Cabin fever? Have some frozen fun

From what I can tell on Facebook, parents are over snow days. With subfreezing temps, you can’t just hand the kids a sled and a pair of mittens and shoo them out the door, either. Here are 6 fun things to try at home that normally are too cold for us in VA to do:

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Pretend yours is the little house on the prairie: Mix butter and maple syrup according to this recipe and make your own maple snow taffy.

Wonder at self-inflating balloons: Inflate a balloon, then take it outside. It’ll deflate. When you bring it back inside, it’ll inflate on its own. (You probably know this, but just in case that science lesson is foggy: The volume of the gases inside the balloons changes with the temperature, contracting when cold and expanding when warm.)

Make ice ring bird feeders: Fill a bundt cake pan with water and sprinkle with bird seed (or various seeds and nuts). Set outside until frozen. When my son and I did this at home, it only took a couple of hours to freeze. Pop out the new bird feeder, tie it with ribbon and hang it outside.

frozen bubblesFreeze bubbles — even if they’re made of milk: Here’s a twist on the experiment that was going around the Internet when we had our last polar vortex. (They are getting so cliche!) To recap the first experiment: You can use regular bubble mix, blow the bubbles outside, and watch them freeze. If you don’t have bubble mix, make your own with dishwashing detergent and corn syrup. That experiment can be tricky, though, because it’s hard to handle the little wire ring when you’re wearing your Arctic-proof mittens. A friend of mine used milk instead of bubbles. This was much easier because her kids could make the bubbles by blowing through a straw. (see results below)

frozen milk bubbles
Turn a towel into a toboggan: Soak a bath towel in water, then lay it flat outside. Line up two or three paint cans (any cylinder, really) at the end of the towel, then roll the towel up enough to cover the cans. Remove the cans after the towel freezes, then pour water over the ice that cracked when you removed the cans. Once it re-freezes, you’re good to go. This might be a good one to make on Friday, in preparation for Saturday’s (finally!) above-freezing temps.

Design your own footwear: Surely you’ve ordered pizza sometime in the last few days. Use those pizza boxes to make your own snowshoes. Want something  more durable? Click here for examples using plywood and using tree branches.


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