Snow Portraits

The winter snow has finally arrived and with it lots of excitement and new possibilities for playing and creating! Inspired by the loose parts-look of Lois Ehlert’s book Snowballs, the Purple Room wondered what kind of snow people the children would create when offered a variety of materials. We decided to take our art experience outdoors to take advantage of a blank snow canvas.

Frames in various shapes and sizes were offered to compose the snow bodies and it was interesting to see most of the children stick to the traditional 3-shape formula (bottom, middle, head) as a starting point.

However, individual personalities were definitely on display as the children chose the other elements of their composition from the array of hats, necklaces, pinecones, rocks, ribbons and shells. 

Student: I’m making a princess!
Student: Me too! Let’s get some shiny earrings!

Student: Look at her fancy hair! …This is going to be my heart.

As always, with an open-ended process we get a peek into what the children are learning and thinking about and I couldn’t help but smile at the specific features that the children chose to include on their snow people. 

Student: Look! Mine is missing teeth. I’m going to put pimples on his face. Just 2 pimples.

Student: I’m going to make nipples on mine.

When their snow person was done, the children were offered the chance to make another snow person if they wanted to. It was interesting to see children in multiple different groups make a portrait of a/their “Dad”. I wondered if this was a connection to the first image featured in the book (of a “snow dad”) or their snow experiences with family. This classroom has had a strong interest in babies lately, so I was a little surprised that no one chose to make a “snow baby”!

Student: My dad gets kind of hot in the sun so I put him by the tree.

Big and fluffy snowflakes falling steadily all around us as we worked added a wonderful element of peaceful inspiration and beauty to the experience. Working outside gave us a chance to connect in a new way.

Student: I’m running back and forth to get all my exercises!

Reflection by Johanna KaLhoun, Art Specialist

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