I have been working with preschoolers for several years at the Manassas Park Community Center preschool program. I would like to use that experience to share some tips for keeping your children active and engaged during the long, cold winter months where kids, and families, are primarily indoors.
I really believe that by being prepared for the inevitable snow days your children will undoubtedly have, you will make the most of the days. I know I am not alone when I admit that snow days sound fun. Think about it: a snow day is like a free day – a day with nothing to do because everything has been either postponed or canceled.
In addition, yes, snow days can be fun days, but they can also turn very long and ultimately boring if there is nothing to do but watching television. I try to prepare for snow days by maximizing the extra time my family will spend together! My suggestion is to have all the family favorites games and puzzles available and in one piece! That means going through all the board games now to ensure no pieces are missing. Same for puzzles, after all, what fun is a puzzle if there are pieces missing? You can pick up new puzzles at the dollar store, ensuring no pieces are missing! You can also pick up some crossword or Sudoku puzzle books that everyone will love.
I also like to use snow days to cook some easy recipes with my kids. The best recipes are those easy meal recipes that are cooked or baked with minimal ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry! I find the best recipes are also the ones where the entire family can help in the preparation process. I am not having my little ones cut onions, but they can certainly measure the dry goods! Everyone benefits when we all work together toward a common goal!
Another tip is to make sure everyone has boots, mittens, hats, scarves, sleds, and of course, warm winter coats for outdoor play. Check now, and have everyone in the family try on his or her winter attire. There is nothing worse than thinking those boots from last year will probably fit, then finding out that your child’s foot has grown an entire size, and has no boots to wear! Our little ones grow up so fast that last year’s winter coat may not fit any more either. Have the kids try on last year’s winter gear. You will see exactly what items you may need to replace (like those winter boots!)
Spending more time indoors during the winter months, particularly on snow days, are fun. My goal is to keep them fun, but also make snow days a great time for my family to enjoy quality time together. Please plan ahead and then I think you will be able to enjoy precious memories with your family as I do with mine!
Arely Angel is the Lead Preschool Teacher for the City of Manassas Park, Department of Parks and Recreation. She can be reached at 703-335-8872, or via email at A.Angel@ManassasParkVA.gov