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Every Day is a Snow Day (if you have a toddler)

by Samanda Rossi, owner, educator, and doula at Naturally Prepared

Ah, snow days! I am quite disappointed that the only snow day we’ve had so far this year fell on President’s Day. This is because I am a parent of elementary aged children. I know for many of you out there with little ones, every day is a snow day in the winter. Trapped inside, not wanting to bundle them up in 4 layers of clothes for fourteen (if you’re lucky) minutes of play outside until snow (or cold) gets up their nose and all the joy and wonder is gone. Here are 25 ideas that require little effort or supplies to help you survive these (seemingly) endless snow days:

  • Let them watch TV or movies or play on the iPad. Yes, I am giving you full permission! Extra or even binge screen time is totally okay on occasion. Sometimes it’s survival. Sometimes it means cuddles. Sometimes it means rest for you! And no guilt. None!
  • Build a fort. It can be as simple as a large blanket draped over a dining room table or two chairs.
  • Invite some stuffed animals to a special meal. By special meal, I mean something your kiddo can have fun mixing up –cereal, dried fruit, and some nuts or chocolate chips.
  • Give them a spray bottle with water and a cloth, they can “clean” the walls or furniture.
  • If there’s snow on the ground, put water and food coloring in the bottle and let them paint the snow.
  • Dry erase boards and markers OR chalk and chalk boards.
  • Bath time! Make it extra special by throwing in some glow sticks and turning down the lights. Or get a bottle of bubbles and create a bubbly good time reminiscent of summer days outside.
  • Build a simple obstacle course with them. Time them doing it!
  • Order a seed catalog. Plan a garden together and/or have them cut out pictures and glue them on paper to make a picture garden (or a meal with veggies).Toothpicks and marshmallows to build sculptures.
  • Cook or bake something! Popcorn on the stove, slice and bake cookies, brownies, “fancy” cheese made with slices of cheese and small cookie cutters, fruit kabobs, English muffin pizzas, etc…
  • Read books. Even better, read books in the fort you built with a flashlight or under the stairs. Sometimes changing the location makes it even more fun!
  • Turn up some music! Have a dance party!
  • Rice, oatmeal, noodles, or bird seed. Put them in a bottle or bag with some small items to create an “I Spy” container. Or, put in a larger bin on the ground, spread a sheet, and give them some kitchen tools and bowls to play with like a small sandbox (If you use oatmeal or bird seed, you can just shake outside when you’re done and the birds will eat it).
  • Play “Simon Says” or “Hide and Seek”.
  • Look at family pictures.
  • Make maracas with two plastic cups, dried beans or corn or noodles, and tape. Put in ear plugs.
  • Give them a box, or boxes of different sizes. Markers and tape too, if you’re brave!
  • Balls, play roll the ball on the ground, or create a game of bowling with household items.
  • Balloons, blown up. Serious fun!
  • Throw down a towel, pull up a safe chair, and let them play in the sink.
  • Make some tracks on the floors and furniture with painters tape and let the car fun commence!
  • “Let” them vacuum or sweep 😉 We have a small canister vacuum that is perfect for little hands!
  • Have an exercise class. Jumping jacks, touching toes, hopping on one foot – all set to a fun beat…I’m in!
  • Play Doh. Here is my favorite homemade recipe:Supplies:

    2 ½ cups flour

    ½ cup salt

    1 Tablespoon alum (alum can be found in the spice section of the grocery store)

    1 ¾ cups boiling water

    2 Tablespoons vegetable oil Food coloring or paste (optional)

    Note: alum can be omitted if not using food coloring/dye, it prevents transfer of color.

    Directions: 1) In a large bowl, mix salt and flour, set aside. 2) Heat water to boiling. Then, add oil, alum, and color to water. 3) Pour liquid into flour mixture. 4) Stir until slightly cool, knead well, adding flour until it no longer sticks to hands. 5) Store in an airtight container.

     

    The witty and wise Phyllis Diller said, “Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing up is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.” Forget cleaning. The snow will cease, the sun will shine, and cold days will melt into warm days at the park. It’s hard not to wish away these days, but know that someday, you will be longing for more snow days!

Winter 2008-2009 571