By Kathleen Rudnicki, M.Ed.
The snow is falling fast and hard. You know what might happen. You watch the early morning news and sure enough, your child’s school is closed for the day.
The Snow Day is a kid’s best friend, but what’s a parent to do with a little one cooped up inside for hours on end? How can you keep him entertained when it’s too cold or dangerous to go outside?
The following activities can help keep your children safe, warm, occupied and away from Sponge Bob and will build some nice memories of an unexpected day together.
- Bake cookies or brownies – preferably from scratch. Provides opportunities for measuring, counting (math); stirring (small motor skills), reading and looking up new words AND makes the house smell great!
- Prefer not to make sweets? How about cooking up a pot of soup?
Besides measuring and counting, children can do some well supervised slicing and chopping. When cooking and baking together it’s a great time to talk about where all the ingredients come from. For ‘exotic” ingredients (chocolate, vanilla beans, even pasta) go online or pull out the globe. You can also discuss how ingredients are grown and produced.
- Here’s recipe for a different kind of fun: homemade play dough. This activity involves many of the same skills as cooking and baking. And because they helped create it, young children will often play with freshly made play dough for long periods of time.
- Help kids write “books”. In addition to using crayons and paints, images cut from old catalogues and magazines can be used to illustrate their stories.
- Recycle plastic soda/seltzer bottles (you’ll need 10) to create a mini bowling alley. Tennis balls can be used to knock down the “pins.” Depending on the age/abilities of children, they can keep score.
- Simply make some hot chocolate and curl up with a few good books. Some great options include:
- The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
- The Mitten or The Hat by Jan Brett
- Snowmen at Night and Snowmen at Work by Carolyn Buener
- Dream Snow by Eric Carle
*Homemade “Play Dough”
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup salt
- 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
- Food coloring
- 1 cup flour
- Combine water, oil, salt, cream of tartar, and food coloring in a saucepan and heat until warm.
- Remove from heat and add flour.
- Stir with a wooden spoon, then knead the dough until smooth.
- The cream of tartar makes this dough last 6 months or longer. Store the dough in an airtight container or a plastic freezer bag.
Kathleen Rudnicki, M.Ed. is director of the Rockwell Child Study Center; Education Faculty at Lasell College.