Just Add Snow-Day “Specials” Pt.1
As your homeschool finds its New Year’s groove again, one way to smooth away some of the rough patches is to build in some Snow Day fun on those cozy afternoons. By sprinkling “specials” often reserved for breaks and holidays into your everyday school routine, you can keep the joy of homeschooling alive and dust away those winter blues. From one homeschooling mama to another, here is part one in a series of favorite “fun-tivities” for winter, with this week’s focus on outdoor/indoor snow ideas!
- Snowtubs! This has been one of my children’s absolute favorite snow-day activities literally since they were born. Simply take a shallow, plastic, under-bed storage container and fill with snow and bring inside. Infants and toddlers explore, touching and tasting snow, while preschoolers enjoy building an indoor snowman, scooping and dumping snow with measuring cups, or creating an imaginative wonderland in the tub with toys. (This is also a wonderful sensory activity for parents to occupy younger children while helping olders with their schoolwork!)
No snow in your area? No problem! Add science into the mix, filling a tub with Insta-Snow (found online https://www.amazon.com/Be-Amazing-Insta-Snow-Makes-Gallons/dp/B000FA6APE or make your own with Pinterest recipes!)
- Spray paint snow—When it’s not too cold to venture out on a winter afternoon, add an empty spray bottle filled with water and some liquid watercolor paint or food coloring. Put different colors in each bottle and designate a snowy area of your yard to become your child’s outdoor canvas. Older children may enjoy leading younger siblings on an animal tracking adventure in the snow with the spray bottles. Explore around your yard, or a local park to spot different animal tracks, allowing younger children to squirt each discovery with the watercolor spray! For further fun, take pictures on your phone of the animal prints and enjoy looking them up together after the hike!
- Sledding—Snowy days also often provide the best incentive for children to work quickly and well in order to be able to head over to the sledding hill when work is complete. There is nothing my children enjoy more than when mom and dad join in the fun, and if this is a possibility for you—do it! I highly encourage all parents to jump on a sled with your children at least once this season, or if your children are old enough, perhaps try something new together like snowshoeing or skiing.
- Snow forts are another timeless favorite, and a great way to have your children work together planning, designing, and building together, (with some strength training P.E. in there with all that shoveling to boot!)
- And if snow is not an option on your cozy afternoon, a table, some chairs and a pile of blankets are all it takes to make some really cool blanket forts. Just add books, some stuffed friends, and perhaps some homemade hot chocolate.
- Snowcakes—Another indoor special for when the temperatures are too cold to play outside for long—snowcake-decorating sessions. Fill pie and cake pans with snow to bring indoors, set out watercolor paints and brushes over towels on the kitchen floor and let imaginations run wild! My own children would invite friends over and work diligently for hours designing their chilly creations.
- If a blustery day isn’t forecasting snow, REAL cakes made by free-range chefs are always a cozy-day “special” as well! Grant your children permission to just experiment in the kitchen baking their own cake creations! Adults set limits of the ingredients allowed and man the oven, but other than that, let your children have the time of their lives cracking eggs, pouring milk, whisking flour everywhere, adding food coloring for fun. This is also a great opportunity to get rid of any unwanted Christmas candy! –Let them bake it ALL into their cakes! (Definitely about the process not the product!) …and for all you Type A’s out there—2 words: Plastic. Tarp.
Try a few of these ideas several times a week, and hopefully as the temperatures drop, your homeschool’s attitude will begin to soar!
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series with a focus on favorite winter reads!