We’ve really enjoyed exploring the other side of Frozen these past two weeks, and surprisingly, engaging in Frozen-inspired preschool activities has reduced the number of times I’ve been asked to put the movie on!
We used some Reggio and Montessori approaches in developing our mini Frozen-inspired preschool unit study, and used the children’s natural interest in the movie to inspire an appreciation for Scandinavian culture, re-ignite some interest in two of our Montessori works, and engage in some wonderful hands-on provocations and sensory activities.
If you haven’t seen the Disney movie yet, Frozen is unlike any princess movie previously released by the studio. While there will always be critics of anything Disney does, I honestly feel like this movie is one of the best kids movies I’ve seen in a long time, and we are looking forward to the release of Frozen 2. My favourite part of the film is how they broke down the “typical bad guy” stereotype for Elsa, making us empathetic to her seemingly destructive actions — however, they still fell into that tendency with another character
Frozen is loosely based on Hans Christian Anderson’s retelling of the Snow Queen, which you can read online here or here, or purchase as a book here. It’s a Scandinavian folk tale in which a magical mirror freezes a little boy’s heart before he is taken captive by the Snow Queen, and his friend Gerda has to employ the help of woodland creatures and some royalty to help bring him back. Just like in Frozen, her love penetrates the frozen heart.
This is a very traditional fairy tale that has not yet been rewritten for a modern audience, so please read it through before sharing with your children to make sure that you are comfortable with it. I definitely would explore with an older child, potentially encouraging them to do a contrast and comparison with the Frozen movie.
Here is all of the fun we got up to while exploring Frozen (in addition to singing and dancing along with the soundtrack over and over and over…):
I replaced all of the spindles in our Montessori Spindle Box with these dollar store snowflakes. This is such a simple swap that I rely on often to add a bit of interest to our math shelves.
We also took this opportunity to explore the Thermic Tablets and discuss how different materials react to similar environments.
(You could also take this opportunity to explore the Montessori map of Europe, but we are still working away at our world pin maps.)
We explored the flags of Scandanavia, using this awesome memory game which you could easily DIY using stickers from this Ultimate Flags of the World Sticker Book.
We also explored the foods of Scandinavia which resulted in this mess. Ella did not enjoy the Scandinavian taste for licorice, but she definitely approved of their butter candies, tea cookies, and cheese. We bought some treats from Ikea, and the rest on a road trip from The Dutch Shop in Cliton, Ontario — which ships all over Canada. This company ships Scandinavian treats to Canada and the U.S.
(I’ll share a video soon of Ella exploring these treats — when preschoolers make videos, there is some serious editing required!)
We made Frozen slime and played with it on the light table, in a really cool exploration of building and light diffusion.
We made Frozen clean mud — a great fine motor building activity with an awesome sensory reward at the end.
Oh, and we skipped the toy aisle and opted to DIY these Olaf Sock Puppets. The kids love their cuddly little snowmen!
My friend Alecia over at Learning2Walk also got up to some Frozen-inspired learning fun with her preschooler and toddler, check out her posts:
- Melting the Icy Hand
- This Frozen Sensory Bin which uses a really unique filler
- Frozen-inspired Jello Snack (a guest post by me!)
- Build the Castle of Arendelle
- Using Frozen to teach Emotional Development
- Build a Magnetic Olaf
- And, a wrap up post with some awesome printables
I hope this inspires you to engage your children in their interests and adapt a movie obsession into a great learning opportunity!
We have a roaring good exploration of another Disney favourite next month, so please make sure to subscribe to our weekly newsletter if you don’t want to miss out!
If you’re looking for more winter fun, check out our Winter Learning Page and some other Preschool Winter Fun Ideas over at Preschool Powol Packets!