Does the thought of snow days trapped at home with kids give you a headache? You can be prepared for snow days with kids.
Last week the weather forecast had snow every week day. Since we live in the Portland area, this sends parents in a tailspin. We’re not accustomed to getting much snow in the winter, so I knew I had to be prepared for snow days with my kids.
In all seriousness, it doesn’t take much to get ready – just 10-15 minutes of planning with really help you out. So read on and think about what you need to do to be prepared for snow days.
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Think Through What Drives You Crazy
If you live in an area that has snow days every year, spend 10 minutes to make a plan at the beginning of winter. If you live in a more temperate area that only occasionally sees snow, you can wait until snow is in the forecast.
Write down a list of what makes your feel frustrated or overwhelmed about snow days.
For me the things that are the most stressful are:
- not the right attire for the weather
- lacking a plan or routine
- having hyper kids (due to lack of a plan)
- scrambling to find indoor activities
- searching for all the necessary supplies
- dressing my children for the snow.
I’ve heard from other parents that this is stressful:
- lack of groceries when snowed in
- messes everywhere
Here are some solutions for commonly stressful situations:
Inventory Your Winter Clothes
Do this first to allow time for shopping or shipping: Make sure your kiddos have the clothing they need for the snow.
You need to look for winter clothes and make sure they still fit. When snow is in the forecast, use Amazon Prime or Target Drive Up to get what you are missing fast.
- Boots – we just use our rainboots with thick socks because we don’t ski.
- Snow pants or snow bibs – since we live in the PNW and don’t get snow each year, I’ve found my children can use the same pair for a few years. My daughter wore size 4T well after she was in size 5/6 because they miraculously still fit!
- Water Resistant Jacket and snow bibs set: If you don’t already have a jacket for your child, its probably cheapest to get a set from Amazon at this point. This Arctic Quest set has good reviews.
- Mittens or gloves: Know your kids. My children hate ski mittens even though they stay warm and dry. I get a bunch of pairs of fleece mittens or gloves when they are on sale so my kids can swap their mittens once the first set is damp.
- Hats: I love the classic beanie with the pom pom look.
MONEY SAVING TIP: For next year, look for a children’s consignment sale in your area and stock up on all these winter essentials for 80-90% off.
Create a Routine on Snow Days
Think about what you need to accomplish during the day. Are you going to need to work from home? Do you need a mental break from all the noise and commotion? Do you need to get laundry done and the bathrooms cleaned? Are you still going to be nursing a newborn round the clock? Your needs are also going to a priority on a snow day.
Plan to do some screen time, rest time, or independent plan so you can get your work done.
Almost all children do better when there is a loose plan or routine and they know what to expect. This is why preschool and elementary school teachers use routines and keep a schedule. It helps kids be successful.
You can check out the routines I have:
- Surviving Winter Break with Kids | Winter Break Routine Printable
- How to Create a Summer Routine for Kids | free printable
Adapt one for your snow day routine, or just make your own:
To make your own, just grab a piece of notebook paper and just write out a loose plan for the day. Giving your kids and you structure will keep them from bouncing off the walls.
Plan Some Snow-themed Craft Activities
To keep my children busy when we’re not in the snow, I like to plan some Morning Making Activities. These are just simple, simple craft activities.
Cotton Ball Snowmen
- construction paper
- Elmer’s glue
- cotton balls
Draw snowmen for your little ones, give them a bottle of drippy glue (Elmers) and a bag of cotton balls and let them just create!
This craft activity develops hand strength.
- White paint
- construction paper
Draw a snowflake in pencil and ask them to paint it.
This is a good tracing skill.
Plan a Cooking Activity
Having a cooking activity planning can be a fun way to pass the time on snow days.
Stock up on the supplies to do an easy baking or cooking project. If you want a treat, get some muffin mix or cookie dough before the snow will hit.
If you want something healthier, grab the ingredients for a fruit salad and have the kids cut the fruit on plastic cutting boards with table knives.
Last, you can teach your children how to make hot cocoa on snow days. We tend to just use warm milk and chocolate sauce but you can also follow a real cocoa recipe or just order some cocoa packets.
Indoor Activities for Snow Days
When my children are restless on a snow day, I have a plan for what fun or educational toys or activities I can pull out for them. We have some puzzles, toys and games that are kept out of reach. My children have to ask for them. But if I set them out, my children will eventually gravitate to them.
I simply set these out on the dinning table and let my children discover that the games or toys are out for their use.
Independent play is super important for children to develop problem-solving, imagination, and resilience so don’t feel guilty for one second about taking a break from your own sanity and expecting them to entertain themselves.
Stuffies and Snacks
I get out all our Melissa and Doug wooden food sets and the children pretend to feed their stuffed animals snacks.
- Melissa and Doug birthday cake
- Melissa and Doug pizza set
- Melissa and Doug waffle set
- Melissa and Doug cookie set
Melissa and Doug Puzzles
We have a variety of Melissa and Doug puzzles but I set out the Melissa & Doug Farm Chunky Puzzle for my son.
even though she can practically do it with her eyes closed, my daughter still likes the Melissa & Doug Frolicking Horses Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle With Storage Tray.
We like Mind Ware’s Imagination magnets for my older child. She creates the puzzles on the included cards and the wooden case stores everything.
Teach Your Children to get Dressed for Snow Days
Dressing children for the snow is a cardio activity. But many kids can do it independently if we set them up for success with a printable visual.
Print out this How to Get Dressed for the Snow printable for your children.
Teach them these steps:
- I put on my socks.
- I put on a sweatshirt.
- I put on my snow pants.
- I put on my boots.
- I put on my coat.
- I put on my hat.
- I put on my gloves and scarf.
- I’m ready to play in the snow!
Dealing with the Mess
The annoying messes that develop on snow days are generally the result of parents forgetting we need to make our expectations clear and then enforcing them.
Here’s my easiest solutions for the mess:
- Put down old rags or old towels: on the floor inside the entrance proactively. It will be easier to wipe the floor and keep it clean and proactively. So in our home, I put a bunch of rags on the tile inside the backdoor. I have my children take off everything there.
- Get a boot tray: seriously. It is worth every penny. Set the boot tray by the entrance where the children will come in the house.
- Use First, Then Language: Make it clear that first the children will put away their clothing, then there is an incentive. For example, first you’ll hang up your coat to dry, then we can have hot chocolate. Give a very specific instruction with the reinforcement of whatever it is you know your kids will want and you’re willing to provide.
- Immediately start a load of laundry. I have my children put anything super wet or soiled directly into an empty washing machine so I can quickly get it washed and dried before the next time they go outside.
Recapping Snow Days with Children
Here’s the summary for all you busy parents:
- If you live in a temperate climate, plan for snow days when it’s in the forecast.
- If you live where there is tons of snow, prepare in the late fall.
- Write down what drives you the most crazy so you know what problems to solve.
- Inventory your children’s clothing.
- Plan some indoor activities, crafts, and activity projects.
- Teach your kids to dress themselves with How to Get Dressed for the Snow printable.
- Proactively deal with the snow mess.
You can be prepared for snow days with your kids. Take some time now to plan and they can turn into fun and memorable days you’ll all enjoy.