Schools from Philadelphia to Boston could close this week as a potentially historic storm dumps feet of snow on the Northeast. Seven states have blizzard watches, which means many of the nation’s 74.5 million children will be at home with little to do. But that’s no reason for parents to panic — your snow day options are endless for keeping children occupied both inside and outside the house.
Here are five creative ideas for entertaining little ones. If the weather’s too bad to go outside, gather your group at the kitchen table for these activities:
1. There’s nothing better than warm cookies on a cold day. Try allrecipes.com’s three-ingredient peanut butter cookies. All you need is 1 cup of peanut butter, 1 cup of sugar and 1 egg. Mix together, shape into balls, place on a cookie sheet, and bake for six to eight minutes at 350 degrees.
2. Make snowflakes of your own. Set out scissors and a stack of copy paper and let the kids go crazy. You can help them fold and cut snowflakes with multiple points or trace on a special pattern. Disney even released a PDF of “Frozen” designs.
3. Have a dance party in your living room. Once the children are tired and sweaty, let them take naps in blanket forts.
4. Create your own silly putty. Pour Elmer’s Glue-All multipurpose glue into a bowl with some food coloring and Sta-Flo concentrated liquid starch. Stir, let it rest for five minutes and knead it into a putty, according to PBS. Then you’re ready to bounce.
5. Produce and solve custom word searches. Discovery Education’s Puzzlemaker is easy for kids and parents to use. Just input how big you want the word search to be, what words it should include and what format you want. Then print, exchange and get to work highlighting.
Once the snow stops, bundle up and get ready to have fun with these five suggestions on what to do outdoors:
1. Put together bird feeders. The Homeschool Scientist has figured out two ridiculously easy ways to do this. One, spread peanut butter on an empty toilet paper roll, coat in bird seed and hang on a branch. Two, string Cheerios and grapes on a length of craft wire and fasten around a pole.
2. Use the storm as a learning opportunity. Walk around with a yard stick and help kids measure how deep the snow is in different areas.
3. Fill spray bottles with water and food coloring and let the kids loose in the yard to draw graffiti on the snow.
4. Play Tic Tac Snow. Use a branch to draw a big board in the snow and have players place sticks and pinecones as X’s and O’s.
5. Mix up some snow ice cream using instructions from allrecipes.com. Take a gallon of freshly fallen snow and stir in 1 cup of white sugar, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract and 2 cups of milk. Once the ingredients are combined, serve immediately.