Amy Umble writes about family issues and kid-friendly events.
Keep the kids busy when icy roads keep you indoors
So the weather outside is a bit frightful–especially if you have children. An ice storm is the worst form of winter weather for parents: School is canceled but you can’t bundle the children up and send them outside to make snow angels and people.
Stuck indoors, kids resort to a few unsavory scenarios: Yelling at each other or sitting like zombies in front of the TV.
Here are a few ideas to save the snow-day:
1. It’s beginning to look like Christmas:
If your family celebrates Christmas, this ice storm comes at a bad time, when kids are already starting for feel anxious for the Big Day. But you can use that anticipation to your advantage by having them help you get ready for Christmas. Kids can make tree ornaments Christmas cards, gift tags and wrapping paper.
Salt Dough is easy, and you don’t have to brave the icy roads to get special ingredients–you just need flour, water and salt. Here’s the ingredient list:
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup salt
- 1/2 cup water
As long as you keep to the ratio, you can make this in any amount. Mix the dough, then knead on a floured surface. Roll it out until it’s about 1/4″ thick. Cut into ornament shapes using cookie cutters (or a small glass if you just want circles). Use a straw to create a small hole to hang the ornament.
Preheat your oven to 250 degrees, bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for two hours. When they are cool, you can paint the ornaments. Thread a ribbon through the hole, then hang on the tree.
You can also make quick and easy ornaments by cutting shapes out of cardboard, painting and gluing glitter or sparkles–or just using some festive stickers. Cut a hole with a hole punch and thread a ribbon through the hole and hang.
Then make traditional garland by making paper circles or stringing popcorn.
Christmas cards: Kids will love making their own cards for their friends, family and teachers. And they’re really easy. Just fold construction paper or colored cardstock in half and give the kids some stickers, crayons and markers. To make them really festive, add some glitter glue.
Personalized gift tags: Cut colored cardstock into rectangles. Give children extra pictures of their friends and family, and have them glue a picture of the recipient onto each rectangle–if Grandma is going to get a gift, glue a picture of Grandma to the tag. They could also glue a picture of themselves and write “From:” before the picture. If you don’t have extra pictures handy, kids can draw pictures of gift recipients.
Wrapping paper: You can make fun wrapping paper with a roll of kraft paper, drawing paper or shipping paper (we also often use the kraft paper that comes with packages we get in the mail). Dip the ends of the toilet paper roll in paint, then use it as a stamp to put circles on the paper.
2. The Cleaning Games: There’s some law of physics about the amount of mess relative to the amount of time kids are at home. Break that law with these ideas that will banish boredom–and mess:
The Amazing Cleaning Race: Set a timer, then challenge the kids to see who can do the most amount of cleaning in that time. For younger kids, set it for 5 minutes. For tweens, try 30 minutes or even an hour. Each child could tackle their own bedroom. If you happen to live in a magical world where those bedrooms are already clean, give each child a different room or section of a room.
The Toy Wash: Set up a toy wash in the bath tub or the kitchen sink. Fill the tub or sink with water and a squirt or two of dish detergent, then grab a bunch of toys (choose only toys that can be submerged in water!) and have your child clean them, then lay them on a towel to dry.
Musical Chores: Choose a handful of chores–putting away the blocks, clearing off the dining room table, dusting the coffee table, etc.–and assign each child one to start. Put on some music, and have them do as much of the chore as they can while the music goes. Stop the music, and have the kids switch chores. If you only have one child, you can still do this, just have them rotate chores.
3. Let it Snow: Mother nature may have handed out a weather dud, but your kids can still make snowmen. Here’s a quick recipe for some indoor “snow”: Two boxes of cornstarch and a can of shaving cream (not the gel kind). Mix them in a container, and let your children mold them into small snowmen. You could even put some toy figures in and have them make some snow angels.
You could also make some snowmen, using “snow paint,” by mixing: shaving cream, white glue, peppermint extract and iridescent glitter. First, chill the shaving cream and glue in the fridge. Then, mix the glue and the shaving cream in a bowl, add as much glitter as you like, then put in a few drops of peppermint extract. Then grab some paint brushes and make your creations–they will be puffy and glittery, like big fat snowmen.