What do you see when you look out your window and see nothing but fresh-fallen snow? We see a blank canvas – endless possibilities for play and creativity. Here are 5 ideas to help you have fun and unleash your creativity when you’re hunkered down together for a snow day.
In Sweden, there’s a winter tradition of building outdoor “snowball lanterns,” known as snölykta. Simply build a ring of snowballs on the ground, then layer a few more snowballs on top of them, creating an open-topped cone. Place an outdoor lantern inside the structure, and add a few snowballs on top to close it up; the light bounces off the snow and escapes through the spaces between the snowballs, creating a magical glowing lantern.
For a classic outdoor project, it’s hard to beat the three-tiered snow person with stick arms and a carrot nose. Add a pair of feet, button eyes, sunglasses or ski goggles and a scarf, then dress them in the finest outerwear (until you need it back). If snow people are too commonplace for you, get a snow mold and create an army of yetis or dragons.
Add a few drops of food coloring to a squeeze bottle or spray bottle filled with water to paint your creations with bright colors.
Just because there’s snow on the ground doesn’t mean you can’t play your favorite backyard games – or even start playing some new ones. Place a few cups (or dig a few holes) in a snow bank and try to toss snowballs into them, for a fun take on skee-ball or bocce. Or, spray water on a flattened stretch of snow to create a smooth “lane” for snow bowling.
Homemade treats are some of the best crafts, because you get to satisfy your sweet tooth along with your creativity. Maple taffy is something that you can make in clean, fresh snow in your backyard. To start, boil 2 cups maple syrup on the stove to about 235°F. Once the syrup is heated, take it outside (carefully!) and pour it in lines on the clean snow. While it’s cooling, press a popsicle stick or fork into the syrup and roll it up to create a sweet maple-pop!
When snow covers the ground and the trees are bare, natural food sources can be hard for our feathered friends to come by – why not help them out with a homemade bird feeder? There are plenty of ways to go about making a feeder, depending on what you have available. Consider attaching cans or bottles from your recycling to plates or trays; or, for a simple feeder, hang a ball of suet in a mesh bag.
Once your feeders are outside, stay engaged by watching them and keeping a log of the birds that visit. Cardinals, woodpeckers, chickadees and sparrows are common winter birds.