Raise your hand if you’ve had it with winter. You parents and teachers must be especially tired of dealing with bored kids stuck inside. Here’s a winter blues buster: throw a snowtastic party. Celebrate the closing of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and extend the fun with your own game variations. Here are safe, easy snow activities requiring no fancy equipment.
Boot skating: Sweep off an icy patch of pavement, or hose it down to make a rink. Demonstrate how to speed or figure “skate” by sliding in boots. I remember in second grade, teachers letting us “skate” down the halls after we watched a figure skating documentary. I really thought I was Janet Lynn. Bundle kids so if they fall they won’t get hurt.
Broom Hockey Use boot skating and play with old brooms or shovels. Use any old playground (basketball, 4-square, volley) balls. Allow no fighting. No need to imitate pro hockey that closely.
Shovel Races: See who can shovel snow the fastest or make the neatest, clearest walks. Use snow shovels like shuffle board. Push playground ball toward a goal.
Snow Golf: Use old brooms as in hockey. Dig holes in the snow and sweep a tennis ball toward holes.
Snowball Archery: Kids love to make and throw snowballs, but getting hit can really hurt. So have kids aim at a target instead of each other. Mark four concentric rings in the snow. Award more points depending which ring snowballs land in. Paint watercolor initials on snowballs so kids know whose ball landed where.
Snow Sculpture Walk: Have kids create 3D snow sculptures along a sidewalk or pathway. Allow them to spray with food color water if desired. Encourage visitors to view the art walk, comment on the pieces. No need for competition. This gives less athletic kids a niche at which to shine. Do text-to-life literature tie-ins, using Children’s Books as a theme.
Cardboard sleds : Have kids design sleds from recycled cardboard boxes, markers, scissors, box cutters and duct tape. Provide paraffin (sealing wax). Show kids how to apply wax to waterproof and make the sled go faster.
Literature Tie-In Have students design sleds after famous vehicles from literature. Wikipedia lists fictional vehicles and sailing vessels with images. Edupics has free printable vehicle coloring pages to use as models. Do a library treasure hunt. List vehicles/vessels and have kids research what book each comes from. Here are examples: Dawn Treader, Trojan Horse, Nautilus, Pequod, HMS Pinafore, Millennium Falcon, Polar Express, TARDIS, African Queen.
Sled run: Simulate a luge or bobsled run. Pile up snow and make a hill or use an existing tree-free hill. Rate kids on style, landing, distance, speed. Assign group sledding to help kids learn to work as a team. Or just freestyle.
Snow-robics: Have children pretend to be different animals. Make butterflies (snow angels), snow snakes, snow alligators, snow fish, snow dolphins. Have them make footprints trails and “track” each other by identifying individual print. Have them “walk” letters in the snow to write their names. Let the imagination run. This will occupy the youngest children for a long time.
End with cocoa, sandwiches and snow stories!