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The Snowman – bowling and number bonds

Today we are featuring a simple craft and learning activity with my favourite Christmas book, movie and memory from my childhood and one that my children are quickly picking up on The Snowman by Raymond Briggs. If you haven’t read the story it’s set around Christmas time and is the tale of a little boy who builds a snowman that magically comes to life and they go on adventures. The book is a lovely tale with cartoon strip type drawings as well as words, however the movie – although short – is told mostly through music and animation, in our countdown to Christmas it’s one of our favourite things to sit down and watch the movie together as a family and it is a must for Christmas Eve.

The Snowman - DIY bowling game to work on number bonds

To bring the book alive as part of the Story Book Advent we first got create and then got learning with our own snowmen. We made snowmen skittles, a snowball bowling ball and worked on number bonds to 10 through our activity.

Materials needed

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The Snowman is a classic wordless Christmas picture book for children showing what happens when a Snowman that you have created comes to life.

Want to know how you can read wordless storybooks with children – check out our Snowman Counting and Letter Activity which has advice for reading wordless books too.

Cardboard Tubes

Odd Baby or Toddler Socks



White Paint

Marker Pens



Two Different sized bowls to draw around – or a compass

How to make The Snowmen Skittles

We made our skittles using kitchen paper rolls – I like them cause they are much longer than the toilet roll tubes and like our sight word bowling game they are easier to knock down and use.

The Snowman - DIY bowling game to work on number bonds

First off paint the tubes white – we’re working on number bonds to 10, so 10 tubes needed painting, if you are working with younger children you could work on number bonds to 5 – or even create more snowman to have an army to work on number bonds to 20.

The Snowman - DIY bowling game to work on number bonds

When the paint is dry, add on a ribbon for the scarf – add buttons onto the snowman’s body – you could also use them as eyes as well.

The Snowman - DIY bowling game to work on number bonds

To make the hats for the snowmen we took an odd sock – cut it into thirds and then added it to the top of the painted tube. If it was the two thirds that was open both ends then we cut up one end and tied it to make it look kind of like a pompom for the hat.

The Snowman - DIY bowling game to work on number bonds

Add the face and then create a snowball.

The Snowman - DIY bowling game to work on number bonds

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How to make a Snowball

I would be lovely to have snow – but alas it’s still warm in the UK and I think that snow and cardboard tubes wouldn’t be a good combination so it was time to get creative with a pompom snowball. Pompoms are so simple to make, I make pompoms with the traditional cardboard ring – 2 rings in fact, but it can take a while to wrap around the wool and you do need to unwind the wool from a ball first then to make the pompom.

Red Ted Art has some other techniques for making pompoms – as well as instructions on making a cardboard ring pompom (although she dodes use ribbon not wool in the example the theory is the same).

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Snowmen bowling and number bonds

We set up the  snowmen in a typical 4, 3, 2, 1 arrangement on the kitchen floor – T counted the snowmen, and then the number of snowmen in each row.

The Snowman - DIY bowling game to work on number bonds

We then bowled – any time someone knocked down the skittles we counted how many had been knocked down and asked “How many are left standing” – I encouraged the children to work it out on the hands, from memory or guess before we counted out the skittles standing.

The Snowman - DIY bowling game to work on number bonds

With J we removed the down skittles, he bowled again and we added together the two sets of downed skittles and then worked out the number bonds to 10.

The Snowman - DIY bowling game to work on number bondsMore The Snowman Math Activities

Activity suggestions for working on literacy and numeracy inspired by the classic wordless picture book The Snowman by Raymond Briggs for Early Years.

Snowman Counting and Letter Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Snowmen Count and Peg Math Activity for Preschoolers.

DIY Snowman Counting Clip Cards

DIY Maths Game to build your own Snowman ideal for some winter times table practice. Play either as single players or against each other as you race to build the snowman first using multiplication and times table knowledge.

Build a Snowman Multiplication Game

Pin this Snowman Craft and Number Bond Activity to Make and Do Later

The Snowman - DIY bowling game to work on number bonds


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