Just because it is snowing doesn't mean you have to develop cabin fever. Get out of the basement and get outdoors with your kids — making sure they are bundled up of course.
1. Ice cube scavenger hunt
Using food coloring, freeze ice cubes of one color or of several different colors. Hide cubes in the snow in a designated area and let the children try to find them.
2. Footprint tag
Play tag, stepping only in others’ footprints.
3. Light a fire in the snow
Using dry firewood and perhaps some barbecue starter, start a fire in an open area. If done in deep snow, children will be fascinated to see how the fire gradually sinks deeper and deeper. Of course if you live in a city, check with the fire marshall first!
4. Lighted snow angel
- heavy-duty flashlight with 12-volt batteries, preferably waterproof
- 10 thin wooden stakes/sticks about two feet long
- aluminum or steel window screen about two feet square
- spray bottle filled with water
Dig a hole one foot wide and one foot deep in the snow. Place lighted flashlight, face up, in hole. Lay stakes across hole and place screen on top of this. Secure screen by packing snow around edges. Roll snowballs five inches in diameter and tightly pack in ring around edge of hole. Spray with water to freeze and solidify. Repeat process using less snowballs in each round until the tower is cone-shaped. Roll larger snowball for the head. Very spectacular when dark outside.
5. Catching snowflakes
Place a black sheet of paper into a freezer until cold. Take outdoors and use a magnifying glass to view snowflakes that land on the paper.
6. Saving snowflakes
- clean microscope slide or small piece of thin Plexiglas
- clean, empty plastic container
- spray can of clear lacquer
- magnifying glass or microscope
Allow slide, container and lacquer to cool outside so snowflakes won’t melt when landing on the slide. Spray thin coat of lacquer on slide and tilt so any extra spray runs off. Allow lacquer to set for a few minutes. Catch several snowflakes on slide and then set back into container and cover with lid. Leave slide outside to harden for three to four hours. View with magnifying glass or microscope.
7. Snow insulation
Make some Jell-O following the directions on the box. Divide evenly into two plastic containers with lids. Place one on top of the snow and bury the other under the snow. Which one freezes first? Try activity again, wrapping containers with insulating materials like a scarf. Does it take longer for the Jell-O to freeze now?
8. Snowball thermometer
On a mild day, make snowballs of the same size and place them on different surfaces outside, e.g. rock, patch of grass, sidewalk, parked car. Check to see which one melts first.
9. Snow melting rate
On a mild day, place sheets of different colored paper (including a sheet of black and one of white) on the snow in full sunlight for two-three hours. Use stones to hold them down. Then observe which one sank the deepest into the snow.
10. Winter wildlife detectives
After a fresh snowfall, look for animal tracks and try to figure out which animal made the tracks.
11. Try out some of these recipes:
Snow Ice Cream
- 1 cup milk
- 1 egg, well beaten
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- clean snow
Beat egg; add milk, sugar and salt. Mix together well. Add enough snow to make it thick.
Maple Taffy on Snow
Boil pure maple syrup to 122 C or 252 F. Drizzle on well-packed snow. Make sure it is cool before licking. (It is essential that pure maple syrup be used and not any other maple-flavored syrup).
Winter won’t be here forever (thank goodness) so don't let it be the only time you do creative things with your kids. Here are 10 ways to spend time with your kids.
This article was written by: Anne FeenstraPhoto Credit: jesse orrico