Winter is upon us and snow is falling all across Canada. While your kids’ (children or students) first instinct is to build a snowman and an arsenal of snowballs, there are some outdoor learning experiences to be had, including a few that can be beneficial for your garden. Let’s have a look at some added incentive to get outdoors with your youngsters during this season’s winter wonderland.
3 Helpful, Sustainable, and Engaging Things Your Kids Can Do with Snow This Winter in Canada
Harvest the Snow
Why on earth would your kids harvest snow? It’s just melts. Well, that’s actually the point! In the same manner that we encourage households, urban farmers, and school gardeners to install rain barrels to harvest rainwater for crops, we hope to inspire your kids to do the same with snow. We’re pretty sure they’ll be excited to do so – any excuse to get out there and gather the fluffy white stuff!
You can help them use any existing rain barrels you may have to catch snow when forecast. In addition, they can repurpose empty containers from around the pantry (i.e. big brother’s empty protein powder bucket, etc.) or classroom and head outside to scoop up snow and place it within. Seal the containers and put them away for safe keeping until the next extended bout of precipitation-free days in the spring. With spring/summer drought conditions persisting over the past couple of years, harvesting water (in all of its forms) has become very important.
For added fun, your kids can store a few snowballs in a chest freezer (if you have one) until the spring. When the time comes for watering the lawn or garden, send them out for snowball target practice against a post in the garden which will help moisturize the soil. Feel free to stand-in for the post, if you dare.
Build a Fortress to Protect Your Wintering Garden
Beyond snowmen and snowballs, kids love making igloos and another snow-block constructions. Have them to so to protect your wintering garden. There are a couple of threats that a sturdy fortress of snow can protect winter compost (or even winter hardy plants) against. Wind is one of them. View this guide which includes tips to identifying wind direction in your community, then have your kids build a snow-block barrier to keep it at bay.
Furthermore, there are wild animals that come down from the mountains and hills in the winter. One of the steps to keeping them out of the garden is to build a barrier.
While the wind/pest barrier will only last for as long as freezing temperatures allow, it provides temporary sanctuary for your resting plants and composting soil. More importantly, it teaches your kids about the importance of protecting plants and crops from the elements.
Make Some Healthy All-Natural Snow-Cones
Your kids may associate snow-cones with summertime. However, most of those ice-cream truck bought cones are loaded with sugary syrups and preservatives such as sodium benzoate and more. Go all-natural this winter by tapping into Mother Nature’s bounty from above.
Begin by making your own “syrups” and “sweeteners” from organic sources the next time snow is forecast. With a juicer you can make orange, pineapple, strawberry, mango, and more – no added ingredients required. That said, for a creamier texture you can add milk (dairy, almond, oat, etc.) and for a topping you can grab organic honey from your natural foods retailer. Set the homemade syrups/sweeteners aside and wait. When snow falls, send the kids outside to gather freshly falling snow (before it hits the ground) into a cup or bowl. When they retreat indoors have them pour the wholesome sweet ingredients over top and watch the deliciousness seep through. This is the ultimate all-natural winter treat!