Sunday night, while many of us were distracted as we watched the Super Bowl, a blizzard made its way to North Central Iowa. Driving conditions were treacherous for those who had to travel home after the game, and it was no surprise when our local school closed on Monday. The wind howled all day Monday. Interstate 35 was closed between Clear Lake and Ames. Since in between those towns, we weren’t surprised to hear of this closing either.
Tuesday my kids woke up to a second straight snow day. The novelty had worn off! My teenagers were disappointed they wouldn’t be seeing their friends at school. They’d had their fill of binge-watching Netflix. Neither one was interested in playing board games or cards with me. I longed for the sweet days when they used to love spending snow days at home and remembered some of the fun times we had.
After allowing myself to briefly sulk in a pity party, I remembered how exhausted I was at the end of a snow day when my children were young! J Kids have a great deal of energy, but having a “game plan” can help the entire family. Here are a few ideas – one for each day of the week or try a new one every hour of the day – to help channel your little one’s energy on a winter’s day:
Mix Up Homemade Playdough. Not every day is filled with warm temperatures and sunshine. Even during the fall, I have to implement Plan B for field trips when Mother Nature doesn’t play nice. Here’s a link to recipes for homemade pumpkin playdough.
Take it to the Table. Some of my favorite childhood memories comes from playing games with my mom on snow days. We’d both sit down at the kitchen table with our own Word Search. Then she’d set the kitchen timer, and we’d see who could find the most words within a given time limit, say 15 minutes. As I grew older, we’d have Nertz Tournaments. Believe me, we played so much that we developed some quick reflexes and mastered our card grabbing skills. When I was younger, she and I would both sit down to color or make crafts. I always looked forward to cutting out red construction paper hearts and turning them into decorations. We’d braid yarn and make pigtails for the girls, and glue on googly eyes.
Enjoy a Spa Treatment. You don’t have to leave home to enjoy a spa treatment. I remember the fun my kids had in preschool when their teacher set up stations and let them paint our nails. Of course, it didn’t look professional but my kids were so proud of their efforts. Light some candles or plug-in the Scentsy and let go your cares! When I led a troop of elementary-age Girl Scouts, they had a blast creating their own spa treatments. We dimmed the lights and made a homemade cucumber mask. Other stations included making hair barrettes and painting nails.
Be the Queen of Your Castle. When my kids were small, I remember feeling as though I spent my life folding blankets and setting the chairs back around the table. What I wouldn’t give to replay one of those days now! They would use their imaginations for hours. They were content to either read books inside their blanket fort or slip inside their sleeping bags for a nap.
King of the Hill. My young son spent countless hours outside, digging snow caves and playing king of the hill with our family’s Black Lab. Our Lab also used to run alongside the sled and steal the kid’s stocking hat, which then led to a game of chase. Thinking about the fun those two used to have on snow days still makes me smile.
Watch the Disney Classics. Who says we have to be showered and dressed by 9 AM? “Pajama Day” and “Beach Day” were among the highlights of my kids’ elementary school days. Why not create those special memories at home? Declare pajama day. Fix breakfast for lunch. Lounge around as you watch a favorite family movie.
Treat the Pets. Remind your kids that they aren’t the only ones who are affected by the winter weather. Go wild by making bird seed treats. String popcorn and cranberries for outside trees. Bake up a batch of pumpkin dog treats for your inside pets.
My favorite ways to fight cabin fever include reading, redecorating a room in the house and baking. Here’s a link to an easy-to-make recipe for Valentine's Day Chex Mix or any day you want to remind your family and friends how much they mean to you.