Snowed-In? We’ve got some ideas!
BRRRRRRR! In case you haven’t looked outside lately, the temperature is rapidly dropping and the falling snow has cloaked Oregon’s evergreen forests, prairies, high desert and…ahem…yes, even the beach…with an abundant dusting of powder!
This winter wonderland is the perfect destination for an action packed “snow day”. So bundle up those kids from head to toe, pack up the picnic basket, and head outside…here are a few ideas that will surely cure your “cabin fever”
What you will need: A pile of well packed snow (courtesy of Mother Nature), warm dry clothes, warm dry boots, regular snow shovel (to cut large shapes), smaller beach shovel (for detail work), spoon (for fine details), spray bottle of water (optional).
What to do: You’re never too old to relive your childhood and play in the snow! Use the next snowfall as an excuse to get creative with your kids. Here are some ideas to get you started:
1 – Snow sculpture and ice castles are the winter equivalent of sand castles. Sand and snow can be used to produce stunning works of art. To create a snow sculpture, all you need is a pile of well packed snow, an idea, and a regular snow shovel or a small beach shovel.
To get started: Use your snow shovel to roughly block out the basic shape of your creation. Next, use the beach shovel to further refine the shapes and, finally, use the spoon or some other shaping tool to scrape out the fine details. At this point you might want to try using the spray bottle to lightly mist the surface. The mist will melt a thin layer of snow and should quickly refreeze to sheen of ice. This will make it easier for you to sculpt the finer details. The trick is not to use too much water. You want to be working with snow, not slush.
Ideas for shapes:
a- The basic snow turtle: A mound of snow with legs, head, and shell pattern — very easy to make and ideal for younger kids.
b- Snow castle: Pretend that you are at the beach and the snow is sand. More complex but still easy to make.
c- Simple geometric shapes like blocks, cubes, pyramids, and spheres
2 – Tracks: Kids love to run across a field of freshly fallen snow just to see their tracks. Put a twist on this activity by having your kids create animal tracks. Check a field guide out of the library and let them study what different animal tracks look like. Then they can use different tools (wooden spoons, spades, empty spools, or whatever you have around the house) to recreate the tracks on your lawn. They might be able to trick neighbors into thinking a deer has run across their lawn.
3 – Snowflake Catching: Snowflake catching is perfect for those gentle snowfalls with great big flakes. Don’t try it when a blizzard is blowing snow almost horizontally or your kids will run headlong into a tree with their mouths wide open. Not fun. Here’s how it works: Look up into the sky. As soon as you can decipher individual snowflakes, focus on one and follow it with your eyes as it floats down to the ground. Then catch it on your tongue. It’s fun to watch kids play this game because they look so funny staring at the sky, wandering back and forth with their tongues sticking out.
These snow activities are a springboard to the world of fun snow play. Just remember, playing in the snow is only limited by your endurance to cold. Let your imagination run free and enjoy yourself!
Safety Note: If you’re venturing far from home, AAA recommends the following list of ‘must-haves’ in case of emergencies. They include: a fully charged mobile phone; blankets or sleeping bags; a flashlight with extra batteries; first-aid kit; knife; drinking water; high-calorie non-perishable food; extra clothing; waterproof matches; sack of sand, cat litter, or traction mats; shovel; windshield scraper and brush; tool kit; tow rope; booster cables; compass and road maps; and emergency flares or reflectors.
~ Cheers and happy “snow day” – Mo
About the Author: Mo Sherifdeen
Mo is Travel Oregon's content publisher and loves to hike the forests and mountain trails of Oregon with his wife, daughter and dog. He is also known for getting lost inside a maze of books at Powell’s, sipping an IPA (or two) and seeking the best fish 'n chips along the Oregon Coast.
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