Our Week With Katy and the Big Snow

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This week was a Five In a Row week for us. We were very happy to “row” a book after weeks of various illnesses making their way through the family.  When short on time, we have tended to stick to the basics (reading and math) with a few good science experiments thrown in, so the kids were glad to have a F.I.A.R. book as that always means fun.

Katy and the Big Snow is by Virginia Lee Burton.  Katy is a red tractor that saves the town of Geopolis from a big snowstorm by plowing out all of the important parts of the community.

Here are the accompanying activities we did along with the book:

  • Printed out street signs from our state’s Department of Motor Vehicles website and learned what they meant. This was reading practice for my first grader.  We learned about the various colors of street signs:  orange=construction, red=stop, caution, green=go, directions/mileage to towns, etc.  Then we noticed street signs as we drove around our town. We paid special interest to new ones that had not been on our DMV list.
  • Made our own giant interactive map of Geopolis! This was the most fun.  We used a white shower curtain ($2.50 at a big box store) and I drew on the streets, a compass rose with directionals, and the name “Geopolis” is big letters.  The kids added street signs (cut-outs of the above mentioned DMV printout, attached to popsicle sticks with styrofoam bases), buildings (from our collection of wooden blocks), train tracks, cars, people, firetrucks and of course, Katy. Our version of the book came with stickers, so we attached those to some of the blocks/buildings and the red digger toy that we used to represent Katy.


  • Math! This book is full of numbers. We read it through while holding a yard stick and measured the snowfall in the book:  four inches, ten inches, drifts of one/two/three/five feet, snow up to first story windows.  We used post-it notes to mark the measurements on the wall next to a window. We then used our measurement of our first story window and estimated the measurement for what snow would be like up to our second story window.
  • Another day while reading the book, we ran around the room to the different compass directions. We have them posted up high on the four walls of our main learning room. So when Katy went to East Geopolis, the kids ran to stand by the East wall of our room.  When Katy went to North Geoplis, the kids ran to the North wall, and so on.
  • We didn’t do any more snow experiments as we are kind of sick of snow around here, being that it is mid-February, but you can see our various snow-themed activities here, when we rowed Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening last month.  I guess you could say that our experiments on condensation and evaporation from Science in the Kitchen, this week sort of had to do with snow, since snow is made from water that evaporates from lakes, rivers, oceans, etc.  Or would that be a stretch?  Well, anyway, our trip to the local Nature Sanctuary’s homeschool science day included experiments on weather that also illustrated this theme of how snow becomes snow. It kind of all tied together and it certainly captured Firefly’s attention so I call that success.
  • We plan to do another science experiment tomorrow on freezing and melting with ice cube trays and various items from the pantry and refrigerator.
  • Don’t forget to check out the fun things we do with each F.I.A.R. book.  Although many of them have to do with real places and “Katy” takes place in a fictional town, you can still find fun clips on YouTube of snow plows and other topics related to this book.

What’s funny is that we rowed this book during a week that felt more like Spring than Winter.  We had three days of above-average temperatures so we took advantage of that and got the heck outside! One of our most fun discoveries was this:

We don’t know who built it or what moved them to do so, but there it was, at one of our favorite playgrounds, off to the side where the woods are. What fun the kids (mine and their just-made-that-day friends at the park) had, pretending to make a fire, be Indians in a tee-pee, spies who were hiding out and astronauts who landed on a strange new planet.

I was busy thinking of how we could build one of these in our back yard and whether or not it would be an HOA violation. Might be totally worth the potential fine, though, seeing how much creative play the kids have gotten from the one they found at the park.

In other news, Love Bug is back to napping every day again. Yes!!!!!!   You know how much this means to me.  This means that I won’t have to go into a fugue state after all.  It also means that Firefly and I have been able to work way ahead in science and catch up from being sick on math and reading. Fingers and toes crossed that he continues nap for the next, oh, I don’t know, at least two years.