Snow days are widely acknowledged to be the longest days of the year for parents. Sure, kids can play in the snow, but often times the snow prep outlasts the snow play. Then the children are back inside, loudly suggesting hot cocoa and a snack, and it’s barely 8 a.m. How are you supposed to fill a whole day without resorting to screens to ease your overload?
We’ve developed an arsenal of stimulating indoor activities over the years of living in a small home. Here are 11 (mostly) screen-free suggestions guaranteed to keep the kids busy, engaged and active. (But not too active!)
- Rice “digging.” Fill a baking pan with about a cup of rice. Or you can use dried beans, corn kernels, even flour if you are a brave soul. Let the child “dig” with kitchen teaspoons and their hands. Put in small diggers, cars, or animal figurines for added fun.
- Get out dress up items and put on a play. This suggestion is more hands-off if you have older kids, but toddlers will love getting dressed up too! Pretend play is powerful for brain development.
- Use painters tape to create tracks, mazes and roads on the floor. Painter’s tape comes off easily, but it works wonders to transform a space. Heck, you could even tape off “boxes” for each kid to have their own space if you need to keep them apart.
- Use jump ropes indoors. Jump ropes develop coordination and gets the heart rate up. Just make sure kids give each other enough room.
- Create forts and tunnels with blankets and pillows. Of course most of us grew up making living room forts. Have you helped your children to make the best fortress yet?
- Water play. Think outside the bath (although by all means, use the bath too!) Set up a chair, plug a side of the sink with warm water, and let them “wash” some spoons and other scooping utensils.
- Stream “workouts” or yoga routines online, or make up your own. Ok, so this one does use a screen. But you can use online videos to get the kids moving with a purpose. We sometimes use www.gonoodle.com.
- Listen to audio books. Listening activities work well with a table craft, like painting or coloring.
- Real kitchen work. Let them bake muffins with you or help choose what to cook for lunch. Real is the key word here. Let them help you create something and then eat it.
- Write and decorate notes and mail them to family members or friends. The fun part about this suggestion is the actual mailing. When is a better time to start a pen pal?
- Do chores. Think deep cleaning on this one. Get the kids busy scrubbing baseboards, wiping cabinet doors down, vacuuming out under couch cushions. Pay them for a job well done for added motivation!
The beauty of snow days is that we mommas get an extra day with no plans or expectations to spend with our children. A simple perspective shift will help turn a long day into a lovely day. All it takes is a little painter’s tape.