Thursday, February 27, 2014

Snow Day Activities

All these snow days (even Mom and Dad have had them this winter!) have caused a severe case of the house-bound-crazies with all of us - but they have also provided some fun opportunities for experiments and projects and I thought I'd share some of them with you in case you need more things to keep the kids busy.

Instant Vapors
My husband read about this one online and came home on a day it was like -20 degrees outside asking me for a small pot - now this man does not cook so my first question was "a pot you can wreck?" figuring he had something in the garage he needed it for.  Nope - he heated this small pot of water to boiling and then took it outside and flung the water high in the air while the kids watched on.  Apparently this only works when the air is below 0 degrees.  Pretty cool.  But seriously, this is one of those things were you have to use common sense or it can go bad.  I was skimming online to see confirm what the air temp needed was and found all kinds of stories of people burning themselves: 1) adults only - we had the kids stand in the doorway of the garage which is to the right and I am taking the picture from the doorway behind my husband; 2) make sure the wind is not blowing or is blowing away from you; 3) toss just the water not the whole pot - but toss it away from you, pets, vehicles, the house, etc...; 4) use the smallest sauce pot you have - seriously, this one only holds like 3 cups of water total and it was plenty to make this big puff of snow/vapor but it was small enough to not be hard to handle and aim...

Ice Marbles
You may have seen these ice marbles in a previous post.  Well we tried a do-over at the cabin but I forgot that I used full-sized balloons to make these bigger marbles.  Water balloons made smaller ones - they were more like little eggs than marbles so if the snow is still here at Easter I may do them again lol!  Some took two days to freeze even though they were small because they were down in the snow a bit and it insulated them some so I recommend finding a spot where they are exposed to the air on all sides. 

Ice Decorations
This one we started with good intentions when it was very cold and then we had a couple of warm days that made them thaw so we had to toss them out before we got them hung.  The idea was to hang them on our tree in front of the house with lengths of curling ribbon like icy Christmas tree decorations (we just never made it that far).  

What we did was take small plastic drinking cups and used sprinkles (glitter would work great too), food coloring and water and mixed them in the cups.  The kids had fun with this part.  

We set them on a cookie tray on the porch and let them freeze - place a string or Popsicle stick in each one before they freeze (not when they were halfway frozen like I did...ah...the distracted mind of a mother...).  Do you like the snow drift I found when I opened the door to check on them?

When it hasn't been too cold, the kids have gotten some good sledding in - our cabin has the best sledding hill!

I loved building forts as a kid - inside and outside.  On a really nasty day, blanket forts in a corner of the house can be so much fun (and a great place to hide out to watch movies or take a nap!).  Outside, take advantage of existing structures around the yard and use nature or items from your shed/garage to create fun shelters.  

In this case, we used the play tower, our sleds and a piece of plastic from the barn to make walls.

And hey, they can still use the swings in the winter too!

Snowball Fights and Snow Angels
It might seem obvious, but sometimes its the simplest things that entertain them...

"Gingerbread" Houses
Candy seems to appear from all angles these days and since I don't let the kids have a lot of it at home, we never have a lack of "old" candy to be used for these.  

All you need is a good stiff royal icing recipe and some graham crackers or sugar cubes to build the structure with.  

Tip:  There are several big candy seasons so right before each one, I go through the cabinet and round up any leftovers from the previous holiday (like right before Christmas I will round up all the Halloween candy).  Toss it all into a clear plastic tote or a gallon Ziploc baggie and put it out of sight to be used for your next house building session.

This keeps the whole gang busy for hours.

These were a little project I had on hand for the kids to do at our New Year's Eve party but they would be fun for a birthday or July 4th too.  

All you need is Popsicle sticks or straws for the wand, curling ribbon, and foam shapes with sticker-backs.  Cut the curling ribbon at random lengths and tie around the straw or Popsicle stick.  

Place two of the foam shapes back to back with the ribbon end sandwiches between the two foam pieces.  So easy!

How are you keeping your kids busy with all these snow days?


Robyn said...


Sounds like you have a good handle on keeping cabin fever at bay. Lots of fun projects for the kids and you. I remember doing art projects on snow days with my Mom.

Keep warm!

Pia said...

Sometimes, I miss the snow when it's spring and summer. :)