5 Activities for Very Cold Days

Tulsa is looking forward to some record-setting cold temperatures. Not being a fan of winter, I’m trying to come up with ideas for some cold-weather fun! In particular, when it’s bitterly cold out but there’s no snow to lighten the mood. If you do try any of these activities, be sure to bundle up!! I’m definitely more sniffly now that I ventured outside a few times, ugh. Here’s a fairly in-depth article from the Washington Post on how to dress appropriately for the cold.

The nice thing about these activities is they can get you outdoors for a little bit, but for the most part don’t require a lot of time outside!

1. Blow Frozen Bubbles

I tried this a year or so ago when temperatures weren’t as miserably frigid as they are right now. It didn’t work. This time around, with temps around 19 degrees F, it was a success! All you have to do is blow bubbles as you would normally (outside, of course), and hope they freeze.

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I’ve seen recommendations to blow them up high into the air so they can freeze on the way back down. What I ended up doing was trying to catch the bubbles on the bubble wand so I could watch them freeze. It takes a little patience and some trial and error, but I count it a success! Don’t let the wind bother your bubbles, and try to blow smaller bubbles if you’ll be catching them, as they will freeze quicker.

If you don’t have bubble solution at-hand, I whipped up a really easy recipe. Mix 2 c. warm water, 1/4 c. liquid dish soap and 1/4 c. sugar. Apparently, the sugar helps maintain moisture so the solution doesn’t dry out too quickly.

2. Photograph Frozen Clothes

One of the local news stations shared a photo of some frozen jeans from Colorado. I thought, “That looks fun!” So I grabbed a pair of Joss’s shorts (he won’t be needing them for awhile!), got them wet in the sink, and took them outside. Once they were frozen solid (it took less than an hour probably), it was time to let them shine!

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3. Make Frozen Suncatchers

I haven’t tried this idea yet, but it sounds fun! Gather some lightweight, natural materials such as leaves, berries, etc. Arrange these into the bottom of an aluminum pie pan and cover them with water. Leave outside until frozen. Remove the ice disc from the pan, and drill a hole in it. Loop a piece of string through the hole, and hang it somewhere where it will catch the sun!

Obviously, we don’t have a lot of sun at the moment, but you can still make some pretty art. Here’s an idea for making a rainbow of frozen suncatchers, so even if they’re not catching any rays, they’ll still be cheerful to look at!

Check out this article for some troubleshooting tips. And consider adding bird-friendly materials like seeds, so the wildlife gets a tasty snack, too!

4. Grow Colorful Icicles

Make your own colorful icicles using a ziploc bag, twine, food coloring and – of course – water! There are many different ways to set up your icicle growing station, but I thought this tutorial from Kitchen Pantry Scientist looked the easiest. Others involve ladders, pre-freezing frozen ice blocks, etc. I like the simplicity of the Kitchen Pantry Scientist version.

5. Created Colored Ice Sculptures

This idea takes some preparation, but sounds like a lot of fun! Simply add food coloring to water and freeze it in different-sized ice trays or other receptacles. Make several different colors. When you have a good supply of frozen ice blocks, take them outside with a bottle of water. Your kids can arrange the frozen blocks and use the liquid water to cement them together. Find complete instructions here.

For more ideas, check out this list of 100+ Outdoor Winter Activities from runwildmychild.com. Even if not all the ideas are practical for your situation, there are some wonderful ideas.

Help Others Stay Warm

And although this isn’t an outdoor activity, I wanted to mention one last idea. Consider donating to a local homeless shelter or other nonprofit serving your local homeless community. Talk with your kids about why this work is important and about what you’re choosing to give, whether that’s a financial donation or wish list items like tents, sleeping bags, etc.

Organizations in Tulsa that you could support include:

I’m sure I left some organizations off of this list, so please add them in the comments so others can find them!

This article was originally published in February 2021

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Categories: Features, Fun For Kids