We recently moved directly into the snow capital of the country. Actually, I have no idea if that’s true, but it feels true. Here we are in March and the entire state of New York just got dumped on with the worst snowstorm of the year. Winter storm Stella has dumped 42 inches and counting on us and is wreaking havoc all over the Upper Midwest and East Coast. School is out, roads are closed and I’m watching the snow steadily accumulate in huge drifts halfway up my windows. Playing in a blizzard is out. The kids lasted all of five minutes before they came in shivering and miserable. We’ve had to get creative with our activities. Here are a few ideas if you’re stuck in a winter wonderland with nowhere to go.
Ok, I know I just said outside is a no-go, but we do still have to clear the stairs for safety reasons. We bundled up and shoveled together as much as we could before retreating into the warm kitchen for cocoa. There’s nothing quite like cold pink cheeks and a hot cup of chocolate.
If you’re not into a good book with your kids currently, it’s a great time to start! This is the perfect weather to curl up with Charlotte’s Web or Pollyanna and try out your silly voices. If you’re not into reading out loud you can get books on tape from Amazon without leaving your house! These are so entertaining and fun. The entire Little House on the Prairie series is digitally recorded and sometimes even available through your public library’s website for download on Kindle for free. Check it out! For extra fun, build a blanket fort with lots of comfy pillows for a quiet place to listen!
3. Old school board gaming
My children recently informed me they had no idea what Chinese Checkers is. How is that possible?! We got one immediately (tin game board only, none of this cardboard stuff because your marbles have to make a satisfying clicking sound with every jump). I won, of course. My kids haven’t yet figured out that you have to get all your marbles out right away, and I’m not going to tell them. Until they wise up I’ll just keep beating them. Another favorite of ours is Monopoly Deal, a card game which has the basic principles of the original Monopoly but moves much faster. We also like Pass the Pigs, a silly dice game which really must be owned by anyone with children who like to laugh.
4. Art projects
What better way to spend the time than dreaming of Spring? This is the project we are going to pull out this week while we are holed up inside. Pinterest is a veritable wonderland for fun and simple projects to keep your kids busy and having fun!
Today we made delicious baked potato soup! Soups are the perfect food for little hands to help create. There are plenty of stirring opportunities or chopping for the older ones. Mine always seem to eat better when they have a hand in making their food too. Don’t forget fun music for cooking time! I recommend the “Campfire Songs” station on Pandora.
6. Indoor camping
Speaking of camping, pitch a tent on the rug (or make one out of blankets) and turn on the fireplace, or make a fake one out of pillows and tinker toys. Let the kids make some fishing poles out of toys and give them some marshmallows to “roast” over their fire while they wait for a bite on their line. Gather any fake food you have and give it to them to make over their campfire. If you’re extra fun you can let them make s’mores in the microwave. If you want to get high tech, download one of those night sky apps like Star Walk or Star Guide on your device and let them gaze at the stars!
7. Learning folk songs
When I was a kid I used to know all these great folk songs that were fun to sing like “Green Grass Grows All Around.” I played it for my kids the other day and they were delighted by it. YouTube is a great source to find these old songs that are just so fun. Another classic is from Sesame Street. Ernie’s interactive Tiger Hunt is a blast with kids. I had this on vinyl when I was little and I remember tearing around my bedroom over and over again to this, pretending to swat mosquitos and splash through water. It was a hoot. My kids love it too and conveniently, it’s on YouTube!
8. Hot cocoa bar
Do you have leftover candy hanging around? Peppermints from Christmas, maybe? Crush them up, put some marshmallows in a bowl, grab some chocolate chips for another bowl, or maybe some shredded coconut and cinnamon sticks, and let the kids make their own hot cocoa toppings! (Don’t forget the whipped cream!)
9. Owl babies
These little guys are growing like crazy. Come get your live fix on them any time here on Facebook Live or at OKCOwlCam.com.
Have you seen this live owl cam yet? Alessondra’s OKC Great Horned Owl Cam is a favorite with my children. Mr. and Mrs. Tiger are two great horned owls who have nested outside a little girl’s window in Oklahoma. Alessondra set up a webcam and has been streaming them raising their little flocks over the years. Recently Mrs. Tiger was shot by a prankster and died, which caused much uproar and sadness, but a new Mrs. appeared and has made a new family with Mr. Tiger and the circle of life is continuing. The new Mrs. has hatchlings right now!
10. Wii bowling
We don’t use our Wii much, so on days like this, it’s the perfect thing to get everyone in the mood to move. We love Wii bowling! There are so many Wii games that are fun, but bowling is our game of choice. We can all play together and it’s always a great time. If you don’t have a Wii, you can still indoor bowl! If you have empty water bottles or empty 2-liters, just set ’em up and grab a ball and go for it! I also enjoy indoor mini-golf. Grab a cardboard box and cut some holes on one side with different points over each one and see who can rack up the most points! Even toddlers can get in on this game!
Really bad snow storms are rare, so enjoy the lock in while it lasts! Spring is just around the corner!