Winter is a tough season – especially if you live in a climate that goes sub-zero. Usually this means layers upon layers of outerwear as well as heaps of snow. While keeping a matching pair of mittens may be a lost cause in most homes, winter can have its own kind of fun.
In my neighbourhood, it is rare to see any kids outside after school. The hibernation period begins. But, as much as we are tempted to curl up in front of the TV and turn into vegetables, we need to try and be active and brave the cold. Here are some fun things you can do with the kiddies while embracing winter.
1. Make snow angels
Bundle up, slap on the ski jacket and snow pants – now jump into a fresh patch of snow and make your best snow angel. Arms and legs going. This is fun to do with kids at any age. This is a fun thing to do even without the kids, you just may have forgotten to try while you were busy being a grown-up.
2. Turn snow (clean snow) into toffee
Heat up some maple syrup in a medium saucepan for about 5 minutes (on medium). Pour into a measuring cup. Bring some popsicle sticks with you.
First rule – avoid dirty snow and ESPECIALLY, avoid the yellow snow, but after seeking out a nice, sparkling piece of fresh white snow, let your kids pour some maple syrup on top of the snow and watch it turn it into Toffee. Let them gather the toffee on the popsicle sticks and Enjoy!
3. Go tobogganing or snow tubing
There are so many different toboggans and sleds out in the market. Do your research but basically kids – even the little ones can thrill in swooshing down a hill at full speed. Always a good idea for the kids to wear a helmet. It’s great exercise and great fun!
Suggestion a) Make sure to have a cord tied to sleds, GT Racers, Krazy Karpets and snow discs, it makes it easier to pull them back up the hill.
Suggestion b) A little bit of wax, teflon or non-stick cooking spray will really up your speed.
4. Make snow glass
Take advantage of the fact that the whole world is your freezer. There are so many fun things you can do with this open-air ice box. Fill balloons full of water – get fancy and add food colouring! You can make a variety of different sizes. If you hang them out overnight to freeze they’ll form perfect globlets and oblongs, if you set them on the ground they’ll be rounder but have a flat spot on the bottom. When frozen just peel off the balloon. They make great yard decorations and simply mesmerize the kids. Keep adding to them over the winter.
Instead of balloons, use milk and juice containers and tetra-packs to hold the coloured liquid to freeze, and then dump out a perfect rectangle. Collect enough of them and you’ll be able to make a magical multi-coloured fort out of the colourful ice bricks.
5. Snow ice cream
Kids LOOOOOOVE to eat snow, and snow ice cream is fast, yummy and abundant. Best consumed on a sunny day, or inside with a cup of cocoa, it requires few ingredients and lots of giggles. In a glass or metal bowl mix a cup of milk (you can use cream or condensed milk for a more rich, decadent alternative), a quarter cup or so of white sugar, a teaspoon of salt and a few drops of vanilla. Once you’ve whisked milk, vanilla and salt together, dump in 8 cups of snow and keep mixing. If it’s runny add more snow until it’s thick and fluffy. Set in the cold for a few minutes (in the snow or your freezer) to allow it to set and dig in!
Suggestions: For chocolate use a quarter cup of cocoa powder. For fruit flavours use a quarter cup of jam. Once it sets add it bits of texture, like coconut shreds, fruit chunks, nuts, sprinkles or bits of cookie.
If you want to keep it simple, gather clean snow in individual bowls for each kid. Grab a pack of Kool-aid, sprinkle it on and call it a snowcone!
Winter never tasted so good!
*****edited to add: and then there’s this LOL: