Family Fun in the Snow
By Laurie Ridgel
Winter has arrived, and
while the colder weather tends to keep us
inside more, hours of fun await outdoors with nature's own toy:
snow! Here's a list of activities to try with your family. They
may spark even more creative ideas of your own. Tell us about
your snow fun in the Family
Any quantity of snowfall:
- Catch a snowflake on a cold piece of aluminum foil and admire
it with a magnifying glass.
- Catch a snowflake on a piece of construction paper and let
melt. How big is the spot it makes? Trace the shape with a pen
- Have a family competition to see who can catch the largest
- Watch how the snow falls and swirls. Can you find what's
causing the movement?*
- Make your own snow gauge and calculate snowfall-per-hour.**
One to four inches of snow:
- Make a stockpile of snowballs and stack them in strategic piles
around the yard in preparation for a snowball fight! You might
want to stick one in your freezer, to remind you of your winter
fun when it's hot next summer.
- Take a stick for a
marker and explore. Where is the snow
deepest? Can you determine why?
Five to twelve inches:
- Get out the snow shovels and make your own maze through the
yard. You can stomp through the snow in your boots to make your
paths, if you prefer.
- Clean off your driveway or sidewalk and plan the snow fort
you'll build with it.
- Take the shovels to a neighbor's house and quietly clean off
their driveway or sidewalk as a surprise.
- Make snow bricks for a snow fort. You can use a plastic bucket
or bowl or a shoe box lined with aluminum foil. Pack the snow
into the form tightly, then turn it upside down and tap gently.
(If it doesn't come right out, use it for snowballs instead.)
- Try your hand at an igloo! Can you figure out how to make a
- Make a snow hedge.
- IF you are wearing snow clothes, lie down and make a snow
angel. Try other shapes; snow gingerbread people? What else can
you think of?
- Make a snow sculpture! Don't limit yourself to snowmen; try
dragon or a car, or anything!
More than one foot:
- Try making homemade snow shoes. Be creative!
- Help neighbors shovel their sidewalks and driveways.
- Make a large pot of hot cocoa and stir up a spontaneous
neighborhood snow festival. A kettle-type barbecue in the center
of the yard can be a warm invitation for the neighbors to join
the fun in your yard!
* Watching snow swirls:
Snow is very light weight and will follow even the most subtle
air currents. You can sometimes find updrafts near the corners
buildings and swirls around tree trunks. Is the air current
causing the swirl strong enough for you to feel?
** Making a snow gauge:
Using a permanent marker, make rings around a wooden dowel one
inch apart. (Leave about two inches below your zero mark so the
stick can be pushed into the ground.) Number every six inches.
Shove your snow gauge into the lawn up to the zero mark. Place
the gauge away from the house. (If you don't have a dowel, use
fairly straight stick from your yard, a yard or meter stick,
broom handle, an old ski pole, or any other straight, thin object
you have handy.)
To calculate snowfall
per hour, note the current measure on your
gauge. Return in an hour and note the difference. Return an hour
later to see if the rate of snowfall has remained the same.
Besides writing, Laurie Ridgel enjoys being a teacher, a mom,
a little kid at heart. Laurie lives in the California Sierras
with her family and pets and is always finding new adventures
with each new snow season.
Kidz N Snow provides information
on all aspects of fun in the snow!
SnowCrystals.com -- "Cool" ideas
and information from CalTech
professor Kenneth Libbrecht
Federal Emergency Management
Agency(FEMA) site for kids about winter weather
Build a snow shelter from DragonflyTV and PBS
From Disney, ideas
for a snow-day party!
Visit Busy Cooking for snow ice cream and sugar-on-snow recipes.
travel: Read and listen to a story,
take a quiz, try some games or activities