I love Virginia Lee Burton’s books and they’re always appealing to the kiddos. The story of the persistent, personified tractor who plows out the whole town is an endearing one.
Katy is from the town of Popperville, a fictional location. I showed them the map pictures from the book, explained a little bit about what a compass is and what it’s for, then had them decorate their own town maps. I was surprised how much Gwen enjoyed this! She drew two fire stations, houses, a railroad track, etc. I asked her where she would go if she had to plow on the north side of town, on the south and so forth.
Just as in Mike Mulligan, this story mentions community helpers around the town, so we took out our community helper matching game, which the kids enjoy. We like to capitalize on the fire department, since Daddy’s a fireman, and I took out some of the fire resources from our W is for Water (the four elements) week from last year. There were simple shape matching cards and number clothespin cards, among other things. I also took out some of the worksheets from our T is for Transportation week – spelling cards and worksheets, identifying which item is different, street signs, etc.
Katy was very dedicated to her job plowing the snow, so when a big snowstorm hits Popperville she plows everyone out – in essence saving the day – even though she is very tired from her efforts. She doesn’t give up till the job is finished! We talked about perseverance, not giving up even though you may be tired, taking pride in your work.
The kiddos cut out some pictures that rhymed with “snow” and pasted them on a sheet of paper. They also worked on a fun truck-and-snow themed matching game, trying to figure out which words ending in the letters “ow” sound like “snow” and which sound like “plow.” They wanted to play it a few times and got better each round.
We’ve gone over personification before and we did so again, pointing out how Katy has eyes, gets attributed with feelings and so forth. Since there are a few sound words in the book – “chug chug chug!” – we sang our onomatopoeia song.
I made some snow sensory dough and let the kids have at it in trays with a bunch of Josiah’s toy tractors. Of course, they pretended to be plowing the snow. Messy, sensory activities are always a bit hit!
The story mentions that, as the snow falls, it’s four inches deep… then ten inches… then one foot… then three feet, etc. We made up some snow paint with shaving cream and glue, measured out four inches on construction paper, then painted the appropriate amount of snow. We did the same thing with ten inches, covering most of the paper. For the larger amounts I drew lines on the chalkboard and showed them how they would be buried in that amount of snow! They thought that was pretty fun.
Since it’s Winter, and our story is about snow, we talked about the weather and water freezing. We filled an ice cube tray with all sorts of ingredients around the kitchen – water, coffee, applesauce, yogurt, flour, cereal, crackers, vinegar, soap, etc. After a while we checked to see which items had frozen and what their textures were.
This was a fun, laid-back week – nothing too heavy here! There were a few other things I hoped to do – like pine-needle painting, creating your own online city and some cute traffic light cookies – but just didn’t get around to them. Too many other things going on!
The Construction Alphabet Book
Curious George and the Firefighters
Policeman Lou and Poliecwoman Sue
Maisy Goes to the Library
50 Below Zero
What Makes the Seasons
Fiar Circle’s Land of Make Believe map
This Reading Mama’s Snow-Themed Word Sort
The Imagination Tree’s homemade snow dough
measuring activity inspiration
Kitchen Science inspiration
Borax crystals and the science behind them