Introduction: Toddler Snow Slide
Winter brings the opportunity for unique outdoor activities if you live in a snowy place. One activity that many people enjoy sledding.
Not all people who live in snowy places can go sledding, though. If you live in a flat area without any good hills, or if you have small children who might be too small to go sledding yet, you can make a snow slide to entertain them from the comfort of your own yard.
My wife and I used the same principles one would use to make a snow jump for skiers/snowboarders to make a sled for toddlers.
- A snowy yard
- A shovel (Flat-nosedor snow shovel)
- Boots (Optional)
- Any other winter clothing you like to keep warm
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Step 1: Choose a Location
- Choose a place with lots of snow surrounding it.
- To cut down on construction time choose:
- Snow banks. This reduce the amount of snow you have to transport.
- Stairs. If you have a back deck with 2 or 3 stairs, you can build a slide down the stairs. (If the stairs aren't used regularly in the winter).
We decided to build ours on a snowbank formed from snow that's been shoveled off our walkway.
Step 2: Make a "foundation"
- Make a shape for your snow slide by stomping down the snow to make a "foundation."
- Think about which way you want it to point and how long you want it to be.
- When the snow doesn't crunch down any more when you step on it, it is compacted enough.
Tip: Make sure the end isn't running into a fence or a bush.
Step 3: Pile on the Snow!
- Start piling snow on the "foundation". A shovel makes this go quickly. I suggest a flat- nosed shovel, because it is handy to use it to pat the snow down as you build it up.
- As you pile up snow, hit it with the shovel and stomp it down to make it DENSE.
- For every new layer, stomp the snow DOWN and IN. You need to stomp it inward so the snow doesn’t just mush out sideways as you are stomping it down.
Step 4: Shape the Snow Pile
The goal of the piling and stomping is to have a lopsided pile with an off-center peak. The peak should be closer to the stair-side of the slide and farther from the bottom of the slide (1/3rd of the length should be stairs and top of slide, and the other 2/3rd should be the actual slide).
The top: Build up snow on the sides to make sure the top is wide enough. Stomp down the top to make it flat. If it can’t be stomped down any more, you can kick snow off to flatten it out.
The slide: Drag your foot down the pile to make a path for your slide to follow. Build up snow on either side of the center-line to start giving your slide shape.
The stairs: We’ll save this for last. Just make sure the snow is compacted on this stair side as well.
Step 5: Smooth It Out
As you've probably noticed with all your previous stomping, stomping makes the snow smooth and slippery.
- Stomp along the groove you made with a concave slide shape in mind. Stomp on the center more than the edges of the slide to give it a slide-like indent.
- Use your hands to smooth it out further if the stomping didn’t make it slippery enough. (I’d suggest using gloves).
Step 6: Make Stairs
- Use your square-point shovel to cut chunks out of the stair side of the pile.
- Stomp the stairs’ tops smooth and kick the stairs’ faces a bit to make sure they don’t collapse.
Tip: Don’t try to make the edges of the stairs meet for a perfect edge (unless you’re really confident in the strength of the snow you’re using).
Step 7: Slide on Down
- If your toddler is feeling up to it, help them down the slide. Or if your wife is feeling adventurous, she can go down as well.
- If you're having trouble sliding, you can use a garbage bag to slide down. It all depends on how wet and slippery your snow is. A sled could be used as well.
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