Snow days are fun for kids, but they can be tough on parents who aren’t quite prepared to spend all day entertaining their little ones. If you're stuck at home with a child this weekend due to Winter Storm Jonas -- which the Weather Channel called a “potentially historic” system due to drop 2 feet of snow on the East Coast -- you’re going to need a plan. Luckily, there are dozens of cold-weather activities you can do both indoors and outdoors.
Don’t go stir-crazy; get creative. Here are 10 ideas for having fun in the winter wonderland:
Make snow candy. If you’ve ever read “Little House on the Prairie,” you’re familiar with the extremely simple process of making candy with maple syrup. Food.com recommends you take 8 ounces of pure maple syrup and boil it for four minutes in a pot, then pour it onto fresh snow in small strips. Use a popsicle stick to gather it, and once it’s hard, it's ready to eat.
Teach your kid to code. School may be canceled, but your children can still learn. Use their time off to get them acquainted with a skill like coding. Grab your laptop and load up a program like Tynker, which employs games with dragons and race cars to show kids the fundamentals of coding.
Have a spa day. Place a bunch of beach towels on the floor and pretend you're in paradise, 5MinutesforMom suggests. Let your kids give you a makeover with your cheapest products. Give each other foot massages with lotion. And, of course, paint everyone's nails — even the dog's.
Paint the snow. Take an old squirt or spray bottle and fill it with water and food coloring. Shake to combine, and let your kids loose outside. The colors will look cool on the ice.
Build a fort. It's cold outside, so stay warm by gathering all of the blankets you have and making a hideout. Take some pillows, chip clips, sheets and chairs and go crazy. Don't forget to bring a flashlight inside.
Fold origami. This craft only requires paper and patience. Check out a site like the Origami Resource Center for instructions on how to make airplanes, dogs, hearts and frogs with only a few creases. Glue on googly eyes to take it to the next level.
Throw a dance party. Exercise is one of the best ways to keep yourself warm. Push the coffee table out of the way, crank up the stereo and get wild. This storm's name is Jonas, so you've got an automatic theme. Blast Weezer's "Jonas" or your favorite Jonas Brothers jams.
Feed the birds. Hey, they're cold, too. Mix together whatever bird-friendly ingredients you have lying around -- oatmeal, cracker crumbs, raisins, Cheerios, et cetera — and apply it to a birdhouse or pinecone with peanut butter. Then set it in the backyard.
Skype with relatives. When was the last time you called your own parents? HerViewFromHome says they'd probably love to hear from -- and video chat with -- their grandchildren. Set up a laptop or tablet on a table so everyone can see and catch up.
Track animals. After the snow has settled, AMC Outdoors recommends taking the kids out to look for pawprints near wooded areas. Try to identify the species based on how many toes the print has. While you're looking, listen closely — the animals may still be around calling to each other.