Friday, January 20, 2012

Snow, Glorious, Snow

Probably not too popular saying that right now, but snow is glorious! I will never get tired of it falling gently from the sky. Driving and climbing through drifts, yes, that gets old, but watching it descend and build hills, slopes, and lumps where mysterious items are hidden - never.

It's snowing again! Third snow day in a row, unheard of for this girl. But joyful news none-the-less. As I was considering snow and things to do with kids...

About snow, what do I know? Six-sided crystal shapes, cold, clear ice when viewed close up, theoretically no two alike (although recent news suggests otherwise), heavy, dry, soft, powdered, wet, messy,...

Things to do in/about the snow with kids (other than the obvious of sledding, skiing, etc.):

1. Make glitter snowflakes: Use white school glue to draw trails and snowflake shapes on pieces of wax paper. Cover thickly with glitter. Let dry several days. Peel carefully off of wax paper. Display.

2. Dance like snowflakes. Give kids silk scarves, gloves/mittens, and hats. After they put on mittens and hats, let them hold a silk scarf or two and dance around the room like a snowflake. Sing (to the tune of "Are You Sleeping?"):
Dance like snowflakes, dance like snowflakes,
In the air, in the air.
Whirling, twirling snowflakes, whirling, twirling snowflakes,
Here and there. Here and there.

3. Build a snowman outside. Come inside and build a snowman with uncolored play dough. Give kids fabric and craft scraps to make accessories for the snowmen. Include glitter in the play dough to give sparkles. Let dry.

My favorite play dough recipe: 3 cups flour, 1 cup salt, 2 T. oil, 1 T. alum; Mix well. Add 3 cups boiling water (I include food coloring in water if I am using it). Add glitter to flour mix before adding water. Stir with a wooden spoon. As soon as possible, use spatula to scoop out onto counter. Knead as it cools, the sooner the better. Your hands will get hot, but the alum needs to be mixed in. Cool. Knead some more. When it is only slightly warm, put in a covered plastic tub (not zip bag). Leave vented lid until all the way cool. Keeps for a few weeks. - I love this stuff! Easy to accessorize to themes. :)

4. Make a snowman with two sizes of cheap paper plates - big and small. Punch holes and sew around the edges of both plates (for 2 plate snowmen). Tie together. Use markers, buttons, paper scraps, fabric scraps, and glue to make face and clothes. Dry and display somewhere fun. (If you have a child writer, let him or her write a story and name the snowmen.)

5. Explore ice. Freeze cardboard milk cartons filled with water. Peel off paper, put ice chunks in a plastic tub, and give kids plastic pipettes and a cup of water (I sometimes used colored water for more fun). Let them squirt away until they riddle the ice with holes. Lots of fun time here, which equals free time for mom or teacher!

6. Paint or draw snow scenes. Use black or dark blue construction paper and white colored pencils, crayons, or chalk. Look out windows and then create snow and winter scenes with the white writing tools. OR do the reverse and let your child draw with white on white colored paper and paint over the top with blue watercolor paint.

7. Experiment. Make a few snowballs. Put them in different places in and around the house (or school). Predict which one will melt first, which will last longest. Collect data on a clipboard with paper and pencil. Predict first, check real results, then compare what happened in reality. Be sure to use a timer to see how long the melting takes!

8. Snow painting. Fill spray bottles with colored water. Spray away and make rainbow designs in the snow.

9. Build a snowcastle! Use those beach sandcastle toys and empty plastic containers to build snowcastles. Help pack the snow in and unmold the shapes to create the buildings. Water in a spray bottle may help powder snow to stick.

10. Photo hunt. Use digital cameras to scout the neighborhood for unusual, tricky, weird, cool, or beautiful snowy sights. Load them up onto the computer and have a winter slide show! Vote to see which is the favorite scene. Add music to make a fun winter video.

11. Hit the library, either the real one or the virtual one. Check out books about winter - snow, seasons, weather, animals, sports, activities...Great to curl up and get warm reading after playing out in the cold stuff. A few favorite: The Mitten, A Snowy Day, and The Biggest, Best, Snowman.

12. If the white stuff is falling, put on those dark, solid colored winter clothes and go outside for a snowflake catch. Have photographer ready to capture close-ups of snowflake crystals. Or use black construction paper to catch (and not melt) snowflakes. Amazing!

13. Have an indoor snowball fight! Crumple pieces of scrap paper into snowballs. Let 'er fly! (A caution to those rooms who host breakables...)

14. Favorite winter movie? Grab some popcorn, hot cocoa, and pop in the movie. Watch to your hearts' delight.

15. Chronicle your snow escapades with digital photos. Visit an online site (like and create a winter snow book featuring your kids and you. It will be a hit!

Gotta love snow!

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