The twinkling magic of Christmas is over, but winter still has some magic up its sleeve -- in the form of fluffy, white snow. As much as ice-covered roads and plowed-in driveways can be big nuisances, don't forget the excitement and beauty that the first big snowfall brings.
My favorite time is early evening, when the house rings out with excited claims of "It's snowing!" Everyone watches from the windows, cupping their hands against the freezing glass and watching the flakes flurry down against the glow of the bright streetlights. There's not a single footstep in the freshly fallen powder, and the air is calm, crisp and serene. The picture-perfect scene doesn't last long, but it does get better.
Bring on the snow boots, gloves, hats and scarves, because a winter snowfall means one thing: It's time to get outside and play! While there are some great toys and accessories out there that will enhance kids' snow experience, keep it simple with some classic snow play fun!
Make a snowman! When the snow is slightly dense, it's perfect for rolling and making snowmen. Building snowmen will keep kids busy for hours, as they perfect their new frozen BFF. Once the snow is stacked in place, kids get to decorate their creation with fun and creative accessories. Look for twigs for the arms and a carrot for the nose. Collect buttons, acorns, rocks or even some coal if you have it, for the eyes and mouth and don't forget to top things off with an old hat and scarf.
Snow angels are another timeless snow day activity. Find fresh, untouched snow and carefully lay down on your back, disturbing as little snow as possible. Start with your arms by your side and then move them up to your head in a big arch. Bring them back down and up until you think you have made the perfect wings. Carefully stand up, trying not to disturb your creation. Mom and dad can get in on the snow angel action too, to create an entire snow family!
Igloos are some of the most impressive snow structures, because they give kids a cool (literally) play space once they're finished. Though this activity certainly requires more than a dusting of snow, it's well worth the effort. Perfect for big groups of neighborhood kids or the extended family, everyone can pitch in to gather snow, shape bricks and build up the ultimate igloo! Kids can even get super creative and create furniture, alcoves, shelves and more on the inside, making their snow structure a one-of-a-kind winter playhouse.
Once playtime is over and the coats, hats, and scarves are drying near the heater or the fireplace, make sure you have some hot cocoa, plenty of mini marshmallows and fresh baked cookies on hand to warm everyone up!
Snow day activities are classic and completely timeless. Keep it simple, because remember: the magic is in the snow itself!
Laurie Schacht also known as The Toy Insider Mom, has been covering the toy industry for more than 20 years. The Toy Insider produces an annual holiday gift guide in Woman's Day magazine, and also serves as a trusted resource for parents all year round at TheToyInsider.com and through social media.