Well, that's just what we did on Monday. We woke up Monday morning to the season's first blanket of snow, and I immediately decided to cancel (home)school for the day and start up the pot of hot chocolate! I didn't let the kids go downstairs until they were all up and wearing some manner of clothes, knowing that I wouldn't be able to stop them from barrelling outside once they looked outside.
It's an amazing thing to watch four- and six-year old children see snow for the first time ever. Matthew, of course, has experienced seven years of winters. But Seth's gasp when he saw the white backyard was awesome, and I think I caught it on videotape. After staring out the big windows for a few seconds of absolutely awed silence, all three kids ran for their outerwear - they'd been waiting for this day for weeks, and there was something close to bedlam in the mudroom as they jockeyed for jackets, snow pants, and boots. Seth actually started to cry when he couldn't get his boots on fast enough.
The long and the short of it is this: They loved it.
As they ran out the door into the back yard, Seth kept asking if the white stuff was ice (like at his skating lessons), but then looked down and saw that his feet were making impressions in the snow. "What?" he said, looking behind him at his trail of footprints, a look of puzzlement on his face. Once that cleared up, he ran, stomped, laughed, tasted, rolled, and shovelled. It was awesome to watch him, and I'm not sure the smile left his face for the whole time that they were out there.
Lizzie was hilarious, too. After having a similar initial reaction to her brother, her course of action became very clear: she was going to eat all of the snow in the yard. I'm not sure if I've mentioned before that Lizzie is a little water-obsessed...she loves drinking water (and I do mean loves), playing in water, splashing water, washing her hands for minutes on end just to feel the water on her hands and arms. I don't know why she's so water-fixated, but the kids have said a few times that they were thirsty a lot in Ethiopia, so I'm guessing there's some connection there. At any rate, during those first 75 minutes in the snow, Lizzie must have eaten two buckets full of snow! I didn't have the heart to tell her quite yet that snow is actually pretty dirty...I figure the first week's worth of snowy dirt consumption won't kill her! I did, however, draw the line when I saw her scraping the snow off of the stomped-on deck and shovelling that in, too. And I drew the line, too, when I later caught her using her fingernails to scrape and eat bits of melting ice from the bottom of her boots (and later her brothers' boots) after she'd come inside.
So basically, I just cancelled school on Monday and Tuesday (well, other than the theatre event that I took them to on Tuesday) and let them play in the snow as much as they wanted to. And I'll be honest...we haven't done a whole lot of formal school this week at all, and it's now Thursday! I'm considering the idea of just calling this week our 'enjoying nature' week of school and starting over again next week. Though it means I won't accomplish that fairly ambitious agenda I'd created for this week's homeschool, Matthew's already waaay into his grade 2 curriculum after only five official weeks of h/school, so I'm thinking I don't need to worry a lot! Besides, I figure they'll all learn by experimenting with snow and learning more about playing together as a threesome. School schmool.
Here are a few pictures that fail to do justice to the joy of Monday.
Getting ready to go outside. Seth's just getting over his boot-related tears, and Matthew (for various reasons) was having a sad moment of his own. But trust me, a second later (when I wish I'd taken a picture) they were all laughing and racing to open the door!
Taking a first sojourn into the white backyard. When Seth saw the bits of grass peeking through the white stuff, he was stunned and kept digging at the snow to reveal more grass. He couldn't understand how the grass was still there.
Clearly, Matthew hasn't forgotten how to make snowballs...and now his siblings know how to, too!
Can you see the spray of snow from Matthew's snowball...aimed at Seth, who is running away with a grin on his face?
It's hard to see the serene smile on Seth's face here, but he looked so awestruck by the experience...he just sat here for a minute, taking it all in.
And then, of course, there's Lizzie, who shoveled snow into her mouth at an alarming pace! Pretty much every picture I took of her over the course of the first hour showed her pushing snow into her mouth, or obviously enjoying that consumption! She ate almost continuously for over an hour...and by the look on her face, I'd say she loved the taste!
(below) Can you guess what she's thinking????!!!
And here she is, eating the snow and ice that she just scraped off of the bottom of her own boots!
Of course, what would snow day be without a mug of hot chocolate and marshmallows?
All in all, it was a great day, and it was totally worth procrastinating a few days of school to see all three kids loving the snow. I have a feeling this is going to be a very outdoorsy winter, and that can only be a good thing!