- Written by Kerrie McLoughlin, Photo: Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock
By the end of summer, my son Michael is always asking, “When is winter coming?” When I ask why he wants to know, he says, “Because I really want to play in the snow!” As much as I gripe about all the gear that goes on my kids before we head outside in the winter, the thrilled look on my kids' faces makes it all worth it. With all the fun things to do in winter, snow wonder kids and adults alike love it so much! Here are some favorite family traditions for you to make your own.
When There’s Snow on the Ground, Grab Your Camera and Pick a Few of These:
1. Snow angel. Throw on your snow pants and thick coat and flop down backward in the snow. Then move your arms up and down and legs apart and you've got yourself a terrific snow angel. Now grab some food coloring mixed with water in a spray bottle and decorate it!
2. Snowman. Start with a snowball, then roll it all around on the ground so it picks up more snow and turns into a huge ball. There you have the bottom part of the snowman. Do it two more times for the body and head of your snowman. Grab rocks and sticks to give it a personality. Put your favorite hat on it, give it a carrot nose and spray it with your food coloring/water spray bottle to give it some character. Snap a picture next to your new pal.
3. Shoveling. Sounds like work, but it can be so much fun. If your child is old enough and has the desire, have your little entrepreneur shovel neighborhood driveways for money.
4. Snow fort and snowball fight. Snow forts are so much fun to build from scratch, or you can dig into a huge snow bank. Then roll an arsenal of snowballs to keep behind the fort, and toss them at friends and siblings for an awesome snowball fight!
5. Sledding. Check out www.sledriding.com to find the best sledding hill (small incline for the little ones, bigger incline for older kids), then hop on that sled and zoom away.
6. Skiing/snowboarding. With the Rocky Mountains right in our own back yard, there is no excuse not to take up these great winter sports with your family.
When it's Just Plain Cold:
7. Hot chocolate or hot apple cider. You can make hot chocolate from scratch using cocoa powder, sugar and milk or go easy and just use packets with hot water. Apple cider can be bought cold and heated up or bought in packets. Either way, these are bound to warm you up after some time spent playing outside.
8. Movie night. Snuggling up to watch a movie, preferably with a fire going in the fireplace, sounds like a great night or weekend day to me. Happy Feet and the Ice Age trilogy are favorites for just about any age of kid.
9. ‘Souper’ supper. Soup is a perfect dinner on a cold night. See recipes in the sidebar or head to www.allrecipes.com to find any concoction you could ever think of.
10. Paper snowflakes. If you're craft-challenged like me, check out www.papersnowflakes.com for some great patterns and other winter crafts. Then you can hang your creations in windows or from the ceiling with string for a really cool winter wonderland effect.
11. Iceskating. This is a blast whether you know how to skate or not. In fact, it can be even more fun for the inexperienced (my kids like to watch me fall on my rear!). Check out www.arenamaps.com for an easy way to locate an iceskating rink near you.
12. Game-playing. When I was a kid, my parents and I would grab Monopoly or Life from the closet for a few hours of fun on a chilly Sunday. Pair that with some cheese dip (two cans Rotel tomatoes, one rectangle of Velveeta cheese melted together) and chips, and everyone's a winner!
Cheddar Cheese Broccoli Soup
- 2 sticks butter
- 2 cups chopped broccoli
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup flour
- 6 cups milk
- 16 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
In a large pot, melt one stick of butter. Stir in broccoli and cook until it is tender. Add the chicken broth and heat until it is boiling. Lower heat. In a separate pan, melt the other stick of butter until it is bubbly, then add the flour. Take it off the heat and whisk in the milk. Heat that pan until it gets thick, stirring often. Stir in the cheese until it's all mixed in, then stir the cheese mixture into the first pot with the chicken broth and broccoli.
Potato Cream Cheese Soup
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 4 cups cubed potatoes
- 1/2 tsp. white pepper
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1, 8-ounce package of cream cheese cut into pieces
In a large pot, add broth, potatoes and peppers. Cook on medium heat until potatoes are tender. Reduce to low heat and add cream cheese. Cook, stirring frequently, until the cream cheese melts. If the mixture is too thin for you, add about 1 Tbsp. cornstarch mixed with 2 Tbsp. cold water.
Kerrie’s (www.thekerrieshow.com) favorite winter tradition is playing games inside.