Winter weather has arrived and chances are your kids will soon be out there building a snowman very soon! Here are some tips to help you build a snowman the entire family will be proud of.
- Make sure the kids are dressed properly for the cold, wet weather. Dress them in layers and make sure boots, gloves and mittens are warm and water resistant. If you try to make a snowman with wool or knit gloves, it won’t be long before hands are cold and wet and everyone is unhappy.
- Gather items you will need to decorate your snowman such as a carrot for the nose, small twigs in the yard for arms/hands, small charcoal briquettes oreo cookies, black olives for the eyes, smile & buttons, etc. Red licorice whips can be used for a mouth as well. Also, make sure you have a hat and scarf you don’t mind sacrificing. Try to keep your decorations as nature-friendly and organic as possible since you will need to retrieve them from outside when the snowman melts.
- It’s best if the snow is a bit on the wet side as opposed to the powdery white stuff that’s great for skiing. Just a touch more moisture gives your snow ball rolling the ability to stick together and not just crumble frustrating both child and parent. Take a sample handful and try to form a small snowball. If it packs well, then it’s of snowman-making quality.
- If the snow is packing well, begin with a small hand-held snowball size, place it on the ground and begin rolling. Rolling can be a very difficult and acquired skill for some children. So, try to show them how it’s done. You’ll want to roll straight for awhile, and then to the side a bit to form a nice big ball. You’ll need three of these with the bottom ball being the largest to support the weight of the other two on top. As each ball becomes the proper size (and, the proper size is determined upon how big your snowman is), help your child lift it up on top of the bottom ball. If you are building a large snowman, you will need to lift the second and third balls and set them into position. If you need help, use a shovel being careful that children are out of the way when you do.
- Now you’re ready to decorate. Be creative! This is the step that gives your snowman personality and makes them “come alive” for your child.
- Once you’re all done, you can come inside to warm up with some hot chocolate and stories about snowmen. Some cute children’s snowmen books are: Winter Friends, by Carl R. Sams; Snowmen: Creatures, Crafts and Other Winter Projects by Peter Cole; The Snowman Story Book by Raymond Briggs; Frosty The Snowman by Jack Rollins just to name a few.
- You might need to prepare younger children for a nice farewell. When the snowman begins to melt, some children become very sad to see their “snow friend” go – Like on Frosty The Snowman. Take lots of pictures while the snowman is still intact and make a game out of the snowman melting. If the weather is very cold, and it takes awhile for the snowman to melt entirely away, you can play guessing games about how much shorter you think the snowman will get today. By the time the snowman completely melts, it’s not so traumatic as they eagerly await to see more and more of the snowman shrink.
The experience of building a snowman with your child, from the gathering decorative materials to watching it melt, will sink deep into their childhood memories. Hopefully, they will one day pass on the fun of building their own family snowman with their children.
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