Here in the Northeast, Winter can be pretty brutal!
I just happen to be from one of the most notorious snow cities in the country (thanks, Blizzard of '77 for your endless reputation). My family and I live just north of Buffalo, NY, and we certainly get a full and long winter season!
This year, we had a "Snovember" storm just before Thanksgiving that shut down schools for a week and caused some towns to declare a state of emergency. We found ourselves with a mini-vacation thanks to all of the snow days, which was awesome (yoga pants every day, thankyou!), but the kids got a little restless. We had to come up with some fun things to do together, which can be really fun - nothing like finally tackling a few Pinterest boards!
The rest of our winter has been pretty lame so far (we've got at least 3 months to go, though...so anything can happen, still.) There was a day in very early 2014 that we were snowed in (see left) and made a day of it, and today I'm sharing what we did so you can create some spontaneous fun with your kids on their next snow day!
The first thing we did was make a list of all the things we wanted to do that day:
As you can probably tell by the tablecloth and the name of the list, this storm hit us at the very end of our Winter season. Around the Buffalo area, we're usually all rolling our eyes at the snow in the March forecast and huffing and puffing as we bundle up just to get the mail, but we embraced the snowfall one last time before it stopped falling for most of the year.
Before we got into all of this fun stuff, we put a yard stick by the back door with a pen and paper, and every hour we measured the snowfall. The goal was to make a bar graph out of our collected data, which is a really great activity for a school-age child, but my little guys were a bit too young to appreciate that part. If you want to inspire your elementary-aged kids to do a little math on their spontaneous day off, that's a fun way to do it!
Our early morning activities included putting Frozen on and doing our more arts and crafts activities. I found a homemade playdoh recipe on Pinterest and added some silver glitter to it to make it look more like snow. I put it on cookie sheets with some cookie cutters and other kitchen tools for the kids to play with.
I also set out some yummy left over holiday treats like marshmallows, chocolate, shredded coconut, and candy canes for the kids to build snow people and a snow village with toothpicks. They loved this stuff! (Also, not entirely sure why that snow person had a stick through his head.)
Next up? Turning my son into a snowman! I cut out an orange nose and some black "coal" buttons out of construction paper, and the rest of the costume was made out of toilet paper and a fuzzy blue hat. He giggled while my middle son and I wrapped him up like a mummy, taped the paper pieces onto him, and told him to hold still so we could take a picture. He thought it was hilarious that he looked like Olaf!
My husband telecommutes, and on snow days or whenever there's iffy weather, he will stay here and work from home. On this day, he used his lunch break to take them outside and play hockey while it was still snowing. It's always a good idea to find a way to be active when the kids are all cooped up, and what better way than to take advantage of the playground the snow naturally creates? I'm so glad he was home to do that with them since I was confined to the house, keeping our 5 month old warm!
When they came back in the house, we checked more items off our list by drinking hot chocolate with mini marshmallows and playing a board game together.
Then I made dinner, which we were calling "Snowsgiving". I'm guessing that we knew the storm was coming and I probably grocery shopped for something warm and comforting for dinner the day before. I don't always have the supplies for a Thanksgiving style dinner on hand. We did things slightly differently than we usually do for the holiday, but it was perfect!
I don't remember if we ever got around to painting a snowy picture, but I remember that my plan was to sketch houses on dark blue construction paper and have the kids cover everything with white "snow" paint.
Telling you about this day makes me miss it! We had so much fun, and my oldest son, who lives for celebrating everything, was so full of excitement - jumping up and down as we completed each piece of the list. It was such a great way to make a family holiday out of an annoying March snowfall!
Try something like this next time the kids have a snow day, or any other winter day!
Have a great winter! xx
Jenn is a mom of 3 boys living near Buffalo, NY, and blogs about her life and hobbies on her blog, Rych In Love.