Posted on December 30, 2020 at 6:00 am
I know it may be hard to believe, but there are times when a marathon of Disney movies or Doctor Who is just not appealing. Sometimes I am so tired of being inside, that even if it is cold and snowy, I just have to get outside and do something.
I think this indoor boredom, or outdoor yearning, can be especially true for kids. Pull on your long underwear, big winter coat, hat, and gloves!
Getting all bundled up with countless layers, just to do something fun in the snow, is something that we should all do at least once every winter. Of course, there are traditional activities such as sledding, building a snowman, or having snowball fights, which are all activities I highly recommend. Maybe this year, though, I can add a few more activities to your outdoor to-do list.
This activity is a little messy, so be prepared for a bit of color and maybe wear some old gloves if you are worried about stains. Try out glacier art with snow paint by filling several spray bottles with water and food coloring. Use these to make your own art outside in the snow.
I promise this will bring out the artist in you. There is just something about seeing a big pristine stretch of snow that makes me want to splash it with some color. Talk about having a big canvas!
If you want to do some 3D art, I recommend building a snowman and then giving him some color. What snowman wouldn’t want some rosy cheeks? Don’t forget to take pictures of your creations.
One part of winter I have always been fascinated with is snowflakes. Try catching snowflakes and view them up close. Timing matters for this activity because it has to be actively snowing outside. When it is, you can catch snowflakes on black paper or cardboard.
I recommend using a magnifying glass to view the snowflakes because you will see so much more detail. You have to be quick though. The snowflakes will melt fast, so you may only have a few seconds. It is worth the hurry though.
There are gorgeous snowflakes just waiting to be seen. It is fascinating to see for yourself how each snowflake is different. Snowflakes are made up of many ice crystals with many, many ways of combining, so they are all different. Also, the size and shape of snowflakes will change with the weather. Everything from the temperature, wind, and humidity in the air effect how one is formed.
Some snowflakes can look like stars, tiny sticks or needles of ice, hexagons, and more. If you are fascinated by the shapes of the snowflakes like me and are curious how they are made, take a look at this article from SIRS Discoverer, one of our digital resources from ProQuest: “Secrets of a Snowflake.
Another activity involves a typical summertime activity—blowing bubbles. I love bubbles, and they are not just for summer. When the day gets down into freezing temperatures, bubbles can freeze outside. They are, after all, just a water and soap sandwich, with the soap like the bread, covering the water on both sides.
When it is warmer, the air inside the bubble will expand as it warms, making the bubble pop before it gets too big or travels too far. When it is really cold and freezing outside, the water sandwiched inside the soap can freeze before the bubble pops, creating gorgeous ice formations.
Fellow blogger Abra also suggested wintertime bubble blowing recently. A couple of tips I can give you for a successful bubble experience is to pick a day with no wind that is a very, very cold day. And if you want to enhance the crystallization in the bubbles even more when they freeze, add sugar to your bubble mixture.
Popular Science has a great article about freezing bubbles with a bubble recipe and instructions: “You Can Blow Soap Bubbles and Instantly Freeze Them into Ice Orbs.” You can read full issues of Popular Science in digital format with our resource Flipster.
If thoughts of freezing bubbles has made you curious about ice in general, you can find some cool facts with our digital resource SIRS Discoverer from ProQuest in this article: “10 Cool Things about Ice.”
I caution you to bundle up though and stay warm while outside for these activities. Also, have something ready to warm you up once you get back inside. It makes it so much more pleasant when you come back inside to have a warm treat. I recommend my favorites, a cup of hot cocoa or hot tea, to warm you up from the inside out.
I’ve also found that having been out in the cold will make being inside feel great (especially if you have cabin fever, like me!).
Alison Johnson is an Education and Enrichment Librarian who creates programming and events for ages 8–18. This means she gets to play with everything, including paint messes and mini robots. When she has free time she enjoys watching anything science fiction, hiking trails, and reading with a cup of tea.