Set the Stage for a Snow Day…at School with some quick and easy classroom hacks and activities!
We are finally feeling the winter here in the Northeast, which means my students will be yearning for a snow day every time it flurries. Which also means that if those flurries do not stick, students are stuck at school and forced to watch the snow from the classroom. Bummer!
Here are some quick and easy ways we celebrate a snow day (while still being in school) with the added bonus of helping students get those extra wiggles out that snow flurries seem to bring!
Snow Day Hack #1: Start a virtual fire
There are lots of fireplace videos on Youtube. Most are an hour long which means you can use them to time subjects too. My favorite video available here is of an actual fireplace, which even shows a random person stoking the fire occasionally. I leave the volume on as well since the cracking logs adds to the atmosphere.
If you want to have your fire going for longer than an hour, I recommend copying the URL of the video and pasting it into the website Infinite Looper. Click search then set the video as full screen. Infinite looper basically loops the YouTube video so when it comes to the end, it will automatically replay. This is perfect for setting and forgetting a background video like the ones I have shared here.
If it isn’t snowing, but your students REALLY wish it was, I also love this Snow Falling video. You can paste this URL into Infinite Looper for a full virutal snow day!
Snow Day Hack #2: Drink out of mugs
There is just something about a mug – they are Demi Lovato’s favorite dish after all – that feels cozy.
I keep a stash of disposable plastic mugs just for a snowy non snow day at school. Write student names with sharpie on the side and distribute. We fill ours with water and students sip from it during read to self or independent work. I like the plastic mugs because they are reusable all year, but if you are concerned about spills, the paper ones work well too – especially if you use the sleeves Starbucks-style.
However, you may also want to consider having students bring a mug from home or keep a collection of thrifted ceramic ones on hand. Using the real deal will make students more likely to buy-in.
Snow Day Hack #3: Make snow ball fidgets
The best part of a snow day are the snow balls! While there are kits of fake snowballs you can purchase, you can make your own set (or have students help) using just white nylons and poly fill. I followed this tutorial to create a class set. Each nylon sock will make about 3 snowballs.
White athletic socks turned inside-out and filled with cotton balls work great in a pinch too. If you are somewhat crafty, you can sew the opening shut or use velcro.
Have students keep these in their desk as a fidget, or if you have a Smartboard, they can toss these at the board to answer questions. Once you make a set, you can bring these out all winter long.
Snow Day Hack #4: Make snow angels
So this one isn’t that special, just literally tell you students to get on the floor and make a snow angel. Obviously remind your students to spread out at least an arms-length apart.
This is a silly but oh-so-fun energizer brain break students will love. One year a student told me it was like being a turtle flipped on his shell doing jumping jacks. You will never not see that!
Snow Day Hack #5: Build jacket blanket forts
Have students use their big bulky jackets, scarves, hats, etc. and chairs for this mini STEM challenge. I had students work in pairs or teams of 3. The challenge was to build a fort where they could read for independent reading time. They had 10 minutes. I was not strict about it having roofs or 4 walls or anything in particular.
This quick team-building activity got students communicating, working together, and problem solving all while getting some of that extra energy out. Plus they ended up with a pretty rad place to read.
I hope this gives you some ideas for making a chilly winter day a little different and fun (without changing the whole routine) and for giving students some built-in breaks from the cabin fever that can set in on cold, snowy non snow day! Even if you live somewhere warm, have a snow day at school just because!