Monday, December 6, 2010

Snow Days

Let it snow!  Let it snow!  Let it snow!!!
       This is the first post for my Christmas Break Survival Kit. Over the next few weeks I will be posting ideas for fun things to keep everyone entertained during the Christmas Break and hopefully make some wonderful memories for your family while you are at it.  If you have ideas that you would like to share, please e-mail them to me at  I will include as many as I can.    
       Go sledding or snow tubing.  Don't have a sled or snow tube?  Make one!  Check out this link to learn how to make a sled out of cardboard.  (My husband, who has done this, recommends using waxed cardboard because once the cardboard gets wet, it doesn't work as well.)  Also, many ski resorts have tubing hills where they provide you with the tube and usually have some sort of lift to get you up the hill, but they can be pricey so ask if they offer discounts on certain days, have group discounts (invite all your friends) or coupons.  Try making a sledding hill in your yard.  Pile and pack a hill of snow to sled down.  It doesn't have to be big to be fun.
       Build a snowman.  Don't forget the accessories.  Use old halloween costumes (Snow Superman is currently in my front yard) or go through your closets and dress your snowman in something that you are no longer using.  Carrots and coal are traditions, but who said you have to use them.  Your kitchen is filled with wonderful accessories that can be made into some fantastic creations. 
        Have a snow sculpting contest.  This is a great way to get your kids creativity going. Think of the snow as your clay and it can become anything.  Want to add a little color?  Try adding some food coloring to cold water in a spray bottle.  Be careful not to over do it or your creation will melt.  Or, try dabbing concentrated food coloring directly on your snow creation with a paint brush.
 ***Be sure you have the right kind of snow.  You will need the sticky snow.  The kind that crunches under your feet.  Powder is great for skiing, but doesn't build hold together well and slush is just a wet mess. 
       Got Powder?  Try making a tradition snow angel.  OR...get creative.  Lay on your side and make a profile.  Position yourself in a jumping or running position.  Try making a snowflake by sitting in the snow and then "stamping" the snow with your arms and legs.  Make patterns.  Kneel and create a pattern around you with you mittens.  Try using other household items, a rake, a broom, a tennis racket, balls, cookie cutters, anything!
       Have an ice cube scavenger hunt.   Freeze colored water in ice cube trays then hide them in the snow.  Have your kids go out and find them. 
      Play Footprint Tag.  The rules are the same as regular tag except that you can only step in others footprints in the snow. 
       Build a fort or snow castle.  Do you have a bucket of beach toys?  Take them out in the snow.  We use things like trick-or-treat buckets, loaf pans, cardboard tubes, cake pans, ice cube trays, cereal and mixing bowls to create neat shapes.
       Do you have a future scientist in the family?  Here are a few experiements they are sure to love:
       Try Catching snowflakes by 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.
       Saving snowflakes is fun to do and easier than you may think.  You will need:  a clean microscope slide or small piece of thin Plexiglas, a spray can of clear of lacquer, a container with a  lid, and a magnifying glass or microscope.  Allow the slide, container and lacquer to cool outside so the snowflakes won't melt when they land on the slide.  Spray a very thin coat of lacquer on the slide and tilt it so any extra spray runs off. Allow lacquer to set for a few minutes. You can catch several snowflakes on each slide, spray them and then place them in the container and cover with lid. Leave slide outside to harden for three to four hours. After they have hardened, you can view your snowflakes with a magnifying glass or microscope.
       Snow insulation:  Make some Jell-O following the directions on the box. Divide the prepared Jell-O 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 the activity again, wrapping containers with insulating materials like a scarf. Does it take longer for the Jell-O to freeze now?
       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.
       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.
Here are a few more:
*Balance an icicle on your nose.  (cold, but possible)
*Go ice scating.
*Write in the snow with an icicle.
*Have a snowball fight.  (My husband and I had an impromptu snowball fight a few days ago and ended up in a heap in the snow laughing.  What a wonderful memory.)
 Don't forget to catch a few snowflakes while you are out there.  It isn't just for kids! 

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