Heavy snowfalls over parts of South Africa overnight have given many families the chance to enjoy fun in the white stuff. Here are some simple but creative ways to have fun in the snow that you may not have thought of before:
First things first!
Wrap everyone up warmly – I know it sounds obvious, but children are not penguins and aren’t automatically enthusiastic about venturing out into freezing conditions! To persuade them to have fun in the cold outside they will need to feel very warm and toasty on the inside!
Snowmen with a difference
Start your snowman by rolling 3 large balls of snow. A good tip is to try and plan your rolling so that the giant snowballs end up near each other as they are surprisingly heavy to lift and carry! Use two of the balls for the torso, filling in any gaps between the balls; the remaining snowball makes the head. Once the basic shape is in place, pat down all over (with bare hands if you dare) to create an icy seal. This will make your snowman last longer.
The traditional means of decoration is a hat, scarf, carrot for the nose and pieces of coal for the eyes and buttons, but with a bit of imagination you can come up with something much more unique. Curly pasta makes groovy hair and mustard/ketchup can be used as face paints. Food colouring mixed with very cold water in a spray bottle can be used to create a multi-coloured snowman that truly befits the Rainbow Nation!
Bowling snowballs at each other’s faces starts off fun, but invariably ends in tears. A safer variation is to set up a pyramid of old tin cans to use as shooting practice. Score points for each can knocked down.
Why stop at making snowmen when you could create a whole village. Use loaf pans and Pringle tubes to make castles, and mould hills from cereal bowls. Small low animals, such as tortoises are easy to sculpt as are flowers. Creating a mini snow family from lots of small sculptures is more fun and less hard work to make than one big snowman, especially for smaller children.
Prop up a plastic table or sheet of wood to make a small slide for the kids to enjoy
For the grown-ups
Find a clean patch of snow and use it to mix with your whisky! Then have an OBS to warm up!
Close up fun
Catch falling snowflakes and let your kids examine them under a magnifying glass. Let them see how each flake has a different shape.
When you get back in the warm you can practice making your own snowflake to keep. Take a circular piece of paper (coffee filters work really well), fold in half and then into triangular thirds. Snip away at the edges, including the curves outer edge and unfurl to see the results of your beautiful snowflake.
Tug of War
The slippery conditions add a whole new level of difficulty to a game of tug of war. Draw a line in the snow and the team that pulls the other across is the winner.
Ice blocks can be made by filling plastic tubs and popping them in the freezer, or leaving outside if it is really cold. Use the bricks to create castles, or sculpt into shapes. Smaller ice cubes can be used for finishing touches. You can also make decorative blocks by mixing the water with objects such as pine cones. Or mix the water with seed and enjoy watching the birds feeding as your ice block melts.
Take lots of photos
You will want to capture those special pictures of your children playing in the white stuff, but snow isn’t always easy to photograph. Many point and shoot cameras have a snow setting to assist you, otherwise you will need to overexpose to get good results.
Try to use a strong focal point, such as a tree building or person and if possible incorporate something brightly coloured into the shot. Reds and blues work very well. Remember that batteries don’t last as long in the cold, so take spares and keep them warm in your pocket.