When the snow flies, most of us prefer to stay inside where it’s warm. The thought of bundling the kids up from head to toe only to stay outside for a few minutes can seem to be more trouble than it is worth. If you have some fun snow activities planned, however, the kids will play and play, and maybe you’ll all enjoy the snow. For a good book, read “Lucille’s Snowsuit” by Kathryn Lasky – the troubles of getting dressed for outside play!
- Snow Turtles: (or Owls or Alligators, Etc.): Create a wintertime zoo out of snow. You can sculpt just about anything out of snow with a little creativity. Start with turtles because a round mound is less frustrating than a complicated animal (such as a porcupine).
- Tracks: Lots of kids like to run across a field of freshly fallen snow just to see their tracks. Put a twist on this activity by having your kids create animal tracks. Check a field guide out of the library and let them study what different animal tracks look like. Then they can use different tools (wooden spoons, spades, empty spools, or whatever you have around the house) to recreate the tracks on your lawn. They might be able to trick neighbors into thinking a deer has run across their lawn.
- Snowflake Catching: Snowflake catching is perfect for those gentle snowfalls with great big flakes. Don’t try it when a blizzard is blowing snow almost horizontally or your kids will run headlong into a tree with their mouths wide open. Not fun. Here’s how it works: Look up into the sky. As soon as you can decipher individual snowflakes, focus on one and follow it with your eyes as it floats down to the ground. Then catch it on your tongue. It’s fun to watch kids play this game because they look so funny staring at the sky, wandering back and forth with their tongues sticking out. Also try catching snowflakes on a piece of black or dark blue construction paper – it is amazing what you can see.
- Snow Fort: This activity is so fun and so involved that you may have to remind your kids to take a break to warm up inside before finishing. I recall staying outside until after dark on a freezing night as a child because I was so involved with my snow fort. Snow fort building is more satisfying than sand castle building because the snow holds its shape better. Use the same principles as with sand castle building. Find big containers (paint buckets are great) to fill with snow. Then empty them upside down. That’s your basic building unit. The walls can grow very tall, so remember this activity when you have a giant snowfall, the kind that keeps everyone home for the day. Snow forts can get very elaborate; kids will make tunnels from fort to fort if they don’t run out of time or snow. Use colored water in spray bottles to color your snow fort.
- Ice Jewels: Freeze colored water in many different size containers – milk cartons, pitchers, food storage containers etc. Make them very vibrant with food coloring. After the ‘jewels’ are frozen, take them out of their containers and hide in the snow. Children will spend lots of time searching for the hidden treasures. They will find/hide again and again
Hope you enjoy these great outdoor activity ideas! Bundle up and have fun!