Let it snow. It’s a romantic thought, but the cabin fever that snowing sometimes creates is enough to make any mom feel a little frosty. Planning some games in the snow turns the confining blanket outside into a welcoming playground of fun. Although the snow can bring hours of recreation, it can also bring certain risks. Encourage kids to follow safe practices and run off some extra energy, instead of simmering inside and just waiting to blow.
Snow games take advantage of various elements of snow. Racing games occur on the slick surface of the snow, allowing kids to compete to see who can be the fastest down the hill. Snowball wars and fort-building rely on the stickiness of the snowflakes. Other games, such as tagging games and searching games, use the blanket of white that camouflages the ground and makes it more difficult to run around.
The joy of snow games is they only really require a pair of hands and yard full of snow. Proper clothing items, such as gloves and snowsuits, are important to keep kids warm as they play in the frozen tundra. Although there are many slick items that can be ridden down a hill, children should use only sleds and toboggans designed that are for that purpose. Cups, shovels, spoons, buckets and other utensils and containers can be used to create snowballs and forts. Sand castle-building toys live a second life in the winter for the use of snow-building projects.
As fun as it is to fly down a hill or whip a snowball at your brother, you should take certain precautions when hosting games in the snow. Dangers from snow play include frostbite and hypothermia. The University of Michigan reported, based on a Consumer Products Safety Commission 2004 study, that 74,000 children suffer sledding injuries each year. These injuries occur from collisions or falls from the sleds and other devices.
What You Should Do
Put each child is a full snowsuit that fits him well. A moisture-controlling suit will help keep the snow away from the child’s skin, keeping him warm and free from frostbite. Set a timer or establish a limit for each game. When the time is up, invite kids in for a championship snack and warm drink. Ask them specific questions about how they are feeling and whether they feel cold or numb. During a game, they might forget to check in with their own bodies, so keep the conversation up to avoid illness.
What You Shouldn’t Do
Don’t let the kids set up their sledding games near a street, tree or other potential collision. Don’t let them pile too many kids on one sled or do anything risky to get their sleds moving too quickly. Make sure all children have helmets for sledding. If kids want to put together forts for their snowball wars, don’t permit roofs, which can collapse and suffocate
- Snow image by ljc from Fotolia.com