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Build a clay igloo on a snowy day

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Much of the country is buried under snow and ice as major winter storms begin to dump lots of snow cross country. After the shoveling and warm up, kids will still need activities to keep them busy, especially if there are no-school days. Parents can organize some fun crafts and keep some academics going with little effort. Here is one from that combines math, science, social studies and art.

Build an Igloo

Materials you will need are:

• White modeling clay or home made clay

• Paper bowl

• Scissors

• Craft sticks or plastic knife

• Clear drying, non-toxic glue

• Rolling pin (optional)

• Pictures of igloos (optional)

1. Many young children may not have seen an igloo except for cartoon ones in movies. Spend a few minutes looking at pictures or videos and discuss their construction (blocks of ice), inhabitants (indigenous peoples), and location (very cold regions).

2. Talk about shapes used (circle base, rectangular locks for building), tube for entrance tunnel, etc. Count typical levels from igloo pictures. Discuss how the circle gets smaller as it gets taller.

3. Flatten out the clay. You can help your child use a rolling pin or water bottle. Even a soup can will work. Thickness isn’t critical, but don’t go too thin.

4. Now, “cut” out the ice blocks by dragging the craft stick through the clay. Discuss size, length, consistency, etc. as you go. You may need to help out with a plastic knife or clay cutting tool.

5. Separate the blocks. Practice some adding and subtracting and counting, depending on the child’s age. Kids love manipulatives and it helps reinforce skills. If the clay becomes soft or the blocks are squished, just make them again.

6. Cut a door or flap in the paper bowl. If you want an igloo with a tube entrance, insert part of a toilet paper or paper towel tube.

7. Place glue on the outside of the structure. Do this in small sections so it stays manageable and does not dry too quickly.

8. Add the snow blocks starting at the bottom. Glue and count as you go. Set aside for an hour to dry completely. Compare the finished product to the photos of a real igloo.

A creative child may want to sculpt trees, people, reindeer, etc. to make a scene for play. If you have enough real snow outside, you may want to consider building an actual snow igloo for play.

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