Snow Days, Not Slow Days
Keeping the Kids Connected (without the Internet!)
The inevitable winter “snow day” may be a cause for celebration for your kids. However, for busy or work-from-home parents, a day without school presents a very real challenge.
For the ever-growing population of telecommuters, parents working from home due to the weather, or even stay-at-home parents, school cancellations create a very real problem. How do you keep the kids busy so you can have a productive day? Here are some ideas for keeping your kids entertained (and even getting some housework done without lifting a finger.)
Empty out the craft drawer (or create one with a trip to the Dollar Store)
We know when snow is coming – the media will discuss and track it to the point of exhaustion. If you are a last-minute kind of person, here is your window to prepare for another cozy day at home with the kids.
The Dollar Store provides a wealth of supplies that come in handy when the kids are stuck indoors. Poster Board, construction paper, markers, crayons, beads, string, stickers, coloring books, puzzles, and so much more. All of the activities suggested below can be supplied with a quick trip to your local Dollar Store.
- Spread a plain white tablecloth on the floor, and have the kids decorate it. You can even use it for dinner that evening!
- Buy tea cups and plates for a tea party – your child’s favorite stuffed animals can be the guests.
- Pick up some plain T-shirts and have the kids “design” them as a present for Mom or Dad. Always have markers, glue, buttons, stickers, and other crafty items handy to expand the kid’ imagination.
Cook Dinner Together (or any of your favorite dishes…)
When I was a little girl, and my brother and I were home for a snow day, my mom would have us make “Snow Day vegetable soup” with her.
If your kids are veggie-lovers, let them pick out the ingredients for the soup (if they pick it, they cannot complain they don’t like it when it’s time for dinner!) Show your older kids how to properly cut vegetables (tip: use kid-friendly plastic knives) while the younger ones can add seasoning, stir, and taste.
If you choose to bake instead, I am sure you’ll find an eager volunteer to lick the bowl! Turn some music on and start cooking up some fun with your kids.
- Learning how to cook is a skill that will benefit your kids in a variety of ways, keeping them self-sufficient and more aware of the food they eat.
- When your children help prepare the meal, they tend to feel proud and want to eat it (especially if dinner is served on a tablecloth they decorated!) This is an excellent way to encourage healthy eating.
Simple and Delicious: Homemade Applesauce
Got some apples and a crock pot? Gather up any apples you have in the fridge (it doesn’t matter what kind.) Using kid-friendly knives, have the kids cut the apples into chunks, throw them in the crock pot, and add brown sugar, cinnamon, orange zest, etc. Let the apples simmer in the slow cooker throughout the day; once they are soft enough to mash, (think mashed potatoes) have the little ones smush the apples to reach desired consistency. The more you mash, the less chunky the sauce. it’ll fill your home with a delightful aroma, and homemade applesauce is so delicious, you may never buy store-bought again!
“Housework: a.k.a, The Glove Game” (for the younger kiddos)
When your younger ones are “bored and cranky,” you can always suggest the Glove Game. A (lovingly) tricky way to get the dusting done while your kids have a blast doing it.
- Give your kids an old pair of dark-colored gloves. You may have them lying around, otherwise you can pick up a couple cheap pairs (the Dollar Store should have them.)
- Demonstrate how to run your hands along surfaces that need cleaning, using the gloves to catch the dust. You’d be amazed how much they will enjoy seeing those clean gloves get dirty.
- If they have siblings, have a contest to see whose gloves collect the most dust. Kids love games! (As the competition becomes increasingly fierce, the house will become increasingly shiny.)
- Once the “game” is over, be sure to thank the kids for doing a great job – they will feel proud of their cleaning accomplishments.
Inspiration and Creativity are the Essence of Childhood
We hope busy parents will use these ideas as inspiration to create their own family Snow Day activities. Even with schools closed, the kids can develop new skills, unleash their creativity, help around the house, and do something nice for others (shhh…it’ll be our little secret.)
If you have a family Snow-Day tradition, share with the rest of us! You can never have too many ideas ready when you hear the familiar whine, “I’m booooored…”
Go hit the Dollar store… Jack Frost may be just around the corner!
Here’s to Spring…