Let’s face it, winter can be a drag. The cold and snow feel relentless, leaving us to wonder if we will ever see summer again… But when the wind dies down and the sun comes out, winter’s unique playground is hard to beat! If you are looking for outdoor winter fun - beyond building a snowman - take a look at some of these suggestions.
1. Go on an ice cube scavenger hunt. Mix water with food coloring of your choice and pour into ice trays. After the ice cubes are frozen, hide them in the snow in your front or backyard with just a hint of the colored ice cubes showing and see how quickly your kids can find them.
2. Create ice mosaics. You will need a round cake pan and a plastic cup. Rub the outside of the cup with Vaseline and place in the middle of the pan. Add some of nature’s colorful items: dried leaves or flower petals, pine cones, small berries, small sticks or branches, small pebbles, etc. and then add enough water to cover. Freeze overnight. Then place the bottom of the pan in hot water to loosen the edges and remove the ice from the pan and cup. Place outdoors near a window for a unique mosaic.
3. Make a snow maze. Find an open area in your yard or go to a park with fresh snow. Using your footprints, create a maze. You can either design as you go or find a maze design online and recreate it.
4. Have a family outdoor picnic. Go to a park with picnic tables available - don’t forget to bring a tablecloth! Bring along a tureen of hot soup or a crockpot of chili for the family to enjoy and create a DIY hot dog bar with all the trimmings and roast your dogs on sticks over the fire pit. For dessert, make your own snow ice cream!
5. Make snowpeople stencils. Use foam board to create stencils of shirts, sweaters, pants, skirts, hats, toques, shoes, boots, etc., plus the heads and hands. Fill water bottles with colored water and spray over the stencils to create colorful snowpeople or a snowfamily, too - including pets!
6. Freeze bubbles. When the weather drops below freezing, head outside and blow some bubbles. Try blowing the bubbles directly onto a glove or snow pile to see its beautiful patterns. Warning: Bubbles that freeze in midair might break when they land.
7. Winter shot put. Freeze colored water in small balloons overnight. The next day, make colored lines in the snow with paint and have players throw their ice ball as far as they can. You can also use the frozen colored ice balls for snow golf or snow tic-tac-toe.
8. Make a snow castle. This is just as much fun with snow as it is doing with sand, except you can’t color the sand! Pull out your sand buckets, shovels and molds to create a castle and then accent with paint, colored water or items you find outside.
9. Bring winter indoors. When the kids can’t play unsupervised, bring the snow inside to the bathtub. Let them build, create, and play with the snow while sitting on stools just outside the tub. When play is over, let the snow melt and wash down the drain.
10. Make your own slushies. Fill cups with snow, packing it down tight. Pour soda or carbonated flavored water over the snow for a quick treat. You can also make your own snow cone syrup with equal parts of water and sugar and a package of Kool-Aid mix.
11. Build a snow volcano. Fill a disposable cup with baking soda and a few drops of food coloring. Place in snow and mound the snow up around it to resemble a volcano. Do not cover the top of the cup. When ready, pour vinegar into cup and watch the show!
12. Winter mini trip. Take a weekend trip nearby to enjoy dog sledding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, ice fishing - the (winter) sky’s the limit!
Pam is a freelance writer, and mother of three. With a little creativity, she and her family can embrace winter: snow, cold, and all!
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