Keeping Kids Busy on Snowy Days
I don't know about you, but when it comes to snowstorms, the last place I want to be is outside. And yet, the second my kids see a hint of a snowflake falling from the sky, that's their cue to cajole me into allowing them to go outside and build a snowman - or go sledding down the back of our house, which after 10 years has become so hilly that they'll probably wind up in the neighbors' yard if I let them hop on a sled and go careening down our mini mountain. But I digress. While the sledding and snowmaking activities last for about an hour on a day when the schools have been closed, there are still at least nine more hours in which my kids want to be entertained and fed as I feverishly attempt to get my writing completed before someone else bellows my name from the other room..."MOMMY, WE'RE BORED!!!"
So what's a working writer mom to do when her kids are desperately seeking a fun activity and all I've got to offer is premium cable channels and a hi speed Internet connection? Well, after searching through my basement and den, I've discovered there are plenty of things in my house that'll keep my kids occupied for hours. And in case you're looking for some pointers, here are my fave five tips for keeping your child busy during a blizzard.
1. Puzzles and Art Projects. I still remember when I was a little girl how my mom would pull out a 1000 piece puzzle and we'd sit there for hours at the kitchen table trying to reconstruct a Monet painting or a pastoral farm scene. Plus, once you finish the puzzle, you can have it mounted and framed so you can hang it in the playroom for your kids to admire while they're playing a Wii game. Or they can also take it apart and start all over again. If your kids aren't the puzzle type, there's always construction paper, glue, glitter and markers - nothing like getting your hands messy while passing the time away.
2. Whip Out The Old Board Games. I don't know about you, but my basement is filled with games from yesteryear. From Operation, to Candyland, to Apples to Apples to Life, you name the game and we've got it. But herein lies the problem: The games never leave their boxes. Translation: We never play them. I say there's nothing like a blizzard to convince you to break the games out of their boxes, pop in some batteries and gather round that Operation table to remove the funny bone from the man with the red nose. There's nothing like having fun with your tweens by playing a game you used to love when you were a kid.
3. Anyone for a Card Game? Here's another nostalgic game that's inexpensive and fun for the whole family. When I was my daughter's age, I was obsessed with Spit and lucky for me, she learned how to play it in camp. You can play Spit for at least an hour, then switch to War; Rummy for a family of four or more, and if you're not in the mood to play, you could always build a house of cards and when someone comes in and knocks it to the ground, the kids can play 52 pick up.
4. iPhone Apps Anyone? For kids who are more obsessed with technology but have decided to take a break from their DS or Wii for a few hours, there's always mom or dad's iPhone. For the last few weeks, my son keeps sneaking over to me asking if he can download free apps on my phone and the next thing I know, I've got all these crazy games installed, like Pocket God, Animalizer (where you put a photo of yourself on an animal), iDragPaper - where you race to see how fast you can unfurl a roll of toilet paper; and many more mindless games that'll keep your kids entertained for a good 35 minutes.
5. When in Doubt, Bake Your Heart Out Nothing makes a kid happier then getting the chance to bake something with his mom. It could be as easy as popping open a can of chocolate chip cookie mix and plopping the balls of dough on a bakers pan, or going full throttle and asking your child to help mix and frost a cake. I have to say, back in the day when my mom baked, I loved licking the spoon as I mixed - not good for our guests, but yummy for my tummy. Plus, if you're not baking - hot chocolate with marshmallows and whip cream also do the trick - it's just finding the right food for the right occasion that'll keep you child occupied and satisfied.
If you have some ideas of your own on how to keep your kids entertained during a blizzard, please share your tips and stories!