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Five Dollars, Five Ways: Dollar Store Activities for Kids — Winter White (and Cold) Sensory Fun {Series}

We never really know if we will get much snow in Nashville, but with these dollar store activities, your child can still explore “snow” and other wintry things.

You will need shaving cream and hair conditioner (make sure it’s white!). Both can be found in the health and beauty section of the dollar store.


You will also need baking soda, but I’m counting that as a supply you probably already have on hand. If not, be sure to purchase some. Food coloring is a nice addition to a couple of the activities. If you don’t already have some, it can also be found at the dollar store.


You should also buy some balloons, rubber gloves, or both.


Depending on what you already have at home, you may have some money left over in your $5 budget to buy some extra supplies. Here are some suggestions:




Activity 1: Fake Snow (It even feels cold!)


Mix three cups baking soda and 1/2 cup hair conditioner. (If you want more or less fake snow, the proportions are 6 parts baking soda to 1 part hair conditioner.) After mixing, your fake snow mixture will have a cooler than room temperature feel to it. If you’d like it even cooler, put your baking soda and/or hair conditioner in the fridge for a bit before using. Incidentally, this is a great way to use up the baking soda that has been sitting in your fridge or freezer for deodorizing! Let your little ones explore with just their hands, or add cups, spoons, pom poms, marbles, silver glitter…anything, really!


Your child can explore the sensations of the fake snow or create a Mini Winter Wonderland. I think these styrofoam forms could be covered with the fake snow and would help to create a three dimensional winter scene. (I haven’t yet tried it!)



Activity 2: Frozen Balloons


Fill balloons and/or rubber gloves with water. Place in the freezer until frozen. I like to do these before bed, so they are ready to go in the morning. If you live somewhere that stays below freezing overnight or for a couple of days, you can freeze them outside. Once frozen, use scissors to cut a hole in the balloon, and then tear and pull until all of the balloon is removed. It’s fun to hold these under hot water in the sink to see how they melt. They are also a “cool” addition to a bath. Try adding food coloring and/or small toys to the water inside the balloon or gloves before freezing!


Activity 3: Drawing & Writing with Shaving Cream

Put a pile of shaving cream on your kitchen table or a ceramic stove top. You can tape down a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap (and put the shaving cream on that) if you don’t like the idea of shaving cream on your table. A tray or cookie sheet also works well. Spread the shaving cream into an even, thin layer. Encourage your child to practice writing and drawing using their fingers, a q-tip, or other tool. (Tip:  our kitchen table is white. This activity doesn’t really work on a white surface. You have to have a color (preferably a dark color) that will show through and contrast with the shaving cream.) You can also put a picture under the shaving cream, and your child can discover the picture by wiping away the shaving cream.


Activity 4: Shaving Cream Sensory Tub

Fill a dishwashing basin, bowl, or your sink with shaving cream. Your child can explore with their hands or bowls and scoops. You can add marbles or small animals for them to find. Shaving cream feels very neat on its own or with objects. Some drops of food coloring can also be a nice addition.


Activity 5: Snow & Ice

This is really just activities #2 and #3 combined, but it’s so much more than that! Fill a tub, sink, or tray with shaving cream. Add some ice made from balloons or rubber gloves. This also works well with ice from an ice cube tray. You can do plain ice or colored ice. If you use colored ice, the colors start to swirl through the shaving cream as the ice melts. Explore with just hands or add toys. This is really fun to clean up in the bath tub.  You could also do this entire activity in the bath tub and skip the dishwashing basin altogether!


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