A tuff spot idea
What are they learning?
Explore ice and snow by constructing cold worlds in different places and with different materials.
What you need
ice cubes, lumps of ice, ice shapes
cushion filling or ‘instant snow’
small world animals (penguins, seals, polar bears and people)
What you do
Look at some pictures together, either on a computer or in a book. Younger children might enjoy watching a Pingu story on TV.
This activity does need some preparation, but the children could help by filling containers of all sorts, sizes and shapes with water and putting them in a freezer (or outside on a very cold night!).
When frozen, put some of the ice shapes in a Tuff Spot and leave a basket of appropriate small world figures and some cushion filling for snow nearby.
Leave the Tuff Spot for children to play with, selecting play objects (polar bears, penguins, seals, Eskimo people, kayaks etc.). They could also add snow to their scenes by using man-made cushion filling.
Ideas for adult-initiated activities
Share stories – a few about polar bears are: ‘The Polar Bear and the Snow Cloud’ by Jane Cabrira, ‘A Boy and a Bear’ by Lori Light, ‘Little Polar Bear’ by Hans de Beer – and talk about life in cold places.
Put some ice cubes or shapes in the Tuff Spot and watch them melt. Adding some salt will speed up the process.
Create some ice sculptures in rubber gloves, wellies or other unusual containers. Or freeze water in big containers such as ice cream tubs or small buckets, adding some food colouring to the water.
Put some ice cubes in the Tuff Spot. Add some guttering or tubes and watch how the ice slides down the slopes.
Make some flat ice sheets by freezing water in shallow trays or leaving the Tuff Spot full of water to freeze overnight. Experiment with your ice sheets, using toy cars and other vehicles, and talk about safety in freezing weather.
Ready for more?
Freeze a variety of objects in ice cubes and larger pieces of ice (coins, crayons, sweets, buttons, petals, seeds, sequins and beads). Provide some small utensils and safety goggles so they can chip away at the ice to discover what is hidden inside. Were their predictions correct?
Google search: images – ‘Eskimo’, ‘arctic’, ‘polar bear’, ‘sea ice’ and ‘penguin’.
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