When school is cancelled for a snow day, it can be fun to think of things to do in the snow. For parents or therapists, sometimes kids need things to do on a day at home so they stay off the video games and screens. Here, you will find therapist-approved winter family activities, things to do in the snow, and a special printable handwriting worksheet with snow writing prompts…perfect for a home therapy task that helps kids build skills through motor skills, PLAY, and even motivating and functional handwriting.
Things to do on a snow day
Whether you live in the snow, are dreaming about wintery conditions, or are happy to never have to see it again, there is a lot to be said about a winter day. Check out these snow and ice activities, for snowy fun that doesn’t involve all of the cold, ice, and snowflakes!
Snow days represent different things to different people. Does it represent winter family activities? As a child in Connecticut, winter and snowy days were great! There were endless things to do outside in the cold. These winter days meant bundling up layers and layers of clothing to head outside, building forts, rolling a snowman, shoveling sidewalks, climbing snow drifts, making snow angels, creating paths of footprints across the fresh, untouched snow, walking across a frozen pond, sledding down a huge hill, or skiing.
Some of my fondest childhood memories were made on winter days. During the blizzard of 1978, the snow was piled up over our heads. We walked on top of huge piles over ten feet tall. We had a sheepdog for many winters, it was funny to see his fur covered in snowballs from jumping in the wet snow. Not so funny having to take them all off after coming inside.
Snow days can also mean NO SCHOOL! We watched and waited for the announcement that there would be no school. While parents dread this news, kids everywhere cheer for a day off.
A day or two of fresh snowfall can mean some indoor cozy fun also. If the power went off, we had a rare chance for pizza from the little town. I think the neighbor had a snowmobile to trek down and collect it. It also meant hot cocoa and home baked cookies. In the 70’s and early 80’s TV was not really for kids, except Saturday mornings. School cancellations did not mean lazy days by the TV or playing electronics. Out came the board games, the Easy Bake Oven, puzzles, Legos, coloring books, and all of the other things we never seemed to find enough time for.
What does a winter snow day mean to you? Did you grow up with cold winters, or just read about it? Did you long for just one flurry during a southern winter? Winter days feel different to me now, than as a child. Today I would treat a winter day as a cuddle up under a blanket with hot cocoa, cookies, a good book, and a dog.
Snow days are now virtual school days?
What does a snow day mean to your learners? It could mean 100 different things. This is a great snow writing prompt for digging up memories, stories, shared ideas, and working on critical handwriting skills.
But, in many cases, a school cancellation means parents who still need to work while the kids are at home. There can be more screen time, video games, and YouTube watching than normal. Sometimes parents need a quick list of things to keep the kids busy and OFF screens.
Even more recently, in many areas, a school cancellation day is no longer a day off from school. Snowy conditions and ice or other weather conditions that may have previously meant a day off from school now may mean a virtual learning day. This change for many kids, is a change that may not go away now that many schools have virtual learning opportunities in place. In these cases, kids attend virtual school, but then they are finished early or have breaks during the school day. The last thing parents want their kids doing during a break from virtual learning is hopping onto another device!
That’s where a quick list of things to do on a snow day comes in handy.
In these cases, therapists who may be seeing students virtually can offer therapeutic activities that actually develop the very skills that the students on their caseload are working on.
Therapists may need a quick activity or task list that specifically addresses the skills their kids are working on, so the child can have an action list of activities to do outside in the winter.
These snow day activities can even be followed-up on and used as writing prompts in a later session to address executive functioning skills, handwriting, memory, and other skill areas.
That’s where the snow day activities worksheet available below comes into play. Print off the worksheet and use it to identify winter ideas. Then, when students do have a day off from school, they can use it as a winter bucket list. It’s also a great family activity list for winter days. Or, just use the worksheet in virtual or face to face learning to work on handwriting skills and executive functioning skills.
Things to do in snow Worksheet
This winter printable helps learners create a list of Things to do on a Snow Day.
Each person will have a different experience to write about. Encourage your learners to explore all different aspects of winter days, whether they have experienced them, or just read about it. Learners will write something to do in the snow in each snowball.
This activity can be modified for all levels of learners:
- Lowest level learners can dictate what they would like written in the snow balls
- This printable can be projected onto the board to work as a group task
- Pictures of activities can be printed separately, cut and glued onto the snow balls. Use this Snow Day bingo game board to cut out ideas or play snowy bingo
- The snowballs can be cut and glued onto a separate sheet of paper to add cutting and gluing to the task
- Middle level learners can write one or two words in each ball.
- Higher level learners can write an idea in each ball, then create a story or memory out of each idea. This turns into a multilevel activity to use during many sessions.
Skills addressed? As always, therapy or teaching is more than just fun and games. There are goals and objectives to be addressed. This Things to do in the Snow printable, while being fun and relevant, also works on key skills
- Handwriting – Work on letter formation, letter size, spacing, word and letter placement
- Letter formation – correctly forming the letters top to bottom
- Letter sizing – correctly fitting the letters into the size boxes
- Copying – copying words from a model, transferring the letters from one place to another
- Fine motor strengthening, hand development, and grasping pattern
- Sequencing – will your learner do the words in order? Will they go in a haphazard pattern all over the page?
- Following directions, attention to detail, turn taking, waiting, social skills, compliance, behavior, and work tolerance
- Cutting on the line ( if you choose to add this step), within half inch of lines, in the direction of lines
- Pasting using glue stick or drippy glue with accuracy
- Bilateral coordination – remembering to use their “helper hand” to hold the paper while writing. Using one hand for a dominant hand instead of switching back and forth is encouraged once a child is in grade school or demonstrates a significant strength in one or the other.
- Strength – core strength, shoulder and wrist stability, head control, balance, and hand strength are all needed for upright sitting posture and writing tasks.
Remember, you can address all of these skills at once, or focus on one or two. Some skills above will be addressed without your conscious knowledge, while other skills will be directly worked on.
Documentation in Therapy with this Worksheet
Use this snow day worksheet to document and track skills for data collection. Take note of these areas to collect data for documentation:
- the percentage of correct letters,
- how many letters are formed correctly/directionality/legibility
- size of letters in relation to the boxes
- grasping pattern, hand dominance
- attention to detail, following directions, prompts and reminders needed, level of assistance given
Therapist-recommended Winter Activities
If kids are filling out the worksheet and need some ideas to fill in the spaces, try these ideas. You can even fill out a worksheet to have as a copying activity for some student’s skill needs.
These things to do in snow are perfect for a day off of school or winter family activities:
- Sled riding
- Make a snowball target
- Bring snow inside for sensory and fine motor play
- Make a snowman
- Make a snowflake balance beam
- Make a snow fort
- Spray snow with colored water in spray bottles
- Shovel a sidewalk for the neighbors
- Make snow patterns
- Make snow candy
- Paint snow
- Slide down snow on your feet
- Make marbled milk snowflake art
- Make a snow angel
- Read a book
- Draw a picture
- Make footprints on fresh snow to make paths
- Create a snow maze
- Read the book, “Snowball Fight” and do a craft and coordination activity
- Scoop snow
- Hide objects in snow
- Build an igloo
- Catch snowflakes
- Make fake snow
- Bring snow inside for a snow sensory bin
- Do a snowball experiment
- Make hot cocoa
- Cut paper snowflakes
- Play with letters in snow
- Build a fort
- Create an outdoor snow restaurant
- Read The Snowy Day and do things from this Snowy Day lesson plan
What would you add to this list? Do any of these look like winter family activities that you would like to do on your next snow day?
Free Snow Day Worksheet
Make this snow writing prompt just part of your winter lesson plan. Print off this worksheet and get started with winter activities for the whole family! This winter worksheet is also available in the OT Toolbox Member’s Club. Members can log in and download this resource along with hundreds of other resources and tools to help kids thrive.
Gotta go get my cocoa and marshmallows!
Victoria Wood, OTR/L
Victoria Wood, OTR/L has been providing Occupational Therapy treatment in pediatrics for more than 25 years. She has practiced in hospital settings (inpatient, outpatient, NICU, PICU), school systems, and outpatient clinics in several states. She has treated hundreds of children with various sensory processing dysfunction in the areas of behavior, gross/fine motor skills, social skills and self-care. Ms. Wood has also been a featured speaker at seminars, webinars, and school staff development training. She is the author of Seeing your Home and Community with Sensory Eyes.
Grab the Snowman Therapy Kit for more things to do on a snow day, or just in winter, whether you are on a snow day, or don’t even live in an area with snow!