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  • Rebecca P. Cohen

10 Ways to Embrace a Winter Storm with Outdoor Play

Are you ready for a snow day? I remember the last big snow storm on the east coast that closed school for a week and the arctic conditions that descended on my family’s neighborhood. Here are ten ways to turn the grocery store panic into a meaningful and fun family experience together:

  1. Enjoy hot cocoa, marshmallows, and muffins anytime.

  2. Place winter gear ready by the door: non-cotton long underwear and socks, hats, mittens, snow jacket and pants. If the kids sleep in flannel pj’s they can just put on their snow clothes in the morning!

  3. Have towels on the floor to place wet gear on when the kids come in. Also, each child can place their gear in a reusable grocery bag, which makes for easier trips to the dryer to dry out clothes in between play.

  4. Create birdfeeders to help the birds. Take stale bread or bagels, then spread on shortening or peanut butter; chop up nuts and raisins to coat or dip in birdseed. Cheerios strung on pipe cleaners work too.

  5. Watch water freeze outside by making ice cubes. Add food coloring to ice cube trays before freezing and when the ice melts, you have water colors for painting when you come back inside.

  6. Get the kids to shovel. It will last a few minutes before they start playing and stay outside longer!

  7. Make snow sculptures. The children can use their waterproof gloves or mittens and plastic cooking spoons to carve their masterpiece of their favorite animal or build a whole town of buildings just like they do inside with Legos.

  8. Look for animal tracks. What normally may be hidden can now be seen! Guess what animals may have made them. Follow the animal tracks together for an even greater adventure to see where they lead.

  9. Make s'mores in the microwave for snack when the kids come back in: one marshmallow and piece of chocolate between two graham crackers in the microwave for a few seconds. Delish!

  10. Get outside too! Build a snowman, carve luge runs together, pretend to be arctic explorers, pull their sled around the neighborhood or go sledding; see if you can roll the biggest snowball ever with your kids.

The memories you make together during this snowstorm are sure to last a lifetime.

Rebecca P. Cohen is author of the books, 15 Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect with Your Kids (Sourcebooks), the digital excerpt Best Outdoor Activities for Families: Wintertime: 90 ways to get out of the house and connect with your kids, and the early reader series PJ’s Backyard Adventures. Her website is

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