Snow Days, Play Days
Snow Van Gogh
Fill squirt and spray bottles with water dyed with food coloring. Mark off a smooth snowy surface, and let your child go to work. When he's finished, "frame" his creation with branches or pine needles.
Store a few sheets of black construction paper in the freezer. When snow is falling, give your child a sheet and send her outside to catch some flakes. After she's filled the paper, bring it inside and study the snowflakes with a magnifying glass. Discuss the different patterns.
If you're comfortable with the cleanliness of your snow (the cleanest stuff is found just below the top layer), dish up a frosty snack. Mix two tablespoons of milk, 1/4 cup of sugar, and one teaspoon of vanilla with three cups of clean, fresh snow. Top this "ice cream" with whipped cream, syrup, and shredded coconut for the ultimate sundae.
When the forecast says snow, tape a ruler to the inside of an empty coffee can or plastic container and set it outside in an open space. Measure the level in the can after each snowfall, and empty it when the snow melts. Create a chart with your child to track total snowfall throughout the season.
To make a good angel, use two people — one to create the shape by moving her arms on the ground and one to hoist her up without disturbing the design. Customize your angel by filling in the outline with natural materials, such as twigs, leaves, shells, gravel, or pine cones.
Scout out the tracks in snow outside. Can your child figure out who — or what — made the marks? Who in your family has the biggest feet? The most interesting soles? What kinds of animals live in your backyard?
If you've got an abundance of snow, go beyond making a simple snowman. How about a fort or castle? A sculpture? Snow furniture? The key to is to use slightly wet snow and pack it into dense shapes. Be sure to create thick bases to support higher levels and to use a shovel to pack shapes or snowballs firmly. Create icy blocks with assorted plastic containers, and use sand toys and kitchen implements as snow-design tools.