I have a glorious arsenal of activities planned when my little girl is in preschool.
Although it’s only for a few hours a week, I look forward to private showers, coffee coupled with silence, (of course) solo yoga practices and lastly—the ultimate—writing in bed.
So when the snow wails down overnight (and is still coming down heavily the next morning), all mentally-laid plans go poof!
Yet I decided, on our very first “snow day” ever, a few weeks back, that I would never be one of those parents complaining about having their kids home. No, I would rejoice and be as happy as if it was my own school day too.
That said, everyone gets cabin fever when these types of days pile up, and little people are active, both mentally and physically. Mine, in particular, is disappointed when school is closed, and I need to make sure that her time at home is educational and special, in order for her to make it happily through the day (and in order for my hair to stay intact in my head and not in clumps in my own fists).
Here’s a short but effective list I’ve compiled.
Things to do when you—and your little people—are snowed in:
1. Make “ice cream.”
This suggestion might seem a bit off, but go with me on this one.
Our new food of the moment is blended frozen bananas. I swear it tastes exactly like ice cream, texture-wise, only it’s healthy and easy and great for mostly everyone’s personal diet choices.
My favorite recipe is to take about one heaping tablespoon of any organic, natural nut butter with every one frozen banana. I’m lazy and don’t like doing dishes, so I just use my hand blender (which means it’s best to slice the bananas before freezing them).
Get creative—put in kefir (if you’re not vegan) or cocoa powder (don’t use much and remember this has caffeine in it). I’ve also thrown in strawberries.
The best part about this one? My daughter likes to get on our warmest winter coats and snuggle afterwards.
2. Put on a puppet show.
Anything that gets your child to express her imagination will likely be a success, for both of you.
Puppets are expensive, but have you ever noticed that half the time children are more entranced with the box and packaging than the fancy, schmancy toy? In other words, put your old socks to use and create some puppets yourself.
Legos rock—at any age, Legos are fantabulous.
They encourage hand-eye coordination in smaller children and creativity and fun at all ages. Additionally, if your children are still learning the basics of vocabulary, you can go over colors and objects and even animals and their noises as you play.
Yes, this is my one-horse-power car.
4. Take a bath.
And not just any bath, but one where you can hear music playing and have snacks available—basically like you’re setting up for the longest. bath. ever.
My daughter and I have been known to spend nearly two hours in the bathtub, and the memories we create and the creativity that she shows me when she’s playing—like making my leg a slide for her rubber ducky, for example—are held tightly inside of my heart (especially for those other days when I’m struggling to get us out of the house without our hair sticking up in all directions).
I call this one “that’s not a duck, this is a duck.”
5. Dance party.
Dance parties are the ultimate—we have them so regularly that my dad brought over my old karaoke machine, complete with working gold microphone.
However, we’ve also constructed our own microphones from toilet paper tubes and masking tape and we use combs when we’re in the bathtub. In short, use your imagination—ahem, thumb microphones anyone?—just make sure to crank the music up and put on your dancing feet.
Okay, if you read my blogs in general, than this suggestion can’t possibly come as a surprise.
Your kids will love practicing yoga—I almost guarantee. (Actually, my daughter now asks me to practice—begs me—even when I’m not really in the mood!)
If you aren’t an instructor or are new to yoga yourself, then remember that safety and fun are your only real goals. Neither of you has to be perfect—you just have to put on something comfy and move to the sounds of your own breath.
You’ll notice two things about this list: one, that everything is indoors and, two, that everything is for parents and children together—and there’s a reason for this.
Your children won’t care what you do with them, as long as you’re showing interest and having fun. This is especially true for only children, like my daughter. Older kids and siblings might want their time alone—my toddler does too—but children will remember these days for a lifetime; stored in the warehouses of their hearts to call on feelings of being loved whenever they need them.
And while playing in the snow is obviously fantastic, when the temperatures plummet, this is only practical for so long with young people—and there are lots of hours in a snowed-in day.
So what are you waiting for? There are only six things on this list—I’m confident that you can add more. (Enjoy.)
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photos: Author’s own.