Winter storm Nemo: Moms, tweet us your kids doing these snow projects

Winter storm Nemo will pound the Northeast and moms will be called on to keep kids from going stir-crazy. When you do our snow day projects, tweet @modparenthood with photos of you and your kids facing up to winter storm Nemo and make sure to tag it -- #Nemo

Associated Press
Winter storm Nemo: Tweet us your photos as winter storm Nemo forces you and your kids to think outside the house for activities. Here, people cross the road in Muskegon, Mich., where the storm passed through Feb. 7 on its way to the Northeast Thursday.

Somebody call Disney and tell them to stop looking for Nemo, the whole Northeast just found him and he’s packing some serious winter fun wallop. Sadly, here in Norfolk, Va. we’ve got nothing but gloomy old rain, as usual. No winter storm Nemo for us. Our southern kids dream of what they would do if they got a “real” snow. My solution is to challenge readers to create something awesome and fun out of snow and share the winter wealth with the blizzardly-challenged around the world by tweeting photos of their creations to @modparenthood with the tag #Nemo. 

I must admit I was inspired by the Verizon snowman TV spot that always makes my kids look at me like I’m as cool as the mom on the commercial. In the spot two adult brothers share photos of their snow creations back and forth on their phones, one-upping each other until they evolve to snow horses and dragons. However, Mom trumps them both with a two-story, fire belching snowman.

To be perfectly honest, in our family it’s really my husband, Robert, who is the winter wonderman. About 10 years ago when we lived in Medford, N.J. there was a blizzard of epic proportions that left us house-bound for days. My husband morphed into a mad winter genius and architect of pure mayhem. He used all my loaf pans to make building blocks by packing snow into them as brick molds. He not only made forts, but shoveled and tamped the white stuff into a kiddie luge that he slicked with water. It is still know in the family as “Best day ever!”

I, on the other hand, had the bright idea of hitching our dog to a sled and putting the kids (then 7- and 5-years-old) on board for a ride. One squirrel and a harrowing chase later, we decided never to do that again. Don’t try this at home, especially if home is across the street from a lake in Medford. Long story short, that’s how new moms become old moms in a hurry.

So this time my bright ideas are just art smart. I suggest that, when you head out to stock up on things for being snowed-in, get some food coloring, spray bottles, paper cups, brushes, and cheap baking tins of various sizes.

The spray bottles are for filling with water and food coloring to “paint” on the big white canvas that’s coming your way. Although your art can be flat or 3-D.

A little boy in my chess program said wistfully, “If we had snow I’d lie down and make a snow angel and use Legos to make patterns on the wings.”

My son Quin said he’d paint on the outside of the windows with colored water to make stained glass. That seems iffy to me so I was happy to find Crayola’s Crystalizing Window markers at the store last week. The markers work on any window, hot or cold, and from the inside. They go on looking like watery versions of regular markers, but as they dry they look just like Jack Frost turned them into colored ice crystals. In our house, Mr. Frost is a very busy guy this week and all our windows are awesome.

My son Avery, age 13, said he’d leave containers of colored water out over night to freeze, then unmold to make ice robots. I suppose you could do this with ice cube trays and then make tiny colorful ice robots for robot wars, or for snowball target practice.

However, all of my boys tell me the ultimate achievement would be for someone to make a character from the super popular world of Minecraft (a video game) out of snow and or ice.

For more traditional ideas, TLC (formerly known as The Learning Channel) was the best bet with their How Stuff Works list of ideas and materials for making colorful footprint art paths “stomped” in the snow and then sprayed different colors.

All this and other outdoor ideas await at the TLC site

As aggravating and inconvenient as the wall of white may get, you can always remind your children and yourself that there somewhere there are children starving for snow.

Remember to tweet @modparenthood with photos of your snow day creations, tagged #Nemo. I will be online with you to retweet (@nicechess007)

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