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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Snow Day Fun: Playing "Home School"

We all know how to create one: Wear pajamas inside out. Keep a spoon under your pillow. Put ice cubes in the toilet. Spin around three times with your eyes closed and say, "Snow day, snow day, snow day."

But once that wish comes true, how do you keep kids entertained? Especially if it's too cold to actually go outside and play in the snow? (It's every parent's nightmare.)

We found out about the last snow day on the evening before, so I had a little time to plan and prepare. First, I asked my kids if they had any ideas. They had one; they wanted to play school. What kinds of activities did they want to do at our school? Of course, we had to recreate my first-grader's daily classroom schedule. In order.

ROCmomma's Tips for a Fun Snow-Day Home-School:

  1. Assemble a supply bin with glue sticks, markers, safety scissors, crayons, and pencils
  2. Gather materials for your first couple of activities
  3. Print out & hang up the ROCmomma Circle Time Materials; print worksheets from links below


SNOW-DAY HOME-SCHOOL ACTIVITIES:

ACTIVITY 1: MORNING WORK
1. LEGO Challenge - We started on a creative note. The boys were each given a LEGO base plate, a marble, and a tub of LEGO bricks. The challenge was to create a marble maze, with one entrance and one exit for the marble. Once they finished building, they had even more fun guiding the marble through the maze!

2. Math problems - My first-grader wrote out four math problems for each of us to solve. (7+3= __, 7+1=__, 3+3=__, and 3+1=__) He wrote the problems three times so we each had our own worksheet, and then set them up around the table with a pencil for each of us. My little future teacher!


ACTIVITY 2: QUIET READING
Have some books handy in case one child is finished before the others.

ACTIVITY 3: CIRCLE TIME/MORNING MEETING
1. Calendar, weather - go over the days of the week, months of the year; fill in the date and weather
2. Month/season worksheets - try these free printable winter worksheets from Learning 4 Keeps

ACTIVITY 4: THE DAILY 5
There are five different activity stations; each person does one activity and will have the opportunity to do more later.

1. Computer Station: We set up the laptop so the kids could read/listen to the Pocoyo e-book "Baby Bird's Birthday Party" and play games on the HITN Early Learning Collaborative
2. Word work/writing: Word Detective worksheet (page 11 in the Freebie Word Work Activities from TeachersPayTeachers.com); Letter Grab Bag (pages 24-25 in the Freebie Word Work Activities)
3. Writing Journal - Provide some paper and pencils, and ask them to write (or draw, depending on the ages).
4. Read to someone
5. Read to self
The Daily 5,  Station 1: Playing Pocoyo games on the
Early Learning Collaborative web site
The Daily 5, Station 2: Word Detective worksheet
ACTIVITY 5: WORD FAMILIES
We wrote "___OT" on a piece of paper and the kids brainstormed "-ot" words while I wrote them down. Then we reviewed the list together. Finally, each child selected one word from our list and used it in a sentence.

ACTIVITY 6: THE DAILY 5
Station activities are the same as above; each child selects a station they have not yet completed.

ACTIVITY 7: BRAIN GYM
A well-deserved break for everyone! Choose a favorite song (You TubePandora, or Songza are good options if you don't have a particular song in your music library) and have a mini dance party. We are big fans of Cha Cha Slide and Happy.

ACTIVITY 8: THE DAILY 5
Same as above.

ACTIVITY 9: MATH
1. Visit BedTimeMath.org together on the computer and complete a few problems together.
2. Math worksheets - try these free printables from TeachersPayTeachers.com

ACTIVITY 10: INDOOR RECESS
Be creative and get the kids moving:

  • Use painter's tape to create a hop scotch board on the floor; use a bean bag or small stuffed toy as the marker.
  • Play Simon Says.
  • Play balloon volleyball.
  • Play Freeze Dance.
  • Set up empty water bottles in the hallway; roll a ball for indoor bowling.
  • Play a physically active game on Xbox Kinect, Wii, etc.
ACTIVITY 11: LUNCH

ACTIVITY 12: STORY TIME
My boys love the Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne. They snuggled together and we read "Afternoon on the Amazon" from cover to cover.

ACTIVITY 13: WRITING WORKSHOP
Write about your snow day (pre-school variation: draw a picture of your snow day).
ACTIVITY 14: ART
Make snowflake rubbings! Perfect for a snow day.

Materials needed: hot glue gun & glue sticks (OR yarn & craft glue - as per the original instructions on Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational), scraps of cardboard (an empty cereal box works well), construction paper, crayons

Instructions:
1. ADULTS ONLY: Use a glue gun to draw snowflakes on scraps of cardboard. (OR use the craft glue and yarn, per the original instructions)
2. When cool, instruct children to place construction paper on top of the snowflakes and use the crayons to create rubbings of the snowflakes. Children may then continue to decorate the page with additional drawings, etc.


ACTIVITY 15: SNACK TIME

ACTIVITY 16: SHOW AND TELL
Ask each child to select one thing from the house that is special. Sit together and take turns talking about the item and why it is special.

ACTIVITY 17: FAREWELL FRIENDS
Sit together and talk about what we learned today. If your kids have a goodbye song from school, ask them to teach it to you.

I was actually shocked that my kids completed ALL of these activities! We made the list the night before, and I prepared for all of them, but figured we would skip a few here and there. Oh no. They kept me on task and made sure we followed the list. In fact, my six-year-old kept tabs on the clock as well. School is over at 3:00, so we were not allowed to be finished until 3:00.

This was such a fun day for the three of us, and I'm glad we did it. If you're looking to fill an entire day with lots of boredom-busting fun (and a little learning, too!), then try out these snow day home-school activities. Be sure to Post a Comment and let us know which one your kids liked best! As always, thanks for reading.

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