New England has seen more than its fair share of snow days this season. Our kids greatly enjoy the days off from school and some adults may be thankful to stay home from work. Yet, with at least two more months of possible winter conditions, we may have more snow days ahead. And some parents may inwardly groan. Just what are we going to do with our kids?
Spring and summer breaks offer warm days filled with outside activities and camps for kids to burn off their energy. Yet the bitter cold and horrid driving conditions given by unscheduled snow days do not offer such amenities. Yet, being snowed in can be productive and fun, and be a time of bonding for the family. Here are some ideas to make it through a snow day (or two).
Set expectations early in the day.
Just because a town buried in snow may come to a halt, your household does not. Laundry, dishes, dust bunnies, and even children’s homework linger on. And now the additional back-aching task of shoveling snow is added. The day off suddenly fills with chores. Early in the day, delegate chores to your children and set time limits to which they are to be completed. (For example, the children will help with the dishes after breakfast, then everyone will get bundled up and go outside to shovel the snow.) Be sure to assign chores to the kids with the promise that they will have fun later by going sledding, playing video games, or watching a movie. Setting limits and routines early in the day lets your children know that there is work to be done, yet they will have fun on their day off.
Spend some time playing games with your kids. Allow them to own you in their favorite video game and laugh at your feeble attempts to manage all the buttons on the controllers. Or give them a challenge on video games you are fairly good at.
Get out the board games and decks of cards. If you are like me, you can’t listen to the sound of digital gunfire or loud video game noises for very long. So, dust off the checkers and other board games and play a couple with the kids. A couple of decks of cards will provide unlimited choices of games. Let your kids teach you some games they learned at summer camp. Also, a set of dominos holds about a dozen different games.
Calming artful activities range from simple coloring sheets to all out glitter, bead work, and clay. Spreading newspaper over the kitchen table and dumping out some art supplies should entertain kids for a while. Make collages out of old magazines. Sacrifice a cup of macaroni for macramé. Decorate the inside of your windows with snowflakes cut from scrap papers.
Crafts can include baking. Many younger kids love to help parents bake cookies, cakes, and cupcakes, especially with the anticipation of licking the spoon and mixing bowl clean. Let children put icing or sprinkles on treats to create their own edible art.
More active kids may require indoor fun, even after shoveling the driveway and sidewalk. Encourage them to load up the Nerf guns and wage friendly battles from behind trenches of living room couches. If you own a video game console with full motion sensor controllers, you and the kids can burn off energy playing virtual tennis, golf, baseball, or dancing. If you have a foosball or ping pong table, encourage the kids to play.
Enjoy the Snow!
Lastly, enjoy the mounds of snow by sledding, building a snowman, carving an icy fort, and battling in a snow ball fight. You never know, next year, we may not get this much snow.