Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Indoor Snow Play for Cold Winter Days

We were right in the path of a major blizzard that was supposed to hit us yesterday and today. Forecasts warned that we could get two to three feet of snow. Two years ago we did get forty inches, so I prepared us in the same way.

One of the things that we couldn't do a lot of (initially) during the last blizzard was play outside in the snow. Ironic, right? Forty inches was just way too deep for the girls at that time. Reagan was a new-ish walker, Madison hated the wind...it was a recipe for disaster. So to pass time during the worst of that storm - and subsequent snowbound days while we waited for the roads to be cleared - we brought the snow inside. It was such a success that we've done it every time there's snow on the ground. This has been one of my most popular pins on Pinterest, one of my most liked statuses on Facebook, but I never really got into exactly how we go about it.

And FYI, the girls DO play outside in the snow as well. Last time I posted about this I got a lot of "oh, that's so SAD that they never get to go outside". No. Stop it. Of course we go outside. But when the wind is whipping, the temps are freezing and the snow is deep, this is a GREAT option. They can also do this in the evening while I'm cooking, in the morning in their PJs...it works.

We use our water table year round. In the summer it's outside in the yard, but once the fall hits we bring it in to serve as our sensory table. We've filled it with lentils, beans, rainbow rice, pasta, you name it, we've probably tried it. It works perfectly for snow.

It takes about five or six bucketfuls to fill it up. The snow drifts up against our back patio steps, so I can grab the snow without ever setting foot outside.

Five buckets of snow fill the water table, tablecloth underneath to catch spills

Bringing five buckets of snow into the house

I lay an old tablecloth on the kitchen floor to catch any drips and prevent slips. The girls are pretty well trained to keep whatever we're playing with in the table, but I'm a realist, and some spills are inevitable.

Once the snow has filled the table, anything goes. Sometimes we use sand toys and molds and build castles. Sometimes we take the characters from the playsets and make up stories (shockingly, the Frozen toys work really well here). Today, we had an ice cream shop. Scoops, bowls, spoons, and even a tea set, all from the dollar store.

scoops, bowls and colored water for playing ice cream shop

The girls also love to add color to the snow. I fill bottles with water (I saved my peri bottles from the hospital, but you can actually buy them) and a few drops of either food coloring or liquid watercolors. Each girl gets a bottle to use and they get to choose their color.

Peri bottles filled with water and a few drops of food coloring (or liquid watercolor) work well with indoor snow play

Indoor snow play - snow colored with purple water

Snow colored with blue water for indoor play

And a huge advantage of the indoor snow play is that the girls don't have to play together. Madison only played for ten minutes today before she decided to practice dance. Reagan stuck with it for almost an hour. Had we been outside, I would have had to force one kid in early or force the other to stay out. Inside, it didn't matter. Reagan also took several potty breaks, something that would have been much more complicated had she been bundled up

Toddler and preschool playing with snow indoors

Preschool indoor snow play with color water

toddler playing with snow inside using the water table

Yes, nothing beats going outside to make a snow angel or sled down a hill. But for the fun of the snow play without battling the elements, this is a huge hit in our house.

By the way, if you live in a climate where snow is a rarity, or you want to do this in July, we've had lots of fun with Insta-Snow! Same concept with fake snow, which can make it even more fun!

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