Surviving Snow Days & Winter Weekends

Snow day ideas and winter activities for kids to help you survive those long winter weekends and days off from school. WARNING: some of our ideas our messy, some are unconventional, but ALL of them are fun!

Winter break might be over, but we’re still many weeks away from getting a break from winter. Here in the Midwest, we’re in the middle of yet another cold and icy January. My kids have gone to a whopping 2 full days of school since the middle of December!

Search Pinterest and you’ll find a plethora of ideas for keeping the kids entertained through the winter.  Those are all well and good, but we know that sometimes all those crafty, snuggly, educational ideas are just too much: too much effort, too much planning, too much forced family fun.  Instead, we came up with a few ideas to enjoy those inevitable snow days and winter weekends The Risky Kid way.  WARNING: some of our ideas our messy, some are unconventional, but ALL of them are fun!

Sleep In

 

Sure, you can jam-pack your winter days with outings and activities.  You can try to keep to as normal a schedule as possible.  We suggest the polar opposite (yes, I went there).  Stay in bed as long as possible.  And then stay in your pj’s as long as possible.  “I wish I hadn’t spent so much of my life in pants with elastic waistbands.” said no one ever.  My friend Lisa tells her kids to leave them alone in the morning if the door is closed.  When our kids were smaller and less prone to sleeping in, we’d offer a cash incentive to let us sleep in.  Even if you have little ones, you can still catch a few minutes of extra zzz’s, just use my friend Kelly M.’s brilliant idea: charge up your phone, Kindle, iPad, etc. and leave it near your bed.  When the kids toddle in let them play with them while you snooze a little longer.  Best use of screen time ever!

Play With Your Food

 

The kids have probably spent more meals than they’d like over the holidays sitting nicely at the table in scratchy clothes.  Reward them by letting them play with their food for once. Turkeys are on sale, too. I hear they make great bowling balls!

If, like us, the weather is a little less conducive to turkey bowling, play with your food inside.  Blowing up marshmallows in the microwave is always a big hit. Grab a few plastic shower caps at the dollar or beauty store. They’re perfect for a cheese poof toss! It’s such a silly game, you’re guaranteed laughs. And if you only give the kids a few cheese poofs to toss at a time, you won’t have a mess on your hands, either.

Just helping me out with a cheesy blog post for @bedtimemath (coming soon)!

 

Make a Mess

 

Magic Potion Lab

As much as it kills the neat freak in me, I’m giving my kids a holiday from being super tidy. Allow a few days for all the toys and holiday gifts to be spread around in all their glory.  Don’t make your beds.  Tear up the couch cushions.  Build a fort. Sometimes the best and most imaginative projects take more than a day to come together.

If you feel better when the house is tidy, maybe you can concede a spot in the house where kids can get messy. Our dining room table only sees fancy dinners a few times a year. The rest of the time, I’m happy to throw a cloth over and let it be craft/project/messy play central.

Rule the Playground

 

Drift

Do the other parents at the playground get you down with all their rules and micromanaging?  Now is the perfect time to visit a playground and have your run of the entire place.  The kids can run, scream like banshees, and go up the slide to their hearts’ content.  Even the most boring of playgrounds turns into something magical when it’s covered in snow or ice.

Roughhouse

 

After I read  The Art of Roughhousing I realized how much kids need rough and tumble play.  It’s especially important in the winter, when they aren’t able to burn off steam outside.  Pillow fights are easy, and we’ve had tons of fun launching little bodies onto the couch. Now, I’m not crazy with letting kids have full run of the house, and I don’t want my lamps getting broken any more than you do. Instead of banning rough play, consider leaving a room or a space in your house where that kind of play is okay. For us it’s the basement, but perhaps you have a rec room or a spare bedroom that would work. Whenever the kids start to get stir-crazy with their Nerf wars or ninja moves, I don’t have to say no. Instead I can just redirect them to a safe area to play rough.

How do you keep the kids moving and having fun on snow days and winter weekends?

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A Few Things to Kick Off a Risky 2015

Happy New Year! Well, I guess I truly meant what I said in the last Risky Reads post about blogging less and seeking balance during the holidays. I haven’t posted here over 2 weeks and I only posted once on the holidays on Just Like The Number! Let me tell you, we all needed it. This may have been our most laid back Christmas season and winter break yet. We didn’t travel, I didn’t stress about fitting too many activities into our days, and I set the computer aside. I read, binge-listened to the Serial podcast (SO good), played lots of games with the kids, and had a day where we did nothing but create and craft. It was good for the soul.

The kids went back to school this week, but with several days of delays and a snow day, I’m slowly making my way back into the land of routines and schedules. As nice as the holiday break was, I’m recharged now and ready to reconnect with my favorite Risky readers! As I work on getting back into a posting groove, I thought I’d share a couple of cool things with you.

Toy of the Year 2015 Vote Now

Did you know there’s an “Oscars” for the toy industry? Between being a parent who appreciates a good toy, and having the chance to meet some of the creators behind some really cool toys at the Chicago Toy & Game Fair, I’ve come to truly appreciate the people and manufacturers who strive to bring great games to families. The Toy of the Year Awards honors great toys every year. The finalists have been named, and now toy companies, retailers and consumers (that’s us!) have a chance to vote for their favorites. You have to be quick, though, if you want to put your stamp of approval on your favorite toy. Voting ends Sunday, January 11th. The winners will be announced in February. Besides having your vote count, you also have a chance to win some of the nominated toys. I’m happy to see some of our favorites nominated, including LEGO Fusion , Bounce-Off , Kanoodle Genius, Simon Swipe , and OgoSport OgoBild Animate It. And definitely check out the Outdoor Toy category … we want every single one!

Treehouse Masters Animal Planet

When you’re done voting, be sure to set your DVRs to record a show that is right up our alley: Treehouse Masters. The second season kicks off on Friday, January 9th on Animal Planet. I promise, you’ve never seen treehouses like the ones Pete Nelson designs! I’m always down for quality shows we can enjoy with the kids, and Treehouse Masters is a great choice for passing a few winter evenings (and dreaming about building treehouses in the spring).

Thanks again for being such awesome readers! Looking forward to another year of risky fun with you!

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Under Pressure

What do you do when your middle school child struggles with homework? Or when the pressure and grades seem to get in the way of their education? Reflections on the struggles of parenting a middle school child, along with a crazy idea that goes against everything we’re taught as parents.

I feel kind of old saying this out loud, but it’s finals week here in the Six house. Elena is in 7th grade this year, and for the first time in her school career, finals week is a thing. And it matters. Of course, tests and doing well in school have always mattered to us. […]

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Risky Reads: The Holiday Edition

So where the heck did November go?! I was looking back through the archives to make sure I didn’t use this image for last month’s Risky Reads … and then realized I didn’t do a Risky Reads post in November! I’ve scaled back my posting a bit on both blogs. It’s not that I don’t […]

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The Coolest Things We Saw at the Chicago Toy & Game Fair

The weekend before Thanksgiving we attended the Chicago Toy & Game Fair. It was our very first experience attending an event like this and the verdict? Very cool. We’re pretty serious about play around here, so having some of our favorite toy and game makers under one roof is a big deal to us. We […]

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2014 Holiday Gift Guide: Creative Gifts for Playful Families

The Risky Kids 2014 Holiday Gift Guide: Creative Christmas gifts for playful kids. Holiday gift ideas for kids, tweens and teens.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As much as I’d like to believe the holidays aren’t right around the corner, the 2 inches of snow and the 8 foot Christmas tree display at my local Target have convinced me otherwise. I don’t know about you, but I really struggle with gift-giving at the holidays. My […]

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2014 Chicago Toy & Game Fair {Family Pass Giveaway}

2014 Chicago Toy & Game Fair Family Pass Giveaway

You know how much we love games and great toys. We’re always on the hunt for something new and happy when we rediscover old favorites.  Last winter, while falling down the rabbit hole that is the internet, I came across the website for the Chicago Toy & Game Fair. An entire weekend dedicated to showcasing […]

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Be Prepared: A Year With the Cub Scouts

The marketing team for the Crossroads of America Council/Boy Scouts of America deserves some kind of medal (Perhaps a badge would be more appropriate?). I’m not sure exactly how they go about selling the concept of scouting to first grade boys, or what they’re telling them. I can tell you that Eli came home from […]

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Risky Reads: The Acorns and Leaves Galore Edition

Well, it’s that time of year again … the two months out of the year where we simultaneously gaze in wonder at the fall beauty of our wooded backyard, while at the same time shaking our fists at the flurry of leaves falling to the ground. We filled 12 giant bags with leaves on Sunday, […]

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50 Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do): Play with Dry Ice

play with dry ice

Task: Play around with some super-cool, super-spooky dry ice. Requires: Dry Ice Towel Pie plate Cup Fork or tongs Possible Hazards: Burns How It All Went Down: The kids have been begging to play with dry ice since the day we first got the 50 Dangerous Things book. The only thing that’s kept me from […]

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