Remember that snow day?

Snow day! The phrase that causes many a parent to shudder. Not me. I find it a nice break from the norm, a chance for the kids and I to stay home in our pajamas or go sledding until our fingers are numb. A day to drink hot chocolate, eat popcorn and cuddle up in front of our favorite movies together.

     However, around one or two o’clock, the fun begins to wear off. Children start to pick at each other for the sheer reason that there’s nothing better to do. We tend to need an activity to break the monotony of four walls and three children. That’s when I know it’s craft time. Below are some simple crafts you can do with your kids. The materials required are typical household items, and the fun might have you wishing for another consecutive snow day. Or… maybe not! Get your camera out though. You will want to capture these moments with your children. Someday, it will warm your heart to look back and say, “Remember that snow day!”

  1. Fun with a Box – My number one favorite activity. This one may start out as a craft but can easily morph into a make believe game of domesticity, adventure, animal antics etc… After years of watching my kids spend hours with boxes (sometimes ones that had been delivered with expensive Christmas presents they eventually spent much less time playing with,) I’ve realized that the possibilities are endless.
  2. Collage – If you are anything like me, you have magazines lying around. Some of them may be over a year old, and, if they haven’t been read yet, they are never going to be read! Let your kids use them to make a creative collage. The theme could be “all about me,” “nature,” “foods I love,” “everything purple,” etc…  They can easily spend an hour cutting, organizing, and pasting pictures. And, getting rid of those mags helps you de-clutter your house in the process!
  3. Dioramas – Again with a box – a shoebox this time, preferably!  Have your child choose his or her favorite scene from a book or movie and create a diorama of the scene. Kids can use miniature dolls for props or print pics from clipart and attach them to popsicle sticks  to get the a three dimensional effect.
  4. Chains of Kindness – This is a great activity that serves two purposes. It gives your kids something crafty to do for a little while, but it also reminds and motivates them to be kind to each other. Choose two different colors of construction paper. You will need several pages of each color. Have the children cut up to about one hundred 4 inx2 in rectangular slips that can eventually be connected to each other to make a chain. See picture below. Place all of the rectangular slips in a large bowl or basket. The children each start out with one link, and each time they’re witnessed performing a “random” act of kindness, they get to add a link to their chain. You can alternate colors so that it is easy for them to count the links. Make sure to hang their Kindness Chains in a row somewhere that they can see them!
  5. Scrapbooking – I know so many moms who are addicted to scrapbooking. They have entire rooms devoted to this activity, rooms that are filled floor to ceiling with special papers, stickers and glue. I don’t have these things, but boy do I have a wealth of family photos. And I have notebooks to spare as well. Give your kids some photos, notebooks, glue and pens, and let them create a scrapbook. MY girls did this last year after a family trip to Disney World. Not only did they relive their Disney experience through chronologically organizing our photos into an album, but it took them hours! The end result is so lovely, I have deemed it a coffee table book for all to see. They used their own stickers, glitter, puffy paints, and other craft items from our stash and now take immense pride in their hard work every time they show off their scrapbook to a visiting friend.

     A snow day doesn’t have to be a tiny tragedy. As parents, we have a to-do list a mile long, and often we are so caught up in the next item to be checked off, we forget to sit down and chill with our kids. They will remember the moments we sit still with them; whether it be watching a movie, playing a board game (which I fully admit I do not love to do,) or creating a craft.

     The next time you are snowed in with your kids, leave your jammies on. Don’t even shovel the driveway. Instead, gather every blanket you can find and, together, build a fort in the living room. Make sure it’s big enough for you and the children to fit inside and strategically placed within view of the television. Make some popcorn and pick a favorite movie, then snuggle into your snow day fort with your kids. All the running and chauffeuring and cooking and laundry and cleaning and PTO and every other thing that you do for them… they won’t remember much of it. But, the giant fort you built on that one snow day? That memory will stick.

Dana Faletti is the author of the Whisper series. She was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and resides in a northern suburb of the city with her three wonderful daughters, a loving husband and a hypoallergenic Siberian Forest cat named Fluffy G. Wake, book two of the Whisper series, is coming soon.