Thursday, February 3, 2011

Snow Day Survival Guide

More miserable snow out the back door.
 My kids have been sick a lot this winter.  Meaning no school or day care on a lot of days that we needed them to be able to be elsewhere.  Parenting is all about going with the flow, right?  I really shouldn’t be all that surprised about the sick days, despite our eating pretty darned healthfully, taking vitamins by the truck load, etc, we all seem to have immune systems smaller than sesame seeds. 

We get sick a lot in this house.  To say the very least.  Then came the snow. Mountains of snow, terrible winds with wind chill dropping temperatures into negative double digits, white outs, and thankfully we haven’t had to drag the kids out in it a whole heck of a lot.  But it does lead to a bunch of cabin fever despite your best intentions, right?

There’s only so many rounds of playing Go Fish, Mega Bloks, or pretend before everybody starts ending up a bit loopy.  At least, that’s the case here.  So, I’m here to brainstorm some new ways to cope with the buzzing, frenetic insanity that becomes a house full of kiddos that have been inside for far too long!

-Bust out the stuff your kids don’t play with as often.  I try to rotate our toys in the kids’ rooms and in the living room, so that when they get bored and start launching blocks at the cats or whiny, I have a fresh bunch of stuff for them to check out and play with.

Art time!

-Get crafty!  Paints, colors, play dough, whatever.  My kids can entertain themselves for hours with crafty stuff.  If it’s near a holiday, enlist them to make things like cards, valentines, decorations, etc.  Make new art work for their bedrooms, as kids adore dressing up their rooms with their masterpieces.
Working on homemade Valentines took up the better half of two snow days!
-Teach them a new crafty hobby!  Eva got a friendship bracelet making kit for her birthday and we’ve been working on bracelets ever since. Since I knit, she wants to learn and I found her a pretty kid friendly knitting set on Amazon.  You could teach them how to make play dough, sculpt things out of clay, make puppets for puppet shows, the list is endless.  The result?  Cool new stuff for them to entertain themselves with.

-Break out the BIG story time.  You know what I mean, the story time where you read 20 books, look at photo albums, or start on a lengthier book.  Since Eva is 5 ½, we’ve been reading the original Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, Junie B. Jones books, Madeline, and books of fairy tales.  With Owen, I grab a huge pile of picture books (the ones from when I was a kid by Richard Scarry are a HUGE hit) and we go through each one, touching pictures, saying words, etc.

-Game time!  Connect Four, Jenga, Checkers, Uno, Go Fish, Twister.  Or put on some fun music and dance around like loonies, scream with laughter and work off some pent up energy.

Owen, baking.

-Baking.  My kids are endless about their kitchen curiosity.  Maybe it’s because I cook and bake so much, we spend a lot of time in the kitchen.  Your kids can help get out ingredients, measure and pour, toss things in the garbage, watch things bake and then get to eat the delicious results.
After all else failed, a round of Nintendo so Mama could take a bath equals AWESOME.
When all else fails, it is totally fine to bust out a movie marathon, complete with popcorn and treats.  You never know, the kiddos might be entranced enough to let you do something like read a magazine or just breathe.  Sick days and snow days often are fueled by everybody being cooped up and cranky, but I’ve found that the easiest way to get past all that is to stay busy, and once in awhile, just let the kids do stuff they don’t usually get to do, like watch Toy Story ten times.  What are your favorite kid friendly things to do on sick and/or snow days?
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