That phone call or web-post announcing weather-induced school closing can bring a mix of emotions to a parent. In preparation for safety measures, those hours in the waiting both before and after the actual storm are often forgotten until you are living them- occasionally in the dark! After my first experience with kids on weather days, I added a rough framework of activities to my emergency kit along with the needed essentials. I would like to share it here and encourage you to print it out and either tape under the lid of of your emergency supply or keep with the flashlights. There are no exact times, just a flow for when your brain needs to be focused on other things like adding wood to the fire or keeping everyone in the closet or under the stairs. All you need are one sock per family member, pillows and blankets.
Awake and breakfast
3 minute stretch (optional Scriptures printed at bottom of page)
- stand strong, looking straight forward, head balanced and feet spread hip width (1)
- reach up in x stretch and pull down like putting on sweater. repeat. (2)
- bend and touch toes, hang arms over for a bit and swing side to side (3)
- cat stretch- on all fours round back and then arch back repeatedly(4)
- Child's pose- on knees, bend face to floor, and stretch arms out on floor in front of you (5)
Sibling Team Time-
Items: One Clean sock balled up per family member (i.e. 5 people, 5 clean socks)
Each person balance sock on head. Try to hug each other while balancing; then thumb wrestle; then clap , touch your right hand to other person’s right, clap, touch your left hand to other person’s left, clap, touch both hands to other person’s. With more than one kid form a circle and move the items and activity around circle from person to person. Cheer each other on! Think up more things to do as a group while balancing socks. Work together and practice until entire team balances all socks.
Use socks on hands as puppets! Take turns saying nice things about each family member. Have their puppet say their favorite food, favorite color, favorite interest, then your puppet says your favorite thing about that family member. You can make it silly by whispering the answers in your puppet's "ear" so they know what to say.)
Team clean If safe, set timer and turn on music, team clean one room for 5 minutes. Listen to timer and stop when it stops! There will be time to really clean on an ordinary day.
Free Play 30 minute free play
Dance Come together for 3-5 minute dance party to get wiggles out.
School target 20 minute read or school work to knock it out for day
Lunch have a picnic in a fort or in the storm zone to add a bit of excitement, if safe and temperature appropriate to go on a porch, have it there.
even with Big kids (teenagers will roll eyes but in their 20s they will thank you- when done just on storm or sick days becomes special tradition)
Nap prep play (getting them to lie down while playing can help transition to closing of eyes:))
- Option 1: Stack pillows and blankets and let kids fall into it
- Option 2: have them lie on a blanket or towel; drag them around –just be sure to hold onto the where their head is and drag them backwards; be sure they understand only parents are allowed to drag someone
- Option 3: lie in a blanket fort together and make shadow puppets on fort ceiling
- Option 4: lie on your back on couch, by bed or by closet wall with feet over back of couch, propped on the bed, or up against the wall. Make your feet dance funny up in the air! Kids do this a lot; they just don't get to see their parents do it very often!
Movie or rest until movie is over or timer goes off (read silently alone if wake before the timer)
5 minute snuggle time (all together)
Alone Time (see the "Alone Time" blog post) or another 20-30 minute school target for older kids
Free Play or Rainy Day Bucket (bucket you have compiled by collecting all the items they have not put away since the last rainy day)
Team Clean 5 minute session; can do one or two rooms
Family supper preparation if safe, prep the final meal of the day together
***For power outages, play flashlight hide-n-seek, sardines, build a fort in safe space, if hunkered in the closet, allow kids to draw on wall but be sure to discuss the special instance that allows this and the only allowed wall space for it as well as only allowed utensils (i.e. pencil is easily painted over- but you may find yourself cutting out and replacing this piece of sheetrock and taking it with you when your move)
May we find God's peace in the storms of life and PLA well!
(1) Psalm 3:3: "He is my glory and the One who lifts my Head." / "I am strong in the LORD and the power of His might."
(2)Colossians 3:12 : "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience."
(3) 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. "
(4) Job 33:4 : "The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life."
(5) 1 Peter 5:7: "Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you." / Colossians 3:15a "Let the peach of Christ rule in your hearts...
Sibling Team Time - Romans 12:10 "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves."