“Nurturing Relationships” shares advice on how to stay connected with loved ones and spend quality time with those closest to you. Just because it’s a little chilly out doesn’t mean you and yours can’t have a good time outside. Here are five snow day activities to enjoy as a family.
Whether you live in an area that resembles a winter wonderland this time of year or you plan to pack up the family and hit the road in pursuit of that magical powdery landscape, one thing is certain: There is something about snow that awakens youthful energy and uncontainable joy in us.
“It’s just pure magic,” says Charlotte Reznick, PhD., educational psychologist and bestselling author of The Power of Your Child’s Imagination: How to Transform Stress and Anxiety into Joy and Success.
“As children, we, of course, will sometimes remember the ordinary days, but it’s the extraordinary days — the ones that are unusual, where you can make exciting memories — that stand out most. A snow day is the perfect opportunity to capitalize on an already magical moment and make it even more memorable.”
If you want to stick to tradition and engage in the usual snow day activities — sledding, making a snowman, having a snowball fight — then that’s your prerogative. But Reznick has some more creative suggestions.
So, grab a mug of your favorite hot beverage, gather ’round, and read our guide on snow day activities to do as a family.
1. Stage a bakeoff
When the weather outside is frightful, there is nothing quite as delightful, and in the spirit of winter, as congregating in the kitchen and making cookies. You can make this activity even more engaging by encouraging everyone to participate in a bakeoff.
Be sure to secure the ingredients beforehand — you can make the dough and frosting yourself or buy the pre-made variety — and establish some ground rules before the contest begins. If you have younger kids, you may want to pair each child with an adult or older sibling. Once everything is organized and everyone is on the same page, it’s time to get baking.
At the end of the competition, sample everyone’s cookies and then pick a winner. (Spoiler alert: You’ll all be winners after all the deliciousness you bake up.)
2. Warm up by a fire
Cold weather lends itself nicely to family gatherings around a toasty fire. Instead of limiting this cozy family time to the indoor fireplace, consider building a campfire outside or in a firepit to experience the season and immerse yourself in the environment.
Be sure to set up adequate seating for everyone, prepare some hot beverages to keep hands and tummies warm, and gather some snacks suited for a fire. (Did someone say s’mores?) You’ll have so much fun, you won’t want to go back inside, even after the fire burns out.
A snow day is the perfect opportunity to capitalize on an already magical moment and make it even more memorable.
Charlotte Reznick, Ph.D.
Educational psychologist and bestselling author
3. Give your snow day a theme
Whether you know a snow day is coming or not, Reznick says it’s a great idea to plan out a theme for the entire day and stick to it with vigor.
“You’ve heard of Christmas in July, right?” Reznick said. “Why not try ‘Summertime in January,’ or something equally as zany and fun. Heat up the house, set out beach blankets, opt for tropical themes, eat summertime snacks — make it fun and turn the whole day into that theme.”
Or go the opposite direction and turn the house into a classy ski chalet. Open the windows, throw on some snow gear, and cook up some warming comfort food (macaroni and cheese fits the bill nicely).
4. Help those in need
Snow brings with it the opportunity for fun and family bonding. For some, though, it also brings challenges.
As a family, you can bring relief to members of your community by volunteering your time. Ask your elderly neighbors if you can help shovel their driveway, take their dog for a walk, or otherwise ease the burden brought about by the inclement weather. You can even look into volunteering at a food bank or donating warm clothes to a shelter.
Other people in your community could use some help, too.
“Think about the people working hard on this snow day: the policemen, the firemen, everyone who is working overtime to keep you safe during this magical day,” Reznick said. “Then consider how you can brighten their day and cheer them up. Bake cookies together, put together snacks, make sandwiches for lunches. Then, if it’s safe to travel, deliver these snow-day acts of kindness to their recipients.”
5. Get crafty
When the winter weather turns sour or you are tuckered out from spending hours out in the snow, retreat home and try your hand at a crafting project. Your imagination is the only limitation when it comes to crafts, and you can use whatever you have around the house or plan something special with supplies you hand selected.
Consider making a home movie on your phone, designing Christmas ornaments for future holidays, cutting out creative paper snowflakes, or weaving a winter wreath.
Another idea is to go outside and have the kids make snow angels, and then photograph them from above. Once inside, print out the photos in black and white and turn them into an arts and crafts project.
“Add crazy hair, color with markers, opt for watercolors — just do something fun and creative to keep that outdoor, traditional snow day activity going,” Reznick says.
As an added bonus, you can frame those pictures, hang them up, and have a beautiful reminder of that magical day.
No matter how you choose to embrace the snowy season, doing it as a family makes it all the more special. The snow angels and cookies you make may last only a few minutes, but the memories you form together will be cherished forever.
“There are so many different and fun ways to connect with your kids during a snow day,” Reznick says. “And it’s a great opportunity for you as a parent to let your inner child out, too.”