What is a Snow Angel?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A snow angel is a pattern in undisturbed snow which is created when someone lies down in a spreadeagled position and waves his or her arms and legs, creating fan-like shapes which resolve into the shape of an angel when the person stands up. Making snow angels is immensely popular with children in snowy regions in many parts of the world, and a few adults can sometimes be caught in the act as well. Making snow angels can be quite entertaining, and a good way to get active and outdoors in inclement weather.

Making snow angels are a popular winter time activity for children.
Making snow angels are a popular winter time activity for children.

People have undoubtedly been making forms and shapes in the snow for centuries, as the snow is such an ideal medium for simple artwork. No one knows who made the first snow angel, but making snow angels has become such a universal activity that many people are familiar with the concept, even if they haven't actually made one. It is also possible to make angel shapes in light sand, for people without access to snow.

The obvious danger of a snow angel is that snow is wet and cold, and by making a snow angel, someone could develop a chill which could cause him or her to get sick later. As a result, people are usually encouraged to wear winterized clothing when they make snow angels, such as thick layered pants and jackets with a waterproof outer layer, so that the snow can't soak in. Heavy gloves and a snug cap are also advised, as it is easy to extremities to get cold in the snow.

Some people enjoy making a bunch of snow angels at once with friends, sometimes creating rows of angels which appear to be holding hands. This can be a fun challenge with a large group, as people have to figure out how to make their snow angels and then step out without damaging neighboring angels. As more snow falls or the snow melts, the snow angels will slowly fade away, becoming little more than a memory.

In addition to making snow angels, some people also enjoy making snow men, three dimensional sculptures of snow which are designed to look like people. In both cases, decorations can be affixed to the snow to create additional, and a cup of hot chocolate or cider is often appreciated when the artists come in from the cold, no matter how old they are. If you live in a snowy area, you might enjoy organizing a snow angel party to see how many people you can gather in the snow for fun and games including snow angels, snow ball fights, and snow men.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


My son is 2 and because we live in the deep south, he has never seen snow. We are expecting a huge snowstorm this evening and my son is so excited!

He said that the first thing he wants to do is make a snow angel. He saw someone in a commercial making a snow angel and was fascinated by it.

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