KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Whether it's the first snow day of the season or a break from a significant winter storm that turned the lawn into a snowfield, children (and adults) get excited.
Memories of playing in the snow can last a lifetime. After a good snowfall, backyards can transform into completely different worlds bringing imaginative play and creativity to the forefront.
But the fun can extend past the snowball fights and forts.
"Playing outside together is a time to reconnect away from screens and all the pressing responsibilities of being in your house. Plus, everyone just feels more alive when they are in fresh air," said Sarah McGinnity, owner of the Kansas City Mom Collective, an online group of moms providing resources and techniques for parents.
McGinnity said playing in the snow is even better because it's not something kids get to do every day, so it feels new and fun each time.
"There's nothing like waking up to a fresh coat of snow. And nothing like coming inside to frantically make hot chocolate to warm up," McGinnity said.
With the help from a group of mothers at Kansas City Mom Collective, FOX Weather has compiled a list of playful snow ideas for the young and old.
Matthew Eastman, 15, sleds off a jump he built at the end of his driveway after Mondays winter stormed blanketed the San Bernardino Mountains on December 28, 2021 in Forest Falls, California. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
1. Up the fun in sledding
It’s all downhill from here, kids. While sledding seems necessary on a snow day, elevate your game with a few cool additions.
FOX Weather producer and meteorologist Marissa Lautenbacher remembers sledding as a kid in central Pennsylvania.
"We went sledding in a retention pond in the middle of my neighborhood. Everyone called it "The Big Hill,’" Lautenbacher said. "We would race each other down the hill and see how far we could make it up the other side of the bowl-shaped slope."
Don’t have a sled? Lautenbacher said she used trash bags in college to penguin-slide down any hill. You could even try using an old shower curtain or inflatable baby pool.
2. Paint snow
It’s a craft project of which even Bob Ross would approve.
Using spray bottles filled with water, add food coloring or watercolors, and there will surely be excitement as your kids create their one-of-a-kind masterpiece in the snow.
TV painting instructor and artist Bob Ross jubilantly holds up a paint palette and brushes as he stands in front of a wall covered with his landscape paintings in his studio. (Acey Harper / Getty Images)
3. On your mark, get set, go!
Who says it’s too cold for an old fashion field day? Each kid participating will need a large bucket. Set a time limit of five minutes or more and allow them to use their glove-covered hands to collect snow in their bucket. Whoever has the most when time runs out is the winner.
4. Freezing bubbles
The temperatures have to be below freezing, and preferably no wind, for this to happen.
Here is how you can make your own frozen bubbles:
- Get a bowl and spoon and fill the bowl with 1/4 cup of warm water.
- Take 2.5 tablespoons of corn syrup and 2.5 tablespoons of dish soap and mix the ingredients into the water bowl.
- Dip a large straw into the solution, then gently blow a bubble onto a cold surface such as a freezing table or pile of snow.
- Wait. The bubble should begin to freeze right in front of your eyes, making intricate frozen patterns as it does so.
You can even use a battery-powered bubble blower for even more fun and laughter.
5. Snow scavenger hunt
Start with a simple checklist and allow your kids to explore the neighborhood looking for items like a snowman, shovel or pine cone. Get creative and let other kids in the subdivision join in on the fun.
Useful tip: You can make separate lists -- longer for older kids and smaller for younger ones.
6. ‘Do you wanna build a snowman?’
Two children making a snowman complete with 'hair' in Finsbury Park, London circa 1935. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Turn a traditional winter activity into something Elsa would say is magical.
Start off with a snowman-base shape and then set everything out for the eyes, nose and buttons. Here's where the fun happens! Take turns decorating it blindfolded, similar to Pin the Tail on the Donkey.
There is even the perfect snowman calculator that uses math and science rules to help you design the snowman of your dreams. This online tool will actually compute how big of a Frosty you can make depending on how much snow fell and how big is your yard.
Omni's snowman calculator will even compute your creation's lifetime under the constant air temperature.
But if you don't like getting out in the cold, there are some excellent alternatives for indoor fun, too.
7. Bring the fun inside
While it might sound like a colossal mess, many moms will disagree.
You can re-purpose a summer kiddy pool or a large Tupperware tote and place it outside to collect the snow as it comes down.
Once full, bring it in and put it on some towels with a waterproof layer like a tarp or vinyl tablecloth. Allow your kids to use kitchen utensils or sand toys to let their imagination run wild. You will be surprised to learn that it takes longer to melt than you think. When it starts to get slushy, dump it back outside.
Bonus: Scream for snow ice cream
And just when you thought the fun is winding down, break out the spoons for this tasty treat.
I scream. You scream. Who doesn't love ice cream? Make your own using these simple ingredients in your pantry along with some good clean snow
Here's what you will need:
- 1 cup milk.
- 1/2 cup sugar.
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
Directions: Mix ingredients, and then pour over a large bowl of snow (about 7-9 cups). Stir and serve immediately.
Be sure to capture all these memories on your phone and tag FOX Weather on social media with your pictures or use #FOXWeather.