Puffy snow-quality coat? Check. Mittens clipped to coat? Check. But wait—where’s her hat???
Getting my niece ready to play in the snow takes a full 20 minutes of hunting down winter accessories and struggling into layer after layer of warm clothing. Her excitement means she’s unable to stay still, even for us to help put her boots on. We finally get outside and have ten brief, but blissful minutes of pointing, touching, and snow throwing… and then she decides it’s time to go back in. What on earth are we going to do for the next eight hours?
Snow days are the best days on your kids’ calendars. They get to skip school, play in the cold fluff, and, best of all, stay home with you! But parents may nervously wonder how to entertain their 6-year-old for a full day without breaks. Our snowed-in craft ideas are here to help when the outdoors lose the allure.
Cold Day Outdoor Crafts
The snow outside provides its own fun for your elementary-aged child. Building snowmen, snow forts, and having snowball fights with the neighborhood kids will keep them busy (and worn out) during your time at home. But you definitely want to have some other ideas up your sleeve to keep winter boredom from setting in. These crafts keep little hands busy by taking advantage of the icy snow outside:
A Snowy Egg Hunt
Water balloons and food coloring are all you need to make some icy colored eggs. Squeeze one or two drops of food coloring inside each water balloon and fill with water, tying off as usual. Try to keep the balloons rather small so they have time to freeze completely overnight. Let the kids help you find the perfect place in your snowy yard to leave the water balloons—be sure it’s in the shade during the day—and lay them out on top of the snow. Then just peel the plastic balloons away the next morning.
Your kids will love how the colorful “glass” eggs look against the white backdrop outside, and will be even more excited when you host an egg hunt by hiding them around the yard in increasingly difficult spots. Easter comes early this year!
An Icy Yard Painting
This craft uses another summer staple: squirt guns! Fill with water and food coloring and send the kids outside to paint the snowy yard with bright colors. If your kids are anything like the little ones in my family, they’ll squeal with delight for about five minutes before they “don’t know what to draw.” Here’s where you come prepared with a creative race idea.
Kids will love this scavenger hunt style activity. Print a list of drawing ideas for each participant (animals, words, and 3D snow sculpture prompts) and start the timer. The first to complete their list wins—and you get to sit back and watch the fun play out on your back lawn.
If you live in North Dakota, Vermont, or any of our states that experience extreme cold (0 degrees or below), you’ll definitely want to experiment with this wintery take on a summer craft.
Mix up a freezable bubble blend of 1 ½ cups water, ¼ cup dish soap, and 1 tsp glycerine (found in most big box stores near the bandaids). Take your bubble wand outside and create bouncy bubbles that you can even hold in your gloved hand! Wait an hour and the bubbles will have frozen solid, breaking like eggshells when touched.
Bringing Winter In
If the weather outside is frightful, your kids may feel like staying in after their initial snow-angel playtime—and we don’t blame them. Be ready for their return to shelter with a craft or two already set up for them to explore.
Homemade Snow Ice Cream
This chemistry craft brings the snow inside for your kids to enjoy. We make this recipe every year on snow days, so it’s become a special family tradition! Send your kids outside to collect a big bowl of fresh, clean snow and get ready to enjoy.
- ½ cup whole milk
- ½ cup cream
- ½ tsp vanilla
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ cup rock salt
- Pour all of your ingredients (except the rock salt) into a quart size plastic bag, sealing well and pressing out most of the air.
- In a separate gallon size bag, pour half of your snow and the rock salt, explaining that this lowers the temperature.
- Set the bag of ingredients inside the gallon bag and layer in the rest of the snow, making sure the smaller bag is surrounded.
- Seal the gallon bag shut, wrap with a towel (to keep little hands from getting too cold), and shake for five minutes.
- Pull out the smaller bag and you’ll have delicious homemade ice cream!
Indoor Snowball Fight
This is a real hit with the youngsters in my family. Open a few bags of pom poms and pile them up in the center of your play area. Then, start a “First Annual Indoor Snow War.”
Have everyone put on a dry pair of gloves (for authenticity purposes, of course). Put each kid in separate corners of the room, then yell, “SNOW!” They run to collect as many pom poms as they can carry for their stash. The scooping and throwing will commence and continue for at least an hour—especially if you get involved in a kids vs. adults snowball fight.
Crafty Snowflake Creation
By now you’re probably looking for a more quiet craft to help calm everyone down. Rather than messing with scissors and coffee filters to make snowflakes and snow angels, let your craftier kiddos bead their own snowflakes out of pipe cleaners and pony beads.
I’d make a few snowflake templates ahead of time by folding three lengths of sparkly silver pipe cleaners together into an asterisk shape. The kids can slide beads onto these snowflake forms in endless combinations—made even more fun if your bead selection is sparkly and snow themed. This is a perfect craft for exploring fine motor skills—and everyone from our preschooler to our 10-year-old cousin tends to enjoy the creativity.
A fun day in the snow (or inside with the snow) will, hopefully, lead to a cozy rest time. After they’ve exhausted themselves by running around in the snow and creating snowy crafts indoors, they’ve earned a quiet afternoon beside the fire, reading winter stories or watching a wintery movie—and you’ll feel like the most accomplished and creative parent alive.
Looking for even more ways to make being snowed-in the best day ever? The elves post their newest ideas on our Facebook page—and you can find even more fun over on Instagram @Elfstergram and Twitter @Elfster.
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