School closings – Keep the Kids Entertained
When the first serious snow of the season hits, school might close or have delays. When school is cancelled, parents face a full day of bored children that need to be entertained. Instead of hearing “I’m bored” over and over again, why not plan some activities to help pass the time and create lasting memories for your child?
Children are so busy these days. Between 8 hours or more of school with bus ride commutes, after-school sports, clubs, time spent with friends and homework, most kids lack the necessary down time to rest their growing bodies. Take advantage of winter weather delays and school cancelations and allow your child to sleep in a bit. Teens may prefer to sleep most of the day away. While many parents frown on this, teens actually need quite a bit of sleep. I personally allow my girls (both teens) to sleep as late as they want on off days. It results in less grumpy daughters. Younger children may need more of a routine and sleeping too late might mess up bed times, so adjust accordingly.
A Special Snow Day Brunch
Instead of cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner on a snow day, create a special brunch menu. It will make the snow day memorable, keep their bellies full and save you time in the kitchen. Some ideas for brunch:
- Apple slices with peanut butter
- Scrambled eggs
- Pancakes shaped like snowmen
- Cupcakes that you allow the kids to decorate
If you live in an area with low acid rain, consider making some snow cream as an afternoon treat.
Games and Make Believe
One of my best memories as a young girl is during the blizzard of ’78. We were holed up for a couple of weeks under mounds of snow. My mom and I built a huge Barbie house, using encyclopedias for walls, tissue boxes for beds and creating an environment where Barbie could live out drama and romance. My mother let the Barbie house take over my bedroom and hallway. She didn’t make me clean it up at the end of the day and she didn’t complain about the mess. Instead, she pointed out things I could creatively add to my house and happily sewed dresses for my Barbies. I credit her for my creavity today, because she allowed it and didn’t smother it.
Let your kids try some of the following and try not to worry about the mess:
- Build an inside tent out of chairs and sheets
- Have a slumber party in the living room and watch movies
- Invent something out of kitchen items
- Bring the real tent inside and let them use it for a playhouse
- Have a tea party with dolls or stuffed animals
- Act out your favorite book
- Play dress up
- Create a store and sell items from around the house
The key is to let them be creative, dress up, build and not to interfere as they create their make believe world.
Unless the temperatures are sub-zero, bundle up and head outside. A snow day is the perfect occasion to build a snowman or go sledding. Drink hot cocoa when you come inside or warm up with a mug of tomato soup. Another favorite memory from that long ago blizzard in ’78 was the amazing underground tunnel system the neighborhood kids built out of snow. It probably wasn’t safe, looking back on it, but it sure was fun. Come to think of it, you might want to monitor what your children are doing when they go out to play with the neighbors.
Movie Time with the Whole Family
Snow days are the perfect time to cuddle up in the living room, wear thick socks and watch favorite movies. We love the movie Elf and we will watch it any time of year. No matter how many times we see Will Ferrell spray perfume on his tongue, it is just as funny every time. Other movies you might want to have on hand, include:
- Snow Day
- Home Alone
- Alive (for older kids, it may scare the young ones)
- Ice Age
- Groundhog Day
- Cool Runnings
- Any movie your family loves
The key to the perfect snow day is thinking outside the box and allowing your children to run with their imaginations. If you worry less about the mess and focus more on the fun, your children will have a memory to treasure the rest of their lives.