Surviving winter weather with kids; how to avoid insanity

I’m excited to bring on some new writers to the site. Formal announcements and changes coming soon. But for now…meet Kristin.

School is cancelled due to weather…again. This means EVERYTHING else on the calendar (with the exception of my hubby’s work) is either cancelled or postponed as well. None of the regular kid activities are happening today: no open play at the local kid gym, no play time at our community center, no library classes, and no playgroups. It’s just me and the kids stuck at home all day long.

I grabbed my list of “indoor activities” that I created in order to keep the kids occupied all day. In tornadic fashion, the kids ripped through my list of indoor activities. My house was littered with toys, play-dough, broken crayons and scrap paper. I looked at the clock: 9:27am. Seriously? That list was supposed to last ALL day.

Now what? Without a clue of how to occupy my kids next, I poured a large mug of hot coffee and succumbed to watching Frozen for the 96th time.

Within a few minutes a snow plow roared by our house. I realized my 3 kids (ages 5, 4 and 2) weren’t watching the movie, but staring out the window at the snow. They totally embrace the Connecticut confetti that falls in nice flurries and also love the aftermath of any Nor’easter that dumps multiple feet of snow on us.

Snow kids

I enjoy snow and I really don’t mind the cold, but there are days I don’t want to go outside. This was one of those days. I didn’t even think the kids would want to go outside today. But I realized it wasn’t dangerously cold or too windy, so I chugged my coffee and we all bundled up and went outside anyway. We built snowmen, made snow angels and grabbed our sand toys to build snow castles! We had a blast. I had to bribe them to come inside with the
promise of snow cream and hot chocolate.

I turned our regular lunch into an exciting picnic in the living room. Then while the littlest napped, the older two pulled out LEGOS (what genius decided that a kid needed to build their own toy?! Fantastic idea!) Building and playing took up quite a bit of time. I also showed them a cool experiment with colored vinegar (dyed with food coloring) in eye droppers and a Tupperware full of baking soda. It’s a cool colorful fuzzy activity that captivated their little minds.

When the little one woke up, we pulled out crayons and activity/coloring books while I prepared dinner. After coloring, they went down to the basement and just played. As much as I had stressed about finding the perfect game or activity, the kids just wanted to play in the snow and have some fun with me. It ended up being a really good day.

Tips and Tricks for Surviving Winter with Kids

Sometimes, though, playing in the snow doesn’t cut it and you do need some activities. Here are a few suggestions that will make the day be fun for all involved.

Art Projects: I sometimes buy the craft boxes for the kids, but I also have a bin full of construction paper, glue sticks, kid scissors, glitter- glue, stamps, markers, crayons, pipe cleaners, beads, and cotton-balls. (For my sanity, I only take out a few things at a time so it’s an easier clean up.)

Build Forts: We have a fort building kit, but we also expand on it by using the ottoman, chairs and a tunnel. Throw some sheets and blankets on it and it’s a secret hideout. I give the kids flashlights, glow-sticks or light up toys as well.

Bake: Brownies, cupcakes, muffins, breads or cookies with the kids always makes for a fun time. Consider making Little Red Hen Bread. Read the book The Little Red Hen. Then make bread from scratch (easier than it sounds, it just takes a long time). It takes all afternoon to have it rise, but it is fun for the kids to watch it grow

Create a Sensory Bin: Rice and/or beans with sand toys/cups. (Put paper under it for easier clean up) To make colored rice, put white rice in a freezer bag with 1 tbsp of rubbing alcohol and a few drops of food coloring. Mix together and let sit overnight.

Play Dates: Maybe the roads have cleared and you can have an impromptu playdate with a friend, or if the roads aren’t safe check to see if the neighbor kids are around. (If you are new to town, google Mom Clubs in the area).

Mini Work Outs: Seriously, just stop everything and get the kids to do some jumping jacks, running in place, mountain climbers or just any kind of movement. Have an impromptu dance party. It’s good for gross motor skills and to get out energy.

Library or Museum: Not snowing but still bitterly cold? Sometimes the library or museums are open when other places are not. Most libraries have kid sections the kids can play in or you can register for classes. Museums also tend to open on snow days and could be a fun change of pace.

Of course you can’t forget movies with popcorn, reading books, board games or playing dress-up.

What do YOU do to survive winter weather with kids?

Kristin HKristin is a mom of three learning to embrace and enjoy change in Connecticut. She has a 5 year old daughter (who just started Kindergarten), a 4 year old son and a 2 year old daughter. She’s addicted to coffee and can drink a pot before 3pm and sleep fine at night. Exercise, being outdoors and staying active keep her focused. She also recently discovered that she likes cooking and is challenging herself to find healthy meals that her family of five will all eat.

She likes to live by her favorite quote from the Dave Matthews Band – “The future is no place to place your better days.” You can follow her on Twitter @MotherFlamingo

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