Friday, January 22, 2016

Snow Day!

With the anticipation of the impending snow this weekend, I thought I would focus today's post on both outdoor and indoor activities you can do with your little ones.  We know that kids love being outside playing with the snow...making snow angels, going sledding, building snowmen and snowball fights are the obvious ones.  But we all know that as soon as your kid has to use the bathroom or they get cold, they want to be inside STAT!  Once they are inside, us parents are all worried about what we will do to keep everyone sane the rest of the day.

Below, I have shared some of my favorite winter activities that you can do with your kids.  All are fun and have a therapeutic value to them.  Whether it be building overall body strength, working on improving fine motor skills or encouraging cooperative play and social skills, they are all fun and don't require much more than things you will find at home or outdoors.

1.  Wanna Build a Snowman?-if the forecast is correct, many of us will have enough snow to make a snowman!  Snowman building is a great activity for so many reasons.  It's perfect for encouraging working as a group with your friends or siblings.  Also great for working on improving upper body strength, body awareness and encouraging creativity.  If building with little kids, use this as an opportunity to talk to them and teach them about all the different body and face parts.

2.  Snowball Games-kids love making snowballs!  Who am I kidding....everyone loves snowballs!  Sometimes snowball fights can get out of control so you have to think of solutions for that not to happen.  How about setting up targets for your kids to throw snowballs at instead of at each other?  Or how about a snowball catch where you see how many times you can toss it back and forth to each other before it falls apart?  There are lots of fun things you can do with snowballs that doesn't have to be throwing it at another person.

3.  Make Hot Chocolate-nothing tastes better after spending hours outside playing in the snow than a cup of hot chocolate.  Let your kids help you make the hot chocolate.  Whether you have them scoop the chocolate powder into the mug and let them stir or make hot chocolate from scratch.  Check out these great recipes from this PopSugar post a couple of winters ago.

4. Blow Bubbles in the Cold-when the temperature drops below 32 degrees, really cool things happen with bubbles.  Try and dig out some of your bubbles that you have hidden somewhere waiting for summer weather and bring them out into the cold.  See what happens when you blow them and catch them with the wand!  You and your kids will all be amazed by what happens.

5.  Tic-Tac-Snow-use a stick to make a giant tic-tac-toe board in the snow.  Collect some branches to make Xs and pinecones or rocks for Os.

6.  Snow Ice Cream-this may be harder for us city dwellers, but snow ice cream is an easy and fun activity to do with your kids.  You will need:
1/2 cup half & half or whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 cups clean snow
Blend the milk, sugar and vanilla together until the sugar dissolves.  Mix the 4 cups of snow and stir until the mixture is the consistency of ice cream.  Eat plain or add your favorite toppings!

7.  Paper Snowflakes-if your kids need to warm up and you aren't quite ready to plop them in front of the television quite yet, how about having them make their own snowflakes.  I remember spending hours and hours as a kid making paper snowflakes.  I loved how you could do it again and again and like a real snowflake, no two snowflakes were ever the same.  As I have been on the hunt for fun winter themed activities for my  kids at work, I stumbled upon these name snowflakes on Childhood 101.  It takes a little bit of practice and definitely better for older kids but once you get the hang of it, you will be obsessed and want to make one for every single person you know!

8.  Craft It Up-there are a lot of fun and simple crafts that you can do on these snowy days.  I don't know about you all, but I happen to have a little girl who could craft all day long and doesn't need snow days as an excuse.  Some of our favorites are:
Make Homemade Playdough
Valentine's Day Crafts
Homemade Snow Globes
Washi Tape Crafts
Coloring and Activity Books (click on the link to check out my post from the holidays for ideas)

9.  Send out Postcards/Write a Letter-one of my sisters has a job that takes her all over the USA.  One of the things that she has started with all the kids in her life is to send postcards from wherever she ends up.  My daughter looks forward to this mail and learning about new places in our country.  One thing you can do with your kids is have them pick out a friend, cousin or other family member to write a letter to and tell them all about their snowy day adventures.  It's not only a great way to work on handwriting but also a great way for kids to recall and talk about what they did with people who may not have been home to enjoy it with them.

10.  Get Physical-if your kids start to get a bit stir crazy and need to get some energy out, think of all the great games that you can play inside to get them up and moving.  I tend to suggest to parents that they have a secret stash of games that they take out on cold or rainy days.  I especially like ones that encourage movement in kids.  Here are some board games/activities that are you can save for these kinds of days:
5 Little Monkeys On The Bed
Kids on Stage
Zoom Ball
Simon Says
Hide and Seek

While I know that I will be outside as much as I can, I do know that I will need to have backup plans to keep my own daughter busy and not attached to an iPad or television once we are inside.  I can't wait to begin some new snowy day traditions with her now that she is older and doing so much more.  Do you have any favorite snowy/cold day activities, crafts or cooking/baking activities that you do with your kids?  Would love to hear what kinds of fun and creative things you all do!  I'm always a click away and love hearing from you all!

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