Passionate About Des Moines
and the Moms Who Live Here

How to Survive A Snow Day

snow day survival des moines moms blog

As a kid, I remember wishing and hoping and praying whenever there was a hint of snowy weather coming our way that we would get completely bombed by snow causing everything to shut down for a day or two.

I would wake up hopeful and turn on the TV (with my actual hand, pre-remote control days) waiting to hear our school’s name announced. This was before automated calls from the school or weather alerts on your phone, so radio and TV were the bearers of school cancellation news.

There was no rhyme or rhythm to the announcements. No alphabetical listings. The names scrolled across the screen or were announced by the meteorologist in the order they were called in by the schools, forcing you to wait and wait for your school’s to be called (fingers crossed!).

And then you heard it! Hallelujah!! No school!!

The perfect snow day contained a ton of snow, paired with warmish temperatures so I could play outside. Reading, math, social studies, and science just got replaced by snow angels, snowball fights, snow forts, and sledding.

Ahhhh, the glorious snow day.

Flash forward 30 years.

Facing a snow day as the mom can be less than awesome.

Suddenly you’re trying to figure out childcare, working from home, or taking time off. If you decide to spend the day at home, it feels exciting for you, too. Only, that initial excitement wears off the first time you get everyone bundled in their snow gear only to have your eight year-old immediately need to go to the bathroom.

And all of that glorious snow to play in? Super fun until you have to shovel it OR attempt to drive anywhere.

Snow days aren’t quite as fun as the mom, and you definitely want to have a plan. So, if you have a snow day facing you or you want to gear up for the next one coming your way, here’s some advice for surviving.


Jammies are the official uniform for snow days. No use getting dressed when you’re going to hang out all day and then go to bed. Going outside to play in the snow? No problem, just top those pjs with snow pants and a coat and you’re good to go.


The perfect snow day involves at least one movie. This can be in a theater if can you drive there, but it usually looks like blankets, popcorn, and the family piled on the couch. There’s something incredibly cozy about seeing snow lightly falling outside while you cuddle close inside.


Once the movie is over, grab your favorite board game. Here’s your chance to play the five-hour version of Monopoly or the seven-hour marathon of Risk. Or make it easy with Uno or Go Fish!

You can even pick several games and create a tournament. Everyone plays each game. The winner gets three points, second place gets two points, and third place gets one point. Keep a tally for all the games to determine the overall Snow Day Champion.

Blanket Fort

Because invariably someone will get upset playing the game and respond by flipping the board on the floor (unless this is just in my house), you can embrace the chaos by dumping the blankets, cushions, and pillows on the floor to create the ultimate blanket fort. Bring in some flashlights and books and you just gave yourself 30 minutes of peace. Sneak in some snacks and you’re Mom of the Year!

Snow Cream

Speaking of snacks, you can transform snow into a yummy frozen treat. (Avoid yellow snow, please.)

Snow cream is super easy and super fun. Take approximately 10 cups of clean snow and mix in one can of sweetened condensed milk (10 oz) and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Stir it all together and enjoy!

Your kids will love that you made this delicious ice cream out of snow. It’s a science experiment disguised as dessert. Pat yourself on the back for adding an educational moment to the day.

Send Them Outside

Seriously, you’ll be losing your mind at this point. And you already made a snack out of snow, for crying out loud, so give yourself permission to shove every livin’ one of them out the door for some fresh air.

Sledding, snow ball fights, and snow angels. Make a snow man. Shoot, make a whole darn snow FAMILY! And maybe you can get one of your kids to shovel the driveway. Good luck!

grandma's homemade hot chocolate des moines moms blog

Hot Chocolate

My grandma makes the best homemade hot chocolate around (see image for recipe). It’s sweet and creamy and warms you all the way down to your toes. Mix up a batch of this, and you’ll be thanking me each and every time your kids want hot chocolate. But, never fear, Swiss Miss packets do the trick just as well, and if you throw enough mini marshmallows in, your kids will be singing your praises forever.


I like to end my snow day by having my kids help around the house. And while unloading the dishwasher, putting away laundry, or sweeping the kitchen floor helps me recover from having a house full of kids home all day, my main motivation is sneakier. I want my kids to start wishing they could go back to school and there’s nothing like chores to get a kid dreaming about a spelling test.

After a day of fun, we need to bring these young charges back to reality. Snow Days are fun, but they aren’t real life. Real life looks like homework, piano lessons, and limited screen time during the school week. It doesn’t look like movies, games, and snow cream. Sorry, pumpkin.

So, enjoy your Snow Day. Soak up every moment of fun and relaxation. But, don’t start wishing for more than one day of this weather-induced fun or you’ll be crying in your Cheerios this June when the weather is beautiful and everyone is still stuck in school.

What’s your favorite thing to do on a snow day?


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