The Hippo


May 28, 2020








Simple snowy fun
Embrace the outdoors with the whole family

By Ryan Lessard

Escape the winter doldrums with some snowy, family friendly fun.

Want to build a snowman?
Sean Fitzgerald, owner of, is a professional snow and sand sculptor based in the Boston area who’s done work in New Hampshire and across the country.
“The first thing you have to determine is the moisture content of the snow that you’re working with,” Fitzgerald said.
Wet, sticky snow is easier to roll up into a large ball, while dry, powdery snow is better for packing down and adding detail.
For creating shapes and carving, you’ll get the best results by using tools.
“That’s when you start going through the kitchen drawers and you’re looking for abrasive tools, raking tools … even spoons. There’s really no snow-sculpting depots, so you really have to be creative,” Fitzgerald said.
Transporting large snowballs can get tricky, which is why shaping snow with tools can be a better alternative.
“The problem that most people have is they go too big and they try to pick it up and then it breaks in half,” Fitzgerald said.
The best approach for the foundational snowball is to roll it to its final resting place. For the second snowball that makes up the snowman’s midsection, Fitzgerald recommends using a blanket or towel to lift it up with the help of another person so it doesn’t lose any structural integrity during the transportation process.
Small children can get involved in a number of different ways. Once the body is built, they can add a scarf and hat and coal for the face. They can also have fun “coloring” the snowman by putting food-safe coloring in spray bottles.
Concord Recreation Supervisor Laura Bryant suggested having an ad hoc snowman contest with neighbors.
Bombs away
You can use your snowman as the target in a snowball fight, too, Bryant said. While larger-scale snowball fights are fun, kids can enjoy throwing snowballs with relative safety by making snowmen the target. Each team can have its own snowman and whoever does the most damage to the opposing team’s snowman wins. 
Alternatively, Bryant said, teams can have snow-painted snowballs with colors for each team and whoever has the most hits racks up the most points. For this game mode, replace a snowman with a target made of snow. 
For a more traditional snowball fight, Bryant recommends creating boundaries with snow walls, to simulate trench warfare, and assigning roles to various players. If you have at least two people on each team, one person can be assigned to make snowballs while the other throws them. She said there are snowball makers you can buy at the store that speed the process along.
But the fewer kids there are throwing snow at each other, the less likely it will end in tears, especially since wet snow can sometimes make for icier artillery.
Snow structures
One time-honored winter outdoor activity is building a snow fort. The quickest ways to do that, Bryant said, include digging a tunnel and hollowing out a large snow mound or creating snow bricks with plastic brick-makers.
“If you have the right kind of snow, they work awesome,” Bryant said. “It’s like a bucket [that’s] shaped like a brick.”
Once a fort is built, that can also be used as a base from which to launch your snowball fight.
Another thing parents can make for small children is a tiny sledding hill. Bryan recommends piling up snow and packing down a slope on one end that kids can slide down. For older kids, parents can spray down the slope with a hose and make it even slicker.  
For sledding, either at the park or at home, Bryant finds that the saucer-shaped sleds work best and wet sticky snow is ideal.
Stay warm
Serving hot cocoa is a surefire way to help keep the kids warm. For something a little more exciting, consider making a bonfire for roasting s’mores.
While parents are putting together the fire (which requires an appropriate fire pit and a license from the local fire department), they can keep kids busy by tasking them with finding long sticks for roasting marshmallows. 
In a pinch, Bryant said, folks can use their gas grills instead.
“The more things you can figure out right in your yard, it’s probably easier for most families,” Bryant said. 

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