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I was checking the weekly forecast yesterday only to happily discover snowflakes in our future. One of the reasons we moved a little further north a few years ago was because of snow.
I know you probably aren’t supposed to move because of the weather. But the truth is that we just didn’t get enough of the white stuff in Washington. With both of us having northern roots, we needed to see snow more often. And when we didn’t, we spent way too much time being jealous of everyone else who did. .
So, we moved north. Our first season here was great. I think we had snowstorms every other weekend. We built snowmen (and other animals), made maple on the snow and felt like we hit the snow jackpot.
Then came our second year here. Not so much snow. And the third year. Fourth.
It turns out that the first season was a fluke. And to think we were so excited.
So, after a snow drought over the past couple of seasons I get really excited when I see flakes. It also means that we might have a snow day.
In the “South”, snow days can be exhausting. I mean the first one is great. And the second. But by the time you have been home for five days, they become a bit endless. (Yes, we used to stay home five or more days for a small snowstorm. The record was ten for one storm.)
After all of that time home, coming up with creative snow day activities can be hard. Especially when most of the snow has melted.
But here, when schools call a snow day it is well deserved. And usually just a day. So, we like to celebrate any way we can. We put work aside and run out to play. Snowman building. Sledding. Snowball fights. Cups of hot cocoa to warm up afterwards.
In case you’ll be spending a few snow days with your kids in the coming months, check out these fun snow day activities to celebrate. They are sure to keep things interesting until you have to return to school and work.
And if snow needs a little bit more coaxing to actually make it all the way to the ground, hang our Free Printable Let It Snow banner. It’s the perfect decoration to make any room a little cozier on a snow day or all winter long – without looking too much like Christmas.
Build a Snowman (or Other Snow Creature)
No matter how much snow is on the ground, the first thing my kids think of is opportunity. And of all the snow day activities to choose from, their favorite is to build a snowman.
We roll large balls of snow, stack them tall and use nature to dress him up to look like a snowman.
After spending many seasons stealing old hats, mittens and scarves for our snowmen, I finally created a snowman building kit (affiliate). It’s a collection of snowman decorating supplies as well as an assortment of winter accessories that they’ve grown out of.
If you want to add some competition to the snow creations, have a snowman building contest. See who can build the most dapper, cute or creative snowperson around.
We are blessed to live in a neighborhood with a really good sledding hill. Every snowstorm – big or small – the kids traipse to the sledding hill and “hit” the slopes. The amount of snow doesn’t seem to matter. I have seen them sledding on wet grass and slush.
It turns out sledding on this hill has been a tradition since the neighborhood was built. I’ve met adults who grew up here and still remember sledding down that hill on snow days.
As I said. We are really lucky.
If you don’t have a sledding hill nearby, don’t worry. You can enjoy sleds without a hill. We love to pull the kids on them (great workout). Or build obstacle courses for them to enjoy. You can make small mounds of snow for bumps and other divots.
Before winter begins, find a good sled or two to keep on hand. It’s never fun to wake up on a snowy morning and discover your sled is broken.
I used to think s’mores were solely a summertime treat. Then, I roasted them in the snows of Vermont. That changed everything.
Turns out that s’mores are actually even more fun during the winter months. It’s actually cold enough to want to stand by a fire pit. And nothing tastes better when you’re freezing than melted marshmallows and chocolate squished between two graham crackers.
Don’t have a fire pit or can’t find it beneath all of the snow? You can also roast marshmallows indoors with an electric tabletop s’mores maker (affiliate). It’s quite lovely to make s’mores and watch the snow fall out the window.
Winter Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts are one of our favorite family activities no matter the season. We’ve enjoyed a neighborhood pumpkin hunt during Halloween and a Christmas lights one to celebrate the holiday season. And we love to go on a color hunt any time of the year.
So when it snows, head outdoors with this winter scavenger hunt. Sometimes it’s hard to get littles to venture outside when it’s cold. A winter scavenger hunt will add fun to your walk and keep their mind off of the weather.
You can also organize a snow day treasure hunt. Choose a prize (keep it simple – packets of hot cocoa and a bag of mini marshmallows usually works). Hide it somewhere outside (or inside if it’s still snowing). Then, give the kids clues to help them find the treasure.
Not all snow day activities need to be outdoors and in the snow. After spending a couple of hours in the cold, it’s time to warm up with some hot cocoa and coloring. I suggest coloring because it is one of the least labor intensive activities for moms. All you need is a coloring sheet and pack of crayons.
When you see snow on the horizon, print some of these free printable snow themed coloring sheets in advance. Then, you have them on hand for the kids to enjoy. Hand the kids a new pack of crayons (I buy crayons in bulk during back to school sales just for this moment). It’s a great way to enjoy some quiet art time together. And decorate the refrigerator.
Experiment with Snow
Although watching snow fall is quite pretty, there is a lot of science to explore too. Bring some snow inside and encourage kids to test and experiment with it. You can weigh it, build an igloo and see if it sinks or floats.
Another fun science experiment to try is erupting a snow volcano. You’d be amazed by the reaction you can get when you mix baking soda, white vinegar and liquid soap.
These borax crystal snowflakes are also pretty to make. I’ve always used borax when making slime, but never experimented with growing crystals. After they are finished, they make a beautiful window decoration.
Build a Fort
Although you could build a fort in the snow (affiliate), which is lots of fun, I’m thinking about a cozy fort indoors where my toes won’t freeze.
Grab some blankets and couch cushions to build an awesome indoor fort. It’s the perfect place to read or watch the snow fall. Or in our house defend from battle. You can even make s’mores over the make believe campfire (affiliate) or try ice fishing to catch dinner.
Does your fort keep falling down? It can be frustrating building forts that keep collapsing. Try this fort building kit (affiliate) to make a more solid structure.
Make a Winter Craft
Snow days are a great time to get your craft on. There are lots of snow inspired things that you can make. From this easy toilet paper roll snowman craft to these adorable wine cork stamp snowmen (they’d make great cards), you have lots of winter crafts to choose from.
Another idea is this craft stick hot cocoa mug. Add a magnet on the back and stick on the fridge to showcase your snow day memories.
You can even go edible and build these marshmallow snowmen. They don’t melt and would make a sweet afternoon snack.
Need more winter kids craft ideas? Check out our Pinterest board showcasing our favorite winter kids craft ideas.
Photo courtesy of Two Kids and a Coupon
Just like we use sidewalk chalk in the summer, get creative with your snow day activities and make colorful pictures on snow with snow paint. First mix food coloring with cold water (this will stain, so be careful), then place your snow paint in squirt bottles (affiliate). Once your paint is ready, head outside and draw pictures in the snow.
If you prefer snow painting indoors, you can make paint from snow too. Bring some snow inside and mix it with food coloring. Then, you can paint designs on watercolor paper. Such a pretty (and relaxing) art project idea.
On cold days, I love to warm the kitchen up with the oven. Since I want to turn the oven on anyway, I might as well bake.
Snow days are a great time to bake goodies with ingredients that you already have in your pantry. If I see snow in the forecast, I will try to pick up some extra chocolate chips, M and Ms or dried fruit. Otherwise, we use up the ingredients that we have.
Chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies, muffins are some of our snow day favorites. There are lots of recipes to choose from that it might be hard selecting just one.
Sugar on the Snow
One of my favorite winter activities to do in Vermont is attending the state’s annual maple sugaring weekend. We love to visit the different maple farms, sample maple syrup and help farmers gather the sap.
During this weekend, I have also learned the proper way to make sugar on the snow. Not that pouring boiling hot maple syrup on snow and watching it harden is that difficult. But there is a bit of a knack to making sure it is done properly.
When the snow is just right, making sugar on the snow has become a family tradition. You can check out how to make your own sugar on the snow here. Most importantly, don’t forget the pickles.
What’s squishy, glittery and isn’t really a liquid or a solid? You guessed it… slime! Since making slime started trending a few years ago in the kids crafting niche, the phenomenon of this funny substance hasn’t stopped.
Kids absolutely love the stuff. And it’s the perfect thing to make on a snow day. The gooey substance is a great diversion after a cold day playing in the snow.
Some of my favorite slime recipes include this 3 ingredient version without borax. Or this homemade version that uses of all things – contact lens solution.
Not sure you are brave enough to make slime? This snow cloud dough makes an adorable snowman and looks just as squishy.
One of my favorite snow day activities during winter growing up was making snowflakes. My mom would leave piles of white copy paper and pairs of scissors on the kitchen table before heading to work in the morning. Then, I spent the day we would fold the paper and cut any which way. The best part was opening the snowflake back up. The little cuts revealed such pretty designs.
It wasn’t until recently that I recognized snowflake cutting as an actual art form. It turns out that the way you snip your snowflake matters if you want the final snowflake to look a certain way. You can even snip recognizable images into the snowflakes. If you have enough patience that is.
We love cutting snowflakes on winter days together. Although copy paper works fine, our snowflakes are trimmed from coffee filters. We hang them on the windows. The light shining through the coffee filters transforms our rugs into a wintry wonderland of dancing snowflake shadows when the sun shines. And they also make it feel like it’s snowing – even if it really isn’t.
Make a Snow Angel
When faced with a blanket of fresh crisp snow, my favorite thing to do is lay down and make a snow angel. Something about flapping my arms and legs back and forth makes me feel like I can fly.
I have taught my kids the joy of making snow angels. It’s our go to activity if they announce they are bored in the snow. Especially if we still need to shovel. Encourage them to make them all over the yard. Then, you can have a choir of angels instead of just one.
A few years ago we took a winter trip to the mountains. Not sure what to do, we rented snowshoes and hit the trails. I’ve never looked back.
Snowshoeing is one of those sports that you don’t need a lot of preparation for. There is no lift ticket, ski rentals or finding a mountain. It’s just you and your snowshoes.
One of my favorite memories is when Washington, DC was blanketed with almost 36 inches of snow over a week. Every morning we would take our snowshoes over to a trail by our apartment and snowshoe. It was amazing to live in the city and be snowshoeing.
You do need a blanket of snow on the ground. And snowshoes. We invested in pairs for the family a few Christmases ago. Just like you might search for a hiking trail during the summer, we seek out snowshoe opportunities throughout the winter months.
To get started, go rent snowshoes for the day just to make sure that you like it. It’s never smart to invest in equipment before you double check that a sport is for you.
Once you fall in love with snowshoeing, keep a pair of snowshoes around for the next snow day. Then, head out the door and enjoy the best winter has to offer.
One last tip – morning snow is best. We are the family that snowshoes around our neighborhood before they even plow our streets. And have a ton of fun doing it!
Stir Up Some Hot Cocoa
After a busy day playing in the snow, nothing beats a warm cup of hot cocoa. For snow days, I make that hot cocoa extra special with an impromptu hot cocoa bar complete with all of the fixings.
Mix up some homemade hot cocoa on the stove and serve in a coffee carafe (affiliate). Serving is easier on snow days when the hot cocoa is ready to go.
Then, put out some freshly made whipped cream and other hot cocoa toppings. Some of our favorites include chocolate chips (we love stirring them into the cocoa to make it extra chocolatey), sprinkles, mini marshmallows, shaved chocolate, caramel bits, chocolate sauce and candy cane stirrers. You might even want to try some pretzel sticks dipped in chocolate to add a salty touch.
Have some kid friendly mugs on hand for easy serving. I buy these at our local thrift shop. That way I’m not too worried if they break or chip.
While the kids are outside enjoying the snow, set up the hot cocoa bar. When they come in to warm up, everything is ready to go. Also, be sure to have a little bit extra on hand. I love when we can invite some neighbors in after snow shoveling and sledding to enjoy a cup of hot cocoa on a cold day.
Write a Winter Poem
Enjoy winter by finding your inner poet. Encourage kids to spend some quiet time brainstorming ways to describe the snow and winter. Then, let them write a poem about the snow.
One easy poem idea is writing an acrostic poem where they write a phrase for each letter in “winter”. Or you can let them go more free form and use their own creative style.
Share the poems together. It’s amazing how many beautiful ways kids will find to describe snow with words.
If your kids like more competition mixed into their snow day activities, grab your favorite board games to play together. Stick with the classics such as Monopoly (it’s length can be perfect during a snowstorm), Sorry, Clue and Uno. Or try something new like Pie Face or Headbandz.
Some of our favorite family board games are cooperative games. We love to play Outfoxed (affiliate) and Sky Magic (affiliate). We also love building a roadway with Rivers, Roads and Rails (affiliate). I’ve been playing that game since I was a kid.
No matter which game you choose, it’s always fun to work together and you don’t have to worry about someone being disappointed because they lost.
Or you can grab the Wii controllers and play video games together. The friendly competition is tons of fun.
Watch a Movie
As the flakes fall, pop some popcorn and head to the family room to watch a movie together. Luckily, these days renting a new movie is easy. No more heading to the video rental store in the middle of a snowstorm.
Instead, log onto your favorite streaming service or rent directly from Amazon. Some of my favorite snow themed movies for kids include Ice Age, Happy Feet, Snow Dogs, Frozen and Cool Runnings. For more snow day inspired fun check out Jack Frost and Snow Day.
And if you are looking for reviews and guidance to help choose the right movie for your family, you can find expert feedback here.
Photo Courtesy of Julie Blanner
Make Snow Ice Cream
It might not be widely known, but not all snow day treats come in the form of hot cocoa (although, most do). Sometimes they are colder than that.
Next snow day, skim off the top snow and make snow ice cream. Mixing cream, sugar and a touch of vanilla with snow makes an amazing ice cream. Top with your favorite ice cream toppings – chocolate sauce, whipped cream and sprinkles. A delicious treat after the storm.
Host a Fashion Show
If your kids like to play dress up, this is the snow day activity for them. Organize a fashion show. Have them dress up and walk the “run way” (usually the entrance to our living room). It’s fun to create outfits and show them off.
Not enough dress up clothes? If you have fancy clothes from the holidays that your kids have slightly outgrown, these can also make fun dress up outfits. For some reason, we love wearing them when it isn’t the holiday season and they don’t get enough use anyway.
Family Read Aloud
Snowy days are also an excuse to snuggle up with a good book as a family. One of my favorite snow day activities is grabbing a classic from the shelf and sharing it together. Some favorite winter reads we have shared together include Little House on the Prairie (affiliate) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (affiliate). Or choose a snow themed favorite from this list of children’s books about winter.
Choose your own favorite read aloud chapter book or picture book to share together. Reading together can be so relaxing after a long day playing in the snow.
Snow days are some of my favorite days of the year. And since they don’t happen that often, they are also a great reason to celebrate.
If you hear that snow might be in your future, choose a few of these creative snow day activities that you think the kids will enjoy in advance. By having a couple things in mind, you can gather supplies before the flakes start to fall.
This time of year I always keep hot cocoa making supplies, chocolate chips (because chocolate chip cookies are my favorite snow day treat and I add the mini ones into our homemade hot cocoa to make it extra chocolatey), marshmallows and coffee filters on hand. If your littles have a special book they love to read or movie to watch, put that aside too. Now you are ready to make your snow day(s) magical.
Do you have other snow day activities that you enjoy with your family? Be sure to comment below. We love adding snow day activities to our winter bucket list.
And if you don’t have a winter bucket list yet, check out this editable one in our shop here.