Snow day got you down? (today)

February 22, 2008

What a crazy winter! Before I take the kids sledding on the frozen slushballs from yesterday’s ice storm and the skiff of snow from today’s flurries, I thought I’d share some links to or instructions for indoor activities that I’ve found particularly useful lately.

And as long as you’re online, be sure to check out NPR’s wonderful Morning Edition story on the evolution of play — it may make you want to take a closer look at simple activities like these.

One idea, appropriately themed for today, is How to grow a borax snowflake. It may well be that I’m one of the few old-fashioned housewives out there who keeps borax handy by the washer (because I’m allergic to most other laundry-boosting products), but in case you have it on hand, this a fun project to do during the day, not overnight as the author recommends. The kids will get a kick out of checking the crystals’ progress. It takes about seven or eight hours for the snowflake to fully form.

Along those same lines,’s chemistry guru has a whole list of science projects for bored kids. (Some are messy!!)

A very simple but endlessly fascinating one is to shave crayons with a vegetable peeler, collecting the pieces onto waxed paper. Let the kids arrange them as desired, then place another piece of waxed paper over the top. Dry-iron the paper to melt the wax, let it cool, and peel back the waxed paper. You can cut out shapes and hang them from string as suncatchers, if you want.

I kind of forgot about paper bag puppets until M. brought one home last week — now all the kids want to do is puppet shows behind the couch. The prefer gluing on features — yarn hair, googly eyes, etc. — but you can also simply draw on bags to make the characters.

Let your kids wander the house taking photos with an inexpensive digital camera — you may be surprised at the new perspectives they come up with on the architecture and each other! I also often let them make photocopies of everyday objects on our little HP all-in-one scanner/copier/fax. (I limit the number of copies they can make of each arrangement to save on ink!)

One of the favorite sensorial table activities from preschool is rice play, and if you happen to have a lot of rice on hand, it makes for a lot of fun, as these testimonials suggest.

And I might have already mentioned the “art projects” the kids love — collages of cut-out pictures and stickers on clear contact plastic (covered with another sheet of contact plastic so they’re impermeable). Right now S. LOVES to point to the objects and animals on his so much that we use it as a placemat to keep him at the table longer than two minutes per mealtime.

Based on the preschool version of the Operation game (if you haven’t seen this oldie but goodie, I guarantee you need to keep an eye out for it!), there’s the Feely Game, where household objects are hidden in a box or pillowcase and found by touch.

If you happen to have on hand a lot of tube-shaped pasta, you can dye it with 1 tablespoon of vinegar and a couple of drops of food coloring. Put them in a zip-top bag along with some pasta, shake until it’s colored, then spread it out on a paper plate to dry. After it’s done, string the various colored “beads” on yarn or string.

Have a great snow day, and look out for us on the sledding hill!


One Response to “Snow day got you down? (today)”

  1. […] STL Free For All placed an observative post today on Snow day got you down? (today)Here’s a quick excerpt […]

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