Snow Day, Fun Day: A cancelled school day doesn’t mean students still can’t have fun at home

Published 6:25 am Saturday, January 26, 2019

Inevitably, it’s going to happen.

The snow will come and eager young faces will press their faces to the window in hopes they will hear those magic words: School is closed.

Sure, two hours late is nice, but it doesn’t have the magic of a snow day, where suddenly school is gone, replaced by the familiarity of fun at home.

Email newsletter signup

The question soon becomes though, how do you spend the day, where often times people can feel cooped up at home as winds blow?

Woodson Kindergarten Center teacher, and 2019 Teacher of the Year, Alisha Galle is pretty familiar with snow days. A teacher of 13 years, Galle has seen her fair share of days brought to stop by snow storms.

With winter firmly in control and a few snow days under our belt, we thought it would be a good time to rerun this story from the January-February edition of Austin Living magazine.

And as a mother of four with children ranging in age from two to 10 years old, she’s been faced with the challenge of finding something to keep her own kids busy.

Galle suggests that a good way to spend a snow day, especially with younger children in a day and age when technology is  readily available, is find ways to let the imagination go.

“The biggest thing, sitting at home, is to find ways to be creative and imaginative,” she said. “Try and build and foster imaginative play.”

It’s really not that different from how she teaches her classes.

“A lot of the time I find it’s using a lot of the skills I teach them in class,” Galle said.

To that end, Galle creates stashes of different creative materials around the house to ensure the kids having something to do on a moments notice.

This includes different colored paper, crayons, smelly markers.

“I’ve done this for so long, it’s pretty easy to pull this stuff out on the fly,” Galle said.

And even though the storm has brought the day to a halt and called off school, Galle stresses not to eliminate the idea of going outside.

“Snow days, you’re going to inevitably enjoy going outside,” Galle said. “Get some fresh air.”

That moment is also a chance for the adults to catch a breather.

“We get some calming time,” Galle said with a smile.

So, here are some ideas Galle suggests to keep your own children happy and active after the moment the call comes in: no school today.

Indoor snow fight: Crumple paper balls. To connect it to learning, you can write words, letters or numbers on the paper and set a timer. After the timer goes off, read the words/letters/numbers/ on your side of the room.

Flashlight scavenger hunt: Hide letters, numbers or word cards around the house and turn off the lights. Kids use the flashlights to locate the cards.

Indoor picnic: When the family gets outside in the summer, sometimes that includes a picnic. With the family home on a snow day, why not do the same thing, but instead spread a blanket out on the living room floor and have an indoor picnic.

Build  a  fort out of blankets: Who hasn’t, as a child, pulled together the table chairs, draped some sheets over them and claimed the living room with the fort as the centerpiece?

Become  an engineer: Build towers out of marshmallows and toothpicks or build car ramps out of a stack of books and a cookie sheet.