Kids in West Yellowstone Montana know about winter. Sometimes it can begin snowing even before Halloween in October with deep snow piles on the ground that can last until early May! Because West Yellowstone is located so high in the mountains, we usually have one snow storm EVERY month of the year! Of course, it melts quickly in the summer!
With all that snow, kids have to find ways to have fun in the snow. Why not try some of these outdoor winter games? Send us a photo or note describing how you had fun with one of these games. Or, send us another snow game we can add to the list. We would love to post your photos and we will even mail you a special Kids’N’Snow star all the way from Montana! (Mail to: Kids’N’Snow, PO Box 1633, West Yellowstone, MT 59758.)
Snow Ball Rolling. See who can roll the biggest snow ball. Make a small snowball and pack it very tight. Then, put it on the ground and start rolling to make it bigger and bigger. Take turns until it gets so big, you can’t roll it anymore or until you run out of snow!
Build a Snow Man. Use your snow ball rolling contest to build a snowman. Stack the snowballs on top of one another, three snowballs high, then get creative when making decorations: you can use sticks for arms, a carrot nose, stick buttons down the chest and place a scarf and/or cap on the snowman's body. Have a snowman building contest with your friends to see who can make the funniest, largest, or scariest snow man!
Go Tubing. Build a course or find a hill with no obstacles the sit in inner tubes and race to the finish line using just your feet.
Snow Golf. Make a golf course by packing down a section of snow every few feet. Bury tin cans halfway down in the snow to create holes, and mark them with mini flagsticks. You can use sticks, bats or clubs and any kind of small balls. Or create bigger holes and throw Frisbees. The fewest hits or throws to complete the entire course wins.
Make a Snow Angel. Stand straight with your arms and legs together. Fall back onto the snow (make sure you are falling into softer snow and not ice). Spread out your arms and legs. Move them back and forth five times. Stand up carefully and lean forward being careful not to push outside the edges of your angel. Look behind you!
Practice Your Pitch. Paint a bull's-eye target on a piece of cardboard, giving each colored ring a point value. Attach it to a tree, and keep score as you try to hit the target with snowballs.
Hoop –It-up! Grab a few hula hoops, and have a contest to see who can last the longest. It's a lot harder when you're all bundled up!
Search for Animal Tracks. Snow makes it easier to spot animal tracks. Look in your backyard or park for small tracks made by birds and squirrels. Can you find tracks left by pets like cats and dogs? Ask an adult to take a nature hike with you, especially near the woods. Keep an eye out for different tracks, and take photos of the tracks when you find them. Try to identify them at the scene, if you can or else confirm the type of track at home on the Internet. Make your own animal track scrapbook and you will be amazed at all the different tracks you find over time.
Build a Snow Fort. Find a mound of snow. You can add more snow to it, but it is important to pack down the top and sides of the mound firmly before digging. Start digging a hole until it is big enough to sit in. Make sure to leave the walls about a foot thick so the fort won't collapse.
Jumping Snow Hurdles. Begin by lightly packing multiple basketball-size snowballs to form hurdles around an open area or field, creating an obstacle course to jump over. Be sure to make some “high” and some “low” hurdles. Take turns being the first and play "follow the leader." Or, take turns racing and time that can complete the course the fastest.
Make Snow Candy. Have an adult melt some caramel or chocolate chips in the microwave. Or, just heat up some maple syrup. Bring it outside and drizzle designs (using a spoon) on fresh, clean snow. Within just a few minutes, your snow candy will harden and be ready to pick up and eat.
Sledding. Sledding is the best winter activity. Check and see if your community builds sledding hills. If not, look for a snowy (not icy) hill. It should be free of trees and other obstacles. Avoid steep or long hills where the speeds can get too fast, and stay far away from dangerous obstacles such as trees. Make sure there is a large area at the bottom that gives plenty of room and time to stop safely before getting too close to roads or other objects. Use a sled, toboggan, plastic saucer shield or trash can lid. If the snow is right, you can use a flat cardboard box. Wrap it with wax paper if the snow is soft. If it is a large hill, wear a bicycle safety helmet. Also, make sure all parts of your body (arms, hands, legs) are fully covered.
Snow Tug of War. Tamp down a wide, shallow trench in the snow to serve as the midline. Then, take up positions at the ends of a long, thick rope and let the tugging and towing begin. Whichever team pulls the entire opposing group over to its side of the trench wins.
Snow Baseball. Create a baseball diamond with four mounds of snow, one mound for each of the three bases and home plate. Place an empty water bottle or coffee can atop each mound. Players take turns as the pitcher, throwing snowballs at each of the targets, beginning with home plate. The player who strikes each of the targets with the fewest number of throws is the winner.
Build a City Made of Snow. Use a shovel to build a mound of snow. Then, with mittened hands, shape miniature skyscrapers, bridges and parks. If the snow isn't damp enough to pack well, use a spray bottle filled with water to moisten it. Use the edge of a metal spatula to smooth walls, slope roofs and square up corners. It's also a handy tool for plowing the city's roads and walkways. Hollow out windows, doorways and tunnels with a large serving spoon. For a glitzy effect, use food coloring mixed with water to spray-paint the completed city. You can even populate his creation with a bunch of mini snowmen and pets or line the streets with tiny snow cars. You can borrow some pans or bowls from the kitchen and use them to build crystal fairy castles to add to the city. Afterward, take a picture to send to email@example.com and we'll post it on the website and Facebook.
For the Birds. String cranberries, popcorn, and cereal onto fishing line for a garland to attract and nourish your feathered friends. Winter scavenger hunt Freeze colored water into ice cubes, then hide them around the yard. Tic-Tac-Snow Make a large Tic-Tac-Toe board in the snow.(Mix food coloring with water in a spray bottle and squirt an outline for your board.) Use crisscrossed sticks and pinecones as game pieces for this classic game.