With winter storm Stella roaring up the East Coast this week, Americans are gearing up for over a foot of snow. Because the weather will shut down many commutes, we can look forward to spending some quality time at home with the family. Which makes this a perfect time to tackle those snowy-day DIY projects!
Whether you prefer to huddle indoors or enjoy the snowfall outside, to teach kids basic science or craft some complex builds, this list of seven projects should include something for everyone. Let DIY keep your household occupied before, during, and after the storm.
A storm can be a learning opportunity. Rig up a device to monitor the amount of snowfall, and you can compare your measurements to those of the pros. This snow-measuring “device” can be as simple as a yardstick to measure depth or a modified scale to measure weight. For a sturdier build capable of standing up to a blizzard’s gusts, you can craft a standing snow gauge.
Make a snowball slingshot
Once the wind dies down, you’ll want to work up an appetite for a classic mug of hot chocolate with whipped cream. Which means heading outside for a session of sledding, snowman-building, or—best of all—a snowball fight. This snowball slingshot will kick your battle up a notch, and it gives you something to do while you’re stuck indoors during the worst of the weather.
Want a permanent souvenir of the snowstorm? You can preserve a snowflake in superglue, like a fly in amber, to make it last for decades. Just follow Theodore Gray’s instructions for trapping a snowflake in superglue, and guarantee that you’ll remember this snowstorm forever. For an easier memory, just feast your eyes on these gorgeous close-up photos of snowflakes.
Track the wind
Blizzards bring not just snow, but strong winds. Keep an eye on the wind’s direction with this kid-friendly wind vane. Bear in mind that it uses light, cheap materials like cardboard and straws, so it might not survive too many icy blasts. If you’re being hit by a truly blustery blizzard, it might be best to save this particular project for a more temperate day—or at least fasten it down with heavier materials.
Build a tiny RC snow plow
Given the volume of snow that most of the East Coast can expect, we’ll have a lot of shoveling to do this week. So why not make life a little easier with a wee remote-control snowplow? Okay, okay, this cute project probably won’t be able to deal with the high wind speeds and massive snowdrifts that meteorologists are predicting. But it could be a fun way to spend a snowed-in afternoon. This project requires tinkering skills, however, kids can help out as long as they have adult supervision.
Cook up snow candy
Got some real maple syrup? Got some fresh snow? Boom, you have all the ingredients you need to make tasty snow candy. When you drizzle boiled syrup into cold snow, it will harden into whatever pattern you please. This project will particularly appeal to kids and those with an artistic bent, but an adult should be the one to handle the molten sugar. Simply follow these candy-making instructions for homemade sugary goodness.
Build an igloo
An igloo is a once-a-year-if-you’re-lucky project—it takes about a foot of precipitation to construct this snow hut. But with Stella threatening to dump up to five inches per hour at its peak, that shouldn’t be a problem. Do you want to build an igloo? Follow the suggestions of Dutch architect Pieter Sijpke.