By Sarah Vander Schaaff
It’s going to snow. So we’ve been told. I hope you’d stocked up on milk, bread, batteries and sleds. But for those moments when the kids are inside recovering from building snow forts, here is our top ten list of things to do inside. (Most require electricity, but not all.) So, grab a mug of hot chocolate and let’s get started!
1. Watch a great musical.
There is more to a snow day than “Frozen”, pardon the pun. And every kid should know the words to 76 Trombones before he or she heads off to college. Some of my favorites are: The Sound of Music, West Side Story and My Fair Lady, but a great list can be found on Chris Caggiano’s blog here. Remember, some of these musicals include heavy topics, so consider the ages of your kids before tuning in.
2. Play games.
We’ve recently gotten into Battleship, but Monopoly is a great one for occupying significant blocks of time, and if you’re ambitious, you can pull out the playing cards and teach them Rummy. For an overview of board games and how they can build critical thinking skills, check out Nancy’s top picks.
3. Make a picnic inside.
Oh, gosh. I’m going to throw some Martha Stewart perfection on you with this, and don’t hate me because you don’t have adorable jars on hand for the fruit salad. Click here to start salivating.
4. Get out a globe or real map and plan an exploration around the world.
One of my favorite games as a kid was playing travel agent. If you’re lucky enough to have power, you can even use Google Earth and turn this game into something with a hint of espionage.
5. Clean out the pantry, closet, bookcase—and decide what to donate.
Remember, many local libraries accept donations of books in good condition for their sales.
6. Write letters to people who like snail mail (or make your valentines early.)
People who like snail mail, besides “everyone” include: grandparents, elderly neighbors, friends who have moved far away.
In this case, “bake” with no oven required. The following is a recipe for no-bake chocolate, peanut butter corn flake bars. Please bring me some. Recipe.
8. Collect pocket change from counters, pockets, bottom of purses.
What to do with the money they’ve collected is up to you. Make sure you remind them that “the inside of your wallet” is not an ok place to look.
9. Write a short story.
Here is a great list of writing prompts for children. You can assist or not assist, depending on the ages of your children and how motivated they are for solitary writing time. One sick day, I went with my dad to his job at a newspaper, and I remember co-writing a short story with one of the researchers, and it is, to this day, an experience I’ll never forget.
10. Memorize a poem.
I wrote a blog a while back about a British initiative for children to memorize great poetry, and one of my favorite comparisons was that memorizing a great poem is like “owning a piece of art.” How true. Here’s a link to that blog post and a link to a collection of poems for children by some heavy weight poets.
Most of all, enjoy the snow and the great outdoors safely–and make the most of the bonus time together without losing your mind.
And, what does Nancy from Mindprint offer?
For those of you who’d like to catch up on how to make the most of school once the snow days are over, she shares this link to