I want my boys to cry when they can’t go outside, not when they can’t watch any more shows on their Kindle.
Making this a reality during the New England winter is trickier than I expected though. Our suburbia backyard is the size of a soccer goal, and they aren’t quite coordinated enough to pull behind the truck on a sled. I spent the early part of the winter desperate for ideas, as this was our first real family winter (German winters had less snow and the boys were too young to really play outside).
I originally bought this $7 plant mister at Home Depot for a (failed) project in the glass workshop. As we built our snowman in the backyard, M commented on the yellow marks made by the neighbor dog and I wondered… would that work?
“R, if we could make the snowman any color you wanted, what color would it be?” The quizzical look on his face told me I was pushing his imagination’s boundaries, “Any color?” he questioned. I nodded. “Green, definitely green.” Within 2 minutes, I was in a happy frenzy mixing up the first experimental batch of green food coloring and water. After 30 pumps, both boys could easily depress the trigger and spray for about 20 seconds. They did the bottom of the snowman and I did the top. R’s level of glee was the reaction all around, even from random adults walking by.
The Boston snow kept falling though, and we kept building things out of snow and spraying them. Blues, greens, and reds, show up best (20-30 drops for 2 liters). Would it stain white fabric… maybe. Is it harmful if they drink it… no more than drinking Kool Aid or Gatorade… but maybe? Did they spray each other, absolutely, but as it doesn’t show up on their dark jackets and snowpants they abandoned this quickly, focusing on making mazes and lines of color instead.
R took my idea to higher level one day in the driveway though.
Simply, they decided that it would be especially fun to make their version of dog pee. I thought this was both practical (as we had lots of yellow food coloring left over) and hilarious, given the context of being to spray liters of orangish-yellow 30 feet if desired or just leaves big patches of color. After dark, they mixed up a bottle of dog’s pee (~20 drops of yellow + 10 red) and we walked around the neighborhood, raising our legs and imitating dogs. I never saw anyone’s direct reaction, but it still makes me laugh and I’m very proud of their creativity.
Would any sort of water sprayer work, sort of. With small gloved hands, my boys aren’t able to ‘pump’ a full-size window washer type sprayer, so this type of plant mister with an adjustable tip is a great option. There is a bit of necessary caution also. There is no such thing as a ‘normal’ snowman any more for them, and even the color selection of the interior walls of their snow forts need to be discussed and implemented.
Given my goal of inspiring them to get outside and try new things, this idea continues to be a real win. I am especially proud that their ideas helped take this further than I ever could have alone though.