Brrrrr! It’s Cold Outside

Well, the weather is horrific! It’s great to snuggle in with a good book, a cup of coffee, or glass of wine depending on the time of day. BUT….oh yeah, you have kids. There will be NO snuggling with a good book and a glass of anything. You have kids to entertain and, God forbid you let them watch TV or play on an iPad for longer then an hour. Yeah, a snow day would be great if the kids had to go to school and you get to stay home kid free!

Have you ever noticed that kids don’t feel the cold, the wind, the wet snow or rain? A no school day is, to them, a great time to get their active on no matter the weather. All you want to do is stay inside where it’s warm and dry. So what do you do? What do you do with the next 12-16 hours with the kids? You begin calculating in your head the time it takes for meal prep, eating, dressing, etc so after your calculations you decide you have 10 hours to fill. Oh, wait there’s also nap time to consider that takes 2 hours at the most so now you’re down to 8 hours.

Here are a few easy activities that will help you get the kids involved, having fun, and you will be amazed at how fast the time will fly by.

  1. This one you only need some decorative duct tape (you should always have this stuff on hand; kids love it), and paper of your choice. Let your kids create with just the tape and paper. Kids love tape, and scissors and there is no wrong way or correct way to do this craft. Just let them create as they would with crayons or markers. The fun thing about this craft; you can show them how to mold the tape, layer and create something that will come right off the paper.
  2. Take the same duct tape and an empty jar, and let them cover it with the tape. You can then turn it into a luminary once they are done and you simply put a tea light in it. This is a cool one if the power goes out.
  3. Make a picture book. Have the kids draw some pictures on squares of paper. Let them go wild and draw whatever they want. THEN put the pictures in a stack and let imaginations go wild as you take turns telling stories based on the pictures; shuffle the pictures after every story so the story has to change. This is a really fun, creative, and imaginative activity that everyone loves.
  4. The good ol’ standby of baking is usually a winner because kids love to eat what they make. Kids love to bake too. What I do when I cook or bake with kids is; I pre-measure the ingredients and have them ready for them to just pour into the bowl (kind of like a cooking show when chefs have ingredients setting on the counter in those little glass bowls). The kids love to pour the ingredients in and stir. Again, a simple activity that will give you a delicious snack and or lunch depending on what you choose to do.
  5. Now head outside to make some snowball luminaries! All you need is snow, a freezer, and some tea lights or some kind of light that is small. Have the kids make some snowballs, hollow out a space for a tea light, bring them inside put water around them (make sure it’s ice water) to smooth the service and make them icy, then put them in the freezer and let freeze until twilight. Put the tea light inside,  and then put them outside to illuminate a balcony, a walkway or even the table (as long as you put them in something that will catch the water as they melt). Don’t forget to take some time to play and make snow angels while you’re outside collecting snow for the luminaries.
  6. Board games. Pull those babies out. Oh you’ll probably hear complaints but do it anyway, and trust me, once the game is set-up the kids will be into it in no time.
  7. Make houses, fire stations, or a whole village. It isn’t that hard all you need are some of those boxes that you’re getting ready to send to the re-cycling and re-purpose them into something kids will play with forever. Use a glue-gun, markers, stickers, and imagination to put these together. Let the kids guide you. They are always so good at what they want to create and all you need to do is find a way to make it happen. I’ve used really big boxes to make cars, trains, whatever. Once they are built kids will play with them forever. If you make houses they can use they’re own figurines to play in them. You can even create a Star Wars diorama if you have older kids. Just have fun.
  8. Now a twist on the old dough concept. How about making some goo! Kids love goo. All you need is a cup of glue, food coloring, warm water, and Borax. Dissolve a tablespoon of Borax in the warm water. In a separate bowl stir the glue and food coloring together; once it is completely mixed add the glue mixture to the Borax. DO NOT STIR! Swish the bowl around and after a minute take out the glue mixture. It will be weird because you won’t think you can do it but simply put your hands in, grab the glue and pull it out and there you have it…goo! So easy and so much fun.

So there you have a few simple ideas to keep your kids entertained for a day. However one of the best things I’ve done as a babysitter is let the children guide me by listening to what their interests are. I’ve made robots out of boxes, forts with trampolines, fire stations complete with fire poles, and trucks. You’ll be surprised what goes on in their minds, and then assist in making it a reality if you just put your heads together.

Most of all: HaVe fUn!

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