I love kicking off my winter storytimes with a bit of magic. I created a “Magic Bag” to use for this snowy story. This bag is pretty fancy, and I have to give my husband credit for it! His engineer-mind created a beautiful bag with a secret pouch, perfect to hide two snowmen friends! You can get the same effect with two paper double-bagged grocery bags if you can’t sew (just hide the finished snowmen in between the two bags). Here’s how to make the story magical:
Four 8.5×11″ white sheets of felt (4 large snowballs, 4 medium snowballs, 4 small snowballs, 8 mini-snowballs, 2 newspaper scrolls, 4 sneakers, 2 hats to turn into rainbow hats)
1/4 sheet of dark blue felt (8 ear muffs, 4 button eyes, 4 mittens)
1/4 sheet of light blue felt (4 scarves, 2 fanny packs)
1/4 sheet of red (4 overalls, 4 skis)
scrap piece of black (2 hats, 2 belts)
scrap piece of orange (4 carrot noses)
1/4 sheet of light brown (2 brooms, 2 moustaches)
1/4 sheet of grey (4 ski poles, 2 goggles)
Create two complete versions of each Snowman Friend. Use felt glue or hot glue to put each Snowman Friend together.
Hide the completed Snowman Friends in the secret pouch before storytime (I keep mine closed with a black Velcro tab). If you use the grocery bag trick, hide the Snowman Friends in between the two bags on the side closest to you. When you pull them out it will appear to the children that you’re reaching inside the bag.
Take the rest of the pieces of the Two Snowman Friends and put them in a baggie. These are the pieces you’ll hand out to the children to create the completed snowmen.
Tell the children that they can help you perform a magic trick today. Ask them if they think they can help you. “Have you ever made a snowman before?” Show them your bag, making sure they inspect it to make sure it’s empty. Tell them that you’re going to pass out pieces of the snowman and at the end of the story you’re going to mix it up, sing a special song and pull out a finished snowman.
Pass out the pieces of the two Snowman Friends you made. I always have more than enough for this story, you can hand out pieces to parents, daycare providers, etc. If you have any extra pieces, keep them next to you and add them when it comes time in the story. It’s important to tell each child which piece they have for this story so they’ll know when to come up.
Read each page of the story and ask the children to come up at the end of the page with their item.
When you get to the end of the story and you’ve collected all the pieces, tell the children that you must sing a special song while you shake the bag to get all the pieces to melt together. I use my own version of Carole Peterson’s “I Can Make a Snowman.” It goes like this: I can make a snowman, a snowman, a snowman. I can make a snowman, my special snowman friend. Then pull Snowman Friend One of out the bag. Enjoy the gasps and giggles.
Peek in the bag and pull up some of the pieces. “Oh, no. There’s enough to make a second snowman friend. Would you like to do it again?” Repeat the song, then pull out Snowman Friend Two (make sure to point out the moustache–it always gets an extra laugh!