I would never have said that I am a huge fan of winter.
With Reynaud’s syndrome, my hands and toes get exceptionally cold with the slightest provocation. Thick socks and mittens – warm mittens — are an absolute necessity as soon as the weather dips below 10 degrees C. Even indoors, I tend to keep a hot water bottle or a rice bag handy so that as my fingers and toes get chilled, I can at least keep them from becoming painfully cold.
Once the snow falls, the ground gets slippery and, come January, a mess of ice and compacted snow that no amount of sunshine will eliminate. With unstable knees and hips, slippery ground becomes more than just an inconvenience. Even a seemingly small slide can twist my joints out of alignment, dislocate my kneecaps, make my knees puff up like balloons, and send spasms of debilitating pain through my entire lower half. (Let’s not even talk about what happens when I outright fall. It’s not pretty. There’s a good reason my cane has a sturdy spike on the end of it, and that I don’t venture out without it once there is snow on the ground.)
No, I would not say that winter is my friend. But — and it is a big but — I like snow. Or rather, I like all the things you can do with snow. And I absolutely love how the snow drives the kids outside faster than you can say “Look! It’s snowing!” and keeps them out there, happily entertaining themselves for hours and hours and hours, only to come in with rosy cheeks and sparkling eyes and chests heaving from all their snow moving exertions.
We do a lot of playing in the snow. Of course, with a winter that lasts until just before summer, we usually have a lot of snow to play in. And I miss it. I do. This whole business of winter without snow is not as fun as you might think it would be. Yes, I can walk without risk, but there are so many things that are missing from our lives right now.
I made a list. Because I could, and because I miss doing these things, because I want to remember all the crazy things we’ve done in the snow over the years, and because I plan on doing every single one of these things again as soon as we do have a decent amount of snow that sticks around for more than three-and-a-half minutes. Winter may not be here, but as soon as it arrives, boy-oh-boy are we going to have ourselves a bucket-list of fun!
And, because I like to share fun things to do and make and try, here are the first 34 things on my list.
The First 34 Things on the Great Big List of Winter Fun
- Make tracks in the snow.
- Don’t settle for boot prints – use your fingers or a stick (or even a carved potato) to make animal tracks, monster tracks, tractor tracks, and alien tracks too.
- Make a snowball.
- Make another snowball.
- Make a third, and turn it into a miniature snowman.
- Make a snowwoman to go with it.
- Make some snow children, and a snow monster, and a snow zombie.
- You’ve heard of sandcastles… Make a snowcastle. They last longer and hold detail better.
- Add some flags and windows and doors to your snowcastle.
- Populate your snowcastle with miniature snowmen, snowwomen, and snowchildren.
- Don’t forget some snowpets.
- Balance snowpeople and snowpets on the windowsill, then knock on the window until someone inside notices.
- Turn around and survey the front lawn for possible construction sites.
- Build a snow fort on the front lawn. (Make sure you don’t build it on top of Mama’s favourite spirea bush.)
- Make chairs and tables and windows and doors in your snow fort.
- Get a scrap of cloth and some play dishes and food and have a tea party in your snowfort.
- Talk your mother into serving real tea and cookies (can’t forget the cookies!) for your snowfort tea party. Invite some friends to your snowfort tea party.
- After a really heavy snow (25 cm or more), and before you shovel the driveway clear, plan a Super Extra Gigantic Snow House on your driveway.
- Using a stick, draw a square that will be your bedroom.
- Draw another square for your brother’s or sister’s bedroom.
- Draw another square to be a living room.
- Draw another square to be a kitchen.
- Don’t forget a bathroom. (There’s nothing more fun that taking a snowbath in a snowbathtub. And, for some crazy reason, boys like snowtoilets. They like making farty noises while sitting on snow toilets.)
- Start shoveling the snow out of the middle of the rooms, piling it on the line you drew to make walls. Keep going until all the rooms are made.
- Don’t forget to shovel out some doors so that you won’t get stuck inside your snowroom in your snowhouse.
- Pack some snow into furniture shapes.
- Make sure you have some thick wool blankets for the snowbeds.
- A tablecloth and curtains made from fat quarters of quilting cotton are always pretty.
- Plastic flowers go nicely in a snowvase on your snowdiningroom snowtable.
- Invite some friends to a snowhouse-warming party.
- Talk your mother into serving cookies and hot cocoa.
- Fill a squirt gun full of watered down tempera paint and go all Jackson Pollock on the walls of your snowhouse. (Every house needs art on the walls, after all.)
- Laugh like a hyena when The Man We Call Dad notices your snowhouse and wonders how the heck he’s going to get the car out of the driveway.
- Help your sibling run around collecting curtains and tablecloths and blankets and tea party sets and plastic flowers indoors so that the great big blue tractor from the snow shoveling service can turn your snowhouse into a jumbled-up mess of rainbow-coloured snow on the front lawn. (Don’t forget to thank them for helpfully moving the driveway snow closer to the front lawn fort.)