Who doesn’t love a snow day? One of the greatest perks of the winter season, that unexpected break from the routine is not just a chance to sleep in, but the chance to make some very special memories with the entire family. The next time that snow begins to fall, and a day off from work and school is definitely in the cards, go no further than your own backyard for a day of fun, laughter and memories that will last a lifetime.
Have a Nature Photography Session in your Backyard. While much of the outdoors is in a restful state of peace and quiet during the winter, there is still much to be seen, admired and photographed. Charge up the digital camera, bundle up of the kids and announce that you are going to spend a few hours capturing the beauty and wonder of nature from the viewpoint of your own backyard. Instruct the kids to be as quiet as possible in the beginning so that you can try to capture some shots of the animals close by, venturing out for food and shelter. With patience, and a little bit of luck, you may just get a few great pictures of birds, squirrels and a stray cat or two. When the kids get a little rambunctious, you can move on to taking pictures of the lovely tree branches dusted with snow, the icicles hanging off the back porch and the tiny animal footprints leading off your property. Any points of visual interest that represent how your natural environment looks during the season is appropriate for your project. Once all the pictures are taken, head back inside to print out the photographs and assemble them into a scrapbook. Your children will love the entire process and will surely cherish that book for years to come.
Build a Snow Fort in the Backyard. This is my younger daughter’s favorite winter activity, and literally jumps up and down when there is a snow day and she can get us all outside to create a unique and cozy hiding place made of snow and ice. Last year when the East Coast was just bombarded with one snowstorm after another, each corner of our yard was decorated with one of our snow fort creations. This activity requires a bit of energy and determination to get the fort big enough for a child to crawl into, so make sure to enlist all the members of your family for this project. Be sure to take pictures of your finished creations to add to your family scrapbook.
Make Sled Ramps in the Backyard. If you are lucky enough to live on a bit of an incline, your backyard may be perfect for sledding when the snow falls. Although I sometimes complain about the slope of my yard, it really is perfect for sledding during with winter time. With just a little bit of additional packed snow on the slope, my daughters happily spend hours sledding with their friends. As they have grown bigger, so have the slopes, much to their delight. Grab your family and head outside to make the most of the incline in your yard. Use a shovel to deposit more snow from other areas of the property and then bend down to pack that snow until it creates a great ledge for the sled to take off from. After all the work is done, your family will love the fun and freedom that sledding down the slopes gives them.
Light Up that Backyard Fire Pit on a Snow Day. One of my family’s favorite winter activities is to bundle up in our warmest clothes, head outside to the fire pit and spend a little time watching the beauty of the fire, while toasting marshmallows. You may only think to use that outdoor fireplace or fire pit during the warmer months of the year, but it really is a treat to use it during the winter. It is especially enjoyable to stand close to the fire with a delicious treat while the yard is covered in snow. The best time to enjoy this activity is right at dusk, when the sun begins to set. The snowy landscape looks especially beautiful with the addition of the glow from the fire and the temperature is not yet cold enough to make the activity uncomfortable.
The next time the weather man announces that school is closed for the day, gather up your loved ones and venture no further than the back of your house for a day filled with glorious seasonal fun.