Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Snowball Freeze Fight for Fun and Learning!

   Miss Carole of Macaroni Soup here in frigid, snowy Chicago.  BRRR!

Oh no!  Look out from behind!
    If you’re in the major part of the US/Canada that has had one whoppingly snowy Winter – and it’s not over yet – you may be getting The Indoor Crazies about now. Your students may be exceedingly squirmy, poke-y, silly, sad-ish and LOUD!  If the snow hasn’t kept you inside, the sub-0 temps and windchills have!
         I have a cure!

    Okay, it’s a temporary fix, and may need almost daily repetition – 
but there’s no chance of an overdose on this one!  

Have a Snowball Freeze Fight – right in your classroom!  

I developed this activity for my “Boy Class” about 15 years ago – there were 10 boys and 2 girls in a 4-year-old preschool class.  By February, their teachers arrived at music class hoping I would run them hard, make them jump and twirl for 30 minutes and hand them back ready to return to the classroom to learn and play.  The students particularly had trouble with self-control, listening and following directions.  Hmmm.  Not just a boy issue – everyone can use re-enforcement on these skills!

    I created Snowball Fights – we’d pretend to throw snowballs at each other, stopping  (freezing) anytime the music stopped.  It worked pretty well.  Then a package arrived in the mail from Oil of Olay.  A net pouf or loufah.  I thought, “What a lousy sponge … but… but what a wonderful snowball!”  WOWSA!  I wrote to OOO, and asked them to sell me 40 loufahs “for educational purposes.”  They did – they even picked up the shipping!  And the Snowball Freeze Fight was on its way, travelling across the country, teacher-to-teacher as I shared it at conferences and workshops!

    Here’s how a Snowball Freeze Fight works:
1. Acquire about 2 poufs per person participating.  See resource below.

2. Find music with starts and stops built in – a freeze dance, or “The Freeze” on my “Dancing Feet!”cd.  
   This is an auditory game – please don’t stand at your music player and stop and start it.  Children will begin to watch you for to see when you press the button instead of listening for the music to stop.  Plus it prevents you from joining in the fun – an important consideration!

3. Explain The Two Rules:
            Rule #1:  No throwing at faces.  You may throw at bodies, 
                          backs, legs – not at faces.
            Rule #2:  You may only hold ONE snowball at a time.  
                          If you hold more than one (demonstrate), you are a 
                          Snowball Piggy, and no one wants to be that!

4. Practice “freezing”: while sitting, put hands in the air and wiggle them saying “hands in the air, hands in the air, hands in the air, FREEZE!”  Repeat.

5.  You’re ready!  Turn on the music and let the snowballs fly!
      (I toss them into the air from my big bag – they squeal with delight!)
The Snowball Freeze Fight in concert - with about 250 children!

     About 2 minutes of music is plenty!  On your final “Freeze”, instruct the children to bring all the snowballs back to your bag when you say “Un-Freeze”, then sit on the floor where they started.  Have ready a VERY engaging, quiet-er activity or book.  
     I love to do the SFF in the middle of The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats –

when Peter would love to be in the snowball fight with the big boys, but he isn’t ready, not yet.  I pause, put the book down and ask, “Would YOU like to have a Snowball Fight?”  And we’re off!  Then, when we’ve had our SFF, I pick up the book and we see what happens to Peter next!
This picture isn't blurry - they're scurrying for snowballs so fast the camera can't keep up!
RESOURCE:  I now buy the mesh poufs from for under 50 cents each (12 in your classroom?  Buy 30 for $15 plus shipping – a bargain!  The more you buy the cheaper they are, so see if other teachers want them, too!)
    A note to pacifists – yes, the word “fight” may trod on the edges of your comfort zone.  You could call it a Snowball Toss or Throw. But trust me, when done with smiles and laughter, children get that it’s not a brawl.  Children cannot get hurt if they follow the simple instructions you give them.  They get a workout, practice listening and following directions, learn self-control, have an incredibly fun 2 minutes, and you get children back in the groove, ready to play and learn! 
NOTE:   I always remind them that on the playground we never throw real snow at others.

    For more information about this activity, check out the January 2010 Song of the Month page on my website.  This activity works with children 2 – adult (yes, these are teachers in a workshop pictured left!) I’ve done it with 1000 people (not recommended), but it is especially fun for classrooms.  Try it on a Parent Participation Night!  It’s a hoot!  

Any questions?  Try it!  Let me know how it goes!

Yours for a Winter Song!
 “Miss Carole” Stephens


  1. I can testify this is a winner of an activity - but only if you can "stand" chortles of delight and totally happy and engaged children and their adults. Another caveat - discourage pulling the snowball poufs apart!

  2. Thanks, Brigid! I've found that if you don't give the children too long in the freezes (2-3 seconds), they don't have time to inspect and dissect the snowballs! Yup - this is waaay too much fun!

  3. I do this amazing activity every winter in a special show I've written for libraries and the kids and adults adore it! I've heard some adults murmur "What a great idea!" when I pull out the poufs because I build up the "magic" and everyone is wondering how we're going to have a snowball fight indoors. We have recorded out own version of "Let it Snow" with the stops already built in along with the instruction "FREEZE" because I'm having too much fun flinging poufs along with everyone else to yell it out, and it's nice and loud that way. THANK YOU Carole for a magical, fun creative idea!

    1. Thanks, Patricia. I know how unsure you were about this activity - glad to hear it's working out so well for you!


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