(Editor's Note: This article was originally published on January 13, 2009. Your comments are welcome, but please be aware that authors of previously published articles may not be able to promptly respond to new questions or comments.) Image

Snow flowers are pictures of flowers drawn in the snow. My children like to make snow flowers because they get to play outside in the snow. But as a transplanted Floridian, I like snow flowers because they are a bright reminder that winter will not last forever. When I first moved to northwest Missouri I thought I would never grow accustomed to the severe winters. Now fourteen years later, I tromp through the snow like it is second nature to me. And I make snow flowers with my kids. Snow flowers are not difficult to create--if they were I could not make them because I am not an artist. When I attempt to draw stick people they fling themselves off the edge of the page! But seriously, making snow flowers is about having fun with your children, and it is about family time. The kids get outdoors. They run, play and throw snowballs at your gorgeous snow flowers. Okay, maybe your children will not do that. But mine did. And we all had fun. So, do not fret if you are not an artist.; simply draw your flowers and color them. Once you are back inside the warm, cozy house you can admire your snow flower garden from the comfort of indoors.

Recently I made snow flowers with my children. The previous week was long and hard for us here in northwest Missouri. We had several inches of snow followed by an ice storm a few days later. After that, it got cold. If we thought the twenties were cold, we were wrong: the temperatures plummeted. A week later, it was 10 below zero in my front yard. Now that's cold! Needless to say, we were tired of being cooped up in the house when we had the first warm day in several days. (By warm, I mean a not-so-balmy 30 degrees. But after suffering below zero temperatures and dangerous wind chills, thirty degrees seems warm.) We bundled up and went outside for some fresh air. Perhaps I should say, frozen air! I gathered my snow flower making items and hunted down my children. They had absconded to the front yard to throw snowballs at each other. Once I had the little snowball lobbers corralled, we drew flowers in the snow. I couldn't find a stick, so I grabbed the snow shovel and we used the handle like a big pencil. We laughed, my children threw more snowballs and our noses turned as red as Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer's. After we colored our snow flowers we rushed inside to drink hot chocolate. And as we sat and reminisced about our snow fun, I could not help but feel thankful. Yes, the past week had been difficult. But we did not dwell on the misery of the severe cold we had come through. We simply enjoyed our time together and felt glad that we had made a little garden of snow flowers to admire from our kitchen window.

Our snow flowers in progress. Our snow flowers completed. Our snow flowers from a distance.

The items needed to create snow flowers are easy to come by. You'll need a long sick or dowel to use as a pencil. We used the handle of our snow shovel. Basic food coloring, water and a pitcher is all you need to 'paint' the snow flowers. Beforehand you can create unique colors for your flowers by mixing the food coloring together. This is a fun project for the kids. After you have drawn you flowers or other garden design in the snow, fill the pitcher with water and color it with the food coloring. Now, slowly pour the colored water over the design. It is the same principle as coloring with crayons. All you need do is stay inside the lines. Depending on the depth of the snow, your picture should remain a day or longer.

ImageWhere can you find ideas for snow designs? Look around. Pictures are everywhere. Have your children collect their coloring books and choose a picture from one of them then recreate it in the snow. If you are a true artist you might want to sketch out an entire scene and help your children color it with the food coloring. For those of us who are artistically challenged here are a few ideas for simple snow designs:

• tractors
• birds
• palm trees
• the sun
• a smiley face
• a dog or cat

Children have vivid imaginations. They will likely have plenty of ideas of what they want to draw in the snow, so let them decide. And have fun making your snow design.

While living in Floridia, and later Missouri, I often dreaded the arrival of winter. But now I have learned to appreciate it--it is a time to slow down. While I rest from the hard work of tending the warm season garden, I take advantage of the free time for activities like making flowers in the snow and making memories with my children.

Pleasant gardening