Are your kids are eager beavers when it comes to playing in the snow? You can brighten up their day (and your yard) by showing them how to create colorful art in the snow with a water gun full of dyed water.
You Will Need:
1) An Aqua Zooka Water Gun / TIP: Get several guns for different colors of water
2) All Natural Food Coloring
3) A Small Funnel (the small tip of the funnels must fit the openings of the water gun tank)
4) Plenty of Water
Your kids will be tempted to use the water guns as regular spray guns, so remind them that wintertime is very cold and that they don't want to play with water guns in the snow in the same way they would play with them in the summertime.
First, help your kids get warm and dry by wrapping them up in layers. Make sure that their play clothes and snowsuits are all secondhand, so that if dyed water gets on them (even if it washes out), it's okay if there is light staining. This can get messy, and kids should have all the freedom to play in the snow without having to worry about their clothing.
Second, designate where they're allowed to water gun paint. If you live in a nice neighborhood with manicured lawns, give them the entire backyard to work in. If you live out in an open rural area, they may have as much freedom as they want. Caution them against using their squirt guns within water shooting distance of the house (so that you don't have to rinse anything off afterward).
Third, try out the water guns (with the dyed water) yourself. Determine how much spray they have and figure out how to create designs in the snow so that you can show your kids. Focus your attention on snow that is directly underneath trees because this is the last to melt. If, however, you want to make sure that the colors fade quickly, tell your kids to only spray paint on the snow that is the most exposed to the sunlight. That way, as the snow melts, the colors fade, and your property turns white again.
Ideas for Snow Painting Designs:
Pinwheels: Make a simple cross or plus-sign in the snow and then put an "X" on top of it. Start with the tip of each point and curve out, always going in the same direction. If you have two different colors, you can paint every other color, or you can even have a double-pinwheel, where every other color has a curve in the opposite direction.
Gardens of Flowers: This is a great idea for younger kids who have less control over their excellent motor skills when holding bulky objects like a giant water gun. Have your kids paint circles in groups, making beds of colorful flowers. Walk a little behind them and add a few green leaves to their decorations.
Words and Names: This is an excellent activity for older kids. Have them write their names in the snow, very far apart. Then, around each name, have them put descriptive words that they think describes them. Words like "Cool," "Sweet," and "Awesome" are great to start out with. This is a great way to build self-esteem in your children, as well.
Complex Designs: Cross-hatching, chess boards, complicates spirals, and design motifs can be more easily attempted after control with the water gun has been established. If you or your kids get good with snow painting, you can really stretch your snow doodling skills.
DIY Snow Paint Recipe:
Fill glass jars with water and add the following colors to the mix. Food coloring is added to water with drops and you will want to be careful about how you mix the colors.
- Red = 8 drops of Red
- Orange = 6 drops of Yellow, 1 drop of Red
- Yellow = 8 drops of Yellow
- Green = 6 drops of Yellow, 1 drop of Blue
- Blue = 4 drops of Blue
- Purple = 6 drops of Red, 1 drop of Blue
Use the funnel to add the dyed water to your water gun tanks. Help your kids hold the tank steady while you carefully pour the water in.
Now that you and your kids are all ready to go, have fun painting all of the snow around your home. If you are worried about trampling over carefully mulched garden beds, you can even use the water guns yourself to outline them so that your kids know where to stay off. That way, they can run around in freedom.
After everyone is finished painting, rinse out the water gun tanks by running water through them and then squirting them out in the bathtub. If your kids are dirty or stained, this is an excellent way for them to finish bathtime while also rinsing out the water guns. Happy Painting!
Photos Courtesy of Whitney J. Fox Photography