CRAZY WEATHER, EH? I don't know about you but the storms this past week have really kept us inside and cooped up for the day. And with winter coming, we'll have quite a few more days cooped up inside. Don't despair though! I have a list of fun things to keep a family happily busy inside for a day!
1. Plan It! Whenever bad weather holds us inside or cancels school the first thing we do is to get ready for the survival possibilities - like not having any water so we fill a pitcher, or the possibility of no toilet, so we fill the tub with water to use for flushing the toilet. My kids love to plan for inclement weather and being ready settles them. So set those busy beavers to collecting candles, filling water jugs and finding flashlights. Meanwhile make yourself another pot of coffee, you're going to need it.
2. Don't Forget the Animals. While the kids are busily preparing for the worst also remind them that the best needs preparing for, too. Of course I'm talking about any animals you have, indoors and out. Older kids can definitely head out to care for outdoor animals, but even the smaller ones can fill the cat's bowl and the dog's water dish.
3. Get Beany With It. It wouldn't be a stormy day with beans in our house. My kids marvel at how different beans turn out after cooking all day. Why not put them to work sorting beans and washing them to prep for a rainy day meal? Boil the beans for one minute, turn off the heat and soak for one hour. They can simmer the day away on the stove, filling your house with the delicious scent of dinner cooking all day long. If you're not sure what exactly to do with dried beans, check out my blog, Hey What's for Dinner Mom? for a whole bunch of recipe ideas. Be sure to save a few dried beans to compare to the cooked beans at dinner time.
4. Chores a Go-Go. A stormy day is definitely different than most but it's no reason NOT to do your daily chores. So while you nurse a second cup of coffee the kids can be sent off to do their chores. Beds still need making and if school's canceled why not send them in with the vacuum cleaner while they’re at it? Of course this is an age-appropriate chore, but my 8-year old loves to run the vacuum and I feel confident letting him do it all he wants.
5. Baking the Day Away. If you happen to have kids like mine, they crave making things and they need to be busy and, of course it has to be meaningful busy-ness. So on a day when you're cooped up why not make a few batches of cookies or muffins? I know you may not want them around because they are so munchable, but what if you had kids wrap them and freeze them for school lunches? How perfect would it be to have a bunch of lunch stuff put up in the freezer?? Brilliant.
6. Game Time. A day of inclement weather does not pass us by without someone wanting to play RISK or Battlemasters, all-out all-day games. Of course, if you have little ones, shorter and less intense games may be just what you need. They can also be included as appropriate in the bigger longer games, say for rolling dice or passing cards.
7. Movie Marathon. Sometimes you just need a good movie saga. Star Wars? Indiana Jones? Lord of the Rings? Pixar-a-thon? Whip up some popcorn and settle in for some serious screen time.
Make your own play dough with what's in the pantry!
8. Make your Fun. If you have littles why not whip them up a batch of play dough (here's a great recipe)? Really, the whole family can have a lot of fun making and playing with this sweet smelling, squishy mushy dough. Best part is it will keep for a while in the fridge so the fun can go on and on.
9. Forts and More Forts. It always seems that bad weather days bring out the fort-making in my kids. Maybe it's because by the time mid-afternoon rolls around I'm just plain tired and forts are easy - grab your biggest blankets and some chairs and you're all set. Make a fort, if it causes trouble between squabbling kids make another fort. Repeat as necessary until the warring factions realize it's MORE fun to have ONE BIG fort that a bazillion little ones. Once built, cuddle up and read for a while and snacks in forts are a definite MUST. Before you know it, the day has passed and it's time for dinner and bed.
10. Get Out In It. Just cause the weather's raging doesn't mean you can't go outside! Put on your windbreakers or snowpants and brave the elements. It's always great to feel the power of the natural elements, but, of course, be sure to take care out there.
Snow storms bring a whole different list of possibilities!
Bad weather certainly doesn't mean bad time, it can be challenging though. Keeping busy and squabble free will make your day so much easier. What do you on those kinds of days?
Laura Sampson is mom to three boys. She lives, loves and writes in the Mat-Su Valley. Find more great ideas for stormy days at her blog, Hey What's For Dinner Mom?