This winter has been a blustery, cold and snowy one across most of the country. In my Missouri hometown, kids have accumulated eight snow days. That’s eight days, in addition to a lengthy Christmas vacation, to be at snowed in at home with each other and mom.
Sledding and building snowmen grew boring about three big storms ago, and the temperatures make any extended time outdoors hard to endure anyway. (Each time I send them out, it seems only minutes before mine are pounding on the locked door.) Therefore, most kids are returning to their default forms of entertainment—electronics and internet. If you can pry the game systems and devices from their grubby little (or bigger) paws, here are a few more old-school ways to survive, and maybe even enjoy, the quality time that snow days bring.
- Pull out the board games. Monopoly, Yahtzee, Operation and Battleship are just a few classics available for kids of all ages. Each provides teaching opportunities and is a great way to get the conversation going. And, don’t forget about cards and charades.
- Get creative. Anyone who has taught VBS, been a 4-H leader, or served as a room mother likely has a generous stash of craft supplies on hand. Social media provides endless ideas for DIY projects, but here’s another thought. Lay out what you have, and challenge your children to come up with something new using the items available. You may be amazed at what they “invent.” Afterward, consider making a video of their project to share with the world.
- Take a trip down memory lane. We take pictures constantly, but do we ever take time to sit and enjoy those taken in the past? Spend time with old family photos. Label them, if you can. Discuss the styles of dress and automobiles in the pictures. Take time to preserve them in scrapbooks, and tell stories from childhood as you do.
- Get cookin’! Busy families often eat from boxes and take-out bags. So being snowed-in provides an opportunity to spend more time in the kitchen. Prepare time-consuming recipes that you don’t normally have time to, and teach kids how to as well. Cooking and baking are skills being eroded over time; bring them back for a bit of fun in the kitchen.
- Blankets and books. Now that’s a cozy combination. Cuddle up in front of the fire or on a soft couch with your favorite books. Read to them or with them. If your kids are older, take turns reading aloud something you’ll both enjoy. Or, just share your thoughts as you take a cocoa break in your reading.
Now, after a few days of lounging and luxuriating in one another’s company, you may look up and find your home is a complete disaster. With board games, craft stuff, photos, a cluttered kitchen, and blankets scattered about. Here’s where you go really old-school, and suggest (nay, dictate) a work day. We all know it’s hard work to get kids to work. But, the only way to instill a work ethic is to make them learn to do it. And, that can start pretty young.
Though inconvenient, we should consider snow days a blessing. They force a slow-down to the busy lives that we all have. Savor them, and try to make the most of them!
How have you spent your snow days with your children?
Enjoy the weekend!