It’s coming….you know it’s coming….the inevitable snow day.
Children stuck inside. Bouncing off the walls. Toys being thrown. Tempers flaring. The screaming….oh, the screaming. I’m all for a day to relax with my kids, but with ages 1, 3 and 5, I am limited with how long we can all play out in the snow….so then we are stuck inside…
Last winter, I was unprepared for snow days. I had played all of my tricks during the December break from school and had nothing left up my sleeve. Plus, I didn’t have a single drop of paint in the house! Neither finger nor poster! How could I let this happen?! My kids do so many crafts at school that I don’t keep a craft bin at home, but now I see the error of my lazy ways. This year, I decided to make a Snow Day Jar ahead of time so that I am armed with fun ideas as well as the necessary materials for fun activities. My goal is that the kids can pick an idea out of the jar that will keep us busy for at least 20 minutes, then the next kid picks an idea, and so on. So here are my ideas (some are from crafty friends, some are from babysitters, and some are from internet searches…1 or 2 are my own ideas):
- Build a fort – gather whatever you have (pillows, blankets, couch cushions, bar stools) and do your best! Anything is way more fun when done inside a fort, right?
- Bring the snow indoors – fill a plastic storage bin with fresh snow and bring it back inside. Put an old sheet or blanket down, give the kids some sand toys or other digging tools and watch them have fun. Optional fun: add some food coloring or buried treasure!
- Board game marathon – have the kids take turns picking a game to play together. Any fighting and you are expelled from said game marathon.
- Indoor hopscotch – use painters tape to make a hopscotch board on the floor! Tear off the tape sections for the kids and have them make the boxes for a really creative board.
- Indoor ball pit – fill up an inflatable pool or pack n’ play with plastic balls!
- Lego Game – if you have older kids and a bin full of Legos, A Mom With A Lesson Plan created this fun homemade game.
- Indoor croquet – Toddler Approved gives some great suggestions for indoor croquet fun.
- Homemade marble run – set it up and make the kids run after the marbles!
- Pouch cap scooping – does your family go through a metric ton of pureed pouches like mine does? I saved the colored caps for a few months and quickly had a huge stash. I keep them in a plastic bin with a few strainers…the kids have too much fun scooping and sorting them alone or with water in the bin. Sooner or later, someone ends up stripping and getting in the bin of water. Some people would call that bath time.
- Ice painting – fill a plastic container with water and put it outside to freeze. When frozen, bring back inside for some painting fun with watercolors! You might want to do this the night before so that it’s fully frozen and ready for the kids.
- Kraft paper – roll out a huge length of brown or white paper (found at any crafting store or big store such as Wal-Mart), give them some paint and let them go! Finger paints, poster paints, sponge painting, foot painting….the sky’s the limit here. The Artful Parent blogger describes a body tracing activity that she did at home. Just tape down the paper to limit sliding and let them go.
Crafting & Sensory
- Paper snowflakes – get out the scissors and make it snow inside by making paper snowflakes! Need a step-by-step guide like me? Here’s a tutorial. Get some yarn and hang your lovely flakes around the house.
- Window snowman – who knew that craft foam would stick to a window with just water? Surely not me.
- Contact paper window art – tape clear contact paper to the window with the sticky side facing out, give the kids some materials and let them go! If it sticks, it works – snow themed decorating, colored sticks, or tissue paper are all ideas easy found on Pinterest. Searching “contact paper window with kids” on Pinterest will yield many more ideas.
- Homemade silly putty – here is a super easy recipe with dish soap and cornstarch
- Homemade play doh – FCMB writer Stacey recently shared her family’s favorite recipe
- Glitter slime – who doesn’t love glitter?
- Water beads – these are found in the vase filler aisle in Michael’s. Heads up that they take 6 hours to fully soak up the water and expand, so either do it first thing in the morning to play in the afternoon, or do it the night before. You can play right in the plastic bin. I like to haul the water table into the dining room and fill it with water beads so that everyone has more play space. I also have a couple tubes of Toob animals that I bury in the beads. Plenty of Mommy bloggers have written about water bead play if you are looking for more ideas, such as The Artful Parent.
Store Bought Fun
I am not above store bought fun; in fact, I’m strongly in favor of it. After a morning of togetherness inside, let’s face it, I’m going to want the kids to work independently for awhile while the little one naps. I have stocked up on a new Lego set each, Sticky Mosaics, Stained Glass and Shrinky Dinks that will keep the kids busy so I can sit down and not have to talk to anyone for a bit. Clearly I am prepared to be snowed in for a week.
So that’s what went into my Snow Day Jar. All materials are easy enough to purchase from Amazon, Michael’s, Home Depot and Wal-Mart. Now that I’m so prepared, who wants to bet that no snow days come this year! HA!
What are your suggestions for indoor fun on a snow day?