Ah, winter. We get a few holidays over, only to realize that there are holidays every month that we must attend to — but the most distinguishable feature of the seasons is the weather. Snow can be a nuisance. It’s cold and wet, and makes travel difficult. However, for kids, winter break and the snow usually brings about excitement — so let’s get on board with it.
Unfortunately, some schools don’t get around to canceling until the last minute. Most organizations like to wait it out to see how bad the snow will be. However, that means your whole day might be rearranged without much warning.
Keeping your kids occupied while they spend the day at home instead of at school might have you scrambling for ideas. Especially if you have your own work to do at home, it can be hard to come up with activities on the spot. But fear not! Here are seven activities to try with your kids on the next snow day.
1. Outdoor Time
If there’s snow on the ground, it’s likely your kid will want to play in it at some point. There’s something exciting about the powdery white stuff that makes kids happy. So if it’s not too cold, why not give your children some time to run around in the snow? Take advantage of the free resource just outside your door.
There are tons of snow-related games to play. From snowball fights to making snowmen or igloos, kids are sure to be occupied for a while. If you want to mix things up a little, try to get artsy with it. Instead of snowmen, how about snow animals? Have your kids try to craft their favorite pet out of the snow.
Just make sure you’re watching the weather forecast. Sometimes the wind chill can transform what seems like an above-freezing day into an arctic tundra. Additionally, try having the kids play in timed intervals, like thirty-or-so minutes. Then, have them take a little break inside to get warmed up again. Frostbite is no joke!
2. Play Board Games and Cards
Checkers, Sorry!, Monopoly, Scrabble — there are so many games out there to play. These activities can range in difficulty and playing time, so you can choose based on what everyone wants. Try a quick, easy game like Candyland, or spend longer on a game like Clue. There’s something out there for everyone. We like card games like Sleeping Queens, Taco vs. Burrito, and Exploding Kittens. But we also run through the old faithful games on snow days — like Go Fish!; Crazy Eights; War; Old Maid; and Concentration/Memory.
This is a great way to keep the kids away from screens for a while. It may seem like they’re always glued to the TV or to their phones. Board games are an effective gateway to keep everyone engaged with each other and something that doesn’t have a screen.
Additionally, board games can be educational. Even if it’s an ‘easier’ game, like one for younger kids, there’s always some element that requires them to think. Whether it’s identifying colors or numbers, counting, or dealing with ‘money,’ these classic games keep the mind sharp.
3. Have Quiet Time
If you work from home or take online courses, then you know that it can be hard to juggle with kids in the mix. If snow days tend to affect your productivity, consider having a quiet period sometime during the day. This can be a moment for everyone to unwind and enjoy a calm, relaxing activity while you get work done.
For young children, this could mean nap time. While they sleep, you’ll have the place all to yourself. For older kids, try encouraging them to read or play a silent game, like puzzles or word searches. Quiet activities can still be engaging even though they don’t require sound or talking. Plus, it’s a good idea to teach kids how to play independently. It helps them become more independent.
Consider having some kind of reward at the end of a successful quiet period. Snacks or rejoining the kids for a fun activity should do the trick. Any type of incentive for good behavior tends to work with children. And it’s a win-win for you if you have work to get done.
4. Cook Together
Another way you can accomplish some of your day’s tasks while the kids are home is by having them help. One task that is easy to involve kids in is cooking. Whether it’s making dinner or baking treats, letting them get hands-on in the kitchen will keep them engaged.
Cooking is a great educational activity. It’s a good idea to keep your kids learning even when school is out. Arguably, knowing how to make your own food is a life skill that should be taught starting at a young age. It teaches independence, fine motor skills, and patience. Additionally, it teaches children how putting in effort will reap a tasty reward.
What they can assist with is determined by their age and personal capabilities. Most kids like to be helpful and will be excited to eat their own creations. A simple snack is easy enough for toddlers to make, while more elaborate meals would be better for older kids. Just remember to teach and practice kitchen safety while you’re at it.
5. Get Crafty
There’s something about doing crafts that is the total package of kids’ activities. Crafting encourages patience, fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and how to create things yourself. Plus, they’ll come out with something cool that they’ll feel proud of.
This is another educational activity that you can use to help them keep learning even on a day off. It’s great for child development to be learning new things all the time. Also, depending on what tools they’re using, you can join in or work on your own tasks while they’re occupied.
Make sure you get creative with these crafts. You want kids to have fun and allow them to be creative, too. Have them make winter decorations, like snowmen made of cotton balls. Or, try painting a winter wonderland. Tailor the activity based on what your kids have an interest in.
6. Have an Indoor Picnic
Some outdoor activities just won’t work based on the weather. If there’s snow outside and it’s cold, chances are you won’t be having a picnic outside. However, you can use this to your advantage to create a magical experience for your kids.
There’s something exciting about switching up the rules to certain activities. Sure, picnics are usually outdoors, but who says you can’t have one inside? Set it up like you normally would — put a blanket down, pack the food in a basket, and use paper plates.
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, potato chips, and hot dogs are just some of the classic picnic foods. Of course, go ahead and make your favorite foods for this picnic. This is all about catering to you and your kids. So, get creative with it.
7. Build a Fort
One of those nostalgic childhood activities is fort-building. Making a room out of pillows, blankets, and couches is an experience with a certain feeling. When I was a kid, we called it “building a hut.” But it’s an activity that’s exciting yet homey and cozy. Bringing this experience to your kids will certainly bring some smiles all around.
If you’re wanting to get a little extra creative with it, play around with some different architectural features. Try setting up a fort where you can see the TV and watch movies while inside. Challenge them to build a mansion or castle. If you have more than one kid, consider throwing a fort-building contest.
Create a Unique Experience
Whatever activities you decide on, creating lasting memories for your children is important. Craft the childhood that you want for them. Being stuck at home in the snow won’t be fun unless you make it so. Make sure you are reading aloud to your child or children every day. Then on snow days — make a fantastic memory by reading long, exciting books to your kids.
These moments with your kids are precious, so take advantage of every minute with them. Even if you have work to do, utilize ways to keep them happy and having fun while you get stuff done. Multitasking isn’t as hard as it looks, so don’t be intimidated to try out some new methods. Sometimes just being there in the same room is all that matters. So go on and get to creating those sweet memories together.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Andrea Piacquadio; Pexels; Thank you!
Student at UC Berkeley, currently working on a degree in Electrical Engineering/Computer Sciences and Business Administration. Experienced in CSX, productivity management, and chatbot implementation.