No More Cabin Fever: Keeping Kids Busy on Snow Days

Snow Days

(Photo by rittyrats)

This winter has seen storms and bad weather blow across nearly the entire country, meaning plenty of school closings and cooped-up kids. The first snow day feels great, but by the third or fourth snow day in a row, cabin fever sets in.

When it’s too cold to go out, what do you do all day? Here are some suggestions to keep both you and the kids entertained and happy, no matter how many snow days you get.

Snowman Pancake Breakfast

If most breakfasts in your house consist of cereal and milk, make a snow day special by cooking up some delicious snowman pancakes. Simply pour small, medium, and large batter circles, then arrange them on a plate in the familiar snowman shape. Add chocolate chips or fresh fruit to create the eyes, nose, and buttons! Sprinkle on some powdered sugar for a bit of extra snow, or give your snowman pancake a whipped-cream hat and scarf.

Let’s Put On A Show

Use your time together to turn one of your favorite stories or books into a musical or play. Let the kids write the scripts, rehearse the roles, and create their own costumes and props. Help out when needed, but remember that a good producer does not get in the way of the talent! Make sure to record the project on your smartphone or video camera, and upload the footage to Facebook or YouTube so that grandparents and friends can see your kids’ hard work.

Cooking Class

An unscheduled day at home is a great time to teach new skills. Have your kids ever baked a cake from scratch? Maybe they want to learn how to make double-chocolate-chip cookies, or turn soft tortilla shells into crunchy corn chips. Find a project that’s fun for both you and the kids, and see what you can cook up. The cooking skills you teach now will pay off later, as your children become more responsible and capable in the kitchen.

Movie Matinee

You probably don’t want the kids watching TV all day long, but setting aside time for an afternoon matinee is a good way to give everyone some time to relax together. Make microwave popcorn or stir up some hot cocoa with marshmallows, and take the time to re-watch an old favorite or introduce your kids to a classic family movie from when you were their age.

Old-Fashioned Games

Families who enjoy reading the Little House books together will remember that Ma, Mary, Laura, and Carrie found plenty of ways to entertain themselves indoors during snowy days. Grab a string and teach your kids Cat’s Cradle, or learn how to play Kitty Wants a Corner. Games like Charades and Hunt the Thimble may seem old, but feel like new again when kids learn them for the first time.

Extra Credit

Have a kid who’s fascinated with trains and planes? Maybe one of your kids is a budding author, or a young fashionista? Give your kids an afternoon to explore their passions fully. Hand out a blank notebook and a fresh pen, or point your kid in the direction of a free computer flight simulator program. If you want to assign “reports” at the end of the day, go ahead; but remember that sometimes learning for its own sake is just as good.

Drop Everything And Read

Sometimes the best plan for a snowy day is to curl up with a good book. If you see your kids reading quietly, leave them alone — they’re already happy and entertained! You can also grab a book of your own and join the fun. Some of the best afternoons are spent sitting close by and reading together.

Creative Play

Lastly: sometimes the things your kids come up with on their own are better than anything you can plan yourself. Give your kids some time for unstructured creative play, and they’re likely to make an enormous Lego city, act out Barbie’s latest adventure, or find some other self-generated, imaginative way of entertaining themselves. This type of creative play is an important part of childhood, and snow days are some of the best days to give kids a chance to play on their own.