Snow in the forecast? With these tips for dealing with a snowy winter, you’ll be prepared for whatever Mother Nature sends your way (even no-school snow days!)
1. Check kids’ winter clothes
Nothing worse than first big snowfall arriving and your kid does not have snow pants or their boots are too small. Try everything on now before the storm hits so you know you are ready for that “no school” call comes.
2. Winter clothes for you too
One of the best investments I ever made was my own pair of snow pants. Even if you don’t ski or take part in any other snow sports, you are more likely to get out and play if you are not freezing your buns off the minute you walk outside. Boots, snow pants, jacket, good water resistant gloves and a cute hat will make you less likely to dread going out in the cold.
3. Stock up on non-perishables
The minute the weatherman says there is going to be a storm, the line at my grocery store quadruples. I actually don’t quite understand the panic or the needs to stock up on everything as in my area we have never been snowed in for more than two days tops. That said, I do like to have some snow rations on hand throughout the winter months. Hot cocoa packets, marshmallows, brownie mixes, etc. can all be bought in advance rather than having to brave the day before the storm lines.
Don’t underestimate the pure fun of this old pastime. Simple and inexpensive, sledding is a great family activity for kids and adults.
I can remember going sledding with my dad and brothers when I was a kid. My own children have equally fond memories of sledding together. In fact, there is a place in town my kids call “Jenny hill” because my middle daughter rolled off her sled (she was fine) sledding there many years ago and it is something that makes them all crack up laughing when they think about it.
5. Salt, shovels and other supplies
Again, buy it now before you need it and before the shelves at Home Depot are bare. And don’t forget to get enough shovels so that everyone in the family can lend a hand. It’s great exercise and a good excuse for a snowball fight once the walk is cleared. Also be sure you are stocked up on flashlights and batteries in case of power outages.
We love to pop a big bowl of popcorn for sharing, make a fire and dive under a Sherpa blanket on the couch together. Nothing better than being warm, toasty and together inside when it’s looking mighty cold outside. Between Netflix and On Demand, there are tons of great family movie viewing choices.
Make a list in advance of options so there is no trouble deciding that day way is appropriate for everyone. Or consider watching some home movies of the kids when they were small.
When you come in from playing in the snow, you can also play inside. Our family loves to have American Idol sing offs using the Nintendo Wii Game. Mario Kart marathons are also pretty popular with my kids on a snow day.
No power? No problem. You can still play board games. My family loves old favorites such as Clue, Monopoly, Life, Scrabble and Yahtzee.
8. Good books
Another great snow day activity is reading. When my kids were little, I loved to read books about the snow to them aloud. As they got older, I encouraged them to grab a book to read (or download) and I would do the same along side them. With so much reading to do for school, they sometimes do not have the time or the inclination to read just for fun. But a snow day is a great opportunity to remind kids how awesome it is to get lost in a book.
I never understood the concept of “spring cleaning”. Why would anyone want to waste a beautiful spring day by spending it indoors straightening up the house? Use the cold winter as a chance to clean out closets and cupboards. Or how about finally putting together those photo albums you have been meaning to get to? If you are stuck in the house, you might as well get something accomplished.
10. Create family traditions
My husband and son love going outside and playing football in the snow. One year my son asked if he could invite some other boys over to join them. Once it was safe to travel, I agreed and about 10 boys in the neighborhood came over along with a few dads. They had a total blast and it became a yearly tradition that everyone looks forward to when they see the snow sticking. Pretty soon the boys won’t even want the dads to join in but I am hopefully they tradition will continue even when the boys are in high school.
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About Randi Mazzella
Randi Mazzella is a mother three and freelance writer. Her work has been published in many print and online publications including She-Knows, Teen Life, Club Mid and About.com. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter @rmazz90210.