If you’re trapped inside by the snowstorm hitting the Upper Midwest, or anticipating long snowy days this winter, you’ll need some budget-friendly boredom-killers to get you through. This season, give these 5 tried and true tips from veteran cold-weather survivors a shot.
Kids seem impervious to cold, so send them outside! It builds character, right? Kathy Flynn of Connecticut fondly remembers childhood days spent sledding. “The neighborhood kids, my siblings and I would be out there for hours,” she recalls. “Even our dads would come out when it got dark to be sure we arrived safely at the bottom of the hill. Afterwards, we’d retreat to our house where my mom or grandma would have steaming cups of hot chocolate ready.” Why not join them? You and your kids will appreciate being indoors more after a day spent outside.
Over half of the people I surveyed say they hunker down and read when they’re stuck inside on a chilly day (several of them by a fire). This activity can be FREE if you head to your local library to stock up on the classics. Plus, it turns into a time-eating field trip if you bring the kids.
You can finally tackle your family budget, clean out that closet, or paint the master bedroom. My mom capitalizes on the time to make giant batches of chicken soup. Kim Roberts uses snow days to catch up – and get ahead – on correspondence. She likes to “fix a box with cards for each month and address and stamp the envelopes.”
It’s early March, you’ve exhausted all home-based ideas and your kids are driving you nuts. Get out of the house, finally, by exploring your area. Many hyperlocal blogs have tips on free or cheap things to do in your area: a free art museum, the coolest playgrounds for snowball fights, a chocolate factory tour, and so much more.
The best thing to do when you’re stuck inside together is to enjoy it. Invite friends over for a potluck and game night. For parents who feel like they never get time to play with their kids? Bring on the blizzard. Build forts, bake together, play board games, make arts and crafts, and by all means turn off the TV. At least for a little while.
Kim Tracy Prince is a freelance writer in Los Angeles. She’ll meet you for lunch, but only if you schedule in advance and it fits in the budget.