and shiny! Of course, it also made the clean up much easier!!

Next, I cut a round circle from the green felt, and placed it over a jar/drinking bottle and screwed on the lid to create a domed center for the snowman hat. I used the remnants to make a scarf for the snowman and added in an orange pompom for his nose and some black pebbles for his buttons.

The Snowman book by Raymond Briggs with green felt hat and scarf and black pebble buttons on a tuff tray


Creating the fake snow: 

If you'd like to see a quick video of this setup you can watch my YouTube video here: 




To create the fake snow I decided to use one of our larger Gratnells trays, along with some of the Zimpli kids blue Gelli Baff and some white fake snow.

Both sachets were mixed together with water to create the mouldable snow and ice...

The Snowman fake snow tuff tray activity idea

I then added in some ice gems, some frozen plastic ice cubes and some scoops - all available using the links at the top of this post.

Fake snow and ice with gems on a tuff tray

the snowman melting ice tuff tray with scoops

How to make The Snowman from ice...


I removed the frozen balloons from the freezer and discarded the balloon itself, to reveal two frozen balls of ice. I placed the larger ball on the bottom, and the smaller ball on top. In order to make the nose 'stick' to the ice, I wet one side slightly and then pressed this into the ice where The Snowman face should be. The felt hat was placed on his head, and the scarf around his neck...

The Snowman made from ice with green felt hat and scarf Tuff tray activity

Melting snowman tuff tray activity

Voila! Now we are ready for playtime! The children were able to explore and experiment with the resources, building their own snowman from the fake snow, and notice the changes as The Snowman melted....

gelli baff and fake snow tuff tray melting snowman activity

As you can see, our Snowman lost his head quite quickly!!!

The Snowman melting ice tuff tray activity

The next day, just like in the story, the children came downstairs to see that the snowman had melted. The cornflour fro the ice balloons left behind a tell tale white 'heap' where their Snowman friend had been...

melted snowman tuff tray activity

This activity is a great for story retelling, and works well with both small children and those who are a little older. As well as the literacy links, if you were planning this into the EYFS curriculum it ties in with moving and handling, understanding, The world, speaking, exploring and using media and materials, being imaginative, and (depending on your use of questioning and extending techniques) can also link into maths with discussions around number and also shapes. 

The Snowman tuff tray ideas and activitiesThe Snowman tuff tray

Would you like to know how to make this Snowman Sensory Stress-ball

with expanding nose?

I have written a 'how to'  post  with a YouTube video here  from my channel, over on the Rainy Day Mum blog, which you can find by clicking on the image below:


the snowman sensory stressball with squashy nose


Feeling christmassy? Have a read of my Xmas Eve poem for parents here.

Planning for next year? Here is our Valentine's Day Tuff Tray.

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