Now before you go telling me snow isn't a toy, the originally list consisted of: the stick, string, dirt/mud, cardboard box, and cardboard tube, although not necessarily in that order (ok, not in that order at all, maybe you should go read the original list - after you finish here of course.) I have lots of fond memories of snow growing up. I remember when I was a preschool aged child (I never went to preschool) lining our front yard in a snow fence made out of snow that had been packed into a planter. That was one of the few times we built anything in the front yard, because my mother didn't like even 1 footprint in the beautiful snow, although the backyard was fair game. My oldest daughter asks for snow year round. I even taught my dog to pull a sled to sled dog commands while in junior high, but this is not why snow deserves to be on the list of all time best toys.
As I've mentioned before I'm lucky enough to get to volunteer for my daughter's school at lunch time. I get there and get the tables set up and washed, and then I go outside to watch the younger kids for their recess period (we play then eat). Well the last two days we've had snow. These have been the most fun and easy two days all year. Sure we had snow earlier in the year, but we had a few issues we were working out then, bumping these days to the top of the list.
First off our small school yard now has at least a dozen four foot high snowballs in it. These appeared almost as fast as the snow, and I'm not exaggerating either. If it was allowed I'd take pictures of them, but I don't want to take pictures of the kids without permission, and it's really not that important. There is another 6 or so fully laid out forts, the walls aren't that high, maybe a foot or two, but they are clearly forts and their owners take great pride in the workmanship and upkeep of each of them. Then there is the longest lasting busiest part of the whole school yard when there is snow, there's the snow berm slide park.
The school has a slide, it's a very nice slide, it's a part of their climbing structure and it's fast, especially in cold weather. Yet, since the snow arrived almost no one has used it, especially yesterday when the snow berm arrived. You see, the kids would much rather build their own slides in the snow. Even if those slides are only a quarter of the size of the actual slide (about the length of your average kindergartener, really). That doesn't stop them though. They pack and scrape and add and take away. They spend every glorious second of their various recesses perfecting their slides and there will be kids out there everyday until there is nothing left but a puddle.
With snow the kids will readily, build, roll, slide, create, work as a team, create games, take turns, and generally be absolutely phenomenal! Outside of school I'm sure there are some amazing snow battles and sledding as well, but we don't have a hill and throwing snow isn't permitted in the school yard. Some kids who were tired of rolling balls of snow even figured out the the thick coating of snow worked both as an ice rink for sliding and padding for the landing on the outdoor basketball court.
Snow lets kids experience so many things that no one toy can give them. It's like the ultimate sandbox/mudpit, without the mess. The ultimate playground, without the expense. The ultimate art kit, without the cleanup. Snow fosters movement, imagination, and play. It promotes an understanding of architecture, physics, sculpture, and many many other things. So next time you grumble about shoveling the drive, think about how God has blessed all the kids by giving them the best toy they could possibly know, snow!