How to Spend a Snow Day in Highlands Ranch

Woohoo! The Douglas County School District has cancelled school today, so now there is only one question that remains: how do you spend your day? We’ve put together a list of fun (and educational, don’t tell the kids!) activities for today.

Let’s start with the obvious, sledding and ice skating. Once the temperature comes back up, dress appropriately and hit up these awesome hills near us. Macaroni Kid in Highlands Ranch put the following guide together:

Colorado has no shortage of hills and usually plenty of snow in the middle of winter. We’ve scoured the internet and talked with every parent we know (kudos and thanks to all my friends!) to try to find some of the best sledding hills around.

For the most part, we don’t have actual addresses in Douglas County but general directions so we hope you can find them. Most of these came recommended to us by other parents and we have personally checked out only a few, so we would love for you to share your experience at any of these sledding spots, or tell us where you take your family.

Douglas County
Epic Hills Elsewhere


An hour of ice skating burns about as many calories as jogging but is lower impact and way more fun. Following is a list of ice rinks, both indoor and outdoor, that we’ve found in the Denver Metro area. Outdoor rinks can have a pretty short skating season, so be sure to visit the website to confirm dates and hours.

Indoor Rinks (alphabetical by city)
  • The Apex Center Ice Arena, 13150 W. 72nd Ave., Arvada. Admission is $2.50-$6 depending on age and residency status, skate rental is $3-$3.50.
  • Family Sports Ice Arena, 6901 S. Peoria, Centennial. Admission is $5-$8 depending on residency status and day, skate rental is $2.50-$3.50.
  • South Suburban Ice Arena, 6580 S. Vine St., Centennial. Admission is $5-$8 depending on residency status and day, skate rental is $2.50-$3.50.
  • Joy Burns Ice Arena, 2240 E. Buchtel Blvd., Denver. Adults are $7, children 12 and under are $6, skate rental is $3. Family admission is $25.
  • Edge Ice Arena, 6623 S. Ward St., Littleton. Adults are $7, children 6-17 are $5, children 5 and under are $3, skate rental is $3.
  • Ice Centre at the Promenade, 10710 Westminster Blvd., Westminster. Admission is $5-$6 depending on residency status, skate rental is $3.50.
Outdoor Rinks (alphabetical by city; dates dependent on weather)
  • The Pond at Southlands, 6155 S. Main St., Aurora. Admission is $8.50 for ages 4 and up, skate rental is $2.50. Open November 23, 2017 through February 19, 2018.
  • WinterSkate, Teahouse Plaza, 1780 13th St., Boulder. Admission (includes skate rental) is $10 for ages 13 and up, $9 for ages 12 and under, but bring your own skates to receive $5 off. Open December 2017 through February 2018.
  • Rink at the Rock, 414 N. Perry, Castle Rock. Admission is $8 for ages 12 and up, $6 for ages 11 and under, skate rental is $3. Open November 22, 2017 through February 19, 2018.
  • DEN Plaza, Denver International Airport, 8500 Peña Blvd., Denver. Admission and skate rental is FREE, but you’ll have to pay to park. Open November 24, 2017 through January 7, 2018, 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM.
  • Downtown Denver Rink at Skyline Park, 16th and Arapahoe, Denver. Admission is FREE! Skate rental is $6 for children (12 and younger) and $8 for adults or you can bring your own. Open November 22, 2017 through February 14, 2018.
  • Evergeen Lake House, 29612 Upper Bear Creek Rd., Evergreen. Admission is $7 for ages 18 and up, $6 for ages 4-17, skate rental is $7. Open December 16, 2017 through February 19, 2018
  • The Rink at Belmar, 408 S. Teller, Lakewood. Admission (includes skate rental) is $9.50 for ages 13 and up, $7.50 for ages 12 and under, or $5 per person without skate rental. Open November 16, 2017 through January 28, 2018.
  • Parker Ice Trail at Discovery Park, 20115 E. Mainstreet, Parker. Adults are $8, children 10 and under are $6, skate rental is $4. Open mid-December through late-February.

The following are some more great indoor and outdoor activities. Thanks to Her View From Home for the ideas! And if none of these float your boat, you can always practice your forms and push-ups (which you should be doing anyways!). Not a student at our school? Check out the special we have going right now for a free trial and come on in to check us out!

1. Make Use of the Snow

Might as well embrace the snow. Toss your kiddos outside with a shovel and have them shovel the driveway and sidewalks. If they have extra energy and can stand the cold, suggest they shovel the neighbor’s driveway too.

2. Hot Chocolate Magic

Provide your kids with bowls, scoop up the snow and add it to your sauce pan. They will love watching it melt into chocolate goodness on the stove top with you.

Here’s a great recipe.

3. Maple Syrup Goodness

This makes another sweet snack for your kids. Boil real maple syrup for 10 minutes, stirring often. Then carefully take the syrup outside. Have your kids find a smooth, clean area and pour the syrup into the snow. Have fun and draw your kids’ names in the snow with it. Just be sure the syrup has cooled before picking it up and nibbling on it. You can find another recipe at Family Go.Com

4. Snowman Marshmallows

Marshmallow snowmen: put three jumbo marshmallows on a plate to create the snowman’s body. Add chocolate chips for eyes and buttons and a butterscotch chip for the nose. Then, stick the whole thing in the microwave for about 7 seconds. Take out and attach thin pretzel sticks for arms. Then, enjoy this gooey treat!

5. Polar Express

Create a train like atmosphere with your furniture. Have your kids make train tickets. Then read the story and let their imagination take off. My kids love playing “train” or “Polar Train.”

6. Spa Day

If you have girls, round up your mani & pedi supplies and stake out a place near the fireplace.

7. Game On

Mostly boys? They love competition, consider a Wii tournament or UNO.

8. Make Snow Ice Cream

Scoop up snow in waffle cones or cups.

  • 1/2 cups half & half or whole milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 cups of clean snow or shaved ice

Blend the milk, sugar and vanilla together until the sugar dissolves.  Mix 4 cups of snow and stir until you get the same consistency of ice cream.  Add toppings or chocolate syrup to make a Snow Sundae!

Here’s more about homemade ice cream.

9. Have an indoor picnic

Who needs a table and nice cooked meals? Make cookies and other finger foods ahead of time and let your kids decide where (within reason) to picnic.

10. Make homemade play dough

1 cup flour, 1/2 cup salt, 2 tbsp. cream of tartar, 2 tbsp. oil, 1 cup water food coloring (optional), Scent (cinnamon, vanilla, mint, etc. – also optional).

In a saucepan, mix flour, salt, cream of tartar, scent ingredient, and oil. Slowly mix in water until it’s all smooth. Then turn the heat on medium and stir until it forms a ball of dough. I used a heat-resistant rubber spatula so I could scrape the bottom of the pan easily. Once it’s a ball, plop it onto some wax paper until it’s cool enough for you to touch.

11. Make homemade finger paints

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup of cornstarch
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup dish-washing soap
  • food coloring

Put the sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan and then slowly mix in cold water. Then cook the mixture over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly until you have a smooth gel. Let cool and then add dish-washing soap. Divide into as many containers as you would like colors and then mix in food coloring drops until you have you desired color. If you have colored dishwashing soap that can influence all the colors you try to create, which isn’t always a bad thing. Here’s another recipe for finger paint.

If homemade paints is for the birds, simply break out your store bought paints and let them go to town on creating. If you’re really brave, let them add glitter to their masterpieces. 

12. Taffy Time

Have a Taffy Pull in your kitchen with your kids. I remember doing this every Christmas with my grandma. I may have to purchase some supplies and do it. You can find the directions here:Berkshire Cottage.

13. Indoor Snow Castles

My kids love this but be prepared for a little bit of mess. Bring in your kiddie pool and add buckets of snow. Provide your kids with their sand making supplies. OR add the snow to your tub. I like the tub, easier and less mess. 

14.  Color Free Printables

There just isn’t enough time in the day to be creative. Consider finding free printable coloring pages for your kids. Most sites like Nick Jr, Disney, etc have these.

15. Computer time

There are several sites online for your child’s education use and fun. We use ABC Mouse and  Other sites we like are Nick Jr and PBS Kids.

16. Snow Fun

There is always the best traditions of snow angels and snow ball fights. Take pictures and capture the moments.

17. Snow Fort

Too cold to go outside? Make a fort inside, using blankets and pillows and watch a movie from the fort!

18. Valentine’s Day Stained “glass” Craft

Here’s a beautiful craft to get you in the mood for heart day!

19. Fashion Shoot

Hang up some sparkly sheets and beads, add tulle or anything fun fabric, then have your girls dress up in their favorite costumes and have a fashion shoot!

20. Sock Toss

My kids loved the sock toss when they were toddlers. Arrange baskets, buckets, or paper bags in the middle of your living room floor, stuff socks into balls. Whoever gets the most socks in the baskets wins.   (Or make a sock fishing game like we did here.)

21. Borax Crystals.

This one takes overnight, but hey – if it is a snow day – you have the time!  I was intimidated by it at first, but it is WAY easier than I thought.  All you need is Borox, a glass, water, pipe cleaner and a string.  So cool.  The whole recipe is right here.

22. Science Fun!

Satisfy your pint-sized scientist.  Volcano, rockets, super gel.  Most of the stuff is made from things already in your house.

23. Make some cookies!

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 egg

Cream the butter & sugar.  Add eggs & Vanilla.  Add the rest.  Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes.  YUMMY!

24. Skype Grandma and Grandpa

Do you have a Skype account?  Facebook?  Google Plus?  All of these have video chats now.  And if you can’t video chat, just call!  Grandma and grandpa would LOVE to hear from their grandkids!

25. Bring the snow INSIDE!!

Grab a few buckets of snow and put it in the bathtub.  Have your kids put on gloves and go to town.  The mess is minimal and the fun is maximum!  Plus, you don’t have to worry about kiddos getting too cold!

26. Feed the birds!

When it is snowing the birds have a harder time finding food.  Now’s your chance to help out and give the kids an educational something to do! You can roll a toilet paper or paper towel holder with peanut butter and popcorn (or bird seed if you have some) or check out these other ways to make simple feeders.  Or you can check out how we used gelatin to make a feeder.

27. Masking Tape City

Have kids who love cars?  Get them started on a living room city project.  The tape outlines the streets.  Then the cars can drive around and even up and over some couches, chairs and such.

28. Octopus Spaghetti Use hot dogs and spaghetti.  Mix with cheese.  All kinds of kid fun.     **If it is cold:  FREEZE BUBBLES!!

29. Moon Sand!! 

Baby oil + flour.  COOL!  You can see some pictures here.

30. Read a Book from your library.

No – Don’t go out in the snow.  But you CAN check out books from your library on your tables or iPad.  You may have to log on to their web site or call for directions.

31. Treasure hunt!

Hide something in your house.  Then post clues for your kids to find them.

OR – just play ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ telling your kids they’re getting ‘warmer’ when they’re getting closer and ‘colder’ when they’re walking away from the ‘treasure.’

OR – Have one of your older kids hide a treasure and draw a ‘map’ of how to find it.

32. Snowflakes!

Use coffee filters.  They’re pre-cut in circles.  Just fold them in half and half again. Then cut out some circles and triangles.

33. When you’re ready to go outside – Make some art!

A couple squirts of food coloring in a squirt bottle or squirt gun and then send the kids outside in the snow to ‘paint’ the snow.  This is also fun for decorating snowmen and women.


(inside) Put a piece of paper on a cookie sheet, pile snow on top of it, then squeeze a few drops of color on the top of the paint.  When the snow melts, you’ll have a neat water color picture!

34. Frozen Paint!!

If you have paint, set it outside (or in your freezer) overnight to freeze it!  Then kids can color with the frozen paint.

Jolene Rheault

Jolene works as a marketing professional but full-time as a mom. She lives in Highlands Ranch, CO with her 7-year-old son, husband, 2 cats, and a bearded dragon named Jerry.

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