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!
Shake It Up!: Use strong glue to attach a plastic toy to the inside of a jar lid, then add baby oil and glitter for a homemade snow globe; it makes a fun souvenir of a great day.
Cool Critters: Use bits of nature to embellish animals sculpted from snow.
For the Birds: Hollow out an orange and fill with seeds to feed your feathered friends.
Ice Maker: When the temperature drops below 32 degrees, blow bubbles and watch them freeze on the wand.
Snow Graffiti: Give kids spray bottles full of water that's tinted with food coloring to decorate the white canvas in your backyard.
Tic-Tac-Snow: Two players go for the championship in this classic game. Use crisscrossed sticks and pinecones as game pieces.
For the Birds: String cranberries, popcorn, and cereal onto fishing line for a garland to attract and nourish your feathered friends.
Cold Molds: Borrow some pans from the kitchen. Use them to build crystal fairy castles or to create cakes for a cold-weather "buffet."
A Sweet Chalet: Decorate your playhouse with laminated paper snowflakes, pinwheels, and a wreath dotted with plastic ponytail holders.
Ice and Easy: Freeze colored water into ice cubes, then hide them around the yard for a wintertime scavenger hunt.
Have a snowball-throwing contest! Make a target by creating a bright circle in the snow with colored water in a squirt bottle.
Sugar Daddy: Give your friendly snowman a candy-coated makeover with licorice, lollipops, and gummies.
Build a Fort: Build a fort. Use sand buckets, loaf pans, and cut-up empty milk cartons to make a cool snow castle.
Go Tubing: Beach toys aren't just for sand. Have your kids sit in inner tubes and then race to the finish line using just their feet.
Swing Away: 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.
Pin the Smile on the Snowman: Pass out chocolate cookies, then blindfold each child and let him try to get the mouth, eyes, and buttons in place.
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 the kids try to hit the target with snowballs.
More Fun Ideas
*Have a snowball fight: Divide your family into teams, then start throwing. Save this one for last so you can go inside, dry off, and have some hot chocolate.
* Walk this way. Have your kids follow your lead as you move like different animals: Waddle like a penguin, stomp like a bear, and wiggle like a fish.
*Create a maze. Put on your hiking boots and stamp out a path for your kids to follow.
*Plan a scavenger hunt. Hide an apple in a mound of snow so that a little bit peeks out. Give the kids silly directions to follow as they search for it.
*Play freeze tag. Can you think of a more appropriate game for a chilly day? Once someone's tagged by the person who's "It," he has to stay frozen until another player tags him again.
*Make faces. Use handfuls of packed snow to create funny characters on a tree trunk.
Originally published in the January 2007, January 2008, and January 2010 issues of Parents magazine.