Want to know an awesome game that can be adapted to ANY skill that comes with INSTANT engagement? Well I’m ready to share! Insert the snowballs because it’s about to go down!
It’s a snowball fight! But without the cold, wet mess of course. We are in a classroom after all. So…. how do we pull this off? It’s easy! Have you ever thought about bringing in the magic of snowball fights into your classroom while also making it educational?! If not, you’re sure to after learning about how brrrrr-illiantly easy it is! In this post, I’ll teach you how to quickly and easily implement this strategy with ANY skill you want to cover! And you only need TWO things-paper and kids!! I promise you, it’s SNOW MUCH FUN! Ready, set, throw!
All you need are tiny humans willing to play (I promise they’re not hard to find!), paper to crumple up, recording sheets, and a writing utensil to record answers. That’s it! Not to mention that making your snowballs is a great tension reliever because who doesn’t feel less stressed after crumpling up a piece of paper? So grab your “snowballs”, a recording sheet, and POOF you have a highly engaging activity for students!
Did I mention how easy this was??
Place Value Snowball Fight
The game is simple. It can be used with just about any content and it’s perfect for all ages. You choose a skill(s) you want students to practice or review. Print or write questions that incorporate your chosen skill on your papers. I like to make double the amount of questions than kids playing so everyone has a chance to see a different question during each round. This also ensures there’s enough snow balls to play. Pass out the papers and have students crumble them up into “snow balls”. Set a timer or play a song while students enjoy their snowball fight. When time is up, students pick up the closest snowball to them, un-crumble it, answer the question, record it on their recording sheet, and then crumble it back up to rejoin game play. Check out this video below of gameplay!
Place Value Snowball Fight Video
This activity is FUN! Kids love having snowball fights, real or imagined, and being able to do it with all their friends is a double whammy. Even your shy or reserved kids won’t be able to resist the fun.
You get instant feedback from their recording sheet. It’s the best informal assessment ever! Also, once all the snowballs are “melted”, aka discarded by your kiddos, all you are left with is the recording sheet to give you all the information you need. Super low prep and easy clean up! WIN-WIN!!
It is amazing for practicing and/or reviewing skills taught with the added bonus of giving kids a brain break. The time spent “fighting” is a great balance to the time spent exerting mental energy answering the questions.
Speaking of energy, this game is great for getting our energy out! If you teach littles like me, you know how important this is. All kids need a lot of movement and this engagement strategy has you covered in that department.
Little People, BIG Fun
As you know I teach the little firsties so if you’re a fellow primary hero, visualizing a classroom full of six year olds throwing things at each other can seem a bit daunting. I get it. I love this engagement strategy because there are so many different ways you can play. You can make your own rules to adapt it to your learners and your classroom structure to where it works for you and is still just as fun. It’s even perfect for socially distanced classroom set ups! With clear rules and expectations, a bit of modeling, and some practice, I’m sure your littles are quite capable of participating without problems.
Rules are Snow Laughing Matter!
As fun as things get, we have to be serious when it comes to the rules! As with all things in our classrooms, modeling and clear expectations is the key to making this game a memorable and educational experience. Some good ground rules to explain and model before each and every game are respect, distance, recording, and rowdiness.
- Students need to know that in the “fight”, we are always staying respectful and not looking to hurt anyone.
- Distance is important in making sure everyone stays safe. You don’t want to throw anything at someone who is too close to you and if you’re about to throw, be aware your limbs aren’t going to hit someone or something.
- The recording of our answers is MORE important than the fight and while having fun, we must stay focused on practicing the skills we’re working on.
- If the class gets too rowdy, we will have to take time to regroup. Keeping your rounds at a set amount and keeping them at a manageable pace helps with this piece.
- Be SUPER CLEAR on what it looks like when kids should STOP the fight. We want to make sure this is a smooth and fun activity that doesn’t get ruined for anyone.
What It Looked Like for Us
First, we made sure to make enough snowballs for each student to throw one. We made sure each student had their recording sheet with their name and a pencil ready to go. Then, we explained that students needed to spread out around the room so they could throw the snowballs without hurting anyone. We also explained that students needed to throw it far away from them but to watch where they were throwing so they didn’t hurt anyone.
After everyone spread out, we explained that we the teachers would be counting down from 3 and when we got to 0 everyone would throw at the same time. We conducted the activity as different rounds played. You can do as many or as few rounds as you want. We found that doing about 10 rounds was enough for students to have fun and get practice, but not too many that we got too wild.
The beauty of this super engaging activity is that it can be done with ANY skill! From reading to math and everything in between! I have seen SO many cool ideas from primary to upper elementary classrooms, to ESL teachers using it to foster more communication between peers. You want kids to practice addition and subtraction story problems? Snowball fight. Have comprehension questions to answer after finishing up a great book? Snowball fight. You need kids to practice a social skill? Make your snowballs have challenges to complete with a peer rather than a question to answer and have a snowball fight! No matter what skill you need students to refine, this game can be adapted to cover it!
Editable Snowball Fight
This piece in my opinion needs the most modeling for young students. This is our feedback that allows us to know what our students have mastered and what understandings they still need to deepen so it’s important we get this right. The recording sheet can be as simple as a quick drawing like the one I initially came up with, or you can grab this ready made one here!
Right before winter break we began discussing place value with tens and ones. We thought that reviewing was absolutely necessary after break, and what a better way than a highly engaging activity for students!
We decided we would have some snowballs with representations and some with numbers (see pictured below). It was explained to students that if they got a snowball with a visual representation, they would write the numeral on their recording sheet. If they received a snowball with a number, they would draw a representation. Perfect way to practice both skills!
During our first game, after everyone threw snowballs and it was time to grab the one they were to open, I modeled to students how to record their answer. I chose a random snowball from the floor and modeled it with my own recording sheet. Explicitly showing students that if I received a number I would create the representation or visa versa was crucial. While students kept going through rounds, my teammate and I would walk around and ensure students knew what to do. By the third round, they were all pretty solid in the recording rules.
After many snowball fights with my littles, I have learned that recording sheets can make or break the chaos of the game. To improve our game play and ensure high educational value, I developed a snowball template labeled with letters that goes with a corresponding recording sheet. This fosters more independence because students know exactly where to record their response on their sheet based on their lettered question. You can check that out pictured below!
Love at Frost Sight
I guarantee you will love busting out this activity for all kinds of moments! We especially love to play this game after coming back from winter break.
Tired students + Lack of Structure = Perfect Snowball Fight Material!
It’s great when you finish up a unit and need a review, after a long time away from the classroom, as a Fun Friday activity, or even an indoor recess idea to sneak in some extra practice! The content possibilities are only limited to your imagination!! And because I love my fellow educators to the snowball fort and back, I created a completely editable template for you to create your own games! This template can be used over and over again for ANY skill you want to have a snowball fight with!!
I really hope you enjoyed learning more about snowball fights and how they can be used to teach and engage! Don’t forget to subscribe to my email list! Not only will you get the most up to date tips, tricks, and classroom projects… and of course more fun FREEBIES including the Snowball Place Value FREEBIE! But you will also have exclusive access to tons of digital how to videos! If you would like to learn about this and other things happening in my classroom follow me @sweetnsauerfirsties on Instagram.
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