Weather Messy Play Kit Guide
Ready to dig into your Weather Messy Play Kit? On this page you'll find detailed step-by-step instructions, ideas to extend the learning, and some links to other resources. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions about your kit. Now go get messy!
1. Did you know that snowflakes have 6 points on them? Take 3 paper strips and cross them over each other like an X with an extra line. The middle of each strip should line up and you should have a 6-pointed snowflake shape.
2. Use the glue stick to attach the paper strips together in the middle.
3. Now decorate your snowflake! Use the shape stickers, foam pieces and glue stick to decorate the paper strips. You can decorate them randomly, or try to make them symmetrical like real snowflakes, or make patterns!
A. Snowflakes are symmetrical. This means that one side of the snowflake exactly copies the other side. Match your shapes moving from the middle of the snowflake to the edges, using the same shapes in the same order. If you folded the snowflake in half, each half would match.
B. Make a pattern: patterns are an arrangement of shapes that repeat (A, B, A, B…). An example of this would be a blue square, then a red circle, a blue square, red circle, blue square, red circle….. You can make patterns by looking at the shape’s color, shape, or both!
Samples: The first snowflake is a symmetrical snowflake. The second has a repeating color/shape pattern on each strip (yellow oval, green triangle, yellow oval, green triangle...). The third snowflake has repeating patterns of just shape (ignore the color): triangle, square, triangle, square....
4. Repeat with the other paper strips. You can use 2 pieces of art paper if you need more strips too! This makes for great scissors practice, cutting straight lines. (Tips for adults: draw straight lines on the paper first, to give your child a line to follow with the scissors.)
What are they learning?
- Fine motor: peeling and placing stickers, using a glue stick, and using scissors are great ways to build fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Theses are important life skills!
- Patterns and symmetry: these are foundational math skills. For younger children, work on making patterns just with shapes OR colors, not necessarily with both. With older kids, have them make more complex patterns with 3 or more repeating features (ABC, AAB, ABB, ABCC, ABBC, etc).
- Did you know snowflakes have 6 sides? Occasionally they have 3 or 12, but they are always within that multiple of 3. They never have 4, 5 or 8 sides!
Weather Painting: 3 Ways:
1. Use scissors to cut the tips off of the pipettes of liquid watercolors. There are 2 pipettes of each color (red, yellow, green and blue). If you want, you can empty the pipettes into 4 small bowls and add a bit of water to dilute the color and make it last longer.
2. You’ll want an art tray or drop cloth under your art for these projects.
3. There are 2 pieces of art paper for each style of painting, plus 2 extras you can use if you didn’t use them for the paper snowflakes!
To paint like rain: Hold your paper vertically, and use the pipettes to drip color on the paper so it runs down, like rain running down a window.
To paint like wind: Place the paper on your surface and drip a few drops of liquid watercolors on your paper. Take the paper straw and blow the color around! Can you make a design with it?
To paint like frost: drip the watercolors on your paper, and spread them around (you can use a paintbrush, a spoon, or your finger). While the paint is still wet, sprinkle salt on top of the drawing. When it’s dry, shake off the excess paint, and you’ll see that the artwork is splotchy and variable, like how frost looks on a window!
Samples: Upper left: painting like rain. Upper right: painting like wind. Bottom left and right: frost. Left artwork: frost, closer up.
Clean Up: When your artwork is dry, hand up it on display! Your paint bowls and art tray can be rinsed.
What are they learning?
- Process versus Product: This is a key component of Messy Play Kits’ products. We focus on the process of making rather then the final product. You don’t have to build a snowman, but painting in a completely new and different way is what the activity is really all about! Try something new and explore how it works!
- Weather patterns: as you paint, discuss various weather patterns. Can you think of any other ways you can paint like weather? Which of these have you seen in real life?
1. Empty the instant snow into a large bowl or tub. Add 2 cups of water, pouring it around slowly and watching the instant snow erupt and grow! This part is really cool to watch. (Note: if you use cold water, it will feel even more like snow!)
2. Dig in with your hands! Instant snow is a really fun sensory material. Try shaping it- can you make a snowball? A small snow person?
3. Add measuring cups, spoons, and other kitchen utensils to your sensory play. You can also add any washable toys as well- do you have arctic creatures you can add? A toy shovel?
Tip: Place the instant snow in the freezer for a few hours to make it cold, like real snow!
Clean Up: instant snow should be thrown away when you’re done. However, it can be used multiple times! You can leave it out for a few days, and add a bit more water to keep it hydrated as needed. To keep it even cleaner, wash your hands before and after sensory play.
What are they learning?
- Science: This is a really cool reaction to watch! Instant snow is made of a super absorbent polymer, similar to the absorbent part of diapers or waterbeads. When you add water, each tiny particle grows to many, many times its size as it soaks up the water!
- Discuss how this is similar to and different from real snow. Has your child ever seen real snow? Have you?
- Open ended sensory play helps build motor skills, hand eye coordination, problem-solving skills, basic math concepts, and so much more! Children learn through actively exploring their environment, so give your child some kitchen utensils and let them explore and dig and see what they can do with the snow!
1. Make a frame for your suncatcher using the black paper. Start by cutting a rectangle in the paper, and then fold it in half and cut out the inside of the rectangle, so you have a rectangle border that’s 1/2-1” wide.
2. Peel the contact paper liner off, and place the sticky part on the table, sticky side up. If you need to, tape the corners down to keep the contact paper in place- that makes it much easier to work with.
3. Place your rectangle frame on the sticky contact paper.
4. Fill in the frame with tissue paper. You can use full squares or rip or cut them into smaller pieces. Overlapping the tissue paper looks cool too, but try to keep it to one or two layers, and a s flat as possible.
5. When the rectangle is filled with tissue paper, carefully unpeel a second sheet of contact paper. Start on one side of your suncatcher and stick the new piece of contact paper on top, sandwiching the tissue paper and frame between the two sticky sides of contact paper.
6. Use scissors to cut out the frame from the extra contact paper, so you have just the black frame and tissue paper. Turn it over, so the frame is at the front (no tissue paper should be covering the black frame). Use a hole punch or scissors to make a hole, tie string on it, and hang it in a window to catch the sun! When the sun streams through it, you’ll see the colors light up and shine beautifully!
7. There are extra supplies to make more of these! Try making a different shape frame, or a smaller or larger one!
What are they learning?
- Creativity: your child gets to layer the papers in whatever patterns or arrangement they choose. This project is fairly short, so they can see the results of their choices quickly.
- Color mixing: as you layer colors of tissue paper, you can see what new colors they blend to make! This is especially true when the sun shines through the suncatcher.
- Make sure you look at the suncatcher in various weather or times of day. On as funny day, it will shine brightly, but on a cloudy day, it will be more dull. Your tighten to see any of the colors at night!
More Weather Play!
There are so many ways to continue learning about winter. Here are some of my favorites.
- Make a Rain Cloud in a Jar! You'll need shaving cream for this super fun science activity. It's simple to do and visually pleasing too!
- Check out our Weather Sensory Bin! The blue rice background makes a colorful backdrop to the rainclouds, lightning bolts, snowflakes, and other weather items. It's not always available for sale since it rotates in stock with the monthly subscription.
- Make a thunderstorm front! A safe and simple experiment that shows what happens when cold and warm water mix.
- Make a paper pinwheel!