WILD CHILD: Snowball Fights


When was your last snowball fight?

Snowball fights are a fantastic opportunity for our family to practice showing kindness to each other and to learn self-control while having lots of fun. We have a few ground rules:

1. Everyone needs to be having fun
2. Everyone is responsible for everyone else.
3. No head shots ever

Here’s what that looks like.

I make sure to be involved in the first snowball fight of the year. This is partly because I really like snowball fights. But it is also because I know that my little people have forgotten how to play fair when they snowball fight after a long adventure-filled summer. My one child is quite capable of whipping a snowball hard enough to bruise. My other child likes to try and sneak up behind you and shove the snowball into any open gaping piece of clothing making you very cold.

Our first snowball fight generally involves a lot of modeling which also means a lot of stopping (self-control in action). I always make a point of returning fire –if I’m hit, I toss a ball back—I try to help set the expectation that if you are going to throw a ball be prepared to be hit back.

The type of throw matches the age.  6-12 year olds may get chased down so that I can toss a ball back at them, and I throw over hand; littler ones get gentle under-hand lobbed balls always below the waist and usually to the back. Bigger kids sometimes benefit from a quick “Watch how I toss this at your brother – always gently.” demonstration.

We also call time-outs by holding our hands in front of our body in the shape of a T when we need play to stop.  I encourage older children to take responsibility in helping stop play for younger children if needed. For example, if someone gets snow in the face or needs to take a layer off.  This builds the tools for them to control the play when I’m not around and teaches them to take notice of the needs of other children that they are playing with.

For our family snowball fights are great to practice controlling our play so that everyone has fun, being aware of those around us, and playing hard. If you didn’t get a chance the last time it snowed, try to get outside, and have a snowball fight with your little people this snowfall.

Written by Tandy Morton, WILD CHILD Playgroup Facilitator