A slightly above-average achiever's guide to parenting
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No, I Don't Want to Build Another Flipping Snowman (aka, snow day ideas when you've lost your mind from all the snow)
February 15, 2015
I grew up in Wisconsin and have been living in Boston for nearly the past 10 years (with a brief 2.5 year stint in Michigan). Having lived my entire life in cold-weather climates, I feel I am uniquely qualified to say that this winter, Boston has received a metric-crap-ton of snow. I have a high threshold for snow, and after last night's storm, I'm saying it: this might be too much snow.
I am very lucky that my commute to work is a 15 minute walk, we don't own a car that we've had to dig out of the snow repeatedly, and the amount of shoveling we have to do the 25 feet of sidewalk outside our condo, a chore we split evenly with our neighbors. So I fully admit that I don't even have it bad. There are people at my office who are spending 3 hours a day commuting. My friend in the suburbs had to call a backhoe to move the snow from her driveway to her lawn because there was nowhere else to put it.
But still, while I certainly cannot complain about a lot of aspects of this snow, I will complain about the fact that there are only so many games you can play indoors with a 13 month old. And I'm sure you guys are all in the same boat. The boat of slowly losing your mind.
So, in an effort to help us all out, I've done some research on ways to entertain your little ones until the winter ends (aka, until June). Good luck out there, everyone:
Indoor Activities Out of the House
These are places to go when it's a little nastier out, but you're still willing to brave the weather for like a maximum 10 minutes just to get somewhere that isn't your house.
The Tried and True
Boston Fire Museum (right next to the Children's Museum)
The Christian Science Museum Mapparium
The Prudential Center
Museum of Science
The Possibly New
More Than Words Bookstore (South End)
Barnes and Nobel
Make Way for Ducklings
Henry Bear Park
Little Lovage Club
The "Hey, I never thought of that but I'm desperate so let's try that"
Hotel Lobbies- we do this ALL the time with Chewbacca. Just pretend that you're waiting for your parents to come down from their room and let your kid crawl all around the lobby. I promise, they won't care. And if they do, there are many other hotels in Boston.
Office Building Lobbies- this only works for the off-hours, but with all the snow days, a lot of lobbies are deserted even during the day. There is a lot of square footage to explore in an office lobby. Think of it as an indoor play ground. And if you or your spouse are near your office, think about going in on the weekend and letting your child climb up and down the stairs until they exhaust themselves. You know, hypothetically.
Fanieul Hall-the front building, the historic one, not the commericial one has a lot of open space, and frankly isn't that popular with tourists. So both the basement museum and the fancy room upstairs make for a very exciting space to explore.
Hynes Convention Center- As long as there's not a convention going around, this has tons of space of untapped potential. There's often a security guard there, but either walk in like you own the place, or politely ask if you can let your toddler run around. And just look really desperate and they'll take pity on you.
Home Depot- I know this is an odd choice but home depo actually offers kids classes on Saturday mornings, so I know they're kid-friendly(ish). And there is a LOT of space to run around. Just make sure to keep them away from the hand saws.
For the many days when it's blizzard conditions, the T is closed, your child care is not available, and you've lost the will to live (except your toddler somehow still has the energy level of 5 Kelly Rippas)
Baking- Your kid will love to see you mixing and measuring ingredients. And if you choose something on the easier side, they might even be able to help you mix.
Fort Building- AKA the best snow-day activity ever. I thought Chewie would be too young for this. I was so wrong. Turns out the littler they are, the more impressed they are by a basic fort. I threw a sheet over the table and called it a day. He's such a sucker.
Dry Erase Marker Drawing- This one is probably for the older kids, but I saw it on a list and thought it was too cute. Use your windows or sliding glass doors or mirrors as a canvas and let them go nuts.
Tub Art- If you're afraid of your kid getting messy while playing with paints, put them in the tub with some paint and let them put it everywhere. Pinterest also tells me you can apparently use shaving cream and/or food coloring. But that seemed a little advanced for me.
Make Play Dough- I got really excited for this recipe that a friend shared with me. The play dough worked AMAZING, but Chewie had zero per cent interest in it. But, if you have an older kid, this would be awesome.
Dance Party- aka, Chewie's favorite thing to do. Ever since he learned the sign for music, it's the first thing he asks for every morning. We've started getting creative with things around the house to use as musical instruments. Beans or rice in a water bottle turns into a shaker. Pots and pans make excellent drums. Two wooden spoons can be drum sticks. You get the idea.
Facetime Dates- We've been calling our other baby-friends who are also snowed in and having phone dates. I've also called my best friend in San Diego once, but something about her 80 degree weather made it difficult for her to sympathize.
Bring the Snow Inside- I know, this sounds like insanity. But if you want your toddler to experience the snow without the cold, fill up a plastic tub with snow and put a towel on the floor. Then let them go nuts. You can fill up squirt bottles with food coloring and water and let them "paint" too.
Cardboard Boxes- They're magical on their own, but feel free to use crayons to draw on them, or cut a bunch of holes in the top and store things inside for your toddler to pull out. Or draw race car tracks on the box and let your little one drive their cars on it. Or if you're feeling creative, punch holes in the top of the box and poke christmas tree lights through for a cool light box.
Indoor Snowball Fight- because "crumpling balls of paper" didn't sound as fun. But seriously, I'm not sure why, but toddlers love crumpling paper. At least mine does. Get a newspaper and let them go nuts crushing the paper. Then get a laundry basket and let them put all the balls inside.
Alright, I'm clearly out of ideas. The snow just needs to stop. We're half way to March, right??