My sister told me that her kids’ school was canceled last week because of the extreme weather. They were having their third snow day in a row and she sounded a little twitchy on the phone. It almost made me reluctant to rub in the fact that I live in Orlando where the temperature was a balmy 75. Almost. But I lived in Chicagoland for 41 years before moving to Florida so I remember firsthand how taxing it can be to entertain the kids when they’re stuck in the house 24/7 because of the snow and/or freezing temperatures.
I’m nothing if not an awesome sister, so after rubbing in our tropical temps, I came up with this list of helpful ideas for surviving snow days with your kids. (Yes, I know I’d better hang onto this list for hurricane season because what goes around, comes around.)
1. Throw them outside.
Fresh air and exercise are good for kids. They can build a snow gargoyle at the end of your drive to scare away the plows that would otherwise pile the snow in your driveway. And while they’re out there, have them shovel the sidewalks. Pay them in hot chocolate.
2. Make hot chocolate …
… so the kids can complain it’s too hot, eat the marshmallows, then leave their still-full cups in a sticky mess on the table.
3. Go to the “beach.”
Spread some beach towels out on your floor, then arrange all your lamps around the room. Play an ocean waves soundtrack, don shorts and shades, and kick back and pretend you’re in Aruba. If you’re really brave, you can put down a sheet and let the kids build castles with Moon Sand. If you go with the Moon Sand option, you might want to hire someone to bring you drinks with little paper umbrellas.
4. Practice math flash cards with your kids …
… to help you remember why you never want to homeschool.
5. Pitch a tent in the living room.
Grab your camping gear and let the kids camp out (or um, in). Make microwave s’mores and tell spooky stories around a flashlight “fire.” Or, if you don’t have a tent, set up a card table and drape blankets over it to make a cool fort.
6. Get social.
If you have surly teens at home who are bored and don’t understand why you won’t drive them to the mall in a blizzard, post a bunch of selfies all over their Instagram accounts and write mushy, “I love you” posts all over their Facebook walls. Make sure to include those adorable pictures of them when they were cute and little, before they became Satan’s portal.
7. Go to the “movies.”
Turn off the lights and hang blankets over the windows to turn your family room into a movie theater. Let the kids drag out their blankets and pillows (or let them arrange the blankets and pillows that seem to permanently cover your floor). Make some popcorn, put on a movie, snuggle in, and enjoy!
8. Do the clean-room challenge.
Tell your kid you’ve hidden a $20 bill in his room and challenge him to clean his room enough to find it. Make sure to supply your child with a garbage bag, hazmat suit, and a tetanus shot.
9. Watch old home movies.
Have fun remembering all those good times you caught on tape. If the kids complain, tell them you’ll put the videos of them toddling around in a diaper on YouTube for the world (i.e. their friends) to see.
10. Let your kids play dress up with your clothes.
Have them put on a fashion show for you. According to my little one, music is essential for this activity and the parent must clap uproariously after each costume change.
11. Bake some cookies.
Go online to find a delicious gingerbread recipe and let the kids decorate the gingerbread men with royal icing and candy. Don’t worry about it when your kids give the gingerbread men icing tattoos, scars, or um, “body parts.” All normal kids do this (or so I’m telling myself).
12. Catch up on sleep.
If you have older kids, that’s probably what they’re doing. If you have young kids, you probably need this sleep more than anyone, but paradoxically, if you have young kids, you probably shouldn’t sleep while they’re up or you’re likely to awake to Fruity Pebbles smashed into the carpet, marker on the walls, diaper cream smeared on the dog, and a mysterious odor emanating from the nursery.
13. Have a Netflix marathon.
Break your Netflix binge record and watch your favorite series. (Friends is on there now if you have older kids, or All Hail King Julien if you have younger kids.) It’s okay, you can indulge without guilt because it’s a snow day. Or watch cheesy movies like Sharknado 2 and laugh the whole way through.
14. Make a stop-motion movie with your kids.
Brainstorm fun ideas with your kids and start shooting pictures. Make sure you share your finished project with your friends and family.
15. Cancel all appointments and plans for the rest of the week …
… because it will take you that long to clean up all the messes the kids will make while home for their snow day. Snap a ton of pictures and/or take video of the day so you can all look back and remember all
the reasons you want to move to Florida the fun you had.
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