KT Murphy Elementary School
19 Horton St.
Stamford, CT 06902
Danielle Madalon knows a thing or two about keeping children entertained, having taught kindergarten for the last 11 years at Stamford’s KT Murphy Elementary School. The school guides children’s development through a concept known as C.A.R.E.S. “C” stands for cooperating with other students, “A” for assertion and being proactive, “R” for responsible behavior, “E” for empathizing with others and “S” for self-control. It’s no surprise then that Madalon’s snow day tips for parents can help reinforce those attributes in their kids.
Once all the snow has fallen, your kids will probably want to spend some time outside playing in it. While Madalon says tried-and-true winter activities like sledding or building snowmen are still great options, you can also suggest they mix things up with other kinds of snow games. One such idea is “Tic Tac Snow” – “you draw the grid in the snow, and then you can use things that you find outside like rocks for the “O’s and twigs for the “X”s.” She says magazines and websites are another source for fun snow activities. A favorite of hers that she learned about involves mixing food coloring and water and putting it in an empty squeeze bottle, which kids then can use to create art with the fresh snowfall as a canvas.
Once the kids come back inside and have finished warming up, Madalon says they can busy themselves by making artwork out of household items. “Like empty tissue boxes or paper towel rolls, just dumping these things that might be in your recycling bin out on the table with markers, glue and scissors; kids are so creative and inventive that they would have so much fun creating something…whether it’s a castle or a birdhouse,” she says. Baking can be another creative outlet for them. Another suggestion from Madalon, “A really simple idea that ties in math skills is making domino cookies.” Those are rectangle-shaped cookies with a line drawn down the middle. On each side, kids can add a different number of chocolate chips.
Another great way for kids to spend their day, off according to Madalon, is playing cards or board games. She says that in addition to being fun, games can keep their minds sharp while “encouraging good sportsmanship and teaching basic skills like one-to-one correspondence.” When parents join in, it’s also an ideal activity for familial bonding. “If it’s a parent that’s able to stay home with the kids, just taking advantage of that time together” can build lasting memories, she says.
Madalon says snow days present a great opportunity to inspire your children to become more thoughtful and give back to society. “If you have an elderly neighbor, saying ‘let’s go knock on her door and see if she wants us to help her shovel her driveway'” is one example she offers. She adds that kids can brighten the day of distant friends or relatives by reaching out to them in a more personal way. “I feel like everybody texts and emails, but that old school communication can’t be beat. If their grandparents live in a different state, make them a card or write them a letter and put it in the mail.”