Hello! This blog post is about two nonfiction snow books and two printable games for classes or families to play during the season of snow and fun. Hi, I'm Carolyn Wilhelm, MS Gifted Ed, MA K-12 Curriculum and Instruction, and National Board Certified Teacher, and have 28 years of teaching experience in elementary schools.
Children the world over love to see snowflakes and try to catch them! Of course that isn't possible given the ephemeral nature of snow, as it starts melting right when it hits the ground. However, teachers and parents can share wonderful nonfiction books with photos about snow, such as THE STORY OF SNOW: The Science of Winter's Wonder by Mark Cassino, with John Nelson, Ph.D., and illustrations by Nora Aoyagi.
THE STORY OF SNOW begins by explaining that each snowflake is formed on a speck of dust in a cloud. The speck becomes the center of a snow crystal, and the snow crystal forms as it falls from the sky. In this nonfiction book, drawings and photographs are used to explain how snow forms and what snowflakes look like. Young children may not be interested in all the scientific descriptions of snowflakes, but they will enjoy the beautiful photographs of the different kinds of crystals (stars, plates, and columns). Most star snowflakes have six points, but did you know a snowflake "twin" is one snowflake with twelve points? At the end of a book is a step-by-step activity children can do involving catching and observing snowflakes, which is briefly possible when weather conditions are just right.
Another wonderful nonfiction snowflake book is SNOWFLAKE BENTLEY by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, and illustrated by Mary Azarian. Below is one of the many hundreds of photographs, which are now in the public domain, made by this man. Wilson Bentley became the first person to photograph a single snow crystal in 1885, and he took over 5000 photos of snowflakes. Snowflakes were his life work, and he said they were miracles.
SNOWFLAKE BENTLEY was the winner of the 1999 Caldecott Medal for illustrations, and is a story children will love. In this book we learn no two snowflakes are ever alike! Do you remember learning that as a child? Wilson Bentley is the reason we know this fact.
Now for more fun, click here for a FREE PDF printable that has two different snow theme games. One game is like Memory where all the cards are spread out face down, and players may turn over two cards at a time to try to find all the pairs. These pages must be printed twice in order to have all the cards for the game. The second game is a snowflake visual discrimination bingo type game, and each game board has nine pictures. A deck of cards is used for players to match the snowflake, by pulling one at a time; and the "bingo" covers are also snowflakes. I made ten different cards, but they could be printed more than once. Please print and cut apart at least one page of snowflake bingo covers per two players. I hope teachers and families will enjoy these games, and create even more variations with the different materials.