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-themed bash! If the weather's right, use these ideas to throw one together any day there's snow on the ground. You can also gather together some families for a Sunday Snow 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 emails 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 stuff a plain invitation inside an envelope stuffed with paper snowflakes you've made using a craft punch.
Involve your child in the invitation process with a fun craft project. Make small sleds by painting and then gluing together popsicle sticks or tongue depressors, write the party details on the sled, 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.
Consider a winter wonderland menu to drive home the snowy theme. Have fun with hearty dishes and cozy cocktails.
Bring thermoses filled with hot chocolate to the sledding area or, if you have power available outside, set up an appliance that keeps the cocoa warm. Offer a warm beverage for the adults, such as coffee (spiked or otherwise), hot toddies or mulled wine. You also can't go wrong with serving apple cider or "Jack Frost" mint shakes.
Whether you're feeding the kids inside or outside, plan to offer warm and nutritious food. Sledding is intense exercise, and the kids will be good and hungry by lunchtime. Consider chili (white chili better resembles snow), soup, or comforting classics like chicken pot pie or homemade mac 'n' cheese. Or make snowmen out of mashed potatoes, complete with bell pepper arms, a carrot nose, olive eyes, and a cucumber hat.
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:
- Snowman cake: Create a cake in the shape of a snowman. Save time by using a boxed cake mix to make two round cakes, then frost, sprinkle with coconut and add chocolate, gumdrops, or licorice for the snowman's features.
- Cupcake toppers: Make paper snowflakes and attach them to popsicle sticks for quick and easy cupcake toppers.
- Snowball cake: Use a spherical cake pan to make a ball-shaped cake. Frost it with white icing, sprinkle it with coconut, and call it a snowball cake!
- Cake pops: Make white cake pops covered in white icing and dipped in coconut or white sprinkles (also called "jimmies").
- Candy canes: 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.
- Ice cream: Have the kids create their own ice cream snowmen with vanilla ice cream and candy toppings. Or pull out the snow cone maker for an appropriately icy treat.
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. Here are a few ideas to elevate your winter decor:
- Spread picnic tables with red plaid tablecloths or wool blankets and set out wicker or wooden picnic baskets. Plaid thermoses and dinnerware add a cozy touch, too.
- If you don't love plaid, go for a color scheme that really pops against the backdrop of white snow, such as aqua and red. Blue and silver are always elegant winter colors. Or, choose 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 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 its hands that reads, "Are you ready to sled?"
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, make each child a homemade snow globe that fits the party theme. Otherwise, purchase small plastic ones or have guests make the globes themselves as an indoor party activity.
Remember a few snow-day rules to make sure the day outside goes off without a hitch. Always 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.
Ask every guest to 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 can be 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.