Planning kids' winter birthday parties - or just keeping the kids busy when the out-of-doors are out-of-bounds can be difficult. Here're a few ideas for keeping the kids active and engaged during a freezing or snowy day at home.

Play project snowman

Begin this giggle-inducing contest by dividing kids into teams. Send them to different rooms, where they'll find toilet paper, piles of hats and scarves (the funkier the better!), buttons cut from construction paper, and tape. Each team must transform one of its members into a snowman, then help their creation get back to the central party room with as little "melting" as possible. Award prizes for wackiest outfit, best teamwork, and so on.

Craft a winter wonderland

This snow globe sparkles as a party craft. For each one, you'll need a small, clean jar.

Remove the lid, flip it over, and create your scene using plastic animals and trees secured by lumps of polymer clay, such as Fimo. Fill the jar almost to the top with water.

Stir in a few drops of glycerin and 1/2 teaspoon of silver or white glitter. Tightly screw the lid onto the jar and enjoy the snowfall.

Serve a melted Frosty

To make these smiling sippers, warm some milk, adding 2 teaspoons of sugar per cup. Pour the mixture into mugs, stir 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract into each, then top with a dollop of whipped cream. Float a candy corn nose and chocolate chips for the smile and the eyes. Serve the drinks immediately.

Give a snowman-to-go

Send guests home with this note and the listed items. "Ingredients for a very cool snowman: funky sunglasses for his eyes, four or five small rocks for a rockin' grin, three large buttons for buttons (of course), one scarf to keep him warm, one hat to top him off with style. Add a fresh carrot nose and plenty of snow!"

(We fringed fleece strips for scarves, painted our rocks black, and found top hats at a party store.)

TAKE IT FURTHER

Treat younger kids to a read-aloud of "The Snowy Day," the 50-year-old classic by Ezra Jack Keats. The older set will enjoy sampling the new Peanuts DVD "Snow Days."