5 of My Favorite Snow Day Activities
Updated: Dec 19, 2019
I have a confession... I LOVE the snow!
It's so beautiful, so fresh, so pure looking. It immediately changes your familiar yard to a white-washed fantasy land. It's exciting, it's energizing!
But, I don't like being in the snow, at least not as much as my kids do. Sometimes it's just too cold, too wet, or too windy for my taste. Even when I enjoy being out there, we can't very well stay out there all day. Living in Utah has provided me many a snowy day, where I am forced to find things to do with my children, INSIDE, or go mad.
Here are a few of my favorite indoor, cold day activities. Mind you, I am an artsy person, so all of these will be too (plus, you know, this is an art blog). These are the kind of activities that might be a perfect way to wind down AFTER sledding or snowman-building.
1. Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments
I LOVE this craft, so much that I make them with my kids every year. These ornaments smell amazing, and continue to scent my Christmas storage bin every year I put them away. Who doesn't love cinnamon!
1 c cinnamon 1 c applesauce
parchment paper cookie cutters
*Optional - ribbon, puffy fabric paint, glitter
Begin by letting your kids mix the applesauce and cinnamon in a medium mixing bowl. The recommended amount is a good starting place for a small family of maybe 4, but multiply the recipe if your group is larger. Sprinkle cinnamon onto parchment paper and use a rolling pin to flatten your dough to roughly 1/2" thickness (use more cinnamon on the rolling pin and hands if the dough is too sticky). Let the kids use cookie cutters to make shapes in the dough, moving the shapes onto another piece of parchment paper for baking.
*Tip* Use a pointy object such as a pencil or toothpick to create a hole on each ornament for the ribbon or string.
Bake the ornaments at 200 degrees, or allow to air dry for 1-2 days (depending on your climate). After they are dry, help the children string ribbons or hemp string through the holes.
*Optional* Make the ornaments really stand out by adding strips of fabric, puffy fabric paint, or glitter!
These ornaments smell great and are taste-safe, but do not allow your children to taste them after the drying process. They smell better than they taste, anyway ;).
2. Fake Snow
This activity is SO easy, and leaves the room smelling nice!
1 c baking soda 1 c cornstarch
*shaving cream or hair conditioner
* Notice that you can use either hair conditioner or shaving cream. I have done this activity with only baking soda, only cornstarch, with shaving cream, and with conditioner, and it's mostly all the same. I prefer the consistency of cornstarch and baking soda together, but I will use whatever "wet" ingredient I have available.
Pour dry ingredients into a medium bin or pan, anything with at least a 1-2" edge to hold in the "snow". Mix, and add the wet ingredient (shaving cream or conditioner). Start with roughly a 1:1 ratio, dry to wet, and add more as you mix until you reach the desired consistency.
*Tip* Use shaving cream, not gel! If you're using conditioner, white looks the most natural. Bonus points if you can find a conditioner that is peppermint scented!
*Optional* Add some white glitter for extra sparkle! I like to put my shaving cream in the fridge before mixing so the snow is realistically cold! Take it one step further and let the kids drop or spray vinegar onto the snow to make it fizz (this will only work if baking soda is used)!
I love making homemade doughs! I won't list an exact recipe, because there are so many and I can't pick a favorite! I've made mud-dough, marshmallow dough, cinnamon, chocolate, and peppermint dough... the list goes on and on!
For some of my favorite recipes, see previous blog posts (i.e. DIY Taste-Safe Dough Kit).
*Tip* See what you have in your pantry that needs to be used up, and do a quick google search to find a recipe that will suit your needs! Have a lot of oatmeal that no one wants to eat? Search "oatmeal dough". Have a box of expired cornstarch (yes, believe it or not all of your common baking goods do expire)? There are TONS of doughs and other experiments that can be done with cornstarch.
4. DIY Snow Globes
Last year, I made these miniature snow globes with a group of children. They turned out so precious! I wish I had a video to show the pretty glitter flowing around the trees within the glass.
*small, clean jars miniature trees, evergreen clippings, etc.
glitter hot glue
* Baby food jars work wonderfully for this activity! You can also buy jars made for DIY snow globes, or use other small jars with lids. Just keep in mind, the bigger the jar, the more/larger your other supplies will need to be.
(Parents) Hot glue a miniature tree, branch, or other winter-themed (very small) item to the underside of the lid. As it dries, have your child fill the jar with about 1 tsp glitter, 4-6 drops of glycerin, and water. Make sure the water reaches the very top of the jar (yes, some will spill over when you screw the lid on).
Holding your jar upright over a sink, screw the lid back onto the jar. You may want to add some hot glue to the lid before you screw it tight, if you're worried about your child opening their globe in the living room.
*Optional* Get creative! All sorts of small things can be used as the snow globe centerpiece, or as the "snow".
For a more detailed description, to include pictures, see https://www.craftaholicsanonymous.net/baby-food-jar-snow-globes-tutorial
5. Pinecone Christmas Trees
Who doesn't love a pinecone craft?
*pinecones green paint
fake snow sequins, glitter, string, etc
wood disc craft or hot glue
* If you don't buy craft pinecones (I know I don't like spending money on something I can find in my yard!), be sure to wash and sanitize your pinecones at least a day before you want to do crafts. For sanitizing instructions, follow steps 1-3 here: https://www.hometalk.com/10239712/how-to-prepare-pine-cones-for-wreaths
Let your child paint the pinecone, if they so desire. Alternatively, your child can "paint" the tree with glue before rolling it in fake snow. This step is optional!
After the paint or glue has dried, help your child glue the pinecone to a wooden disc. This step is optional, but sometimes it can be tricky to find a pinecone with a completely level bottom! Hot glue works best for this step. If you don't have a wooden disc, find some other small, sturdy surface it can be secured to.
The next, and most fun step, is to decorate! Let your child use sequins, small gems, pom poms, or other small "ornaments" to glue to the edges of the pinecone. Tell them to pick a favorite to top the tree! If you have scraps of thin ribbon or gold string, that can be used to create a lovely garland around the tree.
*Tip* These miniature Christmas trees make for lovely gifts from children to their relatives. My parents and grandparents still display their trees every year, and the kids love seeing their decorating skills improve!
Thank you for taking the time to read this post! As always, I welcome comments, feedback, and questions. Please note that there is always an element of risk when using hot glue guns, or non-edible materials such as shaving cream. Use your best judgement when doing crafts with your kids. Also, understand that if you use glitter, it will forever be part of your house. I have accepted this fact, embraced it even.