PUNXSUTAWNEY — While the area has received a slight covering of snow, it may not be enough to have a snowball fight in the neighborhood or to have a snow day from school. One doesn’t have to have snow outside, however, to have both a snow day and a snowball fight, along with some other winter fun.
There is a planned Snow Day Saturday that children from across the region can participate in on Jan. 19 at the Weather Discovery Center in Punxsutawney. This is the center’s fourth year for the “snow day” at the center, according to center Director Marlene Lellock and Director of Education and Programing Amanda Hornack.
“It’s a day we do all kinds of activities related to snow,” Lellock said. “We have indoor snowballs so we use those in some games. One called penguin shuffle and one is called snowball on a spoon. They are kind of like relay races and then we do games in our theater.”
“We have a smart board and a Wii that we can hook to the smart board. So interactive Winter Olympic games for the Wii,” Hornack said.
They can also access games on different websites such as the NOAA SciJinks site which is a government weather website. With the Smart Board, which is interactive, “the kids can actually interact with those games and play them,” Lellock noted.
“It’s a game that’s educational. You make snowflakes based on the temperature” and the humidity, Lellock said. “You choose the temperature and it actually creates the snowflake. Because snow crystals, their shapes depends on the temperature at which they start forming. So they pick the temperature they want it to be and they can grow” them in size.
The game shows that snowflakes don’t really look alike, Hornack noted, explaining that the children can pick a higher temperature and see a snowflake form and then pick a lower temperature and see that they look completely different.
So is the saying that no two snowflakes look alike true?
“That is pretty much thought to be true as no two (snowflakes) can form with exactly the same conditions, with an emphasis on exactly. The temperature could be slightly different or the humidity at the exact point where snowflakes are forming which will impact their appearance.
This program is good for students in kindergarten through sixth grade but Lellock says it could go on either side of that range – pre-school or middle school, it just depends on the child. For any preschool age children, the center asks that a parent accompany the child.
“Our programs are always about education but Snow Day Saturday is a little more snow mixed in,” Lellock says. Hornack says they incorporate the exhibits whenever possible in the program. But overall, Snow Day Saturday is a little more unstructured than a normal program at the center and much like a snow day outside would be, it is filled with fun.
“That’s our basis at the weather center, to have fun while learning,” Hornack said.
“We will have the snow games and we’re going to have some activities,” Lellock said, adding that the participants will be making a snowflake-mobile. Hornack agreed, adding they will be making paper snowflakes and then making a mobile out of them.
Another fun activity will be indoor snow. The children will be able to make actual snow in a wading pool. They will be able to touch it and play in it as well.
There will be a “snow” snack. One year they had snowball cookies for the “snow” snack but this year’s snack has not yet been decided upon. Whatever it may be there will also be hot chocolate to go with it.
The biggest part of Snow Day Saturday is the “snowball” fight. “We probably have 60 ‘snowballs’ and we go out in our lobby ... we have a blowup snow fort and we count down and we have a snowball fight,” Lellock explains. Everyone takes part, including the adults. The snowball fight is usually later in the day, once enough kids are present.
“The ones (children) that have been here before are well aware that we do it (the snowball fight). So the whole time they’re like ‘Is it time for the snowball fight yet? Is it time for the snowball fight yet?” Hornack says with a laugh.
Snow Day Saturday is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Lellock says most of the center’s programs are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and participants must be there the entire time. But Snow Day Saturday is much more freeform, Lellock says, so if participants cannot get to the center until 11 a.m. that is okay and “they can stay as long as they want.”
The regular admission price of $7 is all that it costs to attend Snow Day Saturday. There is no added fee and no need to pre-register.