As kids all over Columbus are crossing their little fingers in hopes that tomorrow will be a snow day, many parents may be wondering what to do to keep their children entertained all day long. Fortunately, snowy days offer plenty of fun besides the usual sledding and snowman-building. Here are a few ideas to keep your little ones occupied till the sun goes down.
Dig out the sand box toys: Sand molds and buckets are staples for the perfect sand castle, but they can also make great snow castles. Use shovels to dig out roads. Bath tub boats can become sleds for your icy kingdom. If the weather is consistently cold, these play creations can last for a week or more.
Build an igloo: If the snow is deep enough and packs well, pile shovels full in one place. Pack it down and keep adding until you have a mound at least waist high to an adult. Show your kids how to hollow out the mound to make an igloo. This is great for kids with lots of energy!
Decorate the snow with color: Give your kids spray bottles filled with water and a couple drops of food coloring. Send them out to decorate the snow fort or the front yard.
Build an ice sculpture: Fill plastic containers with water and set outside to freeze overnight. Yogurt cups, popsicle molds, margarine tubs, large serving bowls, and any silicone cookware works great. Add a few drops of food coloring in different colors to some or all of the containers. The key is getting a variety of sizes and shapes. The next day, empty the ice chunks from their containers (you might need to run a little warm water over the bottom). While wearing mittens, show the kids how to use a sprinkling of table salt to melt surfaces of the ice shapes and stick them together. For indoor ice sculptures use small containers and build in a dishpan placed on a beach towel on the kitchen floor. Young toddlers love this indoor version!
Make Snow Ice Cream: You'll need a large mixing of fresh snow, 1 or 2 cups of whole or evaporated milk,1 or 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, and 1/2 to 1 cup of sugar. Bring the mixing bowl of fresh snow in to the kitchen. Quickly stir in enough milk to get the consistency of ice cream, starting with a little and adding more until creamy. Don't worry if you accidentally add too much. Just go scoop up some more snow! When you get the consistency you want, stir in the vanilla and sugar. Have fun trying different flavors like maple extract, peppermint, or root-beer.
Make Snow Candy: You'll need a large mixing bowl of fresh snow, real maple syrup, and sugar. In a medium saucepan, mix 1 cup of real maple syrup and 1/2 of sugar. Heat until boiling and all the sugar has dissolved. With a ladle or measuring cup, drizzle the maple sugar mixture into the mixing bowl of snow. The syrup mixture will solidify into a warm chewy candy. You may need to experiment with the maple syrup-to- sugar ratio depending on the brand of syrup you use. Do not use regular pancake or waffle syrup (i.e. Log Cabin or Aunt Jemima) because it won't have the same consistency as real maple syrup.
With these snow day activities, you and your family are sure to make wonderful winter memories that will last a lifetime!