10 Ways to Survive a Snow Day

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School is cancelled. It’s the announcement that can cause kids to celebrate and parents to moan with dread. While the kids may think it’s a totally awesome thing to have an impromptu day off school, what they fail to realize is that in a few short hours (or less), they will soon be whining those two words that make parents’ ears bleed: I’m bored.

So what can parents do to thwart those words and survive the snow day? Of course you could opt for a movie marathon or endless gaming. But, instead of engaging a screen all day, try these ten ideas that have the potential to intersect fun and subtle learning:

10 Ways to Survive a Snow Day

Make snow cream

When life hands you a snow day, make snow cream. Turn the white, fluffy stuff into a tasty treat by gathering eight cups of fresh, clean snow (avoid the yellow variety, please). Mix it with a can of sweetened condensed milk and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Enjoy it immediately and repeat as desired.

Practice letters

Kids these days are born with an innate ability to operate a smart phone or tablet. Anymore, they seem to know how to text before they can craft a hand-written letter. So, use a snow day to bring back the hidden art of writing letters. Teach them how to properly craft a letter, such as a thank-you note, a get well soon card or a note for a friend. The recipient and subject don’t matter as much as the overall lesson on how to write a letter, not to mention it is great handwriting practice and an opportunity to teach them about a technological advancement known as a pen.

Build a fort

I know a living room floor covered with pillows, couch cushions, and every sheet and blanket you own doesn’t exactly invoke order, but let the kids’ imaginations run wild by destroying the living room for just a few hours. Give them access to fort building materials and see what they create. This also leads to an important life lesson: blanket folding. At the end of the day, have them pitch in and clean up after themselves. Who knows; one of your kids might just hold the key to the how-to-fold-the-fitted-sheet mystery.

Just dance

When cabin fever starts to set in, encourage kids to dance off some of their excess energy. Crank up the tunes and throw caution to the wind. This is also a great opportunity to impress the kids with your own moonwalk and running man.

Scrub-a-dub

It may be too cold to swim outside, so instead, fill up the bathtub. Draw a warm bubble bath and fill it with toys. Even older kids might be surprised by how relaxing a bubble bath can be. If they have outgrown the rubber ducky, suggest reading a book, while surrounded by bubbles.

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Experiment

Let the kids create their own science experiments with things found around the house. Mix baking soda and vinegar, and watch it bubble. Add food coloring to water, snow, shaving cream, baking soda or just about anything. Find safe ways for them to learn about cause and effect.

Bake

Snow days are a great opportunity to turn on the oven and whip up something yummy. Let them take ownership of a baking project. They may think they are getting a special treat, but what they don’t realize is they are receiving valuable lessons in math, reading and cooking at the same time.

Get your game on

Raid the hall closet for board games, cards, puzzles and other interactive activities. Invite neighbor kids over for a Pictionary tournament, after all, their parents are probably dreading the “I’m bored” whine, as well, so send them a life preserver. They might even return the favor and give you a few minutes of solitude, while the kids play elsewhere.

Embrace the snow

If the temperatures and wind chill permit, send the kids outside. Yes, it may take an hour to bundle them properly, but encourage them to get out, build a snowman, toss some snowballs or sled down a slope. Have them work with neighbor kids to build forts, tunnels and slides. Just get them out the door and burning off some energy.

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Read

Before you breeze over this one and fear the kids would be too bored, hear me out. Books are magical and the more we give our kids the space to discover that for themselves, the more we bring them one step closer to being life-longer readers and learners. So, light a fire in the fireplace, grab some cozy blankets, whip up some hot chocolate, and set the timer for 10, 30, 60 minutes or more, and read. Read aloud together or have everyone choose their own selections. If everyone survives the allotted time without whining or boredom, perhaps a reward of an extra scoop of snow cream is in order.

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Motherhood Doesn't Come with Sick Days

{This article first appeared in The Family Magazine of Michiana.}

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