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Monday, February 2, 2015

Mommy Monday: snow day ideas for toddlers and preschoolers

Well, here in CT we're in for another snow day today- we've had quite a few in the last couple of weeks! Today I wanted to share my favorite things to do with my 3-year-old girls when we are unexpectedly stuck at home.

1. Cook
Yep, our #1 favorite thing to do on a snow day is cook! And why not? My girls love helping me cook, and I can stock up the fridge/freezer for our next few meals while I'm home and have the time! You can check out many of my favorite easy meals on my Recipes Pinterest board (most of them are easy enough to do with the kids), but here are a few of my favorites:

Energy bites: you can customize and adjust this recipe so many ways, and it is like sensory play too if you let everyone mix it up by hand! :)

Simple, delicious, and healthy recipe for No Bake Energy Bites. Super yummy and a great recipe to make with the kids!

I actually use this recipe but cook it in the oven instead of the crockpot. But it's delicious and easy.

Crockpot Pumpkin Bread.

OK, I know what you're thinking- too many ingredients I don't have in my house. Just trust me on this one: even if you have no children, you NEED to buy the stuff and make this now. It is so yummy and so quick to make too. This one is fun with the kids because it is a much more action-packed recipe, but still easy and quick.

親子丼 (Oyakodon)

2. Clean
I know I can't be the only mom who thinks doing chores on a snow day is a great idea. The trick is to make it a project. Pick something out of the ordinary- I'm not talking about vacuuming or picking up toys- it needs to be something unusual to be exciting. Think deep clean the bathroom or organize the closet. Then let the kids help plan how to execute, and start delegating. It really does feel good to be productive and work as a team. As long as they are team members and not minions just following orders, the kids will love it too!

3. Build a Fort
There are so many ways to build a fort/tent/whatever. Use an old box, couch cushions, blankets, storage containers, tables, chairs, and anything else you can find! The fun is figuring out how to get it to stay up, and make it big enough for everyone to get inside. 

4. Read.All.The.Books.
We read every day so reading books is nothing new and exciting, but usually when we read we are on some kind of time crunch (or I start to feel antsy) and I limit the number of books we read in a row. On snow days we can go crazy! The girls get excited about bringing my piles and piles of books and reading them all, one after the other.

5. Tinker
Basically just pull out some interesting stuff, and see what you come up with! This is a great way to get the creative juices flowing and encourage exploration, discovery, and independence. Our favorite materials lately are pipe cleaners, blocks, and play dough, but we've had tons of fun just pulling out the recycling box and using the stuff in there (just taking out the open cans with sharp edges of course...). I made a "busy box" that is basically a box of stuff for tinkering (but slightly more structured), which has been a favorite for many months now. You can read more about that here:

6. Dance
The girls got this awesome toy for Christmas, which has been a great way to change up our dance party routine:
Basically it gives you a prompt (like "swim like a fish" or "run like a puppy") and then plays music to match that movement. It's great because it comes up with so many movement ideas and different musical styles so I don't have to think. We do our own dance parties too though- just turn on some music, move, and laugh! Our favorite is the Raffi station on Pandora. You can also do some different games: call out one body part to move at a time, call out one person's name to take a turn leading the movement, or call out different actions (like march, walk, jump, slide, run, tiptoe etc).

7. Snow Play
Just because you can't go on an outing doesn't mean you can't go out! Even if it's just for a few minutes we love to get out of the house and play in the snow. Up until recently that generally just involved touching the snow, looking at the snow, and maybe attempting to walk in the snow. The last couple of times the girls have finally gotten up the nerve to actually have fun and they now make snow angels and snow balls with the best of them! Soon we will be making epic snowmen and other large snow structures. Yes we will. 

8. Crafts
Crafts are always lots of fun and they're great for a snow day when you have a little more time. There are tons of fun and easy craft ideas on Pinterest if you're truly stuck, but honestly, sometimes the most fun comes from having some great supplies on hand to just pull out and let inspiration strike! Right now the girls love ripping up paper, glue, stickers, markers, and stencils. This post has a great list of arts and craft supplies for young children:

essential kid's craft supplies

9. Video Call 
Especially since I am the only adult in the house, I like to have some Skype conversations with family and friends. Even if it's just a quick hello, it's a nice change of scenery for everyone and helps prevent cabin fever and/or just getting sick of each other. Plus it's a great time to catch people who we normally can't talk to with our regular schedules! We've also done group video chats on Google Hangouts (and I know there are a few other services out there that will let you do this for free).

I hope you found some new inspiration in this list for the rest of this winter. I know I will be looking for more ideas, so please share yours in the comments below! 

1 comment :

  1. What great ideas for winter! I can only imagine how snow days can cause chaos for homes with toddlers. :) Thank you for linking up to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Party. I have pinned your post to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Board.