Ah, that sinking moment when you’ve sledded, built snowmen, made snow angels, watched three Sesame Streets and read every board book in the house, an realize it’s only 10 a.m. We’ve got a handful of easy and fun activities to fill the rest of the hours, snow day ideas that we’ve loved ourselves and saved (okay — and some that we culled from the Internet) to share with you when you need ’em.
Make a “sandbox” of rice (or pasta, or oatmeal, or lentils, or even rice cereal … basically, whatever you’ve got).
Put a sheet or towel down on the ground, then fill a plastic storage tub — or even a 9×13 cake pan, if you’ve got nothing bigger — with the dry rice grains (or whathaveyou) for the “sand.” Place it on your towel, toss in some measuring cups, little bowls, ladles, spoons or whatever you want from your kitchen as toys, and you’ve got yourself a “sandbox.” If you’ve got older toddlers (2, 3 and up), you might even toss a few items in for a “treasure hunt” — simply give them the name of the object (or draw a picture of said object) that they’re to feel around and dig for, and watch the thrill when they find it.
Give the toys a bath.
We put down a towel or two (or five), fill a big bowl with a teensy bit of dish soap and some warm water, and then toss some of the plastic toys and a little washcloth. It makes for at least 30 or 45 minutes of “bathtime” for toys that probably DO actually need a wash; my floors get a little cleaner; and Luke loves the water play. If I think of it before we start, I crank up the heat and just strip him down to the diapers … he’ll be soaked in minutes anyway. There are also some cute twists on this — like the indoor Matchbox car car-wash.
Play some cotton “snowball” pong.
All you need are some cotton balls and disposable cups that you can decorate like little snowmen. (Although to be real: Even if you have no disposable cups, you could totally use regular kids’ plastic cups that you have in your cupboard. They don’t need to be decorated for this to be fun.) And voila — the cotton-ball tossing commences, in a way that’s reminiscent of beer pong. (May serve them well later in life.)
Make a scavenger hunt!
This is great for preschoolers and toddlers (from about 2 and up) because you can adjust the level of difficulty. Even if it’s a matter of hiding one item, and giving them verbal clues until they find the item; or asking them verbally to find something blue, and then bring you something soft, and so on; or asking little ones as young as 18 months to pull certain items out of a basket as described here … it’s a skill-builder and a really fun adventure for a little one that will keep them busy as long as you’d like.
You Tube yoga
In our house, we’re fans of Cosmic Kids Yoga — Frozen-themed yoga: I just call it up on You Tube, and then airport it to our Apple TV. We plant ourselves in front of the TV and hear the story of Elsa and Anna while doing corresponding yoga moves. I was sort of shocked at how clever the whole thing was, and also shocked that my wiggly, short-attention-spanned kid was into it for a good 20 minutes. Plus: (Mild) exercise! Win.
Do the pillow-fort thing.
Obvious, maybe, but the appeal of a pillow-and-sheet fort never dies. If not a fort, then maybe camping (with a tent! Sleeping bags!) in the living room. Even a one-year-old knows there’s something cool and different about hanging out in little cozy nooks and hiding spots where usually none exist. And here’s some awesome fort inspiration. And more!
Go sledding. Again.
Philly Mag runs an annual list of the best sledding spots in the city and ‘burbs. No kid (and no adult, for that matter) doesn’t love sledding.
Play with tape.
This sounds pretty lame, but you know what? Tape on the floor as a road system for cars, tape on the floor as a “balance beam”, tape on the floor as a whole pom-pom relay thing, tape on the floor just as something a kid can spend time peeling off the floor. So easy, and I think it’d be a hit. And you can’t beat the clean-up.
Playdough it up.
Another classic that’s not to be underestimated: A pile of Play-Doh or Playdough (yes, the make-your-own sort!) and a couple of cookie cutters, measuring cups, forks … it’ll keep everyone busy for at least a little chunk of time.