UPDATE: This post was made as Shinn Shots Photography and does not represent the style or goals of Blue Space Photography. Because I believe in knowing where you’ve come from, I’ve left this here as a reminder of the journey that led me to where I am today. I now only shoot storytelling sessions, so be sure to check out my current work in more recent posts! – Lauren
Here in Atlanta, we’ve been slammed by the snow.
Ok, our house only got 4 inches. But in a city with few snow plows, it’s a problem. I don’t think I can ever remember a time when snow stuck around this long in Georgia.
We’re on Day 4 of no school. And this coming Monday is a holiday. Enter the craziness.
I know I’m a photographer, but I’m a mom too…and having kids stuck in the house for 4 days in a row is enough to drive anyone batty. I thought it might be helpful to toss out a few ideas of things to do for those of you who are losing your mind to the snow.
1. Have a Camp-Out
Inside! Bring out the sleeping bags and a tent. Or set up your own tent with blankets. Make a fire in the fireplace, roast some marshmallows, and make some s’mores. The best part of this camp-out? Electricity! Throw in a movie and enjoy it from the tent.
2. Create Snow Art
Channel your inner Jackson Pollock and make some snow art! You can use your leftover Flav-Or-Ice from the summer, or a little bit of food dye and water in a squirt gun. You might want to add a garbage bag to the top layer of snow clothes so that you don’t end up with clothes like Jackson Pollock.
3. Have Halloween Again
Get the kids all dressed up in their costumes and have them come trick-or-treating around the house. You can be in closets, bathrooms, anywhere behind a door waiting with candy. As an alternative, you could scare them after they knock. You know…payback for all the “I’m boooorred!”
4. Do an Art Project
Bring out the paints, the markers, the crayons, and the pencils. Have your kids draw a picture for Grandma…and Grandpa…and their Aunt. (We’ve been snowed in for four days, right?) You can send them off through the mail…once the post office start running again. You can also take turns drawing. The first person draws one thing and the next person adds to it. Who knows what kinds of crazy designs you’ll come up with!
5. Make Some Body Art
No actual tattooing! But some washable markers go a long way. Kids can draw on themselves or each other. Plus, the bath afterward will be full of fun colors! (Make sure markers are washable, or you’ll be enjoying the body art long after the snow is gone!)
6. Write a Story
If kids are old enough, they can write one by themselves. Give them the setting or a character and see what they can come up with. If they’re young, Take turns saying a sentence and building a story. The young ones can draw pictures to illustrate the story.
7. Offer to Walk a Dog
Have kids offer to walk a neighbor’s dog. The neighbor will thank you and the kids will get out of the house. Make sure they know about cleaning up after it!
8. Bake Something
If you stocked up on milk and eggs before the big storm, bake some goodies! Have kids help or choose the recipe. What kid doesn’t like having sweets to eat? And, after all, chocolate makes every day better. If you want to create something useful, whip up some homemade playdough with this playdough recipe. Make sure an adult takes care of the boiling water part!
9. Feed the Birds
The birds are hungry too! Help your kids think of someone other than themselves by making a peanut butter bird feeder. Want to make it easier? Use a bagel and string. No birdseed? Use crumbled crackers or small pieces of bread. Any kind of grain will do!
10. Play a Game
Ok. What bored kid is thrilled to play a board game after 4 days of being in the house? So, change it up! Have them make up new rules. Use the board and the pieces and then have each person take turns making up new rules on how to play the game. An example…Playing Memory? Whatever animal you turn up, you have to act and sound like it before you can try to find it’s match. You can do this with video games too. New rule? You have to play laying on your back and looking at the screen upside-down. It’s a whole new world when games can be re purposed into whatever the imagination comes up with.
11. Build a Fort
Aw, come on. Who didn’t make an inside fort out of pillows and blankets when they were a kid? Haul out the building materials and let the kids take over a room. It’s worth it. I promise.
12. Make Snow Cream
A yummy treat and a way to pass the time. Here’s a recipe for snow cream. If you’re short on ingredients, my family used to just put some maple syrup in a cup of snow and eat it with a spoon. Very tasty. Alternatively, you can make maple taffy in the snow. Here’s the recipe for maple taffy. And you know where I learned about maple taffy? Caillou. Thank you PBS Kids!
13. Raid the Gift Closet
Look for some new toys…or old toys….stashed away and bring them back out. Hey, it’ll buy you 15 minutes!
14. Play in the Snow
I know, it’s cold. But it eats up 30 minutes to an hour every day! Go sledding. Have a snowball fight. Build a snowman. After all, isn’t that what snow is all about for a kid growing up in the South?
15. Put on a Play for a Friend through Skype
Everyone else is snowed in at home too, right? Give them a call on Skype and commiserate together. The kids can pretend to be in their own TV show or make their own puppet show for their friends.
16. Take Some Pictures
You know I couldn’t make it through this post without suggesting it! Have your kids take a turn (under close observation) with your camera. Digital photography is a wonderful thing. They can snap away and not cost you anything! You can take turns dressing up and making funny faces at the camera while the other takes pictures. You can give girls a makeover and do a model shoot. Let those creative juices flow and see what kinds of funny scenes you can come up with!
17. Find an Empty Box
Christmas just happened, right? Find an empty box and go at it! Let the kids decorate it with crayons and markers. It can be a million different things! Add a string to it and you can pull your kids around the house.
18. Play ‘Simon Says’
But focus on burning some energy. “Simon Says…get your pink bear from your room upstairs.” “Simon Says hop on one foot around the table.” “Simon says spin around until you’re so dizzy you fall down.”
19. Go Bowling
Find a small ball and some things to use as pins (empty bottles, shoe boxes, closed markers…anything will do). Kids can roll the ball to knock down the pins. Alternatively, if you have hardwood floors, find some bigger pins and a pillow so the kids can be the bowling ball!
20. Throw a Dance Party
Find some good music and crank it up! Have the kids make decorations and hats. Crank up the music and dance away. If the kids get bored, they can take turns stopping the music and freeze dancing. Set-up your camcorder to record the whole thing, and then you can watch all the funny dancing afterward!
21. Play Hide and Seek
I admit it. Hide and seek was one of my favorite games as a kid. I still love to play it! If kids get bored with just the game, add some prizes in for find people. Or, let the hider scare the seeker. At night, you can play in the dark with a flashlight.
22. Put on a Sheet Show
What’s a sheet show? Hang up a sheet and put a light behind it. Have the audience sit on one side of the sheet and the entertainers on the other side between the light and the sheet. It’s amazing what kinds of crazy things you can do with shadows!
23. Make an Edible Necklace
Got cheerios? Fruit loops are even better! Find some string and let the kids make their own edible necklace.
24. Take a Long, Hot Bath
I know you need one more, but let the kids take a turn. This is for the younger crowd. Put them in the bathtub with some new toys and let them entertain themselves with water. Find anything around the house that isn’t usually in the tub but can go in water and use it! Tupperware, cups, bouncy balls, silly bandz, paintbrushes, pretend forks, cooking spoons…you get the idea. You can even drain the tub, and fill it up again to keep kids from getting cold and to make the bath last longer!
25. Shovel the Driveway
That’s right. Put ’em to work. If they’re old enough, they can do it by themselves. (It builds character!) If they’re young enough, give them a dustpan and join them with your shovel. Hey…the sooner the driveway is clear, the sooner you can escape from your snow house!