Friday, February 12, 2010

Fun Friday: Build Snow Animals

Fun Friday activities are quick-and-simple ways to explore nature in your own backyard

My last post was about gearing up for snow play so what better to follow than a fun, simple activity to try once you get there?

Not having actually been to see the white stuff with my little ones, I called in an expert -- Melynda Harrison over at She came up with a fantastic idea: Build Snow Animals.

When I say “playing in the snow,” what do you think of? Sledding? Snowball fights? Snowmen? Many people think of the latter. When you see all that snow outside you just want to build something. But does it always have to be a snowperson? How about a snow animal?

How it works: Decide what animal you and your kids would like to sculpt out of snow. Then bundle up and head into the yard (you’ll need mittens or gloves for this activity). We usually choose an animal native to our area.

Then use snow, sticks, antlers, leaves and whatever else you find laying around to build your critter. Pile snow into a mound, use twigs as antlers, rocks for eyes and make an elk head. Sculpt a long tube that appears and disappears for a snow snake sliding through the snow.

Why it’s so fun: Kids love building and kids love animals; combine the two and you get a funfest. Snow animals are more adaptable than snowpeople -- this activity can be done with minimal snow or light, fluffy snow, so you don’t have to wait for the perfect snowfall.

Variations on a theme: Create your own nivean world using your snow animals: a bear pawing a log or a coyote chasing a mouse. How about a porcupine starting to climb a tree? Use food coloring in spray bottles to “paint” your creatures.

For more solid snow, pack snow into a bucket and add a little water. Let it freeze, dump it out and it is ready to carve with a butter knife or garden trowel.

Melynda Harrison blogs about connecting kids and nature at Your Wild Child. She is a mom to two wild boys, a writer, naturalist and unapologetic lover of winter. 


  1. My son is a fan of snow puppies. Woof woof! And my daughter and her friends made a rabbit last week. Alas, the poor thing got buried under the nearly 4 feet of snow that subsequently fell. :0) Deep stuff was great for building forts and tunnels though. (I always liked crawling through the latter as a kid.) Happy day, Debi! --Kelly

  2. What a cute little snow hedgie, or did I get that wrong? I am a fan of hedgehogs. Great idea for snow play!

  3. lol, we have made snow animals and fairy houses in snow before...going to have to search for photographic evidence now.

  4. Thanks so much for letting me post on your wonderful site!

    BTW, the animal was supposed to be a porcupine, but it is open to interpretation!

  5. Mel, it was great to have you, thanks for sharing! Looks like you're not the only one who enjoys creating critters in the snow! Still hoping to make it to see some California snow next month. I will definitely try this with the kiddos!

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