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Snow days and nostalgia: no school, sleeping in, tromping through the snow, sledding with friends, and warming up with a mug of hot chocolate. To most kids, snow days equate to bliss. I still remember sledding the hill by my middle school, and of course the infamous Tornado Hill. My parents didn’t let me sled that one very often. It boasted some gnarly bumps that gave you some air while sledding or snowboarding, but it had also left more than one person injured. This lumpy hill overlooked the softball fields and people claim it is where they buried a lot of the debris from the night of the seven twisters. (True story. There is even a book and movie based off the events. All of this happened several years before I was born.)
But I digress. When I awoke to snow, I wanted to curl up and simply watch it drift to the ground. I find watching snow fall one of the most serene pastimes. However, my daughter soon woke up anxious to explore. And how could I say no to her adventurous heart?
After a warm breakfast, we bundled up and went out into the white world of wonder. You see, we had already been reading many of our favorite winter books like the classic, award-winning The Big Snow, the funny little board book Snow , and her all-time favorite: The Snowy Day (amazon affiliate link). Rebekah asks to read “Knowy Day” several times a day. Still. She is tickled and mesmerized by the snowy day adventures that the little boy goes on.
“A snow day literally and figuratively falls from the sky–unbidden–and seems like a thing of wonder.” – Susan Orlean
As we explored in the front and backyard, Rebekah’s spirit of adventure and exploration bloomed. She went from timid to wanting to scale the hill, peer into our “woods”, run and play, and not come inside, even when her cheeks were red and we were cold. And yes, our backyard does have the perfect hill for sledding. 🙂
Even our “desert rat” Hazel (because we adopted her in Phoenix) took to the snowy exploration, never once complaining about being wet or cold. Which is a big deal, because she pretty much detests water.
“Snow provokes responses that reach right back to childhood.” – Andy Goldsworthy
But, since snow is just that, cold, we could only stay outside for so long before we needed to come in and warm up with some hot chocolate. This is when we got crafty. Rebekah loves anything involving paint. We, of course, finger painted, because it is her favorite. (I always try and time this before her bath for obvious reasons.) She can focus on her “work of art” while finger painting longer than one would expect. It is tactile, sensory, and just plain ‘ole fun. Here is a great recipe for making your own completely safe finger paints.
I also decided to try out some snow-specific craft ideas. One we had made earlier for Christmas presents, but we did it again: snowmen handprints. You can put these on paper or make into a keepsake like an ornament. We even made some thank you cards with them on cardstock.
My favorite snow-art find is this winter bubblewrap tree. Since Rebekah is so young, I drew the tree with a marker, then wrapped a bit of bubble wrap around an empty toilet paper roll with a rubber band (definitely the way to go if doing it with a toddler!). This way she had her own stamp to dip in white paint. Then she went to town on the paper. The stamp makes it look like snowflakes falling all around the tree. We both loved it! (Idea and photo from Arty Crafty Kids.)
Also never underestimate the power of a good stash of activities: playdough, coloring books, markers and whiteboards, construction paper (great for making snowflakes with older kids), stickers, reusable sticker books, board games (great for all ages), lots and lots of good books, music, puzzles, supplies to bake cookies, paper dolls (here are two sets I hope to buy Rebekah over the next couple years: My Book of Little House Paper Dolls: The Big Woods Collection and Little Women Paper Dolls ) and dress up clothes. These things inspire creativity and imagination and can all be done indoors when the weather is too cold, wet, hot, etc.
Occasionally, it is also fun to pop some popcorn or make a favorite snack and cuddle down to watch a movie as a family. We recently watched Monsters, Inc. with Rebekah (for the record we don’t do hardly any movies or TV yet, this was a special treat). She actually sat for all of it as we cuddled close on the couch together. It is one of my favorite movies because the little girl in it reminds me so much of Rebekah.
For MANY more crafty and artsy ideas for kids, be sure to follow me on Pinterest! What are your favorite activities to do on cold, snowy days?