The Plowman Cometh

the plowman cometh

A huge snow storm demands the toughest snowplow around. But not necessarily the BIGGEST. Sometimes, small gets the job done!

We read Small Walt, written by Elizabeth Verdick, and illustrated by Marc Rosenthal (Simon & Schuster, 2017). Walt is the smallest snowplow in the fleet, and he’s always last in the pack to get picked by a driver. But when a huge storm hits, Walt and a good-natured driver named Gus get to work, plowing mile after mile. Even the biggest hill in town can’t stop this terrific team!

You’ll need:

  • 2 small boxes, or 1 large tissue box
  • 1 snowplow cab template, printed on 8.5″ x 11″ card stock
  • Black poster board
  • 1 craft stick
  • 2 medium yellow pom-poms
  • A piece of yarn (ours was 24″ long)
  • Scissors and tape for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

snowplow

Shout out to Katie for designing such an awesome snowplow! We hot glued two, 4″ x 4″ x 4″ craft boxes together. One of the boxes is cut down to 2″ of course, to create a snowplow with a pickup truck bed. But you can also cut a large tissue box down like so:

tissue box snow plow Color and cut the side doors and windshields from the template, then tape them to the box. I would, however, like to bring your attention to this very clever variation on the template. The kid bent the doors outwards, and drew a snowplow driver inside!

driver inside snowplowWe provided color masking tape for stripes and other details. And added a craft stick bumper to the back as well…

back of snowplowThe wheels and blade of the snowplow are black poster board. Add 2 yellow pom-pom “flasher lights,” a yarn pull string, and you’re done! We decided to add an extra challenge to our story time project in the form of these fabric snowballs. I scored a dozen packages of these on deep, deep discount this summer.

snowtime snowballsKids were challenged to navigate our gallery, rolling the snowballs in front of the plow without losing them. Then they got to take some snowballs home!

snowballs and snowplowDid you notice the little blue bow on the snowplow’s windshield? In the story, Gus ties his blue scarf on Walt to celebrate the little plow being “Number One!” We definitely wanted to capture that sweetness here as well.

And in case you’re wondering if we played with the piles of fabric snowballs, the answer is YES. Here’s our friend and former office-mate Ian, being ambushed at his desk this summer. This was only one of many such incidents.

It’s Tubing Time

it's tubing timeSwoosh down the plastic table slopes in your magnificent snow tube, then grab a delicious cup of hot chocolate (enhanced with chocolate scratch-and-sniff stickers) at the sweetest little snow station in the universe – the Cocoa Chalet!

cocoa chalet customer

We read Snow Day! written by Lester L. Laminack, and illustrated by Adam Gustavson (Peachtree, 2007). Did the weatherman just predict snow? Woo hoo! No school! A dad and his two kids run through the list of marvelous things they’re going to do on their snow day…hot chocolate, warm blankets, snow forts, sledding. Up the stairs to bed they go, anticipating all the fun. Except it doesn’t snow. Dang. Dad’s especially upset…because he’s the teacher!

You’ll need:

  • 2 small tissue boxes
  • 2 pieces of tagboard
  • 4 mini craft sticks (ours were 3″ long)
  • 2 large plastic buttons
  • 2 toilet paper tubes
  • A selection of construction paper
  • 1 snow tubing slope (more on this below)
  • Scissors and tape for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

finished snow tubesSnow tubes first! Cut the bottom off a tissue box, leaving 1″ sides on the box. Cut a circular tube shape out of tagboard or poster board. Decorate it, then hot glue (or tape) it to the top of the box. Next, flip the snow tube box over and glue two mini craft stick runners to the bottom – this will allow the tube to slide most effectively. Finally, hot glue (or tape) a large plastic button to the inside bottom of the box. This provides the weight that will send your tube zipping down the hill rather than slow-poking to a halt.

snow tube steps The tube rider is a toilet paper tube decorated with construction paper and markers. We added a felt scarf and a pair of mini pom-pom earmuffs as well. Did you recognize the red-cloaked rider on the right? That’s Little Red Skating Hood from this magnetic ice rink story time! We had kids make 2 snow tubes and 2 riders so they can race them down the hill.

tp tubersYour snow tubes are done, now for the slope! These were two, 6′ plastic tables we secured on stools. We’ve done exactly the same thing for this sled run and this country-to-city truck run. For snow tubing purposes, however, we made 4 racing lanes:

testing the snow tubesWe took four, 60″ pieces of PVC pipe, and speared wads of polyester fill on them. Then, we used packing tape to secure the PVC pipes to the tables. We left 11″ of space at the bottom of the racing lanes to encourage exciting tube crashes. Important! Test the tube riders on your slope a couple times. If the poly fill is bulging out too much, the riders will get stuck and won’t slide down the slope.

The mini-craft stick runners, the plastic button weight, testing the poly fill snow bulges…it might seem like a lot of extra steps, but the project won’t work as well without these things. We believe snow tubes need to zip, slide, and careen off things. Check out the results!


After everyone had played in the slopes, we headed over to “The Cocoa Chalet” for a delicious drink. This blog has amply demonstrated how much we love crafting retail opportunities (exhibits a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, and i). So bring on the hot chocolate stands I say! I made the Cocoa Chalet with a box lid and a poster board roof. The snow is fabric batting someone donated:

the cocoa chaletHere’s the back of the chalet. As you can see, the whole thing is attached to a cake pad base. Oh, and the chimney is a bubble tea straw.

back of cocoa chaletThe hot chocolate was a little piece of brown construction paper curled into a 1oz plastic sample cup. I topped it off with some poly fill whipped cream, then added a chocolate scratch-and-sniff sticker so the cup would exude a chocolatey bouquet.

hot cocoaHey! Do you want to see the most amazing hot chocolate in the world that I consume far too much of? Right here, my friend. Right here.

Let it Go

let it go 1Does your Snow Queen need some silvery magic? Try these super simple, super inexpensive, but super fun metallic dance streamers! We took them out on our gallery floor to see how they’d go over. Three little girls immediately asked for a set. I’ll admit, I played with them too. It’s impossible not to twirl them and feel just a little bit magical.

You’ll need:

  • 2 wooden dowels
  • 1 silver metallic tablecloth
  • Scissors
  • Silver tape

The best tablecloth to use is a super-shiny crinkly one (I bought mine at Oriental Trading Company for $3.25). Spread out the tablecloth and cut 8 ribbons from it. Here are my ribbon measurements (you can adjust yours according to the height of your child):

  • 2 ribbons measuring 2.25″ x 41″
  • 2 ribbons measuring 2.25″ x 49″
  • 2 ribbons measuring 2.25″ x 60″
  • 2 ribbons measuring 2.25″ x 66″

Bunch 4 ribbons (one of each size) together, twist tightly, and tape securely to one end of a wooden dowel. Continue wrapping the tape downward and around the dowel until it’s covered. I used silver prismatic tape from Party City (a roll costs $4.99).

prismatic tapeThe Party City tape is the same width as duct tape, which can be awkward to wrap around a thin dowel. So I cut the original tape pieces in half, creating narrower strips (since the tape has peel-off backing, cutting long strips in half is easy). Repeat the above steps with the remaining 4 ribbons and wooden dowel, and you’re done!

metallic dance streamersCue the music and…LET IT GO!

let it go 2If you’re a fan of Hans Christian Andersen’s original Snow Queen, you might want to check out this fabulous adaptation by the Princeton Youth Ballet!