We live in the Alberta province of Canada. We never get any snow days. Come snow, blizzard or -30 C temperatures, children head over to school and people to work. However if such a day happens on a weekend most opt to stay in to be safe and warm. We had such a day today. Calgary got an unexpected big dump of snow and I had to reluctantly cancel a birthday lunch I had planned for a friend at a restaurant after many news of slippery roads and accidents. With the unexpected time that I got with family at home, we had a great time with fun random snow day activities. Sharing some ideas for you all because there will be many more of these snow days this winter. Most of these ideas can be used for any situation when you’re stuck at home because of weather, sickness or a political situation like a strike.
An Indoor Picnic
Can’t picnic outdoors? bring the fun inside! My daughter planned an impromptu indoor picnic and packed some plastic food in a basket. We sat together, munched on pretend cupcake and pointed out imaginary sights to each there. You can totally do this with actual food too. We took a walk through a rain forest after our picnic armed with binoculars and excitement to see what exotic animals we will find behind the sofa. This picnic is sure to be a hit because imagination is your best friend and you don’t have to deal with reality.
Bring out the PlayDoh or Aata
Make sure the kids are sitting in a safe spot and bring out the Play Doh with some rollers and cookie cutters. I only give mine Play Doh outside, in our unfinished basement or when they are sitting on the counter. It’s impossible to get small pieces out of the carpet otherwise. You can also give the kids some kneaded Aata (flour) with a sprinkle of dry flour and get them to make fun shapes that you can then fry for them. Parathas with a fun twist!
Cook/Bake with the Children
Get the children involved in the cooking to keep them busy and learn some essential skills along the way. Children can easily help with tasks such as mixing, pouring, counting and seasoning.
+ Here is a video of my daughter and I making cutlets and learning urdu along the way
+ For baking we love this recipe for healthy muffins from the blog Against All Grain
For lunch today I made baked chicken with asparagus and fresh garden salad. It was super easy and the children helped along.
+ Quick recipe:
Marinate chicken pieces with ginger/garlic paste, extra virgin olive oil, lemon rind, salt, pepper, kala namak and oregano. Place chicken in an oven sheet with slices of lemon. Bake at 450F for 45 minutes turning mid way.
Break off the hard lower part of asparagus and mix together with the same marinade as the chicken. Bake at 450F for 25 minutes turning mid way.
For salad, I used greens and a dressing of extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper.
My children always take more interest in eating when they have helped prepare the food.
Catch up with Family
Do video calls with family that lives far away and show them the snow outside! Be ready for the Ohs, Ahs and the persistent reminders to keep the children warm by the grandmothers.
Make some birthday cards (or videos)
Sometimes crafting can serve a purpose and you can get the kids to make cards for birthdays or other occasions coming up. I always love giving cards made by my children. Makes the recipient feel special and also makes the children realize the importance of the occasion as you discuss who the card is for, where they live and what would you like them to be doing as you draw them.
Since we now send more video messages for birthdays than actual cards, you can make some generic videos to be used for birthdays. Bring out the Dubsmash (or Snapchat) and have some fun.
+ if winter is getting you down try these spring-inspired crafts:
Play in the Snow
If the weather allows bundle up and head outdoors to play in the snow. As a child growing up in Pakistan, our only interaction with snow was once a year in the hills of Murree. We would pile out of the car after a long nauseating ride of two hours, at the sight of fresh snow, in our mismatched scarves, piles of sweaters and sometimes makeshift sock gloves and gleefully throw snowballs at each other. My children were born in Canada and even then their excitement at the sight of fresh snow is quite similar. So suck up the hassle you have to bear as an adult dressing them up and let children enjoy running around in the snow, making snow angels and putting together a snowman.
My excuse today was that I had a cancelled lunch plan and a perfectly good chocolate birthday cake in the fridge that I had preordered. Find your excuse and treat yourself. I read somewhere that you burn more calories in the winters just by breathing. Don’t worry it was a very legit source.
Nothing like cuddling up with under the blankets with your kids and watching a 90s Bollywood hit and be shocked at the insensitive jokes, vulgarity and how the hell you were allowed to watch this by your conservative parents. A safer bet is “Care Bears”, “The Good Dinosaur” or “Inside Out” with the kids.
Practice some Urdu
Now I can’t let a post go by without mentioning some urdu. You can read some urdu books together, have an impromptu urdu story time or watch some Urdu Mom story time videos (sorry for the shameless self-promotion). The UrduMom facebook page has many live story time videos on the wall and our YouTube channel has many fun urdu rhymes.
+ Urdu Story Time happens Live every Saturday at 9.30 am (mountain standard time) and 9.30 pm in pakistan on our facebook page.
Declutter & Organize
If you’re stuck inside, might as well make use of the time to declutter and organize. There is always a room, a cupboard or a drawer that desperately needs attention. My two-year-old is a lost cause but I can usually rope my six-year-old in by involving her in the sorting. We tackled the toy room today and it looks so good right now, I almost want to keep the kids out permanently!
So this is how we spent our snowed day in. What do you do when you’re stuck indoors?