Like to take quizzes? Try this one:
When it’s too cold for my children to play outside, I: a) Let them watch unlimited television and videos b) Organize a marathon session of board games c) Force them to clean their rooms d) Lock myself in the bedroom with 2 seasons of Downton Abbey and a bottle of merlot
And the correct answer is, well, not d.
The holidays were wonderful, weren’t they? The kids were excited about Christmas and family visits. You had the opportunity to make cookies together and decorate the house with handmade paper chains and you have all the photos to prove it. Then vacation was over and the kids went back to school.
Read Related: 5 Family-Friendly Winter Activities
Days later, the winter weather—ice storms, snow and sub-zero temperatures—set in, closing schools and making it too dangerous for the kids to be outside longer than it takes to go from the car to the front door. With a bit of planning and clever use of supplies on hand, you should be able to keep the kids from fighting and the house from needing a makeover when winter strikes with a vengeance.
PLAN AHEAD! You know the bad weather is coming; the TV weather reporters are outdoing each other with tales of armageddon. As frantic shoppers elbow each other stocking up on bread, milk, and toilet paper, make a run to the discount stores and stock up on supplies of your own. Depending on the age of your kids, a few simple toys can buy hours of activity. For the cost of coloring books and a new box of crayons, you can buy some contentment, if not silence. Older kids might like a model kit or a craft kit. And there’s always bottled bubbles. They don’t stain and in a place like a warm basement, they provide quiet fun.
If the basement is warm enough, and the kids are small enough, dig out the plastic swimming pool from last summer, fill it with warm water and turn the basement into an indoor pool. You can’t hurt the concrete floor. When the water gets cold, hand out chalk and let the kids get creative. Or hand out paint brushes and buckets of water and let the kids “paint” the walls.
CAUGHT OFFGUARD? If the weather caught you unprepared and the weathercasters are scrambling to explain how none of their sophisticated systems forecast the catastrophe outside the front door, make do with supplies on hand.