This weekend's freak snowstorm did more that freeze a few pumpkins. Hundreds of schools across the Northeast are closed today as communities scramble to deal with the mountains of heavy, wet snow that covered roads, damaged trees and snapped power lines. That means thousands of kids are having an unexpected snow day, leaving thousands of parents scrambling for childcare and/or activities to keep the kids engaged.
I can't help with the childcare, but I can help with some ideas for keeping kids busy. Here are five things you can do with your kids today:
1. Go play in the snow! OK, I know this one is rather obvious, but I just thought you might need a little encouragement. This storm hit so early that I didn't even have my girls' snow suits or boots out of storage yet. And it seemed like a huge hassle to start digging out all of that stuff — but it was so worth it. A snowy day is an invitation to do something awesome in your own back yard. Make a snowman, spray paint the snow (with food coloring), make snow creams, have a snowball fight, break out the sleds — go for it! And don't forget to top it all off with some afternoon hot chocolate!
2. Have a snow day party: If the roads are passable, call up some friends and get together for some snow day fun. Make crafts, play board games, act out a play or plan out your strategy for trick-or-treating in the snow.
3. Make a call: When was the last time your kids chatted with their grandparents or other long-distance relative? Today is a great day to catch up — particularly if their relatives are snowed in as well. Give a call and say hello. Or better yet, have the kids dress up in their costumes and make a few Skype calls to show them off.
4. Thin out toys and books: Kids may balk at the idea of cleaning at first, but hey if they're really that bored, they may enjoy the task. Divide stuff into three piles: stuff to keep, stuff to toss and stuff to donate. Then be sure to get the trash and donation pile out of the house lickety-split before they change their minds!
5. Bake: Baking is really the perfect way to spend a snowy day. It's fun, easy, and warm — and best of all are the tangible results of your work! Get little kids involved by filling up a measuring cup for them to dump in the bowl. Older kids can read off recipe instructions, measure ingredients or tackle the whole task themselves, leaving you to do nothing but heat up your mug of tea and wait for your treat.