Pretend Play Activities for Spot’s Snowy Day

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My son loves to read. (Hear this momma reader shout some praise?)

Even with his variety of special needs, he continues to amaze us how he absorbs what he reads in various ways.

So, naturally, I often plan our home preschool units based around a book or multiple books on a theme. We love to read a book, then do an activity or two to further understand the concepts and information shared in those books.

With my son’s special needs–and just his unique personality–pretend play can be difficult for him. His brain isn’t naturally wired to pretend with a doll or make up worlds of his own. But, he loves to play within an already established world, whether it be real or pretend in its origin.

As I explain in this post on my personal blog, pretend play offers numerous benefits for children’s development:

Pretend play:

-boosts social skills,

-allows children to learn new skills or knowledge through kinesthetic movement,

-offers opportunity to practice speech,

-increases exposure to and understanding of varying emotions.

(Check out this interesting article from Psychology Today on pretend play and this article from Scholastic.)

Since he loves books and he needs to practice pretend play, I’m incorporating more pretend play founded on characters in some of his favorite books.

Pretend Play Activities for Spot's Snowy Day - plus, modifications and teaching cues {}

Pretend Play with Spot’s Snowy Day

This simple board book offers animal characters, bright colors, simple drawings, and fun, relatable actions on each page. We began reading Spot’s Snowy Day by Eric Hill (Putnam, 2009) when my fella was less than a year old. While he has chosen other books as his favorites now, he still loves to flip through this book because of its simple fun, especially on a snow day!

We recently set up a miniature version of each page spread in Spot’s Snowy Day for my son to act out with some of his toys.

First, Spot’s ready to play and heading out the door!

Pretend Play Activities for Spot's Snowy Day {}

Then Spot builds a snowman.

Pretend Play Activities for Spot's Snowy Day {}

Then Spot rides on a sled.

Pretend Play Activities for Spot's Snowy Day {}

Followed by Spot throwing snowballs.

Pretend Play Activities for Spot's Snowy Day {}

Oh, Spot’s friends have joined him to skate!

Pretend Play Activities for Spot's Snowy Day {}

Now it’s rest time by the fire.

Pretend Play Activities for Spot's Snowy Day {}

Teaching cues:

We read through the book together. Then I asked my if he could make his toy dog go through the door to play in the snow like Spot did, which he was able to do.

At each subsequent “stage,” I asked my son to do what Spot did. If he wasn’t able to, I modeled it first, then offered him the toy dog to try again. If he still couldn’t quite grasp the action, I either simplified the stage (example: had him put the third block on the snowman rather than build the whole snowman) or hand-over-hand guided him and the toy dog through the action.

A few times I asked my son, “What’s next?” to see if he could flip the page on his own initiative and then go through the action on his own. Try this with your own child/student/library patron!

We really enjoyed this activity and went through the book together twice!

Another modification: You can turn this into a larger-scale pretend play activity by setting up “stages” with objects your child can go through on his or her own and pretend that he/she is actually Spot!

For a pre-writer: You can read through the story together, then ask your preschooler to draw each picture/scene in a small mini-book of his or her own!

What books are your family’s favorites to enjoy pretend play?

About Caroline Flory

Caroline is a wife, homeschooling momma to two undeserved blessings (one of whom has special needs), writer, picture book fanatic, decaf coffee drinker, former public school teacher, and major library advocate. In addition to writing posts on special needs here at The Library Adventure, she blogs about family, faith, and books at Under God’s Mighty Hand. (including free printables!), contributes monthly to a couple of other sites, and loves to connect on Twitter.


  1. This is wonderful! Pretend play is very valuable for young children and this is a great example of how to use a favorite book in the process. I will be sharing this with our readers for sure!


  1. […] visit The Library Adventure today! I’m sharing some pretend play ideas we incorporated with Spot’s Snowy Day by Eric […]

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