It’s winter time, which means that we are often glued to the weather reports trying to plan our schedule around snow storms that close schools or cancel appointments.
What do you do when the weather traps you indoors with children all day long? As tempting as it may be, there are other things than movie marathons or hours of tablet games. Here are some of my favorite ways of spending time with children. Can you add to our list?
1. Charades. Make up your own rules for this classic game. For younger children, have them imitate an animal and guess what animal they are. Older children can act out a favorite activity, such as going to the beach, or swimming. Tweens can enjoy acting out book or movie titles.
2. Cooking. Snow days are perfect for creative cooking. Check out the refrigerator and see what ingredients you could put into omelets or pancakes. Bake cookies and plan to take them to a neighbor. Plan a meal using only food that you already have – no going to the store for ingredients. It’s a great idea to completely empty the pantry and reorganize it. Have the kids alphabetize the spices and check the expiration dates on canned goods.
3. Have a “snowball” fight. (Warning – only do this in a room that contains no breakables! A garage or basement is perfect.) Pull the newspapers out of the recycle bin and wad the pages up into small balls. This is especially fun to cover the floor with wadded newspaper and “shovel” a path through the “snow”. Use your imagination. Of course, this has to end with putting all of the balls back into the recycle bin and hopping directly into the bathtub to clean the newsprint off of hands and faces.
4. Crafts. Snow days are perfect for getting out craft supplies and using your imagination. Make sculptures out of strips of construction paper. (I once saw an incredible helicopter made by a 4-year-old.) Make a collage of words or pictures cut from magazines. Build doll house furniture or buildings from cardboard, thread spools, or other “found” objects. Save craft kits bought on sale at dollar stores or craft stores in a “Snow Day” box.
Of course, it is always fun to play board games, card games, or get out a jigsaw puzzle. Reading books in front of the fire place makes for great memories. The main thing is to spend a good part of the day WITH your kids, not just keeping them entertained in a different room while you pursue adult activities in another room. You deserve a play day, too.