Making Snow

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With a snowstorm outside, Travis and I tested how many ways we could make snow inside today. The answer was four, if you count cartoon snowflakes in a movie as the final way!

First, we got a little scientific and tested two homemade mixtures to see which made better snow.

In the first bin, we combined 1 cup baking soda with 1 cup shaving cream. This mixture looked a lot like snow, and had a nice chill to the touch, but didn’t clump together well.

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In the second bin, we combined 2 and 1/2 cups baking soda with 1/2 cup conditioner. This mixture turned out to be fantastic! We could shape it into snow balls and build little snowmen.

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And as you can see, it led to lots of joyful messy play.

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Once the mess was cleaned up, we turned to paper snowflakes. Fold a white square of paper into a triangle, then fold over itself again into a smaller triangle. Now fold this triangle up into thirds. A helpful visual on these instructions can be found here.

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Begin using scissors to snip any which way, just not cutting all the way through this folded triangle. The thick paper was tough for Travis to cut, so I helped him out and we ended up with beautiful snowflakes.

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They looked fantastic against our snowy window!

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Finally, we watched snowflakes on the TV screen. The The Snowy Day movie is a well-done extension of the classic book by the same name. It inspired us to think of all the ways we’ll play in real snow tomorrow.  In the meantime, we’ll be here eating snowball cookies!

Chocolate Snowball Cookies

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How could we not make snowball cookies from Travis’s Snowed Inn Raddish Kids package on a snow day home from school? This was the coziest recipe to bring little “snowballs” safely back inside once the outdoor play was done.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 and 2/3 cup flour
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed
  • 6 tablespoons cold water
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance butter, softened
  • 1 and 1/4 cups + 1/3 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  1. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt; set aside.
  2. Whisk the flaxseed into the cold water until combined, and let stand for 5 minutes to make 2 flax eggs.
  3. Meanwhile, beat the butter and 1 and 1/4 cups sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until creamy. Add the flaxseed mixture and vanilla; beat until combined.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring until a soft dough forms. Cover and transfer to the fridge for 1 hour.
  5. Set out two bowls, one filled with 1/3 cup sugar and the other with the powdered sugar. Scoop out 1 tablespoonful of dough and roll into a ball. Roll in the sugar, then the powdered sugar, and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with the remaining dough to make 30 cookies.Chocolate Snowball Cookies (5)
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack… Or nibbling on while still warm!

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Travis enjoyed the true/false snowflake quiz on the recipe card, as well as some fun facts about how chocolate is made. Plus we listened to a playlist of cozy winter tunes like Jingle Bell Rock as we baked, making this just about as cozy an afternoon in the kitchen as we could imagine!

Indoor Ice Caves and Snowball Fights

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Sometimes it’s too windy and cold to play in a snowstorm, but you can bring the snow in instead of sending the kids out. Imaginary snow, that is.

To wit, first I made Veronika an ice palace. Whether your kids pretend this is an ice cave, a snow fort, or a polar bear’s arctic den, imaginations will go wild as they crawl through any tunnel made with pillows and blankets. We went all out, adding blankets from the beds upstairs, not just the ones from the living room.

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Veronika loved loading it up with “snowballs” (a.k.a. rolled up socks).

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And she was thrilled when she discovered a secret back entrance.

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There was even a secret window to peek through halfway down the tunnel.

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Then we split up the ice tunnel into two barricades and it became the perfect snow fort for a snowball fight!

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For snowballs, we simply balled up pairs of socks and added a few from crumpled white tissue paper. Now it was mommy versus Travis for all out war!

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Travis cackled with glee hiding behind his wall or popping up to pelt me.

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And he loved staging sneak attacks. Veronika may not have entirely understood, but she certainly picked up on the glee and soon tried her hand at tossing a few “snowballs”.

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Attack!

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By now I had two gleeful kids who would happily have played in their “snow fort” all day. I think at this point they were pretending it was a ski slope with avalanches rolling downhill!

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Don’t forget clean-up: Make it a race to see who can toss all those sock balls back into a bin the fastest.

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What will your kids do with an indoor snow fort? Please share in the comments!

Slippery Sledding Bin

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When your kids wake up to a huge snowstorm outside and sledding is in the near future, but it’s too windy and cold to go sledding just yet… Take the toys sledding instead!

I loved the set-up for this activity because it required only one ingredient: shaving cream. I turned a glass bowl upside down over a craft tray and sprayed liberally with shaving cream. The kids were sort of in awe that mommy was doing this!

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Smooth down into an even layer, then add toys and send them sledding! Lids from the kitchen make perfect sleds for Playmobil figures (we used one from a peanut jar).

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We also have a few Little People figures who came with their own skis and slids, and they were perfect for sending down the “hill”.

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Travis loved having figures face plant in the snow!

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Veronika just thought it was amazing to see how slippery and soapy the tray was, making it more of a sensory game for her.

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This was messy for sure, but a fun way to start the morning.

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Blowing a Kiss Christmas Card

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This would be a fantastic idea for a holiday card to faraway relatives any year, but particularly in this year of COVID-19, we plan to send a copy even to relatives who live close by.

To make the card, all you need is to capture your kids on camera blowing a kiss. It was so cute to coach Veronika through this.

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Travis happily demonstrated, and then I had the pictures printed at the drugstore and we were ready to design the rest of the card! Veronika loved seeing the prints of herself and big brother.

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I folded red construction paper in half and we used glue sticks to attach the photos.

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While Veronika happily scribbled on extra scrap paper, I wrote the following message in each card:

We can’t see you this Christmas

but we’re blowing you kisses

And sending you wishes.

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Veronika helped add a few puffy Christmas stickers on the cover of each to complete the project.

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For a slightly different look, you can have the words printed directly onto the photo and mail it more like a postcard. But I like that our version of the card was so easy and quick to make.

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