All the news shows are talking about the blizzard quickly making its way to Chicago. Stores are overrun with people stocking up on snow shovels, food, and rum (that last one is for the parents anticipating a snow day). But people, this is Chicago. We get snow. It happens every year. And even if the news folks give it a catchy name like “Snowpocalypse ‘11”, it’s still just snow. Relax.
The only people who should be freaking out and running around in circles, screaming hysterically, limbs flailing, are the parents facing the inevitable snow day. But never fear, here are some helpful ideas for surviving a snow day with your kids.
1. Throw them outside. Fresh air and exercise are good for kids. They can build a snow gargoyle at the end of your drive to scare away the plows that would otherwise pile the snow in your driveway. And while they’re out there, have them shovel the sidewalks. It’s not child labor if you pay them in hot chocolate.
2. Make hot chocolate so the kids can complain it’s too hot, eat the marshmallows, then leave their still-full cups in a sticky mess on the table.
3. Go to the beach. Spread some beach towels out on your floor, then arrange all your lamps around the room. Play an ocean waves soundtrack, don shorts and shades, and kick back and pretend you’re in Aruba. If you’re really brave, you can put down a sheet and let the kids build castles with Moon Sand. If you go with the Moon Sand option, you might want to hire someone to bring you drinks with little paper umbrellas.
4. Practice math flash cards with your kids to help you remember why you never want to homeschool.
5. Write a strongly worded letter to Bill Nye the Science Guy questioning his ideas about Global Warming.
6. Pitch a tent in the living room and let the kids camp out (or um, in). Make microwave s’mores and tell spooky stories around a flashlight “fire”. Or, if you don’t have a tent, set up a card table and drape blankets over it to make a cool fort.
7. Play CandyLand until you want to do bodily harm to Plumpy of the Gingerbread Plum Trees.
8. Go on Facebook and have a “poke war” with your teens. Or, better yet, write mushy, I love you notes all over your teen’s wall. Make sure you use lots of words like Sweetie Pie, Honey Bunch, and Sweetums Snuggly Bear.
9. Watch old home movies. Have fun remembering all those good times you caught on tape. If the kids complain, tell them you’ll put the videos of them toddling around in a diaper on YouTube for the world (i.e. their friends) to see.
10. Make a fancy dinner and have everyone dress up in their Sunday best. Use your good dishes and dine by candlelight. Turn off the TV and insist that no one burps showtunes at the table, just this once.
11. Turn off the lights and hang blankets over the windows to turn your family room into a movie theater. Let the kids drag out their blankets and pillows (or let them arrange the blankets and pillows that seem to permanently cover your floor). Make some popcorn, put on a movie, snuggle in, and enjoy!
12. Hide a $5 bill in your child’s room and challenge them to clean their room enough to find it. Make sure to supply your child with a garbage bag, hazmat suit and a tetanus shot.
13. Let your kids play dress up with your clothes. Have them put on a fashion show for you. According to my four-year-old, music is essential for this activity and the parent must clap uproariously after each costume change.
14. Bake some cookies. Go online to find a delicious gingerbread recipe and let the kids decorate the gingerbread men with royal icing and candy. Don’t worry about it when your kids give the gingerbread men icing tattoos, scars, or um, “body parts”. All normal kids do this (or so I’m telling myself).
15. Cancel all appointments and plans for the rest of the week because it will take you that long to clean up all the messes the kids will make while home for their snow day. Snap a ton of pictures and/or take video of the day so you can all look back and remember the fun you had.