When I was a kid, there was no such thing as too much snow. My sister and I used to sprawl out on our backs on the den floor at night, turn on the outside lights and watch the snowflakes swirling and drifting down in the dark night sky. In the morning, we’d rush outside to build snow forts, snowballs, snowmen and anything else that could be packed by little hands stuffed into mittens. We had a decent amount of snow days every year, no doubt brought on by the incessant prayers we used to chant when the forecast started calling for some flurries.
That was in New York and when I was little. Now I live in Colorado and I’m all grown up, and when there’s lots of snow in the forecast, which is often, I roll my eyes. I work from home with my 2-year-old, and more snow means we’re limited in what we can do. We can’t walk as easily into town with the stroller because if it really starts dumping, we risk having someone throw a tantrum when she gets too cold. When it’s snowing too hard, we can’t go to our favorite spot to feed the fat pigeons outside the bakery because even they don’t want to be outside. We can’t scoot around outside the house on the tricycle and pretend it’s a plow trying to make its way through, well, the snow, because there’s just too much of it. I’m not sure who goes crazier when we’re stuck indoors – her or me.
But snow days aren’t completely useless. My husband and I took my daughter skiing the day after Christmas, although she didn’t seem to care that we live in a world-class resort town and at the base of one of the most exclusive mountains in the world. One run (of us each clutching an arm as she rendered herself dead weight) and she called it a day.
The snowman that was built in early December in our backyard is still hanging in there, and when we get the chance and the snow isn’t too dry, we go and try to fill its face back in that might have melted a bit on warmer days and replace the carrot nose, stick arms and raisin eyes and mouth (if my daughter can avoid eating all of the raisins before shoving them on the snowman’s face, that is). Here are a few other snowy day activities we find helps us maintain whatever sanity we have:
1. We read books about snowy days, like The Snowy Day.
2. We make homemade snowflakes out of white paper, and then decorate them with magic markers.
3. We make Play-Doh snowmen.
4. We eat snow (after ensuring no neighborhood dogs have been anywhere in the vicinity)
5. We sip hot chocolate (or lukewarm chocolate, as the case may be with a 2-year-old)
6. We look for wildlife in the backyard and try to guess which animals made what footprints.
7. We go outside at night and try to look through the snowflakes to see if we can see any stars.
8. We make snow ice cream (or eat regular ice cream and just call it snow ice cream).
9. We go sledding.
10. We dream of the warm sun, melting snow and springtime.
How do you spend snowy days with your kids?
Image: Meredith Carroll