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SNOW DAY ACTIVITIES

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By Kimara - Posted on 29 January 2008

            Last week I sung the praises of Snow Days. And although “doin’ nuttin” can be great fun, if you’re looking for some suggestions to “while away the hours, cuz you can’t converse with flowers” here’s a few. Have fun!

 

Outside Activities:

            So, it’s a snow day, and as the name implies, you probably woke up in the morning to abundant snow accumulation. Unless you’re in the middle of a blizzard and fear losing sight of the house, wrap up warm, and get outside and enjoy nature’s frosting!

 

1.      I would be remiss if I didn’t suggest the traditional snow activities like snowball fights, sledding, and building the ubiquitous snowman. Mundane, perhaps, but there’s a reason these activities have remained staples over the years…they’re great fun! For something a little different, try dressing your snowman in different attire. If you’re craving the summer, how’s ‘bout a straw hat, lei, and Hawaiian shirt? Or, instead of a snow man, what about a snow lady, a snow dog, a snow sheep, or get silly and create a snow alien?

 

2.      Trouble getting the little ones dressed to go outside? Try playing “The Hokey Pokey” while getting dressed. (i.e. While putting on snow pants, “Put your right leg in, take your right leg out, put your right leg in, and shake it all about…”) Continue with the left leg and the rest of their outdoor gear. Sure, it might take a little longer, but heck, it’s a snow day. What’s the rush?

 

3.      Play “Follow the Leader”. One person sets out and makes tracks in the virgin snow. Everyone else must try to stay in the same steps. Mix up “baby steps” with “giant steps”. Throw in a few jumps, and for those not faint of heart, roll or tumble. Take turns being leader.

 

4.      Ok, as a female, I must admit I’m jealous of the ability of males to “write their name” in the snow. I’ve personally never seen it done, but I’ve yet to speak to a man who hasn’t claimed to have done it…at least once. As an alternative…make a gallon of Kool-Aid, without sugar, or tint water with food coloring, then pour into a squirt bottle, and head out-of-doors to practice your penmanship! A variation is to make several different colors, pour into spray bottles, and go outside and decorate a snow mound! Try not to get carried away or your yard will look like a scene out of Dr. Seuss!

 

5.      This activity takes a bit of fore thought, but well worth it to add a bit of magic to any snow day. Save the white plastic containers frosting comes in. Collect small “dollar store” toys that can fit into the containers. Using permanent markers, have children decorate the outside of the containers. (If you have more than one child, have them decorate a container for a sibling.) Make sure to include the recipient’s name on the outside of the container. The children pick a gift to tuck in the container. Taking turns, play pirate, and go outside and bury your “treasure” in the snow. (Eye patches and pirate hats would add to the fun!) Then, when they are near forgotten, and the inevitable spring thaw comes, the children can look forward to hunting for buried treasures in the defrosting yard! Nice consolation gift for saying goodbye to the snow! 

 

Inside Activities:

            Okay, you’ve stayed outside so long you’re experiencing snow blindness, or the unthinkable, the weather is too unfriendly to get outside in the first place, and you find yourself indoors. There are always the “tried and trues” like watching an old movie, staying in your pajamas all day, doing a super gigantic jigsaw puzzle or curling up with a good book. If you’re looking for something a little more energized, try one of the following activities.

 

1.      If you’re stuck indoors, there’s no reason not to create some of the winter beauty indoors. Make some paper snowflakes and hang them up around the house. Remember, snowflakes have six sides, not eight, so if you’re shooting for a bit of “realism”, fold your paper in sixths, not eighths! Try these websites for some great suggestions. The first shows you how to make a standard snow flake…great for kids who can handle scissors. The second site is for older kids and adults, and gives great instructions for making beautiful 3-D snowflakes!

 

             http://highhopes.com/snowflakes.html

             http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-3D-Paper-Snowflake

 

2.      If you haven’t done so already, read The Little House on the Prairie series, by Laura Ingalls Wilder, which gives a wonderful child’s perceptive of growing up in a family experiencing the westward expansion. I didn’t read these books as a child, but spent many delightful days reading them out loud with my daughter when she was in second grade. The Long Winter and The Little House in the Big Woods are especially appropriate books to read in the winter. In one of the books a recipe is given for Molasses-on-Snow Candy. If you’re feeling adventures, try this recipe with your children. (The obvious warning…the cooking syrup is extremely hot…although the children can initially help assemble the ingredients, the cooking and pouring should be reserved for adults.) Excerpt from The Little House in the Big Woods:

 

Ma was busy all day long, cooking good things for Christmas.

 

One morning she boiled molasses and sugar together until they made a thick syrup, and Pa brought in two pans of clean, white snow from outdoors. Laura and Mary each had a pan, and Pa and Ma showed them how to pour the dark syrup in little streams onto the snow.

 

They made circles, and curlicues, and squiggly things, and these hardened at once and were candy. Laura and Mary might eat one piece each, but the rest was saved for Christmas Day

 

MOLASSES-ON-SNOW-CANDY

1 cup dark molasses

1 cup brown sugar

4 9-inch pie pans

                       

Fill the 4 pie pans with clean fresh snow. Leave outside until you are ready to use.            

 

Mix molasses and brown sugar in a large saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Boil (mixing frequently to prevent burning) until temperature reaches 305 degrees. Pour the mixture into a 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup and drizzle in prepared snow pans. When the candy hardens, break into pieces and enjoy!

 

3.      If you want to muck about in the kitchen but not sure you want to tackle something as grand as Molasses-On-Snow-Candy, try one of these “snowball” cookies!

 

SNOWBALL ICEBOX COOKIES

1/2 c. butter

1/2 c. milk

1 1/2 c. sugar

3 c. rolled oats

1/2 c. coconut

4 tbsp. cocoa

 

Add butter, milk and sugar together. Boil in saucepan. Remove from heat. Then add rolled oats and cocoa to the heated mixture. Form 1 1/2 inch balls and roll them in coconut. Place in refrigerator.

 

Or

 

SNOWBALL COOKIES (RUSSIAN TEACAKES)

1 c. butter

1 t. vanilla

2 1/4 c. flour

3/4 c. finely chopped nuts

1/2 c. confectioners sugar

1/4 t. salt

 

Mix butter, sugar and vanilla thoroughly. Stir flour and salt together; blend in. Mix in nuts. Chill dough.

 

Roll dough in 1 inch balls. Place on ungreased baking sheet. (Cookies do not spread) Bake 10-12 minutes in a 400 oven or until set but not brown. While still warm, roll in confectioner's sugar. Cool. Roll in sugar again.

 

4.      Spend some time on-line trying to track down old friends you’ve lost contact with. It’s amazing how many people you’ll turn up on Google.com, FaceBook.com and MySpace.com.

 

5.      Finally, no matter how wonderful your day, you may well find your “relaxing day” really wore you out. After the children have toddled off to bed, treat yourself to a nice warm cup of “Friendship Tea” or if you feel your day has warranted a decadent and yummy libation, try a steaming mug of Hot Buttered Rum!

 

FRIENDSHIP TEA

1/2 c. Instant tea

3/4 c. Presweetened citrus flavored powdered drink like Tang or Kool-Aid

1 c. Sugar

1/2 t. ground cloves

1 t. cinnamon

 

Mix and store in an airtight container. For each cup of tea mix 3 heaping teaspoons into 8 ounces of boiling water.

 

HOT BUTTERED RUM

3/4 cup Boiling Water

1/4 cup Spiced or plain rum

1/4 cup Brown Sugar

2 teaspoons butter

Nutmeg (optional)

1 Clove

1 Cinnamon stick to stir

 

Boil the water and pour it into a mug. Mix in the rum and brown sugar. Add the butter, stirring until the drink is a golden brown in color and butter is melted. Add the clove and cinnamon stick, then, if desired lightly sprinkle with nutmeg.

Hope you have a lifetime of wonderful snow days! Have something special you like to do? Please share it with us…and stay warm!

Such brilliant ideas to add up to my list of activities to do on winter days. I really like this. - Dennis Wong YOR Health

Comments about making forts reminds me of Bushia. Back when I was a kid Grandparents didn't decorate their houses with thoughts of entertaining grandchildren, (uh, times have changed...but that's a whole 'nother blog!) but that's not to say they weren't inventive when we were around. My DziaDiza (grandfather) use to save the metal end caps from rolls of biscuits, and we use to spend hours tossing them into pots and pans or we'd play "Button, button, who has the button?" which require 1 button and a set of stairs! Bushia use to throw quilts over tables and they became caves. Having an old furnace (a coal burner converted to forced air) it grunted and groan and scared the bejeebers out of us, and the sounds became bears and dinosaurs!

I will also have to tuck away the idea of the "field trip game". With my grandchildren's wild imaginations I'm sure we can go to "Infinity and Beyond"! :)

Thanks for sharing!

Okay, maybe it's because I'm a total chocolate freak, but what good is a snow day without hot chocolate? There are few things in this world more soothing than a steamy cup of hot chocolate after playing outside in the snow! In our house we call it "HaCha" because that's the way my little sister pronounced it. So, here's a raised cup of "HaCha" to everyone out there. Enjoy!

I love the colored water in spray bottles idea! The boys would love that. An indoor activity that we have been doing a lot recently is one that Kent dreamed up. For some reason, he calls it a "field trip game" (a la Magic Schoolbus) and he uses our Lego catalog to design adventures. He's the general, and tells Jack and I what we need to do. "First, Mommy, you go get the skeleton, then we have to go through this trap door, etc..." Then we proceed to run around the house pretending to do all of these things. It keeps them entertained for hours, literally. A little imagination goes a long way, and little parental intervention is required. (Although they do require my participation.) We've also been enjoying making forts with the sofa cushions and blankets.

If the weather is too awful to go outside and you're stuck inside, don't forget about building forts! As kids (and now with my own) we'd take all the extra sheets and blankets and build forts over tables, chairs, couches, etc. Then we'd have a picnic lunch in our fort, read books, play board games, whatever struck our fancy!

First, we would head out to our school and tromp around in the virgin snow, leaving our footprints everywhere. We invariably came back home and built the largest pile of snow we could shovel. We would labor for hours loading up saucers, wagons, toboggans, anything that could carry snow, and bring it into the yard. Once piled up, we would tunnel! And tunnel like moles. We would have multiple paths, crisscrossing back and forth.

It seems as if the snow pile was 12 feet high and consumed the backyard. We could get all the kids from the block in there. 16 kids, at least!

Well, that's how I remember it, anyway. The pile was probably never taller that five feet, and I don't think we ever had more that six kids in there at a time. Someone was always afraid that it would collapse and kill everyone inside, so we had to leave a lifeguard outside.

At the end of the day, we would haul a hose out and spray it down, in the hopes that it would solidify and last all winter long. Maybe there would be remnant for the next snow day to be used as a foundation. Is that more snow I see soming down??!!!

Just had to add one to the outside activities... pie tag! The first thing we always did as kids with a fresh blanket of snow was map out a large pie shape in the front yard. Walk in a large circle, then cross section wedges 3 or 4 times to make a 6 or 8 pieced pie. Whoever is IT has to start in the very center and everyone has to STAY on the paths of the pie.