Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland
SNOW DAY! Who can resist the excitement of those two little words?
Snow days are the perfect example of how our brains are hard-wired in childhood. I have vivid and joyful memories of huddling around the radio on those cold snowy mornings long ago, listening as the radio announcer read a long list of school names in alphabetical order.
Growing up in a town that started with the letter “Y”, we were always at the end of the list, and it was a long wait, rife with anticipation of unexpected freedom, snowball fights, and hot chocolate. On those rare occasions when the announcer actually named our school – and they were, indeed, rare back then – the excitement and celebration in my family were unparalleled. We lived just half-a-block from a perfect sledding hill and a frozen pond for ice skating, so skates and sleds were always ready and waiting for a guaranteed fun time on a snow day.
To this day, I feel a tingle of excitement at the mere hint of a possible snow day. That feeling is multiplied many times over, as my joyful memories are compounded by the new excitement felt by my children. And today is the day: the first snow day of the season. As I got ready for the day this morning, I realized that the plans I was making for today would become the snow-day childhood memories of my children. So, I put aside my adult thoughts of cancelled appointments and rearranged schedules, and I tried to plan a fun and memorable day.
I hope that you have a sledding hill and a skating pond right down the street, like I once did. And a nice spot out front for a family of snow people.
Those would have to be my top picks for a good time on a snow day. Beyond those old standbys, though, here’s my next best recommendation for what to do on a snow day: Go Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland.
1. Head outside for a long walk. Every single thing in your neighborhood – every tree, shop, and park you pass each day but barely notice – these things all look beautiful covered in snow. Challenge your kids to take note of this and select their favorite snow-covered everyday-place.
2. Bring a camera. Any budding photographers in the family? We’ve got them around here, young and old alike. A sure way to spark some creativity in a child is to hand them a camera. Taking pictures in the snow is a little challenging, but definitely worth it. Here’s a great tip: use an underwater camera, designed to get wet, and you won’t have to worry about accidental drops in the snow.
3. Stop at the park. Yes, that park you visit all the time in the spring and summer. It looks beautiful in the snow! Take some pictures so you can compare them to the pictures you took last spring. Challenge your little photographers to take a picture in the same spot in every season.
4. Hit the local library. Unless the weather is dangerous- which it isn’t today – the local library may be open and ready to entertain you and your family. Pick up some snow-day books and movies to bring home.
5. Gingerbread Houses, anyone? Decorating gingerbread houses is one of the most festive, fun and easy activity for kids this time of the year, and a snow day is the perfect day to do it. These kits are sold at many local supermarkets and bakeries, so chances are you’ll find a place on your walk that sells them. Not only will it keep the kids busy but it will get their creative juices flowing on this long snowy afternoon.
6. Grab a hot chocolate and warm brownie at the local coffee shop before heading home. Nothing hits the spot after a long cold walk better than a cup of hot cocoa. Bringing the kids to the local coffee shop makes it a special treat for everyone. Our shop happened to be emptier than usual – maybe everyone else stayed home and missed out on a wonderful winter walk!
I know snow days present problems for many people, like working parents who struggle to get coverage for their children on these unexpected days off, or parents of young children who need to be kept busy and entertained every minute of the day. If you can, try to reach beyond the inconvenience, try to remember what a snow day meant to you as a child, and go have a some fun in the snow!
What do you do on a snow day to keep everyone happy? If you have any activities, places or favorite ideas, please share in the comments!