On wintry afternoons when thoughts of yet another snowball fight, or adding to the army of snowmen already bivouacked off the back porch, have your brain stuck in the ice, creating a vibrant backyard gallery with snow arts and crafts may be just what blustery Old Man Winter ordered!
Fun activities like snow painting, using plants and fruit for an icy sun catcher, experimenting with rainbow-colored snowprints, colored ice architecture or creating snow diamonds will fill your child’s afternoon with fun and creativity. They might even turn your backyard into an outdoor art studio and dynamic winter wonderland!
For budding winter Picassos, snow painting begins indoors by adding about 10 drops of food coloring to one-half cup of water in a bowl or spray bottle. Do this for every color you want. Take the bowls and some paintbrushes outside, and using firmly packed snow as your canvas, paint away to create multicolored mosaics! If using spray bottles in place of brushes, this will cover a larger area. Note: Snow painting can be messy and food coloring can stain, so be sure to wear old clothing and use disposable bowls and bottles.
To make snowprints, make footprints from one end of the yard to the other (and maybe back again!). Use spray bottles or paper cups with food coloring in water, as above, to fill in each print for rainbow-hued backyard fun!
A dazzling icy sun catcher begins by filling an aluminum pie plate or cake pan with leaves, a little greenery, orange, lemon or lime slices, cranberries, etc. Be sure to run a long piece of heavy string, twine or yarn around the inside edge, with long ends hanging over. Fill with water and freeze outdoors for a few hours. Remove pie plate (a little warm water can help) and tie to a tree branch to watch from the window when you go back indoors.
If you love watching “Bob the Builder,” snow architecture lets you build a snow city. Gather neighborhood kids together and fill as many pales, storage containers, etc. as everyone has with water and food coloring (use 20 drops of food coloring per one cup of water). Freeze outside overnight. Remove colored ice from containers by allowing it to stand at room temperature for a little while or briefly running sides under warm water to loosen. Carry back outside and build your dream house, fortress, or palace. Note: If slippery and unstackable, use snow as mortar to hold molds together. Your colorful castle will freeze as one unit.
For sparkling snow diamonds, tie a string around a paper cup and prick a tiny hole in the bottom. Fill with water (blocking the hole) and suspend from a tree branch. Overnight, the water will trickle down through the hole as it begins to freeze and create a beautiful “diamond.”