How to Build the Perfect Snowman with Your Kids
"It's snowing!" This is an exclamation that is typically shouted with enthusiasm out of the mouths of children - At least, from any child who is old enough to have experienced at least one day out in the snow. Sledding, snow angel making & snowmen are great things to do together as family time. If the snow is just right, you'll be building your family as well as a snowman while you're outside in the cold. Here's how to build the perfect snowman:
Of course, make sure everyone is dressed for the weather. Layers are best. Most importantly, make sure your children's boots are warm and water resistant & that their gloves or mittens are the same. If you try to make a snowman with wool or knit gloves, it won't be long before your hands are very cold and wet & everyone is miserable. So, make sure your gloves or mittens have a water resistant outer covering.
Gather together items you will need to decorate your snowman such as a carrot for the nose, small twigs in the yard for arms/hands, small charcoal briquettes oreo cookies, black olives (or anything small, round & black) for the eyes, smile & buttons, etc. Red licorice whips can be used for a mouth as well. Also, make sure you have a hat and scarf you don't mind sacrificing. Try to keep your decorations as nature-friendly and organic as possible since you will need to retrieve them from outside when the snowman melts.
First, it's best if the snow is a bit on the wet side as opposed to the dry, powdery white stuff that's great for skiing. Just a touch more moisture gives your snow ball rolling the ability to stick together and not just crumble frustrating both child and parent. Take a sample handful and try to form a small snowball. If it packs well, then it's of snowman-making quality.
If the snow is packing well, begin with a small hand-held snowball size, place it on the ground and begin rolling. Rolling can be a very difficult and acquired skill for some children. So, try to show them how it's done. You'll want to roll straight for awhile, and then to the side a bit to form a nice big ball.
You'll need 3 of these with the bottom ball being the largest to support the weight of the other two on top.
As each ball becomes the proper size (and, the proper size is determined upon how big your snowman is), help your child lift it up on top of the bottom ball. If you are building a large snowman, you will need to lift the second and third balls and set them into position. If you need help, use a shovel being careful that children are out of the way when you do.
Now, it's time to decorate. Be creative. Have fun. This is the step that gives your snowman personality and makes them "come alive" for your child.
Once you're all done, you can come inside to warm up with some hot cocoa & stories about snowmen. Some cute children's snowmen books are: Winter Friends, by Carl R. Sams; Snowmen: Creatures, Crafts and Other Winter Projects by Peter Cole; The Snowman Story Book by Raymond Briggs; Frosty The Snowman by Jack Rollins just to name a few. There are countless other children's stories about snow, winter and snowmen.
It might sound silly, but you might need to prepare your child for a nice farewell. When the snowman begins to melt, some children become very sad to see their "snow friend" go bye bye - Like on Frosty The Snowman. So, take lots of pictures while the snowman is still intact & make a game out of the snowman melting. If the weather is very cold, and it takes awhile for the snowman to melt entirely away, you can play guessing games about how much shorter you think the snowman will get today. By the time the snowman completely melts, it's not so traumatic as they eagerly await to see more and more of the snowman shrink.
The entire experience of building a snowman with your child, from the gathering decorative materials to watching it melt, will sink deep into their childhood memories. Hopefully, they will one day pass on the fun of building their own family snowman with their children. And, they will have you to thank for teaching them how it's done.