Inside: Instructions for making an addition snowman. This snowman activity is perfect for keeping your kids engaged while practicing number recognition, value and addition.
It’s winter and that means snow in many parts of the world. If your kids are like mine, they love to go sledding and make snow angels and snowballs. But one of their favorite things to do is build a snowman.
To celebrate winter and practice math skills, we recently completed this addition snowman activity. It combines art and math so kids can practice both their creative and academic skills.
Number recognition, value and computation are the math skills reinforced with this activity. Adjust the difficulty of the activity according to the skill level of each child participating in the activity.
There are different ways to make a snowman to use for this activity. Be creative and use whatever materials you have on hand. Paper, card stock, construction paper, paper plates, felt and foam are a few ideas to get your started.
We mainly used felt in the addition snowman we constructed. Read on for the instructions to make the addition snowman followed by the directions for the math activity.
How To Make the Addition Snowman
- White felt or foam
- Felt or foam in other colors
- Pipe cleaner
- Tacky glue or a glue gun
- Trace and cut out a small circle, medium-sized circle and a large sized circle from the white felt or foam. I traced around circular lids, plates and the rim of a bowl to make our snowman. Glue the circles together to form a snowman. I suggest using tacky glue or a glue gun. The felt doesn’t bond well if you use Elmer’s glue.
- Cut out a hat from black, blue or some other color of felt.
- Trace and cut out eyes and a nose from felt or foam.
- Cut a small piece of pipe cleaner and form into a smile for the mouth.
Cut out boots (if desired) from colored felt.
- Arrange all the pieces on your snowman and glue them on.
Tip: Keep the snowman as simple as you can. Other details such as arms and a scarf get in the way when your children are trying to put the pom-poms on the snowman during the activity.
Instructions for the Addition Snowman Activity
- Snowman you have prepared
- Two dice
- Pom-poms or buttons
- Plastic numbers (if desired)
- Invite your child to roll one of the dice and place it next to the middle circle of the snowman.
- Have your child find count out that many pom-poms or buttons and place them on the middle of the snowman.
- Then invite your child to roll a second dice (or roll the first dice again) and place it next to the bottom circle of the snowman.
- Ask your child to count out the number of pom-poms or buttons to match the number on the second dice.
- Invite your child to place the second set of pom-poms or buttons on the bottom circle of the snowman.
- Allow your child to count all the pom-poms or buttons and tell you the total number.
- If you have plastic numbers, ask your child to find the numbers that match each set of pom-poms and place them next to the corresponding set.
- Then ask your child to find the number that represents the total number of pom-poms and put it on the hat.
- If your child is able and would like to take it a step further, have him use the numbers (along with a plus sign and an equal sign) to make a number sentence to represent the addition problem he completed. Place the number sentence on the hat.
Who Knew Math Was “Snow” Much Fun?
Decorating a snowman with pom-poms or buttons makes practicing math skills “snow” much more fun than just counting out objects and placing them on the floor or table. Providing kids with something that connects to a holiday or season, makes the activity more meaningful, interesting and engaging.
My kids enjoyed playing this game even though they were each at a different level. My three year old was only able to count out the pom-poms and place them on the snowman. She also wanted to keep adding more pom-poms because her main interest was in decorating the snowman.
My five year-old could easily count out the appropriate number of pom-poms, place them on the correct place on the snowman as well as locate the correct plastic number. He also was able to complete a number sentence with help.
My son is really into patterns lately and was interested in arranging the pom-poms in a pattern based on color. It is perfectly fine to encourage your child to practice other skills if they demonstrate the desire and interest.
Other tips and ideas
Here are more ideas to change or extend this activity:
- Have your child write each number and/or number sentence on a dry erase board or piece of paper. This will help your child practice number formation.
- Have your child draw buttons, snow flakes or other objects on pieces of paper. Cut them out to use as the counters for the activity if you don’t have any pom-poms or buttons available.
- Invite your child to draw a snowman on a dry erase board or piece of paper. If you use a piece of paper, place it in a plastic page protector. Allow your child to use dry erase markers to draw the buttons on the snowman. Erase them each time you are ready for a new addition problem.