Build the Best Snow Sculptures on the Block

Guest post by Rhonda Lucas Donald

With his carrot nose and broomstick, this familiar snowman pops up in nearly every yard after a snowstorm. This winter, impress your neighbors by building a snow creature that’s a bit fancier than Frosty.

This One’s for the Birds

snowman_building_200x300_photolibraryWhy not make your snow person a real attraction? An attraction for the birds, that is. Adding seeds, branches, berries, and other goodies to your snow person will bring birds and other wild animals to your yard. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Acorns and raw peanuts in the shell can become mouths, noses, eyes, buttons, and more. Chunks of apples or oranges work, too.
  • Pack a layer of sunflower seeds into the snow to create an edible cap, scarf, gloves, or boots.
  • Dried corncobs make distinctive noses or wild hair. You can even fashion a pair of binoculars out of corncobs to turn your bird-feeding snow person into a bird-watcher.
  • Cover pinecones with peanut butter for the snow creature to carry or use them to make a hat (or even wilder hair).
  • Fallen branches are perfect for arms, brooms, wreaths, and more. Bonus feature: A snow person with lots of branching arms will provide perches for plenty of hungry birds!
  • Fallen leaves make for fun hair or a pattern in your snow person’s garb.  Pine needles make for ideal moustaches.
  • sprig of holly or cedar makes a festive boutonnière.
  • Sprinkle birdseed mix on or around your creation for a finishing touch.

In short, use wildlife feeding staples or natural “found objects” to deck out your snowy bird “feeder.”  Build your creation within view of your house, and then watch the feast from inside. When you go back out, see how many different animal tracks you can spot.

Bring on the Snow Beasts

snowbunny_225x290_photolibrarycomTake your snow-building skills to the next level by turning your yard into a zoo. Snow is a perfect medium for crafting creatures such as polar bears, snowshoe hares, arctic foxes, snow leopards, seals, snowy owls, penguins, and more. Don’t limit yourself to denizens of the tundra; building a snow cockatoo is a fun way to warm up a cold day. Look at pictures in books or on the Internet for inspiration.

Tips for the details: Once you’ve shaped your animal’s body out of snow, add acorn or pebble eyes and noses. What about the spots? A snow leopard or snowy owl won’t be complete without these distinctive markings. Black oil sunflower seeds or dark pebbles packed into the snow should do the trick. Pine needles work well for your very own snow porcupine!

Want to brighten up your beasts? Paint them with food coloring! Here’s how:

  1. Dilute the food coloring in a small amount of water. Note:  It takes a large amount of food coloring to make the colors dark enough. To get the correct shade, experiment on “practice snow.”
  2. Create new colors by mixing the food coloring. Hint: Equal amounts of yellow, red, and blue make black.
  3. Paint with brushes or pour the coloring into a clean spray bottle. A bottle with an adjustable nozzle is handy, as it allows you to control the amount of spray.
  4. Now you’re ready to paint on a penguin’s tux or color your beasts any way you like.

Create a Scene

If you’re really up for a challenge, turn your yard into a snowy scene. For example, you can create a whole park full of bird-feeding snow people. Or how about building each member of your family? Equally impressive is to add your snow beasts into a natural tableau. You can build a colony of huddling penguins, a polar bear and cubs, or a snow leopard chasing a hare. Be sure to add details to complete your scene, such as ice flows or brushy cover. You’ll have the best snow scene on the block!

Rhonda Lucas Donald is an award-winning freelance writer living in Petersburg, Va. She has contributed stories, crafts, and poems to Ranger Rick andYour Big Backyard magazines and is the author of more than 12 books for children and teachers. Look for her latest picture book, Deep in the Desert, in spring 2011, and visit her website at