Winter weather can be fun, but it can also lead to "cabin fever." With long winter weeks ahead, create a list of activities that can keep kids entertained without costing a penny. Post the list of free activities on the fridge and create a checklist of things to be done before the first flower pokes through the frozen ground.
What will it be like on Groundhog Day? What will be the coldest temperature in the month of January? Look at the Farmer's Almanac for a more educational guess, and check the weather forecasts to see how well you predicted.
When a snow storm is on its way have the family make guesses as to how much snow will fall. Check the next day to see who was closest. Assign small prizes such as candy bars or ice cream to the winners. If it doesn't snow in your area watch the nationwide weather and pick a "sister city" to predict.
Use toothpicks to hold together three marshmallows. Then, use cloves for eyes and buttons, shredded carrots for the noses, and twigs for the arms. Search the pantry and be creative with your creations. Mini marshmallows make baby snowmen, and faces can always be drawn on with a permanent marker. (These snow people are not edible.)
Now that you've mastered your snowman making skills, move on to other food creations. Gather lettuce, cucumbers, and olives to create faces from food. Take digital pictures of your creations. Then, have each person eat his/her creation as a salad.
Stuck inside for the day? Call someone who is also homebound for reasons other than the snow. Choose a relative, friend, or neighbor who might like the friendly talk and has trouble getting out of the house on their own.
Gather pinecones and attach a loop of string to the tops. Then, slather peanut butter on top of the pinecones and roll them in birdseed to create attractive bird feeders. After that string Cheerios (or use any stale cereal found in the pantry) and hang them as a garland outside.
Invite everyone to dress in white or blue for dinner. Meanwhile, create paper snowflakes and hang them from the ceiling or decorate the walls. Serve simple winter-themed foods such as pigs in a blanket, snow peas, and coconut cake or ice cream.
About The Author: Kelly Ann Butterbaugh is a freelance writer who regularly contributes to a variety of magazines and has written a history book for middle readers. Visit her website for writing help, lesson plans, history fun, or work for hire at http://www.kellybutterbaugh.com
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