Tag Archives: snow

Had Enough of Snow? These Peanuts Snow Sculptures will Make you Smile.

After almost a week of snow in the Seattle area, many have had enough of snow and can’t wait to get back to normality. Personally, snow makes me smile. I love having my kids home and playing in the snow, because we can try out some really cool projects. As Peanuts fans, on our first snow day this week, we built a snow sculpture of Snoopy lying on his kennel.

snoopy snow sculpture

We used a brick mould to build the structure of the kennel and smoothed the sides to make the sloping roof. Then, sculpted snoopy lying down on top.

snoopy snow sculpture

His nose and ears were painted with watercolour block paint and we painted his name on the entrance to the kennel.

snow sculpture snoopy on kennel

Each day we have added a new Peanuts character.

Day 2 – Charlie Brown and Woodstock

The following night we had a lot of snowfall, so in the morning it was as if a Snoopy cartoon had come to life.

Thankfully the snow was soft and powdery so brushed off with little damage, other than some paint smudging and a slightly less defined Woodstock.

Day 3 – Lucy

lucy van pelt snow sculpture

Day 4 – Linus

This is my personal favourite. There had been some thawing overnight so there were a lot of pine needles in the snow; perfect for Linus’ hair.

Linus Van Pelt snow sculpture

For as long as the snow remains, we’re going to add a different character each day. I’ll be updating this post and my Instagram and Facebook page with pictures of the new additions. Who is your favourite Peanuts character?

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Snow Day: Ideas for Playing in the Snow

snow day

A snow day is always a treat but after a few days off school, enthusiasm wanes. Try some of these snow day play activities to keep your kids entertained.

Sledging

Sledging is always great fun, it was always my favourite snow activity as a kid. You could shake it up a bit with some Winter Olympic themed bobsledding. Lie on your front while being pushed  down the hill shouting oy, oy, oy.  You could race one another too.

Snowmen

See if you can roll a really big ball to make a body.  Sometimes kids find this difficult but if you I start it off  and everyone joins in to help, it is lots of fun.

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Make a baby snowman and pull  it along on a sledge.
baby snowman on sledge

Add accessories such as buttons, hats and scarves or Mr Potato Head features.

mother and baby snowman

Even without much snow you can make miniature snowmen and add an origami hat.

snowman
tiny snowman perched on the fence

 

Snow Painting

Fill glitter sprinklers or herb containers with powder paint.  Little ones enjoy sprinkling it around while older children draw pictures in the snow. You could use fingers or sticks to draw and colour them in.

Make a snow angel and colour it with paint.

coloured snow angel

Paint a snow sculpture

Build a snow sculpture and add colour with block water colours painted on with brushes.  You could also paint pictures on the snow.

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Winter Olympic Fun

It can be great fun to stage events from the Winter Olympics. Ice hockey, curling, skating and skiing are fun events to try even without snow but with snow on the ground they are even more fun.

 

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Play with Ice

Visit a frozen pond, make pictures with ice, Go on an icy treasure hunt, make ice ornaments or investigate the properties of ice.

Make targets and throw snowballs at them

Targets could be drawn in the snow, on a fence or a tree or throw snowballs into a tub or box.

It would be preferable if the target wasn’t your mother!

snowball

 

Other Snow Fun

Lie in the snow and feel it fall on your face.

lying in the snow

Use the snow for imaginative play

snow on feet
I’ll make you some ice skates

Catch the snow on your tongue

catching snow

Shake snow from the trees

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A Day in the Snow at Hyak Sno Park

hyak sno park

When I was a kid we waited all year for snow, sometimes we were lucky but often we would have a year of disappointment. When the snow came we would head to the local park with our sledges spending hours speeding downhill until we could bear the cold no longer. How amazing it is for our kids to be able to travel to snow within 40 minutes of home.  We headed for Hyak Sno Park for a great family day in the snow. They wore snow boots, salopettes and warm jackets so they avoided  the freezing feet in wellies and soggy trousers that I remember as a kid.

Getting ready to go down the small slope designed for under 5's
Getting ready to go down the small slope designed for under 5’s

Sometimes with dad...
Sometimes with dad…

.....sometimes on their own.
…..sometimes on their own.

Then we all went down the big slope.
Then we all went down the big slope.

The little ones loved it , even when they jumped the ramp at the end and almost ended up in the fence. A face full of snow didn't put them off.
The little ones loved it , even when they jumped the ramp at the end and almost ended up in the fence. A face full of snow didn’t put them off.

There they go
There they go

At the bottom they could wade through snowdrifts.
At the bottom they could wade through snowdrifts.

Then we climbed back to the top
Then we climbed back to the top

to stop for a rest
to stop for a rest

 A snack to fuel more fun. NB. There is nowhere to get food or drink at the snow park so a flask of hot soup and some snacks is a good idea.
A snack to fuel more fun. NB. There isn’t anywhere to get food or drink at the snow park so a flask of hot soup and some snacks are a good idea.

Before heading home we build a little snowman.  Goodbye - see you again soon.
Before heading home we build a little snowman. Goodbye – see you again soon.

Hyak Sno Park can be found in Easton off exit 54 of I90.

Open 8 am to 4:30pm
The parking lot has 150 spaces.  Parking permits are
required, Daily Sno-Park Permit and Daily or Annual
Discover Pass or a Seasonal Sno Park Permit plus Special Groomed Trails Permit
sticker without Discover Pass. These can be purchased at the park.

Play Activities with Ice

How did you get them in there?
How did you get them in there?

We need something to bash them out - let's try a spoon.
We need something to bash them out – let’s try a spoon.

Look, I broke a piece. The fish is coming out.
Look, I broke a piece. The fish is coming out.

I made a hole - grab the fish.
I made a hole – grab the fish.

Help it's sticking to my hand, what do I do now. Can you pull it off?
Help it’s sticking to my hand, what do I do now. Can you pull it off?

Look, I broke it in half - I can see a penguin.
Look, I broke it in half – I can see a penguin.

Ice mummy! I love ice. Bash, bash , bash.
Ice mummy! I love ice. Bash, bash , bash.

We've found all the animals, can we have more ice? We added crushed ice from the ice machine on the fridge.
We’ve found all the animals, can we have more ice? We added crushed ice from the ice machine on the fridge.

This is a great activity for water trays in pre-school settings but works even better outside, if you are in a cold climate set up a water tray outside and let nature do its work.

Other Ideas and Questions to ask Children

  • Add colour to the ice using food colouring or bath colours. Using a dark colour so the children have to guess what is hidden in the ice.
  • Put a small amount of warm water into the tray. Add the coloured ice. What happens to the water? What happens to the ice.
  • Sprinkle glitter into water – leave it in the freezer or outside overnight. What happens when it melts?
  • You are not allowed to bash the ice, how else could you get the animals out?
  • Can you find any more ice in the garden?
  • What would happen if we froze a leaf or berries?  If we hang them from a tree how long will they take to melt? What happens when they are melting?
  • The ice sticks to your gloves, what else will it stick to? Why does it only stick to some things?

Our First American Christmas

xmasHaving experienced our first American Christmas, many people have asked about the differences.  Without our family and friends Christmas was always going to be different. In some ways Christmas was more relaxing without rushing off to visit relatives and in others  a little of the Christmas spirit was lost.  The good thing is that with Skype and Video Kinect we were able to talk to family and friends at various points through the day and the grandparents were able to watch the kids open their presents.

The Christmas tradition here is different in many ways, some take a little getting used to whilst others are a breath of fresh air.

Holidays

It took me a while to get used to the American reference to Holidays rather than Christmas. At first it seemed too politically correct. Being invited to a Holiday party and school letters referencing Holiday gifts was very odd. The lack of emphasis on any one festival is nice but still feels a little strange; for me it will always be Christmas.

I took the children to see the switching on of the Christmas lights at the City Hall.  This turned out to be simply turning on the Christmas tree lights, accompanied by a school choir singing songs about snow and jollity but not the traditional Christmas carols I expected.   It appeared at first that the word Christmas was a taboo but over time I began to hear Christmas references more frequently.  I read an article by a Jewish lady talking about how tiresome it was as a child to  be asked what Santa was bringing and have to explain her faith time and again. I’m beginning to see the merits of the term ‘Holidays’ but I’m not a full convert yet.

Decorations

Christmas decorations and lights started to go up in the neighbourhood as soon as Thanksgiving was over. Outside decoration seems to be as important as indoor, yet somehow it’s all a bit more tasteful than the UK . No house looks like it’s been adorned with the contents of Poundland. Lights are put around the roof or to light a pathway, beautifully lit ornaments are placed on lawns and every door displays a Christmas wreath.  Perhaps it’s just that the houses and plot sizes are bigger that avoid them looking like they’ve been spewed on by the tinsel fairy. I’m slowly trying to blend in, I turned my old garland that I made when we were first married into a wreath and hung it on the front door and I’ve put a snowflake light in the window. Next year I think I need to research in advance how to power all the outdoor lights and decorations so we can sparkle with the best of them.

Food

Once Thanksgiving was over I expected the supermarkets to be full of Christmas food. We found Christmas cookies, candy canes and egg nog but where were the beloved mince pies? It appears that Christmas cookies are an American tradition. Not gingerbread cookies or spicy lebkuchen that we would associate with Christmas but ordinary sugary cookies in Christmas shapes. Traditionally they were hung on the Christmas tree and left out for Santa.

My kids love mince pies, we would eat them every day from when they appeared on the shelves until we had exhausted our stack of reduced ones from the January sale. When the cashier at Waitrose told us that their bakery stock individual ones year round, the girls jumped for joy and we would sometimes pop in for a treat. So how would we cope this year?
After searching around and almost going as far as making mincemeat from scratch, I  was relieved to find a jar of Robinsons mincemeat. The girls and I made a batch of mince pies. My pastry was a disaster, even the dog worried he may break his teeth. So I resigned myself to a Christmas without mince pies. That is until I discovered the delights of Cost Plus World Market, where we found mince pies (all be it at $7 a box) along with Christmas crackers, Christmas pudding, Cadburys biscuits, pickled onions and other treats like Marmite and Birds custard. We were all set for a traditional Christmas.

Snow

hyak sno parkOne of the best things about living here in the Winter is that a 40 minute drive takes you to snow. You have all the fun and beauty of snow without any of the inconvenience. We had a wonderful time at Hyak Snow Park tobogganing and building snowmen  and the view was just like a scene from a Christmas Card. Perfect for my 4-year-old who believes that there is always snow at Christmas.

Gifts and Cards

Rather than sending Christmas cards, the neighbours left little treats like cookies and chocolate brownies on our doorstep. What a great idea, this is definitely something we should adopt in the UK. We baked a batch of mince pies (they were substantially better than the first batch) and the girls and I delivered them to the neighbours on Christmas Eve.

In all our first Christmas in America was pretty special  and hopefully in future years we will have family or friends to share it with us.