18 February 2010 10:07 AM

Snow Days

by Dr. Rick

This blog is  from an interview I did recently for local, East Coast reporters during our historic snowstorms and blizzard.  (Here in Baltimore, where I write from, we’re used to 18” of snow per season.  To date, we have nearly 80”, and it’s only mid- February!)  So, with realism – if not hopelessness – I share this with the rest of the country, including our friends in the South who are getting their first snow in years.


Schools are closed.  The snow is deep.  You've made snowmen and snow angels, baked cookies, watched TV, played video games and Wii, and even pitched in to shovel the snow for dear old Mrs. Lovelace up the street.


Now what?  The snow continues, schools are closed for several more days.


Here are a few snow-day tips I've accumulated over the years.  They won't exactly bring serenity to your house, but they might keep the kids busy for a while -- and maybe even learning a little.

  1. Read.  Yes, of course.  Everyone has his or her favorite book, so read them to each other.  It's fun for the older kids to read their favorite childhood books to their younger siblings.  Act out your favorite scenes for the enjoyment of everyone.

  2. Tell stories.  This is a great time to trot out the old family photo albums and tell stories of your happy memories.  Grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, favorite friends and neighbors.  Connect the kids to your past -- and theirs.

  3. Keep a snow journal.  As a family, write a few sentences each every day about the snow.  What time did it start to fall?  What did it look like on the trees?  How did it affect the traffic on your street?  Did you feed the birds?  Does your dog like the snow?  The cat?  Tell about sledding, snowman building, snowball battles, snow forts.  Tell how you felt when you learned there'd be no school.  What friends will you miss for the days  you're away from the classroom?

  4. Do some weather science.  Measure the snow as it's falling.  Keep a log of the temperatures hourly.  How long does it take for the snow to melt on the south side of the house?  On the north side?  How do those icicles form?

  5. Play games as a family and, for some quiet time, as individuals.  Some mind-engaging activities include board games, crossword puzzles, Sudoku, jigsaw puzzles, coloring, finger painting, water colors, and scrapbooking.

  6. Keep up the lessons.  Check those spelling words -- if there aren't any from school, assign your own.  Practice math facts.  Read the next chapter in the social studies book. 

  7. Organize.  Take this found-time to organize notebooks, planners, back packs, and study areas at home.  Make sure everyone's up-to-date on assignments that will be due when school starts again.

  8. Try to keep up normal routines.  Yes, the snow throws everything off, and that's okay.  It's good to take a break (or have one thrust upon you) from time to time.  But try to keep bedtimes, mealtimes, study times, and other important personal routines (medications, for example) as close to normal as possible.  When you know schools will reopen again, start to get back into the swing of things right away.

  9. Be a role model.  Use your homebound time for catching up on some put-off tasks.  Enlist the kids' help in rearranging furniture, organizing closets and donating unused clothing to the homeless shelter.  Talk about how warm and cozy you are -- not everyone is as lucky.

  10. Stay positive.  Spring will arrive.  Promise.




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