I’m writing this on Sunday night, when we in the Northeast are hunkering down for a big snowstorm. Well, I guess sometime between the news this morning and the news this evening, it became a blizzard and possibly the END OF MANKIND in our area. I’ve already received a voicemail from my electricity provider about preparing for the storm (which I don’t remember ever receiving before, despite big storms in the past, and has me fairly worried). But instead of spending the energy in my brain getting ALL FREAKED OUT (and I have to believe that is what every news organization would like me to be), I thought I’d take some time to think about how we can enjoy being stuck in the house, well stuck on our property actually, for a decent amount of time. I think it’s safe to assume no one is going anywhere, be it school or work, on Tuesday.
Let me start out by adding something I would do TONIGHT to get ready for Armageddon: wash every dirty thing in the house. That means you, your kids, laundry, dishes, floors, tables – you get the idea. You may not have power or access to your water if things go really south. And if you’re like me and only wash your hair a couple of times a week, do it tonight just in case you have no choice over the next few days.
Now, if you also have to commute into Hartford at some point when this is all over, you know it’s going to be an effing nightmare because that city cannot manage to clear its streets – ever. So why not try to enjoy the next day or two with some different ideas on how to spend time with your family.
Here’s hoping when we are stuck inside, we all still have electricity. Otherwise, I don’t know. Maybe sit around and sing songs? After you’re convinced you’ve derailed your child(ren) from any music career with your off-tune shenanigans, scrounge around the house and see if you can put together some Valentine’s Day cards with your random craft supplies. Not feeling crafty? Here’s a little help from the internet.
Electricity-be-damned, you can still read books, too. We have an old book from my partner’s childhood that is perfect for a blizzard: Katy and the Big Snow. It’s a neat story from the author of Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. If you don’t happen to have a copy of Katy (I don’t know if it’s still in print), someone named Grandma Annii recorded herself reading it on YouTube. Cue it up on your tablet and take ten minutes to yourself while your kid(s) listen.
My last snow-related indoor activity (which is not much of an activity) is watching the movie Snow Day. When I worked for an afterschool program (that would be: after school, before school, school vacations, snow days, etc.) at an elementary school, we watched this movie on a snow day, and I found it wildly entertaining. Now, I looked it up on Wikipedia and apparently it did not meet with much appreciation from the critics, but I imagine the “critics” are a bunch of stodgy old men who can’t appreciate light-hearted fun. Iggy Pop appears in at least one scene that most adults would find super funny. You can rent it on iTunes for $3.99.
When You Can Get Out and Play
Now, I’m not a big playing-outside-in-winter person and my two-year-old (in my opinion) is a little too young for the basic stuff like sledding. So I looked up activities to do in the snow that seemed fairly likely to engage a toddler. And I’ll first start out by quoting Alex from glitteringmuffins.com:
“Outdoor play in winter doesn’t always have to be structured or have an actual purpose.”
So let your kids explore snow. Bring out all your beach toys, or grab some cake pans and tins and let them play around.
Do you still have bubble stuff? If it’s 32 degrees or colder, they will freeze on the wand.
If you have any empty spray cans or travel bottles, fill them with water and some food coloring and let the kids “paint” in the snow.
Freeze ice cubes tinted with food coloring and hide them throughout the yard for a scavenger hunt.
Now, for the more adventurous, you can build a minigolf course in your yard. Use tin cans to bury in the snow for the holes, some sort of stick to mark the hole and I guess you would also need play golf equipment. I put this one in here because we thankfully happen to have plastic clubs and balls and I think we’ll try it tomorrow. I know, I know — this doesn’t really embrace the glitteringmuffins.com principle, but a little structured fun is good, too 🙂
What other activities have you tried with your kids when you’re stuck inside or out in the snow?