You’ll know the snow is right for rolling into big balls for snow sculpture if the temperature is near the freezing mark: 31 degrees to 33, for example.
Pick up a handful of snow and squeeze it; if it stays in one lump, try rolling it in snow that’s on the ground. If the handful picks up other snow, you’re in the snow sculpture business.
Keep rolling. Friends will want in on your project.
When your snow ball is almost too heavy to turn over again, look around. If you see mostly green grass where you collected all that snow into the ball, you may choose to roll to a place where there’s untouched snow. Yell for more people to help you move that ball; it will be bigger when it arrives at the chosen spot.
Now what is it? A snowman? A lady? A penguin? For these, another big ball will go on top of the monstrous base and then a head-size ball on that. That would likely require a ladder.
Solution: Don’t make a snowman or a penguin, make an elephant or a dinosaur or a fort or - you name it.
Almost anybody can make snowmen and women. Be different!
My first attempt at a snow animal was with a little niece who’s now a grandmother.
We put two or three big snowballs in a row and some smaller ones on top when someone asked, "What is it?"
We hadn’t decided, so we answered, "Wait and see - or help us make it."
As we worked, someone said, "It looks like a skinny elephant." So we fattened it by packing smaller snowballs on it and smoothed the elephant’s body.
We added a round head and carved away snow enough to reveal big ears that seemed to be hiding, flat, on each side. We packed snow around a stick to make a trunk touching the ground and added snow to turn it up slightly at the snout. Sticks made good tusks. The short snow tail appeared on the elephant’s rounded bottom, and two of us started digging out snow under the belly, one on each side.
Soon Dumbo stood on double-wide legs, front and back. Then we dug out snow to leave four fat legs and packed additional snow on the ground to make big feet with toes. We used the extra snow dug out from underneath to patch and smooth Dumbo all over. We were cold but sorry to have him finished.
My Recreational Leadership class at Christian College made a huge penguin on the front lawn of Missouri Hall. Girls took turns climbing a stepladder to create him. An art major led a crew of about six students - and several boyfriends - in building this huge, unusual "snowman."
The class assignment included "enlist any help you want, but you are to be working when others are working and responsible for the results."
My children and I once made a large dinosaur in front of the picture window; the forecast was for extreme cold, so we sprayed "Buster" with water, and he lasted for weeks!
Boyfriends once helped my students make a life-size igloo near Hughes Hall - but the sun came out, and the igloo never got the top part of its dome.
When my class was sculpting, other students and friends sometimes made their own snow sculptures on campus.
The joy of accomplishment was their reward. My reward was in seeing them doing hard work together for fun.
That’s the essence of recreational leadership.