“Schools are closed due to snow.”
On the one hand, it’s a welcome “go head, sleep in” refrain. But when you do finally wake up, you realize that it means you will be in the house with the kids all day long, especially if it’s a wet, yucky snow that’s useless for sledding and snowman building. Before you start to panic, some ideas of what to do with your kids for those housebound extra hours (or days).
- Enjoy a good breakfast. How often do you get to enjoy a good breakfast, all sitting down together and chatting in the morning? For us, breakfast is usually a choice of boiled eggs, cereal and toasts, in a rotation of whoever is leaving for school or work next. Snow days are a great opportunity to scramble some eggs, flip a few pancakes, make potatoes and biscuits, and all eat at once around the table instead of on the way to the bus.
- Bake. I love baking, my kids love baking, and who doesn’t want warm cookies or muffins on a cold, winter-y day? Luckily, most quickbreads and basic cookies require only the staples of a kitchen pantry – flour, sugar, an egg or two, milk, oil, salt, baking powder or soda. You can get fancy if you happen to have other ingredients such as chocolate chips, blueberries, nuts, and oatmeal on hand.
- Watch some old TV. With the millions of channels on TV now, there's always some old show on that's family friendly. You'll get a kick out of watching your old favorites and you'll be surprised at how much your kids will enjoy shows that were really funny. Gilligan's Island anyone?
- Cut out snowflakes. I forgot, until I spotted a few on Pinterest, how much I used to love cutting out snowflakes as a kid. It’s still a fun surprise to see what the holes and cuts will look like when you’ve unfolded the paper.
- Keep a stash of random craft supplies on hand and let the kids be creative. In addition to the norm, like crayons, scissors, and glue sticks, stash the following in a basket and be ready for “I’m bored!”: buttons – from clothes not in good condition to give away, the spares attached to new clothes; magnets – the free, promotional give-aways or store bought; yarn, string; beads; stickers; plastic bottle tops. Don't want to be fancy? Color - it’s relaxing and a fun time to just chat with the kids. And show off how well you can stay in the lines.
- Keep a “bored kids” board on Pinterest, for that moment when the kids are losing their creative energy and start throwing buttons at each other and have eaten all the cookies. Add to it whenever you come across an idea your kids will like.
- Read. Call for quiet reading and everyone to their separate corners or cuddle up on the couch for family reading, silent or aloud. Gauge it by the energy level in the house or the need to settle down.
- Do a little school work. The kids will complain and whine a little, but remind them that they are only going to do 30 minutes or an hour, and they’re getting out of 6 hours of work at school. Depending on the grade, you can practice math facts, review lessons in their text books or online, read, or simply write a few paragraphs to practice handwriting or typing skills, grammar, spelling, and creative thinking.
- Clean up, declutter. Not the most fun thing to do, but snow days can be good catch up days on the housecleaning that gets pushed aside for the busy family schedule. Limit the time so that the kids can have some fun, though.
- Take a nap. Who really gets enough sleep on a regular basis?
Oh – and of course, go outside, breathe the cold air, gather a bowl of fresh snow for snow-cream and throw a few snowballs!
What are your favorite activities on a snow day?
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