DIY

I Made Snow Dough With My Kid Gang And It Was The Perfect Winter Activity For The Whole Family

by Angela Andaloro

Friends, winter in New York has not been quite what you’d think so far. While the occasional freezing day has occurred, it’s been a lot of unseasonably warm days.

In the New York City metro area, there’s been nothing more than a coating of snow. Being well into January, it’s just not fair.

Of course, a snow day doesn’t mean much to a work-from-home adult. It does mean a whole lot to children. Who doesn’t love the sweet surprise of an unexpected day off from school? Since there’s been nothing even close, I figured I’d find a way to bring the fun of snow indoors. After some online sleuthing and a little help from Buggy and Buddy, I found a way.

Enter snow dough. Snow dough doesn’t seem like it’d have the right consistency when you look at the ingredients. While you’re making it, you may even wonder if you’re actually making flubber. But once it cools and is ready to be played with, you’ll see the magic.

To put it to the test, I got together a gang of cousins ages 6 to 8. These kids have grown past Play-doh and become masters of making slime, and they are not afraid to get messy. Once they got their hands on this (and my word that I’d help clean up if it got too crumbly), they were all too happy to let the hours pass with the next best thing to snow.

snow dough ingredients
Angela Andaloro/LittleThings

When winter doesn’t provide bounties of snow, you have to improvise. After looking at several different snow dough recipes across the web, I went with the ones that have ingredients you’re likely to already have on deck. The Buggy and Buddy recipe calls for the following:

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon water

snow dough
Angela Andaloro/LittleThings

To make it, combine all the ingredients in a saucepan. If you’re suspicious that the mix is too dry at first, don’t panic. As you stir it over medium heat, you’ll see the mix go from too dry to very wet to doughy.

snow dough
Angela Andaloro/LittleThings

Note that it will go through these changes pretty quickly if you’re consistently stirring. Do not leave your snow dough unattended, or it will start to smell like burning baking soda. It should take 5 to 7 minutes before it looks like snow.

Angela Andaloro/LittleThings

Cooling will take a bit longer. I left the snow dough alone for about 15 minutes, and there were still a few spots too hot for little hands. For quicker cooling, break up the snow dough as shown here so that it cools more evenly.

snow dough
Angela Andaloro/LittleThings

I was going to break out the snow dough for my stepson as soon as it cooled, but the day got away from us. Luckily, a visit from his cousins the next day provided the perfect opportunity to try it out. I whipped up another batch before their arrival, noticing the consistency was slightly stickier than the original batch.

snow dough
Angela Andaloro/LittleThings

Once I let the kids know they could play with it, they were intrigued. I got a few questions from them about what it was made of. Of course, at least one of them inquired about eating it. Gotta love kids, right?

Angela Andaloro/LittleThings

I noticed that almost immediately, the kids put the stickier batch to the side. When I pointed out that they might want some of the stickier stuff if they were going to build anything out of the dough, I saw lightbulbs go off in their minds. Still, the boys got caught up in the crumbly stuff while my niece got to making a snow dough man.

snow dough
Angela Andaloro/LittleThings

Eventually, we lost my nephew, who discovered Perler beads and went on to other creative pursuits. The other two were still all in, ready to make some snow dough men. As they got further into the containers and things got crumbly, they started to have more fun breaking the stuff up than putting it together.

snow dough
Angela Andaloro/LittleThings

They started crumbling it all in the containers, which anyone who has experienced children even briefly knows wouldn’t last. I heard them whispering about dumping it out on the table, but they hadn’t asked just yet. They were having enough fun trying to see who had more dough.

snow dough
Angela Andaloro/LittleThings

After a few minutes, they started raving about the snow dough. Knowing we were going to dinner to celebrate a birthday, they asked if they could bring it with us to the restaurant. While I was tempted to see how long it would take one of them to hurl a faux snowball at a jousting knight at Medieval Times, I fought the curiosity and let them know that playtime would have to wrap up soon.

Angela Andaloro/LittleThings

Eventually, they asked if they could dump both containers out on the table. Knowing that vacuuming would be a necessity regardless, I let them go for it. Making a mess is very exciting, and it says it all over their little faces.

snow dough
Angela Andaloro/LittleThings

The batch they originally deemed the stickier one seemed to have dried out more during their play. When that one was flipped over, it came right out and crumbled all over the table. The other batch wouldn’t do the same.

In fact, it got stuck. The banging of small hands on the plastic container didn’t free it up. I figure that since it was in the larger container, some of the moisture may have sunk toward the bottom. One good slap from me eventually freed it.

snow dough
Angela Andaloro/LittleThings

The snow dough should be stored in an airtight container in a cool dry place. Despite that, I noticed my batch started to grow mold after about three weeks, so keep an eye on it. All in all, it was easy to make, and the kids had a lot of fun with it. Not only would I recommend it to others, but I have a feeling I’ll be making another batch myself if this snowless winter keeps up.