Thursday, December 21, 2006

Top Cold Weather Activities for Kids

By Brandi M. Seals

While cold weather and snow may illicit a groan and a few shivers out of you, chances are your child loves it. Growing up in Michigan, snow was a constant every winter. It was never a question of will it snow. Only one of when will it snow.

I remember I would get up every morning and look out the windows to see if the snow had come. I started this as soon as the temperatures cooled down. Generally the first week of December was the start of it. I considered it a birthday present, as my birthday is in the first week of December.

The first thing I wanted to do was suit up and head out to play. Breakfast did not matter. Brushing my hair and teeth could wait. The snow came first and I wanted to be the first to play in it. Of course, my mother never let me skip these steps, but I always hoped she would.

My favorite snow activities were much like any child's. I wanted to slip and slid around on the cold stuff. I wanted to eat it and lay in it. Anything involving snow peaked my interests.

Top Cold Weather Activities

4.) Make a snow angel
Snow angels are fun to make but they take no time at all so they are at the bottom of the list. To make a snow angel, simply stand in the snow and fall back flat (the goal is to have very few footprints around the angel). Once you are on your back, flap your arms and legs as if you were trying to fly. Carefully get up and jump away from the area. You will see an impression that looks like an angel.

3.) Build a snowman
Making a snowman was a favorite task of mine. It was not often that we got good packing snow (snow with a bit more moisture to it) but when we did, I would always make a snow man.

To start any snowman, make a snow ball. Then lay it on the ground and begin rolling it over fresh snow. The more you roll, the larger the ball will get. Try to avoid picking up all the snow in a given area as it will result in a dirty snowman (dirt and grass will be picked up by the snow). You want to do three of these balls in varying sizes. The largest will be the bottom of the snowman. The next largest is the center and the smallest snowball is the head.

Many children like to decorate their snowmen. You can use buttons and a carrot to form the snowman's face if you are traditional but feel free to experiment with different materials or even an entirely different look.

2.) Build a fort
I always wanted a snow fort but the snow was rarely deep enough to make a good one. I remember one year we had a bit of a blizzard and the snow was about two foot deep. It is during that year that I had my one and only snow fort.

I took a little help from my parents on this one. They plowed the area so that walls were formed by the piled up snow. I then went in and shaped the walls more to my liking and even dug benches into the area.

If you get enough snow for a fort, it can be a lot of fun to build one. Simply stack up the snow for the walls. You could do all of this by hand, with the use of a shovel or even with a plow. Keep in mind that forts take quite awhile to build but once they are up, they make for an excellent play area. The size and shape of the fort is up to you. If you want, you can even build a top to the fort, kind of like an igloo. To do so, you will probably need some cold water to mix in with the snow to make it hold onto itself better.

1.) Sledding
What kid does not love sledding? All you need is a sled and a hill and you are all set. The first ride down is not the best as you need to pack the snow down a little but every subsequent rid is a lot of fun. Zoom down the hill and see how far you go. Get a running start and dive into the sled. There are a lot of ways to vary the speed you go down the hill. Have fun finding what you like best.

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