When life gives you snow, make a game of it
By Melissa Stefanec
Playing in the snow is a great way to get fresh air and exercise during the winter months. Most of us spend way too much time indoors during the winter, and playing outside can be just the thing to kick the winter blues and give your body some much-needed sunshine and use. There’s a reason kids love the winter — they enjoy it for what it is instead of cursing it for what it isn’t. They know how to have fun in the snow. To help you better enjoy the fluffy white stuff our winters are made of, here are some ideas on new ways to have fun in the snow.
Whether or not you have young ones in your life, there are bound to be some ideas on this list that will lift your spirits.
Snow photography — Winter is as picturesque as any of the seasons. Whether you are a novice or seasoned photographer, winter is a great time to get outdoors and take some awesome photographs. Wear some fingerless or tech-finger gloves and capitalize on all the beauty winter has to offer.
Snow target practice — If the idea of a traditional snowball fight has you less than enthused, try snowball target practice. Make some targets using different items such as saucer sleds, pieces of cardboard, Hula Hoops or anything that would work as a target. Assign point values to each target and put them at different distances from a line drawn in the snow. Line players up at the line and start throwing. Let the competition begin!
Snowball — For this game, all you will need is a pitcher and a hitter. Use a firmly packed snowball instead of a baseball or softball and use your typical bat. Treat your back yard or a park like a winter batting cage. As a bonus, no one has to retrieve the balls.
Snow golf — Don’t let your swing deteriorate during the winter months. Use firmly packed snowballs to practice your swing on. Then, when you hit the greens in the spring, you won’t have to make up for quite so much lost time.
Test your skills
Winter disc golf — If the snow isn’t too deep, you can still play disc golf in the winter. There are courses all over Upstate New York, and you can still play them in the winter. Use brightly colored discs that you don’t mind losing. You can also buy light-up discs or lights to attach to your discs to help you find them in the snow.
Playground in the snow — Kids love playgrounds, and they don’t stop loving them in the winter. Bundle up your kiddos and take them to their favorite playground. A lot of the toys and structures remain outside during the winter months. They may move a little slower in their bulky winter gear, but kids will still have a great time enjoying one of their favorite pastimes, even if they are doing it in the snow.
Snow cookies — If your kids like Play-Doh, chances are they will love using all of their favorite implements in the snow. Send the kids outside with cookie cutters and other Play-Doh paraphernalia and let them cut snow cookies, make snow spaghetti or make snow hair.
Dog obstacle course — If you have a dog in your life, give it a chance to enjoy something more than a brisk walk or a shove out the backdoor this winter. Shovel or snow blow a maze for your dog. Make jumps and places to stand. Bury treats and toys in certain areas. Challenge the kids to make it fun for your family pet. Watch what they come up with.
Snow beach — The same toys that bring so much enjoyment to children at the beach can make for wintertime smiles. Take out your buckets, shovels, sieves, trucks and boats and let your kids play with them in the snow. Have a snow castle contest and watch creativity blossom.
Hide and snow seek — Take this childhood pastime and make it into a winter favorite. Kids may move a little slower in the snow, so give them some extra counting time. Kids can play detective and track each other’s footprints in the snow to find each other.