30 Days of Winter Play: Part Two
Pretty much a perfect snow angel, right?
The day after I posted Part One of this series last week we had a big storm the next day. Before it started though I pushed myself to get out the door with the kids in the morning. I wanted to get the wreath shaped bird feeder (details below) that we'd made a few weeks back hung up before the weather hit.
We ended up staying outside for almost an hour until the freezing rain really got going and had a blast. We did several of the activities on the first list and I was inspired to work on Part Two that night as the storm raged outside, promising much more snowy winter fun. I was also reminded that the hardest part of getting outside is just deciding to do it (well, that and when your four year old decides she has to pee ten minutes after you get out there - even though she peed just before you got dressed).
So, without further ado, here are the next eight suggested outside activities to enjoy winter with kids. All of the suggestions are designed to be easy, require little to no prep or money...yeah, basically I'm giving you no excuse not to do it.
Who needs snowball making skills when there are real balls. One thing we realized last week when we got the bubbles out was that just because it's a "summer" toy doesn't mean you can't use it in the winter. Grab a bunch of balls and have a game of snow soccer. Make goal lines with sticks or just draw them in the snow and give'r. The added challenge of running with snowsuits on makes this kind of hilarious to watch - kind of like watching the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man play sports.
Okay, you might think I'm stretching it here with the whole "summer fun in winter" schtick but trust me on this one. Head out to your favourite beach and take a family walk along the frozen sand. This is best when it's cold but there's not too much snow (so between one of the snow-slush-melt-snow cycles). Visiting the beach in the winter is a whole other experience. Give the kids some buckets and shovels and make snow/sand castles. Plus I bet you get the place all to yourself! (Tip: Dress warm, those ocean breezes are a wee bit brisker this time of year)
You may have seen this come up on the blog this week. We prepped this activity over the holidays and then never got around to hanging it up until this week. Most of this activity is indoors but will give you a good motivator to get outside to hang it up. If you can find somewhere near a window that's the best. The little critters out in the cold will thank you!
This is really fun. Grab a piece of black paper - something fairly heavy, at least construction paper if not cardstock. Stick it in the freezer for a couple hours before you go outside to chill it, then hold it out when it's snowing and "catch" the snowflakes as they fall. Because of the dark paper you'll be able to see the snowflakes and their intricate designs, and because it's already chilled the snowflakes won't melt right away when they land. If you have a kid friendly magnifying glass this would be a great time to break that out and get up close and personal with your catches.
Ice Cube Treasure Hunt
Fill an ice cube tray with water and drop food colouring in each one - do a couple colours if your kids are old enough to understand Susie gets the red cubes, Bobby gets the blue ones. Freeze them, then someday when it's below freezing outside (someday, ha! more like every day lately!), duck outside and hide them around your yard, or go to a playground and hide them while the kids close their eyes. Then give each kid a bucket (remember those beach supplies you already got out for your beach trip?) and tell them to go find the ice cubes. Just a warning that they should wear old mitts as if they hold the ice cubes in their hands they may melt and stain their clothes and that doesn't make any parent happy.
This is almost too easy to include but surprisingly never seems to be done. Playgrounds aren't just for fair weather, friends. Head to your neighbourhood park with a shovel and make big mountains of snow at the bottom of the slide and near the swings then slide down into the pile of snow, or swing high over snow banks, and jump off (if the kids are old enough) into snow. Much giggling will ensue.
If you can walk, you can snowshoe (this coming from someone who has zero coordination skills). Many places in the HRM have adult and youth snowshoes for loan or rent so you can try them out before purchasing and you can find a list of some of them at www.hikenovascotia.com. Walking on a flat, snowy trail is the best way to start off but don’t hesitate to head off road once you get the hang of it.
Did y'all know they're open in the winter? It's true! They're open on the weekends and even offer snowshoeing (with free snowshoes to borrow if you don't have any) in case you haven't had a chance to try the previous suggestion yet. Imagine walking through the park and checking out the cute little animals frolicking in the snow - awwww.
Have you tried any of these yet? Do you have any suggestions for other kid-friendly winter activities I should include? I'd love to hear your comments!