Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Christopher Bowers, 4, of Bristol, plays with a computer game on Tuesday, Jan. 28. Many children in Elkhart County have been stuck inside for several days because of severe weather. (Photo Supplied)

Lucas Williams, 5, of Mishawaka plays with homemade "gak" a model clay-like substance. His mother Natalie Williams said she's keeping her two sons busy with various activities on snow days. (Photo Supplied)

Caden Williams, 7, and Lucas Williams, 5, "paint" in the snow using water bottles and food coloring.
Parents fight cabin fever during continuous snow days for children
Posted on Jan. 28, 2014 at 2:40 p.m.

When local mom Natalie Willliams heard this week's frigid forecast, she didn't head to the store for bread and milk. Instead, she took her two sons — ages 5 and 7 — to the library to stock up on books.

She knew her main task over the next few days would be to keep her children occupied on snow days.

"I did a lot of Pinterest research on things to do," Williams said on Tuesday, Jan. 28 — the fourth snow day in a row for many Elkhart County children. "We did lots of art projects."

Projects like "painting" in the snow using water bottles and food coloring and making homemade slimy play-dough kept Williams' children busy for hours, she said. 

Bristol mom Amber Bowers noted that it's so cold she doesn't want her three children to go outside to play. Instead she's trying to get creative with at-home activities. 

"Netflix has been our savior!" she said Tuesday morning. "I'm thankful, because my kids play together pretty nicely."

Bowers' 15-year-old and 12-year-old have stayed pretty occupied with video games and Legos, she said. She lets her 4-year-old "help" around the house by washing plastic dishes or using soapy water to clean up.

She's also thinking about trying an activity she saw on Facebook — bringing snow inside and letting her toddler put on snow gear and play with the snow in a bathtub.

"I might think about that, if it doesn't warm up soon," she said. 

What about learning?

Even though snow days are good times for movie marathons or games, some local school leaders suggested that students keep up with learning in some way. Here are their suggestions:

"Snow days are a good time to play games or do puzzles to practice problem solving and persistence, to cook or bake in order to practice math and measurement, or to simply read together or have the child read independently," Steve Thalheimer, superintendent of Fairfield schools, said on Tuesday.

Concord superintendent Wayne Stubbs suggested that families "turn off the screens" and play games together. 

"When it's safe to do so, play and shovel outside ... even better, shovel the neighbor's sidewalk," Stubbs said. 

He also suggested that parents review work sent home with their children over the last few days and work with them on those skills. Concord elementary school websites have a student link with educational activities, he added. 

Wa-Nee superintendent Joe Sabo also suggested that parents help their children review past lessons or look ahead to upcoming lessons. 

"This may seem like a simple response, but we always encourage parents to have their children read every day at home," Sabo added.