Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way. Oh what fun it is to… join United Inner City Services (UICS) friends, families, and staff for a virtual holiday gathering!

That’s exactly what students, families, and employees did on December 18, 2020 to celebrate UICS’ annual Snow Much Fun event from the safety of their own home and comfort of their own couch via Zoom!

Snow Much Fun is typically held in-person at our UICS center locations before the holiday break. Families and students are invited for an evening of arts activities, musical performances, and food with their teachers and peers. However, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, things looked a little different this year.

UICS’ little learners and their families joined UICS Art Coordinators Ms. Bri and Ms. Julia for an evening of music, storytelling, and art to celebrate the holiday season. Each UICS student received jingle bells to participate in the interactive songs and stories, as well as an age-specific art kit to bring some holiday cheer!

Art kits included three developmentally appropriate and process-based art/STEM activities, specific to each age group (0-1, 1-2, 2-3, and 3-5 years old). Some of the festive projects included a decorate-your-own cardboard candy cottage (complete with non-edible/perishable supplies), candy cane scented play dough, and a snowy sensory bottle. 

Ms. Julia explained that each art kit was filled with a variety of visual and sensory activities for students to use to create and learn with their families.

Ms. Bri started the event by welcoming everyone and offering a deep breathing exercise to help everyone center and focus. Then she introduced the first performer, Ry Kincaid. Ry is a local musician and songwriter who specializes in original children’s music composition and performance. 

With his guitar and bright spirit, Mr. Ry performed “Jingle Bells”, giving the students an opportunity to shake their bells and join and jingle along with the fun holiday song.After performing a few other interactive silly songs, including “Wash Your Hands”, Mr. Ry signed off and said goodbye to our friends

Following Mr. Ry’s musical offering, two local actors engaged our students on an interactive wintry adventure. Nicole Marie Green and Darrington Clark led students through fun dramatic play, which included packing their winter backpack for an imaginary adventure through the snowy woods! 

Students bundled hot chocolate, carrots, and of course, their trusty jingle bells in their backpacks. 

Additional activities included building a snowman, meeting a few animal friends, and going ice skating! Students proudly showed Ms. Nicole and Mr. Darrington their best impressions of being a snowflake and hugging their snowmen tight! 

After reaching their destination, Ms. Nicole and Mr. Darrington led the students in a song with their jingle bells before saying goodbye.

To end the event, UICS hosted a raffle for all families participating on the call. Winners received gift cards and selections from a variety of board games to play at home! Before ending the call and saying goodbye, students, families, and staff wished each other well.

Despite the uncertainty of the world and the different celebrations we all will experience this holiday season, sharing time with the UICS community and engaging with artists from the local KC community brought lots of smiles to our screens.

If you would like to support UICS’ arts programming and events like Snow Much Fun, please check out our different Ways To Give here

Happy Holidays to you and yours from UICS!