Fun School Snow Day Activities

Let it snow! Need something to do on a school snow day? Start a family tradition

Winter Break Kids in Snow

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Whether you work from home, stay at home, or work outside the house, having a snow-day contingency plan is a good idea. And not just for your sanity. Snow days offer a chance for quality time with your kids—no homework, sports practices, play dates, or other activities. In fact, school cancellations are a great opportunity to build lasting family memories. Plus, keeping kids busy doesn't necessarily mean more work for parents, as long as you're prepared.

To make sure your snow days go smoothly, plan ahead and have some snow day activities and supplies ready to go.

Gather ideas, and the stuff you need to execute them, before the first snowfall hits. Then, when the day actually arrives, you will be good to go. But if you're caught off guard, no worries. There are plenty of ideas here that you can implement with very little pre-planning.

Indulge in Snow-Day Superstitions

When there is snow in the forecast, most kids can't help but get excited about the possibility of having a day off from school. Share a few of these common snow-day superstitions with them the night before to see if you can "make" a snow day happen:

  • Place a spoon under the bed (or under the pillow).
  • Wear your PJs inside out.
  • Put an ice cube in the toilet.

Rumor has it that these little tricks will increase the likelihood of a snow day. Who knows where these ideas came from or the logic behind them. Let your kids have fun with them, as long as they don't fill the toilet with an entire bucket of ice or carry off all your spoons in the process.

Set Ground Rules

If you work at home or plan to telecommute on your kids' snow day, you may need to remind your kids of your home office ground rules. Once that is covered, start by giving the kids a general idea of what you have planned: For example, they must be quiet during your phone call from 9 to 10 a.m., but after that, you will help them bake cookies or bundle up to go outside. As long as kids know what's in store, they are often content to do their own thing until you're able to join them for some fun.

Create Snow-Day Traditions

Make snow days special by creating traditions that you repeat every snow day. Even if you have to put in a full day's work, the fact that there is likely no homework or extracurricular activities means you might be able to squeeze in some extra fun in the evening. Here are some simple snow-day traditions you can implement.

  • Prepare a special meal on snow days, like homemade pizza, a taco bar, or breakfast for dinner.
  • Have a tea party in the dining room with your fancy dishes.
  • Designate a movie as your family's "snow-day movie" and watch it every snow day.
  • Drink hot cocoa garnished with marshmallows and peppermints in front of the fire.
  • Bake your favorite cookies together as a family.
  • Play a game like Monopoly, Hearts, or chess and turn it into a family tournament.
  • Work on a 1,000-piece (or larger) puzzle every snow day until it's finished.
  • Read a book together or listen to an audiobook in front of the fire.
  • Bring a snowball inside and place it in the freezer. See how many you can collect throughout winter.
  • Write a snow-day letter to a grandparent or another family member. Include a snow-day craft or picture with it.

Play Inside

Sometimes snow days can seem extra long, especially if the weather doesn't permit your kids to be outside for an extended period of time. As a result, you will need some ideas on how to fill up those extra six to eight hours in the day and keep them occupied. Pick a few options from this list:

  • Play outdoor games inside. A balloon, paper plates, and paint sticks can be come a game of "balloon tennis" when you attach the sticks to the plates to make paddles.
  • Build a pillow fort with sheets, couch cushions, and pillows. Turn out the lights and get cozy inside.
  • Play in the snow inside. Bring a few buckets of snow inside and put it in the bathtub. Have the kids put on some gloves and build a snowman inside before it all melts.
  • Cut snowflakes from paper. Then string them from the ceiling to create a winter wonderland or hang them in your fort.
  • Have a scavenger hunt. Have the kids close their eyes or stay in a bedroom while you hide some coins or a few, small trinkets elsewhere in the house. Then, make a treasure map and a list of clues to help them find the hidden items. Reward them for a job well done at the end with a treat of some sort.
  • Skype with a family member. Whether it is Dad at work or Aunt Susan in Chicago, your kids will get a kick out of talking with them on their day off.

Play Outside

At some point, your kids will want to go outside (and maybe you will too). Bundle them up for a good romp in the snow and get out there! Maybe you trek to the best sledding hill or build a snowman closer to home. Don't forget to make a few snow angels and throw a couple snowballs while you're at it. Here are a few more ideas for making the most of the snow. 

  • Blow frozen bubbles. Who says that bubbles are just for summertime? Just be sure to blow them high into the air so that they have time to freeze.
  • Make snow ice cream. All you need is milk, sugar, salt, vanilla and a little clean snow.
  • Create maple syrup snow candy. Heat some maple syrup on the stove until it's boiling and then carefully pour onto some clean snow. It becomes the consistency of taffy once it hits the snow. After it has cooled down, the kids can pick it up and eat it.
  • Paint the snow. Fill spray bottles with water and food coloring and let the kids unleash their inner artist on the big blank canvas in the backyard.
  • Make Mr. Potato Head snowballs. Roll and pack a few snowballs and then use your Mr. Potato Head supplies to create different faces.
  • Create a snow volcano. Gather a mason jar, baking soda, vinegar, dish soap, and food coloring and take it outside. Put the mason jar in a bed of snow and mound the snow around it leaving the opening uncovered. Add 2 tablespoons of baking soda, 2 tablespoons of dish liquid, and a squirt of food coloring and give it a good stir. When everyone is standing back and ready, add 2 tablespoons of vinegar and watch it erupt.

Put the Kids to Work

If you're working, why not make the kids work a little too? If possible, give them some chores or let them help with your business. Helping you makes kids feel important.

If there's nothing to do in your office, have them sort through their closet for the things they've outgrown or clean out the toy box. Or, if you're shoveling snow, have them come out and help by clearing a small section and building a snowman or a fort. Even if their help is more playing than work, at least it keeps them busy.

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