The Creative Parent’s Guide to Being Snowed In With Kids

PLUS Ten Fun Activities to Do with the Kids during the Winter Months

By Ashley Weaver publisher of Macaroni Kid Oak Ridge December 6, 2021

Most kids love snow days but it can be a challenge for working parents to keep the unexpected time together enjoyable and productive. If there's heavy snow in your forecast, try these techniques for creating a good time for the whole family. The winter months can prove to be a dreary time if you're the type that prefers spending time out in the sun with the kids. However, with a little creative thinking, you can still make memories and have a fabulous time during the winter months.

Indoor Fun for Snow Days with Kids

  1. Eat a hearty breakfast. If you're always rushing around in the morning to get to work and school on time, this is a great time to sit down and enjoy breakfast. Try making some old fashioned oatmeal with raisins. Break out the waffle iron. Squeeze fresh orange juice.
  2. Make some cocoa. Cocoa is another winter delight. Forget about the instant packets with all those chemicals. Use fresh milk or non-dairy milk. Add unsweetened cocoa and vanilla and sweeten to taste.
  3. Eat comfort foods. Comfort foods are designed for cold days. Whip up a healthy bowl of bean and pasta soup. Bake lasagna and freeze half for a fast and delicious meal some other evening.
  4. Do some crafts. Get in touch with your creative side. Set out some craft supplies and join your kids in building their design skills. There are plenty of instructions online for everything from sugar cube igloos to DIY snow globes.
  5. Watch a movie together. Snuggle up on the couch with a good movie. You can munch on popcorn and discuss the movie together afterwards.
  6. Study a new subject. If possible, let your kids take a day off from their usual schoolwork. Introduce them to a new subject. If they're interested in science, try fossils and constellations. Junior artists may want to know more about Pop Art.
  7. Play a board game. If you've got an afternoon free, take out a board game. Let your kids pick their favorite and try to make everyone feel like a winner.
  8. Go through old photos together. Reinforcing family memories is one way to draw closer together. Show your kids pictures of themselves in younger days and remind them how much you always enjoy being with them.

Outdoor Fun for Snow Days with Kids

  1. Dress warmly. If the weather is relatively mild, dress warmly so you can experience the snow. Dress in layers, starting with long underwear. Remember your hat, mittens and boots.
  2. Shovel the sidewalk. Before you start playing around, shovel the sidewalk. It will help everybody avoid slips and falls.
  3. Make snow angels. Snow angels are fun for all ages. You just lie on your back and sweep your arms and legs back and forth.
  4. Build a snowman. Put together a snowman while the snow is still clean and white. Give him a carrot nose and button eyes.
  5. Take a nature walk. Unless the snow is extremely deep, you may be able to take a tour on foot across the neighborhood or at least around your back yard. Watch your children's surprise at how different everything looks under a layer of snow. Pay attention to animal tracks and snowdrifts.
  6. Help out wildlife. You can help your children develop compassion by showing them how to help animals. Explain that frozen water is difficult for them to drink, so you're going to put out warm buckets periodically for the birds to use. Let your kids rub a pinecone with peanut butter and roll it under a tree for some lucky squirrel to find.

Snow days can be a great opportunity to enjoy extra family time and the beauty of nature. Bundle up and enjoy some outdoor fun and fresh air with the kids in winter, especially if there's snow.  Then head indoors for some hot beverages and enjoy fun and educational indoor activities. 

Here are some ideas to get the creative juices flowing:

  1. Cook together. Grab a child-friendly cookbook and make something delicious together. Holiday or winter themed cookies are always good. Baking and decorating can prove to be hours of fun during the day, and you'll have treats to eat after dinner.
  2. Have a craft day. Bring out a box of art supplies and try your hand at some winter themed crafts. Make snowflakes or snowmen and decorate the house.
  3. Go ice-skating. If skating is available in your area, it can prove to be an engaging winter activity. Sometimes ice skating can be a little tough to learn at first, but once you have the hang of it, it's lots of fun.
  4. Read. While reading should be a year round activity, it can also provide some special winter memories. You might try reading stories to your children that take place in the winter. Enjoy a good story together as a family and allow everyone a turn to read.
  5. Snow painting. One way to get creative outside is to try some snow painting. Mix food coloring with water to make some "paint." You can then let the little ones go wild as they create special works of art.
  6. Build an indoor fort. Every child enjoys a good fort building party. Get creative with your blankets and pillows and build a small home within a home for your children. Your kids will enjoy having a special hideout.
  7. Enjoy some karaoke. You can buy or rent a karaoke machine for some indoor fun for the entire family. Feel free to get wild and crazy and join in on the fun with them. While it's not for everyone, many will enjoy the chance to sing along to their favorite songs.
  8. Play online. Search for some kid activity websites. You'll likely come across sites that allow you to download printable templates for winter coloring or festive puzzles. You can also consider some kid friendly online video games.
  9. Take a trip to the mall. Remember that you can always go to the mall as a nice treat for the day. While you may not want to be spending money, it never hurts to look around and get some exercise. You might even want to treat the kids at the food court for good behavior.
  10. Go to a museum. Museums are great places to visit in the winter. If you've never gone before, it'll be an extra special treat. Inquire at the museum about special activities for those smaller patrons. Many museums have ongoing programs just for the kids.

Remember that the possibilities are endless, even if it is winter! There's no reason to stay cooped up dreaming of the summer months. You can still keep the kids active and have a great time.