There are two types of people in the world: folks who love snow and folks who hate it. Regardless of where you stand on the debate, everyone can have fun at a winter wonderland sledding party.
Sledding parties bring out the kid in everyone and snow can make a great theme for a child with a wintertime birthday. But don't wait for a birthday to roll around if you want to host a sledding bash! If the weather's right, use these ideas to throw one together any day.
If you're hosting an impromptu sledding party, there's no need to send formal invitations. Just make some phone calls and send off some e-mails informing friends of the day's details.
If you're hosting a birthday party, you could make invitations shaped like snowmen, sleds or snowflakes. You could also send a plain invitation that's inside an envelope stuffed with small snowflakes you've purchased or made using a craft punch.
You and your child could also make small sleds using popsicle sticks or tongue depressors, write the party details on the back side and then either hand deliver the invitations or ship them in small boxes.
Or, find a vintage photo online or at an antique store and use it as the backdrop for your invitations.
Somewhere on the invitation advise the families to dress appropriately for the weather and to bring a change of clothes.
A winter wonderland menu can help drive home the snowy theme.
Bring Thermoses of hot chocolate to the sledding area or, if you have power available outside, set up an appliance that keeps the cocoa warm.
Along those lines, you might also want to offer a warm beverage for the adults, such as coffee (spiked or otherwise) and hot toddies.
Whether you're feeding the kids inside or outside, plan to offer something warm and hearty. Sledding is good exercise, after all, and they'll be good and hungry by lunchtime.
Consider: chili (white chili better resembles snow), soup or something comforting like chicken pot pie or homemade mac 'n' cheese.
Other ideas: a mashed-potato snowman and "Jack Frosty" mint shakes.
Snow Party Cake
You don't need much more than white frosting and coconut to make a cake or cupcakes fit the snow sledding theme, but if you want to put in some extra effort, here are some wintery dessert ideas:
- A snowflake-covered snowman cake.
- Lyndsay Sung, of Coco Cake in Vancouver, B.C., made these beautiful skiing-themed cupcake toppers for a birthday party.
- Better Homes & Gardens once featured a coconut-covered cake that was sloped like a hill and covered with teddy bear graham crackers riding fruit leather sleds.
- Use a spherical cake pan (compare prices) to make a ball-shaped cake. Frost it with white icing, sprinkle it with coconut and call it a snowball cake.
- Make white cake pops covered in white icing and dipped in coconut or white sprinkles (also called "jimmies").
- Here's another easy snow party treat idea: dip candy canes in melted chocolate and set on wax paper until the chocolate hardens. The chocolate-dipped candy canes make a delicious dessert on their own, but taste especially good dipped in hot cocoa or coffee.
- If the kids don't mind eating something cold, you could also serve ice cream or snow cones (compare prices on snow cone-making machines).
- Looking for an easy idea for cupcake toppers? Make paper snowflakes and attach them to popsicle sticks.
What's nice about a sledding party is that you can let Mother Nature do most of the decorating. Throw the party outside and you'll hardly have to lift a finger.
You could have a lot of fun, though, setting an old-fashioned winter festival scene outside, whether you're hosting the party in your yard or at a park.
Spread picnic tables with red-plaid tablecloths or wool blankets and set out wicker or wooden picnic baskets. Plaid Thermoses and plaid dinnerware add a cozy touch, too.
Instead of plaid, you could go with a color scheme that really pops against the backdrop of white snow, such as mint-green and poppy-red or aqua and red. Blue and silver are popular winter colors or go with a color scheme inspired by nature by using shades of brown and gray or brown and blue.
String white Christmas lights between trees.
Set out propane heaters if you have them or can borrow some or build a fire in an outdoor fireplace.
Use wintery items, such as antique sleds and mittens clipped to a clothesline, as decorations.
Build a snowman to greet guests. Prop a chalkboard sign in his hands that reads, "Are you ready to sled?" or something similar.
Send each child home with a memento of the day, such as a mitten filled with candy or a snowflake-shaped cookie cutter.
Kids might also like passes to your local ice-skating rink.
If you're crafty, you could make each child a homemade snow globe that fits the party theme. Otherwise, purchase small plastic ones (compare prices) or have the guests make the globes themselves as an indoor party activity.
Families who spend a lot of time outdoors during the winter don't need any reminders about what to wear when the mercury falls. If you don't have a lot of experience in the snow, though, consider this advice:
- Dress in layers. Have the children wear thermal underwear or leggings and long-sleeve shirts. Put snow pants or snow bibs on top of that, and then add a fleece jacket, sweater or something similar.
- Mittens, a scarf, a hat, and a winter coat go on next. Dry socks and waterproof snow boots are essential, too.
- Have everyone bring an extra change of clothes, especially if the snow is somewhat wet. Nothing's worse than getting your socks soaked in the first 10 minutes of a sledding party and spending the rest of the day with cold toes.
- Have an adult test out sledding routes before the party to determine which hills are fun and safe. Sledding is wonderful but can be quite dangerous in the wrong conditions.
Along those lines, lay out some ground rules at the start of the party, such as waiting for the path to be clear before going down a hill and only sledding on the designated routes.
Don't let cold weather deter you from playing outside with your kids. Embrace the snow! Host a sledding-themed birthday party or gather together some families for a Sunday Snow Day instead.