Family Fun    

Yikes, we're snowed in!

Winter storm survival tips

snow day family fun

Every January brings talk of the relief a parent feels when the kids go back to school. But school time doesn’t help the mom of toddlers, homeschooling parents, or those who are housebound during a winter storm. These moms need something a little more creative when there’s no big, yellow bus pulling up to the door. They need:


Kids love read-alouds. Mine would beg for “just one more chapter” every evening while they sipped hot tea and munched popcorn by the fire. Sometimes, if we finished our homeschooling early, they could coax me into an afternoon reading as well. If you know a storm is coming, head to the library and stock up on some new titles.


In our home, movies are a treat reserved for a weekend night if certain criteria are met. Criteria like a clean room, chores done, and no fighting that day. But if the kids are home for snow days, and they’ve had all the sledding they can take, what’s it going to hurt to watch three in a row — just this once.


Don’t let being cooped up in the house drive everyone to their own rooms, phones, or computers. Turn off the electronics and get out a board game. Candy Land can keep them busy for at least a few hours.


There’s no better way to warm up a cold kitchen than popping some cookies into the oven. Get the kids into the kitchen and bake things together.

READ MORE: How can I keep my kids entertained inside?


Do you knit, crochet, or do needlework? Have you taught your kids to do it, yet? There’s no better time than when stranded during a storm. Cutting quilt squares, creating scrapbook pages, or fashioning beaded jewelry can occupy the hours till the plows come down the road. And if the kids are too young to enjoy mommy’s craft, give them some age appropriate beads, fabric scraps, or other miscellaneous supplies and let them create.

Special toys

For the preschoolers, I always kept a box of toys put away for special occasions. Snow days, rainy days, and sick days are those kinds of occasions. When you get them out, they are like new all over again and keep their attention longer.


Sometimes, the littles just need to get the wiggles out. For times like this, put on some music and dance with them. They will get some much-needed exercise, and so will mommy.


Another way to get the wiggles out is to use that dusty exercise equipment in the basement. Jump on the mini-tramp, walk the treadmill, or ride the exercise bike a few miles. In fact, plan for a triathlon. Give them the morning to practice and spend the afternoon in competition.

READ MORE: Schedule health into your routine


Spend the day planning and packing. After supper, hide stuffed animals all around the family room. Pitch the tent in the middle of the floor. If you don’t have a tent, throw some blankets over a table and pretend. Bring in the bedding or sleeping bags and camp out right there. Turn out the lights and have them hunt the animals with flashlights. Tell stories, eat popcorn, and giggle the night away.


Do you have an empty, unfinished basement or garage? Bring on the wheels. Roller skates, scooters, or bikes will entertain kids for hours no matter what the weather is outside.


Another idea for the basement is to drag in the kiddie pool and have a day at the beach. Or simply use your bathtub. Let the kids swim to their heart’s content while the winter winds blow.

Carol J. Alexander is a freelance writer and author of “Homestead Cooking with Carol: Bountiful Make-ahead Meals.”