3 Wild Weather Activities
If you happen to be experiencing inclement weather right now then it's probably hard to see a bright side to the endless rain or snow. Fear not, however, there are still plenty of creative ways to enjoy the winter wonderland that has befallen your area.
In The Wild Weather Book (Frances Lincoln, 2013), by Fiona Danks and Jo Schofield, there are a multitude of innovative activities that will get you, and your family, outside and ward off signs of cabin fever.*
1. Snowy days can seem more like a hindrance than anything else, but once the cold winds have died down there’s plenty to enjoy. We’ve all made snowmen and instigated snowball fights, but these authors offer up an idea for the birds. Snow can sometimes prevent our feathery friends from getting the food they need. Lend them a helping hand with this recipe for fun.
“Food: Mash up some melted lard with bird seed. Find a tree in your garden, at the park or at school -- somewhere you can keep an eye on. Smear the bird food mixture on to a branch of your chosen tree or spread it over a stick and hang the stick from the tree.”
2. If you have a vivid imagination, and aren't afraid of getting dirty, venture outdoors and build mud castles after a rain storm.
“Mold sticky mud into crazy imaginary fortresses and palaces, using stones and sticks for the structure and other natural materials to add details such as windows or flags. Add tunnels, secret rooms, dark dungeons and deep moats, and make little mud and stick knights to defend the castle against invaders.”
3. You’ve played in the mud and fed the birds, so now it’s time to treat yourself. Toffee ice sculptures are a delicious snack and can serve as an outlet for creativity. Try this recipe from the book:
- On a cold evening fill some large trays with water. Leave them outside to freeze overnight and make ice slabs.
- The next day, ask an adult to help you make toffee. Gently heat 400g/14oz of caster sugar in 100ml/3fl oz of water on a cooker until the sugar has completely dissolved. Add a teaspoon of vinegar and 4 tablespoons of golden syrup.
- Bring the mixture to the boil. Simmer for at least 10 minutes until the toffee reaches the hard crack setting stage (when dripped into ice-cold water, it forms hard toffee and long threads.)
- Ask an adult to pour some toffee into a small pouring pan or Pyrex jug (a small container with a spout will ensure you have better control when pouring the toffee).
- Carefully take the small pan or jug of toffee outside. Remove the ice slabs from the trays and lay them flat on the ground. Slowly pour the toffee over the ice to make patterns or pictures. The mixture will set immediately, but you can add as many layers as you wish.
- To make a crazy edible mask, pour toffee in a mask shape and then push a lolly stick into it before it sets. You could make fine threads of toffee to look like crazy hair or whiskers. On a snowy day, make toffee lollies by pouring hot toffee on to deep, clean snow.
Who says it has to be sunny out to have a good time? Check out the authors' site for more fun activities and challenges.
*Make sure to exercise good judgment when dressing for outdoor conditions and partaking in any physical activity.
The Wild Weather Book, by Fiona Danks and Jo Schofield, Frances Lincoln 2013, www.qbookshop.com.
--Activities courtesy of Fiona Danks and Jo Schofield, printed with permission.
--Images of activities and cover ©Frances Lincoln 2013 from The Wild Weather Book, used with permission.
--top image by istockphoto/PixelEmbargo
Bianca Hernandez is an editorial intern at Sierra. She recently received her MA in Visual Anthropology from the University of Southern California and has written for various publications.