Fun Friday activities are quick-and-simple ways to explore nature in your own backyard.
My last post was about gearing up for snow play so what better to follow than a fun, simple activity to try once you get there?
Not having actually been to see the white stuff with my little ones, I called in an expert — Melynda Harrison over at Traveling Mel. She came up with a fantastic idea: Build Snow Animals.
When I say “playing in the snow,” what do you think of? Sledding? Snowball fights? Snowmen? Many people think of the latter. When you see all that snow outside you just want to build something. But does it always have to be a snowperson? How about a snow animal?
How it works: Decide what animal you and your kids would like to sculpt out of snow. Then bundle up and head into the yard (you’ll need mittens or gloves for this activity). We usually choose an animal native to our area.
Then use snow, sticks, antlers, leaves and whatever else you find laying around to build your critter. Pile snow into a mound, use twigs as antlers, rocks for eyes and make an elk head. Sculpt a long tube that appears and disappears for a snow snake sliding through the snow.
Why it’s so fun: Kids love building and kids love animals; combine the two and you get a funfest. Snow animals are more adaptable than snowpeople — this activity can be done with minimal snow or light, fluffy snow, so you don’t have to wait for the perfect snowfall.
Variations on a theme: Create your own nivean world using your snow animals: a bear pawing a log or a coyote chasing a mouse. How about a porcupine starting to climb a tree? Use food coloring in spray bottles to “paint” your creatures.
For more solid snow, pack snow into a bucket and add a little water. Let it freeze, dump it out and it is ready to carve with a butter knife or garden trowel.
Melynda Harrison blogs about connecting kids and nature at Traveling Mel. She is a mom to two wild boys, a writer, naturalist and unapologetic lover of winter.