excavation
Mix model parts in clay and allow to dry for a dinosaur "excavation." Use water and a small brush to unearth your discovery together for a kid-friendly science activity. (Amy Peiffer apeiffer@yorkdispatch.com)

The weather may be warming - relatively speaking, that is - but with nearly four weeks of winter left the possibility of a snow day is far from a distant memory yet. Keep these four fun ideas in mind when winter weather keeps kids indoors.

Go camping in the living room. If you don't have a small pop-up kids' tent, construct a shelter together using materials found around the house - think blankets, sheets and chairs of your fort-building past. Pack a picnic lunch in brown paper bags and eat inside your makeshift shelter. Take technology with you on this outdoors-gone-indoors trip and watch movies while snuggling inside your hut. Complete the trip with indoor s'mores: Carefully toast marshmallows on skewers over a gas stove, add graham crackers and chocolate for delicious, gooey treat.

Create a mobile art gallery and send it to someone you love. Grandparents love getting the artistic creations of their little ones, so surprise them with an envelope filled with pictures, crafts and maybe a note from the imaginative creators. For older children, consider creating a puzzle with a hidden message for the recipient to solve. Coloring pages can be found by doing a search online, or hand the kids blank pages of scrap paper and let their imaginations run wild. Host an exhibit on the refrigerator before packing up the portraits.

Hold your own science fair together. Test physics with LEGOS and see how high you can build a structure before it will fall. Discover crystals by growing your own using a recipe for homemade rock candy. Fill up the kitchen sink and make predictions about whether various household objects will float. Test different paper airplane designs to see whose craft can fly farther. Let your scientist-in-training take notes and make observations in a journal, and encourage them to ask questions based on their observations. At the end of the day, present homemade ribbons for the activities you enjoyed the most together.

Open a restaurant that serves snow. Use the freshly-fallen snow to make snow ice cream by adding one cup of white sugar and one tablespoon vanilla extract to two cups of milk, then stirring into one gallon of snow. Stir until the desired consistency, adding more snow if necessary. Try other extracts for a different flavor and top with colorful sprinkles for some variety. If you're fortunate enough to have real maple syrup at your disposal, try a New England favorite - syrup on snow. It's like a snow cone, only better.

- Amy Peiffer is a mother of two children and has been snowed in more days than she can count this year. Reach her at apeiffer@yorkdispatch.com.