Frozen fever won’t break any time soon, so I recently did a Frozen-themed story time. I still love the movie and its songs, but I know many parents would like a change of pace from Anna, Elsa, and “Let It Go.” With this in mind, I focused on Olaf the Snowman to remind kids that the movie has other charming characters and songs. I made snowman stick puppets with cotton balls, popsicle sticks, and a hot glue gun. The kids made their Olaf puppets dance to his signature tune, “In Summer.”
Playing with puppets helps children retell favorite stories (such as Frozen) and create new ones. As they tell stories, they discover that each story has its own structure and sequence. Understanding how stories are put together will build reading comprehension skills when children get older.
Olaf story time also was easy to create because there are many excellent picture books about snowmen. I read All You Need for a Snowman, written by Alice Schertle and illustrated by Barbara Lavallee. Here are some other snowman books I recommend:
- 100 Snowmen by Jennifer Dussling
- The First Day of Winter by Denise Fleming
- Snowballs by Lois Ehlert
- The Snowman by Raymond Briggs
- Snowmen All Year by Caralyn Buehner
After the story the kids used cotton balls, pompoms, pipe cleaners, and glue sticks to make snowmen. One creative five-year-old made Frozen’s Snow Monster. This craft helped children develop their fine motor skills. As caregivers helped with the craft, they engaged in conversations with their children: Where should his nose go? Where is your nose? Talking about their snowmen gave the children background information that helped them understand their world. For instance, a snowman’s nose probably wouldn’t go on his tummy.
All of the activities we did at this story time – playing, reading, singing, and talking – gave the children the early literacy skills they need for reading success. Ask your local children’s librarian how you can help your child get ready to read.