We love playing in the snow. We climb up and slide down mountains of snow. We sculpt and build with chunks of snow. We dig tunnels and dens as homes for all sorts of creatures. There is no end to the things we can do with snow – when we have some.
This winter we have had far too little snow. Just look at this picture, taken last year, of the pathway through the garden;
It was one of our favourite hiding places. This year it looks like this;
Last year the snow was piled high on the deck. To get from one side to the other the children had to scale mountains that were taller than they were;
This year the snow pile poses little challenge other than making sure you lift your feet so you don’t trip as you cross the deck;
It is pointless to bring out the shovels since the temperature fluctuations have caused the snow to melt and freeze so often that it is now mostly ice.
There are some benefits too – for example, last winter we couldn’t even find the stumps but this winter we can still use them for balance games and follow the leader;
Did you notice the layer of ice on the top of the stumps? The children have. In fact, in many of their games they have ‘safety inspectors’ whose role it is to point out hazards to the others.
Interestingly a ‘hazard’ doesn’t mean the area is off limits. It simply means that when one child begins to jump across the stumps another child will stand on the ground beside them to ‘catch them if they slip’. I guess this could result in two injuries instead of just one but they have also modified the speed and other factors in this familiar activity. I think many drivers on the road today could learn from these children and modify their driving habits based on road conditions.
The children have also created some new activities with the abundance of ice instead of snow. One of my favourites is the ‘music’ activity where they throw ice chunks against the gong.
Notice the skill it takes to pick-up/release ice chunks and hit the centre of the target while wearing bulky mitts. I’d also like to point out the incredible photography skill, um, amazing reaction time, unbelievable luck it took for me to capture this picture. 🙂
Whatever the conditions are there is always something to do outdoors so get outside and play!