When the storm is on it’s way, the old adage says to stock up on milk, bread and batteries. Good advice, but to save your sanity on stormy days when everyone is holed up, you might also think about stocking up on some kid-friendly activities.
Here are a few suggestions to keep your children happy and entertained during the next blizzard, at least until lunchtime! These are all low-tech activities (no batteries required), which could come in particularly handy if you lose power during the day.
1) Coloring Books. A classic for sure. Before the storm, think about picking up a few new books, and perhaps some fresh crayons, at your local ‘dollar store.’ My children really enjoy the coloring books with extra large pages that they can spread out on the kitchen floor. What an easy way to freshen up your refrigerator or office cubicle décor, as well!
2) Sock Puppets. What better time to get in touch with your artsy-crafty side than on a snow day. Grab those lonely unmatched socks, some glue, extra yarn, ribbon, and a few spare buttons, and let the kids do the rest. There are several websites, like ehow.com or Disney’s FamilyFun that have plenty of sock puppet ideas. When they’re done, have the kids put on a puppet show with their creations.
3) Board Games and Puzzles. Both are always great family activity. My little ones love Chutes and Ladders and Candyland, but can spend hours working on jigsaw puzzles. Be ready to help the little ones with more challenging puzzles. I know from experience, a 4-year-old who loses his patience trying to find the last corner piece could hold a grudge for the rest of the day.
4) Story Time. If you’re like me, you know that reading together promotes literacy skills and lets you bond over The Cat in The Hat or Curious George’s mishaps. However, at the end of a busy day crammed with homework, sports, and dinner-on-the-run, regular story time can be rushed, or squeezed out altogether. This is especially true as kids get older and the homework assignments get longer. A snow day is a great opportunity to indulge in some extended story time. Before the first flakes, make a point of stopping at the library to pick up a new book or two. The book is always better than the movie, isn’t it?
5) Collage Creations. Another easy, crafty project that requires only a few things you probably have lying around: construction paper or poster board, magazines (or the plethora of winter catalogs that arrived over Thanksgiving), scissors and glue. Children can scour those periodicals for seasonal pictures and create their own winter-themed collages. If you cover the collages with laminate sheets or contact paper, they can be colorful placemats for the kitchen table.
These tips might seem elementary, but I often need to remind myself that our collection of DVDs or On-Demand kids programs are not the only way to entertain my restless children. In fact, the coloring books and crayons kept my kids occupied for much longer than the standard 25-minute TV program, and they each had something to show for it when they were done. We were all happy!