President’s Day, parent/teacher conferences, teacher institute days, and snow days . . . planned or not, a day off school can throw a wrench in the routine! When school’s closed, what do you do? Of course, the answer depends on how old your kids are, plus your family’s work and childcare situation. But whenever you’ve got a day at home together, these ideas make for big fun!
This article is sponsored by DuPage Children’s Museum, but all opinions and ideas are our own.
Things to Do When School is Closed in Chicago’s West Suburbs
Maybe the weather’s bad out . . . or maybe you’ve got extra-little ones and avoid popular play areas when the big kids are home from school. Either way, we’ve got some extra inspiration for fun at home:
- Cook together. If you’re not sure where to start, the PBS Kids website has a directory of recipes you can sort by difficulty and more. (Many of the ‘easy’ recipes don’t involve sharp knives or anything hot.) Each recipe includes a printable PDF with a visual grocery list and instructions.
- Break out the board games. Sometimes, I forget about the games we have stockpiled in the closet! If you’re really ambitious, have a tournament and decide on a prize for the winner.
- Shake it off. Turn up the music or break out the instruments for a dance party! If you’ve got older kids, see if you can convince them to teach you a new dance move — or turn to YouTube and learn something new together.
- Bring the snow inside. Bring in a few pails of snow and put it in your bathtub, shower, or a plastic bin. Give your kids buckets, shovels, measuring cups, and spoons. They can play until their little fingers are cold! Or, use watercolors with a brush (or a squirt bottle with water and food coloring) to create snow art.
- Create a snowy snack. Annie shared these ideas a few years back, and I think they’re genius. Check them out:
- Annie’s Snow Cone Recipe: “Scoop up some clean, newly fallen snow into bowls. Top with your favorite fruity simple syrup (I just combine some frozen fruit and sugar in a saucepan until the sugar is dissolved, and fruit is mushy. You can strain it, if you prefer, but my kids don’t mind the fruit).”
- Annie’s Ice Cream Recipe: “Combine a can of sweetened condensed milk, 8 cups of snow, and a teaspoon of vanilla for instant ice cream. Add your favorite toppings for a snow day ice cream sundae. “
- Be ninja warriors. Stave off cabin fever with an indoor obstacle course. Pillows, cushions, couches, string, “hot lava” patches made with beach towels, and more . . . challenge the kids to get creative!
- Watch a movie. Let’s be real, a little extra screen time can help make a day at home be a bit more pleasant. You get bonus points for actually watching with your kids, though! Build a fort and snuggle up together.
- Create something together. Who can build the tallest house of cards? Stack the most Solo cups? Build a sturdy bridge out of Popsicle sticks?
- Write letters or make cards. Brainstorm some people who would love a letter from your family — maybe a family member or far-away friend. Then, work together to create a special letter. Everyone loves getting mail!
Leaving the House: Indoor and Outdoor Activities for Days Off School
Please be sure to look at websites for the most current information as hours may change during days off.
DuPage Children’s Museum
301 N. Washington Street
Naperville, IL 60540
When school is out, PLAY is in! Explore, create, build, wonder, discover, think, and PLAY…. Every visit to DuPage Children’s Museum is a new adventure. The Museum is the perfect place to exercise both body and mind. Explore your world through hands-on exhibits and experiences inspiring creativity, curiosity, and a love for learning. Fly through the wind tunnel in AWEsome Air, splash around in AWEsome Water, engulf the entire family in a giant bubble, build with real tools in the Construction House, let imaginations run wild during Story Time, refuel in Bean Sprouts Café, and so much more. Play leads the way to building self-confidence, flexing critical thinking muscles, making new friends, working together, and strengthening the bond between child and caregiver. Plan a visit to DuPage Children’s Museum, at the intersection of fun and learning!
- Check out a children’s museum. There are so many great children’s museums in our area; if you don’t normally get to check them out on a weekday, now’s your chance!
- Hit the library. Libraries don’t just have books anymore! Huge play areas at the library can keep your kids playing while you pick out a new movie and books to check out and watch together. Check out our best library play areas to scope out some new options.
- Try your moves at a local indoor or outdoor ice skating rink.
- Get some fresh air and visit one of our top six forest preserve trails for kids for an outdoor walk. These tend to be more relaxing places to spend a day off than crowded indoor options.
- Enjoy a meal out. Check out this list of places where kids can eat free.
- Head to an indoor play area. There are plenty of indoor play areas, playgrounds and inflatables in this area. Try a new one!
- Go for a swim! Many indoor pools have family swim times.
- Have a little one at home? Take a look at our suggestions on places to go with a baby or toddler.
What do you do on a day off school? Let us know in the comments!