Friday, January 11, 2013

A Mom's Guide To... Snow Days

We all dream of a White Christmas, but we all know the snow actually really comes post-holiday. Now that we are solidly standing in January, the flakes will likely be falling, and schools will likely be closing. So what's a mom to do?

Like any Scout would tell you, be prepared!

If you have not already gathered up unopened holiday gifts, grab them now and stuff them in a closet. Theyt are perfect to pull out on a snow day. We actually have a stash of craft kits in our house from birthdays and holidays that are perfect to dig into when you can't (or don't want to) dig out.

Bookmark some great simple ideas from the web (like this post!) or Pinterest to plan ahead. Pick up some craft supplies to have on hand when the weather turns cold. Get a few special treats and stash them in a secret place to pull out; or perhaps stock up on ingredients to create a special treat. Make a playlist for the iPod of "snow" songs: "Let It Snow," "Frosty the Snowman," "Baby, It's Cold Outside," "Sleigh Ride" and "Winter Wonderland" are a good place to start.

And now, here is the unofficial
Mom's Guide To... SNOW DAYS!

When the announcement comes that school is called off for the day, you will be ready. Tell the kids to stay in their PJs, and plan a special breakfast, like pancakes or eggs. Before you launch into a special project, ask the kids to help clean up the dishes and tidy up the house fast, such as making beds and putting away laundry. Promise them a special event when they are done, like one of those pre-planned crafts or a baking activity. By the time you finish one or two of these, the morning will have flown by!

I think these ideas are cute:
Of course, don't forget "simpler" crafts and activities: Make paper snowflakes. Print snow-themed coloring pictures, word searches and crosswords online. Make sugar or gingerbread cookies in the shapes of snowmen, snowflakes, hearts or just plain circles to decorate with icing. Do a winter-themed jigsaw puzzle.

If you still have time to kill during the morning, pull out a board or card game for the kids to play and start lunch. After lunch is served, eaten and clean up, check out the weather. If the snow has stopped and sky is clear, get the kids dressed in their snow clothes and make the shoveling a group effort, with time outs for snowman and snow angel making, of course. Don't forget to take some photos of the kids, their snow creations, and your house covered in snow to capture the day.

If the weather is still blustery, bring some snow inside. Fill a dishpan or tub and have the kids make mini snowmen before it melts. Or plan to try this activity with the little ones for some freezing fun:

You can find all the information on "Artic Ice Sensory Play" here at No Time For Flashcards. (I love this blog! She has such great ideas for kids.)

After the kids have had some fun with snow, it's time to warm up! Turn on the coffee pot or teapot to make some hot water for cocoa, and have the kids pick out a movie to watch.

For young kids, this might be a great choice:

Snow Buddies

For older kids, this one could be fun:


During the movie time, let the kids snack on a special treat or make a batch of popcorn.While all is quiet, start dinner and make a list of what needs to be completed before bedtime. Get a head start on the next day!

When the movie is done, have the kids work on a coloring project, read a book, or get some free time on computers or video games. If necessary, plan showers and baths before dinner so your night is less rushed. Check the next morning's schedule to get backpacks, lunches, and everything that is needed for school set up to go. And if you think Snow Day #2 might be in your future -- check the weather forecast! -- think about what fun the family can enjoy tomorrow.

During dinner, share your favorite parts of the day. When the meal is done and dishes are cleaned, enjoy some family time. Find a special book to read before bed; yesterday I shared a bunch of our favorite toddler books about snow and winter. This is also one of our favorites and is great for younger ones:

It is such a cute winter story! I bought this when Big Girl was little because she collects snowglobes. The story is written by the same author as "Fancy Nancy."

For older kids, I highly recommend Laura Ingalls Wilder's "The Long Winter" of course! It's a perfect story for this time of year, and a great one to read together.

Snow days always linger in a child's memory, so take the time to make them memorable. They will never forget the time they spent together with you and their siblings.

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