Family Fun Time

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Family Fun Time

Winter outdoor family crafts: build a snow Penguin - Snow-guin or Snow Nativity
12/18/07: The snow this week brought opportunities to stretch your imagination and have family fun.

My 2nd grade grandson was a penguin in the school play. The next day, when he saw all the snow, he wanted to make a snowman, but then he got the idea he wanted to make a snow-guin...("Get it grammoo, a snowman penguin?" ). So we did and water sprayed it with diluted black craft paint! We had such fun working together. So get out there with your family and build a snowman a snow penguin or whatever you can imagine! Work together towards a goal and let the children provide the ideas. It really doesn't matter what it turns out to be or how it looks!

*Look at that smile of satisfaction! Here are the tips to build your own snowman penguin - or snow-guin!

Snow, shovels, 2 potatoes for eyes, 2 carrots for the beak, piece of red cloth or red bow or scarf, large plastic spray bottle (at least a cup and a half) , small bottle of black water-based craft paint (acrylic), putty knives, or heavy duty plastic knives for shaping.

Mound the snow. Penguins can be all one piece, so keep shoveling as tall as you can. When it spreads out at the bottom, tap the base towards the center with the back side of the shovel to create a "wall" which compacts the snow and reduces the width of the base. If the snow base is very wide, slice some of it off ( 6 inches at most at a time) and immediately spray with water mist. Tap the top with the back side of shovel too, to make a flattened surface to add more snow. (see below: another method for building a penguin with easy packing snow)

When you or the children are satisfied with height of the snowman penguin (or are too tired to build it higher) you are ready to paint. Refill the spray bottle with water. Put and put one teaspoon of black paint in the spray bottle . Put your hand over a paper towel over the bottle opening. Shake it until the paint dissolves completely, then put the top back on the bottle. This avoids globs and clogging the spray tube. First test spray on the back of the penguin until you get the hang of it. Use a wide spray rather than a stream which will gouge the snow. Keep at least 6 inches to a foot away from the snow-quin. Be mindful of the direction of the wind so you don't get sprayed. Spray around the penguin "face" and "shirt" shape. The first coat of spraying may be gray. Let it freeze or set a minute. Spray the entire penguin again to darken his coat.

If your snow is "sticky" (good packing wet snow - usually like in the midwest) instead of building a pile of snow, you can roll 2 or 3 equal size balls of snow and stack them, then fill in the spaces where the balls meet. Then paint the penguin. (Wet snow can be heavy so be careful lifting)

Push your potato eyes and carrot beaks into the head area. Add a bow tie or scarf.

We built this penguin with dry powder snow which is NOT conducive to snowman building. Tip on building a snowman with dry powder snow: spray with plain water as you build the mound and pound it. Otherwise, the snow does not stick together. Spraying distributes the water in an even mist, melts it slightly and freezes it together. If you just dump water on your snow pile, it won't work.


Build a snow sculpture nativity:

Pile the snow in two taller forms and one low box shape. Carve and clear water spray Joseph first. Blue paint for Mary's dress, brown (reddish-brown) for Joseph and yellow or brown for the manger. The baby Jesus in the manger has a light blue halo, but then I added gold. The same methods from the snow-guin will work.

Dry snow again! Dry snow inhibits hard packing into really tall shapes.

Snow, shovels, plastic spray bottle (at least a cup and a half) , blue, brown and/or gold (yellow) water-based craft paint (acrylic), putty knives, or heavy duty plastic knives for shaping.

First use clear water to spray sculpture to set dry snow. (This step not necessary with wet snow).
Add 1 tsp blue paint to 1 cup of water in the spray bottle. Shake the bottle with your hand over the opening - do not shake with the sprayer in the bottle as this may clog it. Practice spraying on the back of the sculpture. Spray about 6 inches from the surface to avoid overspray. When done, wash the spray bottle completely, and put the top on and spray to clean the tube. Repeat the process with another color.

Sunday School Resources FOR KIDS
from the Sunday School of Faith Congregational Church, Mount Prospect, Illinois