Last winter started disastrous: My big one (then 3) loved playing outdoors in the snow. Snow men. Snow forts. Snow ball fights. Sledding and skiing and all. My little one (then 1), on the other hand, did not want to get out at all – snow was intimidating. At the first touch of snow he started complaining, whining, and screaming.
As I did not want to spend the whole winter pushing a baby stroller with a sled in tow, I had to find ways and means… Let’s face it: Getting out and playing in the snow for more than ten minutes with toddlers aged 2 and under is often more work than fun. Don’t get discouraged; take them out anyway. The key is being creative and providing motivation.
Anyway, a red-nose, giggle-inducing fun snow day filled with loads of crisp air and physical exercise is well worth the effort. And dressed properly for winter, kids won’t want to come inside! There are some tips and tricks of gently introducing children to the snow without risking putting them off (and beyond occasional whining and tears). Make sure everyone’s dry and cosy, and start anticipating those magical first snowflakes of the season. After all, winter provides the perfect playground for kids. (Actually, snow is better than sand. Snow equals snow men, snow forts and yes…. it is allowed to throw it!)
At the end of that winter, that had started disastrous, my kids were fighting for that last snow in our backyard. This winter, my boys both love snow days. Any amount of snow is a treat and turns them into bundles of excited energy.
Here’s our top five snow games to cure cabin fever, great fun activities to do in the snow. A final note: Especially with toddlers beginning to walk, I strongly recommend bringing along something dry to sit on, such as a sled, as few things can make a snow adventure go bad as quickly as a cold and wet kid.
1. Making Snow Cakes
Use sand moulds to create cakes for a wonderful cold-weather “buffet,” , then start throwing. PLUS: They can be decorated with water colours (see No. 2)!
2. Create Snow Art
Bring some colour into the outdoor fun and let the kids unleash their inner winter wonderland artist. Give them watercolour paints and large brushes to decorate the white canvas in your backyard. Kids can add colour to snowmen, snow cakes, snow forts, snow balls, … (Please note: Use packed snow to create snow art; dry powder snow does not work).
3. Build an Igloo
Anything you can do with sand is also possible with snow. Dig out your summer buckets and spades and build an igloo. Or snow fort, whichever you prefer. Toss your kiddos outside with a shovel and have them burn up some extra energy. Little ones love building up the walls until they can kneel down and remain hidden—and decorate it.
4. Build a town
Especially toddlers will find it difficult to walk in deep snow (and will fall softly, yet cold!), so why not building a town made of snow? Clear a space in your backyard and shovel streets, roundabouts and junctions. Grab some plastic excavators and diggers to play make-believe! By the way: it’s GREAT fun to destroy your structures afterwards :-)
5. Ice Maker
If it’s below freezing outdoors, fill a bowl with water and set it outside overnight to freeze it. If you have paint (i. e. watercolour paints) you can colour the water. Next morning you will find a wonderful ice disk. It’s super easy and so cool, right? Playing with this will keep your kids busy for hours!
…do YOU have more ideas for fun in the snow?