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February 2, 2011 / MrsH

Enjoying Snow Days

We’ve had a snow day every week for the past five weeks.  Unusual, but thankfully we’re getting the hang of how to have fun together!  As soon as I hear rumors that it might snow, I start thinking of what we need to do that day (laundry, cook dinner, shovel…) and what we can do to round out the day.  While one of the fun things about a snow day is the unscheduled nature of it, I do like to keep to some of our general routines such as meal- and snack-times and rest hour,  and also to have activities ready to go for when the kids get bored.Here are five elements we incorporate to enjoy our unexpected time off:

  1. Outdoor Time.  Whether the kids help to shovel, go crazy building snow forts, go sledding, or just for a quick jaunt around the block, we get out of the house.  Blizzard-like conditions rarely last the entire day so this has been successful even with the toddler in tow.  As the kids get older I’d like for them to use their muscle power to help some of our elderly neighbors dig out as well.
  2. Crafts.  Whether it be a structured craft where we try to create something specific, or just sit around the table with a bunch of paints, crafting is a great way for the kids to use their creative energies and focus on a project for a while.  I do need to supervise closely to avoid the worst of the mess-factor, but in the end don’t mind cleaning up for 15 minutes if it means they were engaged for 45!  We rarely have the time for this so it’s a nice opportunity.
  3. Unstructured Play.  I try to butt out of the kids’ day for a while so they can find something to engage themselves (and so I can get some housework done).  Sometimes they play alone, other times all together.  They’ve built forts and created elaborate lego set-ups.  Buddy loves to work with his trains while Missie has been creating costumes for her Littlest Pets.  Sweetpea tends to stick closer to me, though sometimes she too will find something to explore and stay engaged for quite a while.
  4. Active Indoor Time.  During a snow day it seems like we can never get enough exercise, no matter how hard we played in the snow.  If I need more time to myself I send them up to go play Wii Outdoor Challenge.  We’ve had dance parties, played hide and seek, and made obstacle courses.  We also have an extra mattress in our play/family room that the kids use to jump on and burn off extra energy that way.  Buddy loves doing his Yoga Kids DVD too.  We usually do these types of things anytime I sense that energy is getting pent up, usually several times a day…
  5. Screen Time.  Inevitably, we hit a point during the mid-afternoon where the only thing that seems to help is to just stick a video in or allow the kids to play on the computer.  I’m ok with that, as long as it’s just for an hour or so.

Armed with just a few ideas and a willingness to engage with the kids, our snow days have become fun for everyone.  Except perhaps MrH, who has to ignore all the fun and focus on getting his work done from home!

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