Do you want to build a snowman? Well, do your kids want to build a snowman, at least? This beloved winter activity can be a bit more difficult than it seems at first, but there’s no denying that it’s a lot of fun. With the following tips and tricks, you’ll be an expert on how to build a snowman – the snowman of your dreams!
How to build a snowman: The white stuff
The most important (and most unpredictable) part of building a snowman is snow. Any amount of snow will make your neighborhood look like a winter wonderland, but not all types of snow are good for building a snowman.
Powdery, loose snow is pretty, but it’s not very packable. Any kid who’s tried to have a snowball fight with the stuff knows that powdery snow is pretty much useless.
For building a snowman, you want dense, moist snow. This snow is much easier to pack and will hold together much longer. If you’ve gotten a powdery snowfall, but still wish to build a snowman, you can make the snow moist with some water in a spray bottle.
How to build a snowman: Snow anatomy
The classic snowman is three snow-spheres piled on top of each other. For your base, start by forming a snowball in your hands. Place the snowball on the ground and begin rolling, picking up snow as you do so. Make sure you tilt the snowball around as you’re rolling it, so that it doesn’t turn out to be a cylinder. As you roll, be careful not to pick up any grass or dirt, lurking just below the snow. Once it’s big and round, roll it to the spot where you want your snowman to stand. You can build a snowman on concrete or asphalt, but it will melt faster than it would on grass.
The second sphere, or the snowman’s torso, should be a little smaller than the base. Try to lift it up and place it on the base, instead of pushing it up the side. This will make your snowman more symmetrical.
The head, as the smallest sphere, is the easiest to roll – you could even pack it in your hands if you want.
Though three-sphere snowmen are the most popular, you can also build a charming snowman with two spheres – one for the body and one for the head. In your snow family, they can be the little snowbabies.
Some people gather up a big mound of snow, pack it together, and then carve the shape of a snowman out of that instead. This tactic feels a little more appropriate for serious snow sculpture than for a simple snowman, but to each his own.
How to build a snowman: Fashion
You can’t let your snowman be faceless and naked! To make sure you have the best snowman on the block, he needs features and accessories.
If you have coal (maybe you have a grilling fiend in the family) it’s the classic choice for snowman eyes and buttons. But not everybody has in-home access to coal. Buttons or stones are a great alternative.
Classic snowman noses are usually carrots. Even baby carrots can give your snowman that iconic pop of orange. But you could use just about anything to make a snowman’s nose. Get creative! You could use a wine cork, a spoon, a twig, a Popsicle stick, a pine cone and much more.
Another great idea for a snowman nose is to use an icicle. Carefully snap an icicle from the edge of your roof and lodge it in the snowman’s head like you would a carrot. This makes the nose look almost like an organic part of your snow creation.
The best way to craft snowman arms is by using sticks from nearby trees. It helps if the stick has a few different little branches at the end, like fingers.
Now it is time to dress your snowman. Use clothes that you wouldn’t mind getting wet or even ruined (you are going to be leaving them outside in the snow, after all). The most fashionable snowmen have winter hats and scarves. If you use an old silk top hat, there is a small risk that your snowman might come to life.
If you want to add some color to your snowman, the nontoxic way to do that is by using food coloring. Dab some on your snowman’s face to give him blushing cheeks, or mix it up in the snow for a tie-dyed snowman. Be warned: this will probably stain all your clothes.
How to build a snowman: Appreciating your art
People build snowmen in their front yards because they want others to see their work. As long as it’s below freezing, your snowman is the star of the show.
Snap a picture of the snowman and the snowman-building crew so that your art can survive the spring thaw. Bestow a name upon your snow creation (ex. Vanilla Ice, Jack Frost, Mr. Plow, etc.). Then go inside and treat yourself to a warm cup of cocoa!
Find more fun snow day activities.