"Do You Want to Build a Snowman?"
Winter is here, and your kids are home from school on a snow day. Now what? How can you keep them happy and entertained?
If you're kids are anything like mine, they might be very excited about the beautiful snow, and are just itching to get their hands in it, sled, or throw snow balls. However, it might simply be too cold for that. One solution I have found is that when the snow begins to fall, I put a large bowl or bucket on the deck to catch the snow. Then, when it has a filled sufficiently, I bring it inside and place it on a towel in the kitchen floor. My little one can play in it to his heart's content. I even give him cookie sprinkles to add to the snow to make it colorful, as well as scoops and spoons.
Since he was home today, and since I also know he needs to work on his fine motor skills, I stuck an uncooked spaghetti noodle upright in play-dough, and I had him stack cereal with holes in the center (i.e. fruit loops or cheerios) on the spaghetti. In addition, I also had him work on cutting by letting him cut some of the uncooked spaghetti.
There is also a lot to be said for "hibernating" on a cold winter day by setting up an indoor/pop-up tent, or simply by draping a large blanket or sheet over chairs/furniture to create a secret hide-a-way. Adding story time, hot chocolate and warm chocolate chip cookies to this adventure can make it even better. The addition of a projector light or flashlight will create even more fun, especially if they can make shadow puppets.
Among other ideas, I have found some wonderful posts on Pinterest for creating busy bags and bins. Some ideas can be found at this link: https://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=dollar%20tree%20busy%20bags&rs=typed&term_meta=dollar%7Ctyped&term_meta=tree%7Ctyped&term_meta=busy%7Ctyped&term_meta=bags%7Ctyped. Many can be created by spending very little at Dollar Tree. When I knew we were going to be out of town once, and knew I would need some way to keep him entertained while in a hotel room, I created several busy bags he seemed to enjoy. Busy bags and bins are a great way for children to keep themselves entertained, while also hopefully learning while they play, because, let's face it, just because they are home from school does not mean that the laundry, cooking, dishes, and other tasks we busy moms and dads need to accomplish simply stops.
Sometimes, however, when children are not being actively entertained by adults, is when their imaginative play is at its finest. I love listening to stories and songs my little one makes up while playing with toys. Therefore, while it is great to have a backup plan for how to keep your little ones entertained to prevent boredom and unwanted behaviors, there is something to be said for letting the kids create their own fun. I have heard of some who fill a box with materials we might otherwise throw away. These items might include: empty Pringles cans, Kleenex boxes, newspapers, magazines or catalogs, scrap material and other left over craft items, empty wrapping paper rolls or even scrap wrapping paper, empty egg cartons, etc. If you add to this basic essentials of tape, glue, markers/crayons, a child's imagination and creative skills can truly come to life by giving them this box and and allowing them to use or make whatever they wish.
When all is said and done, though, I hope you can enjoy the day together, have fun, and don't sweat the small stuff. Messes can be cleaned up, but memories can last forever.
Happy Winter Everyone!