How to Keep Your Sanity When You're Homebound due to Weather

"How to keep your sanity when you're homebound due to weather" by Amanda Woodiel (

Image credit: (2017), CC0 Public Domain

As I write this, we in the Midwest we are staring down some bitterly cold weather. On Wednesday, the wind chill is supposed to be -50 degrees, and the couple of days before and after are hardly more inviting with their high temperature in the negative numbers. I’ve got food. I’ve got gas in the car. What I need is a plan for how we seven people are going to stay sane after already having been in the house plenty the last two weeks. So here, for you all in the northern hemisphere, are some ideas as to what to do when your family is homebound due to bad weather.

  • Make up a treasure hunt. Easier if you have a reading kid, and easiest if you have an older child who thinks it is fun to make up one of these for his younger siblings. Each clue leads to the next until they find a stash at the end (old Halloween candy, some pennies, etc.).
  • Pajamas, popcorn, and a movie. If ever you have thought about renting a movie from Amazon Prime, this is the time to do it. We always do the standard-definition rental (as opposed to HD), which is a buck cheaper. My kids are all into Winnie the Pooh movies right now, which does entertain them all from ages 2 through 10. We like Pooh’s Grand Adventure.
  • If you, blessed mom, have stashed away toys for a garage sale or to rotate toys, now is the time to get them out.
  • Make homemade play-dough.  Yes, my kids have tubs of the name-brand stuff. But there is something about warm, super soft, fresh play-dough that makes them all happy. Use any cookie cutters you have on hand to shape and play kitchen dishes to plate “food.”
  • Bring in snow. I’m serious. A tarp on the kitchen floor (or some cut-open trash bags), big containers full of snow, measuring cups and scoops, and you are the best mom ever with busy, happy kids on the side.
  • Play baths. We do a lot of these in the winter. What this means is that mom is not expected to actually wash anyone; they just get to play while mom cleans the bathroom sinks or reads a book next to the tub.
  • Tackle a long-term organization project. Our basement is more of a cellar, and I send items down there with my boys, never to be seen again (the items, not the boys). Any project like that you have been meaning to tackle: Long days at home are just the opportunity.
  • Marathon read-alouds. Get a book that appeals to a lot of ages (Winnie the Pooh; Mrs. Piggle Wiggle; any Beverly Cleary book), cozy up, and read for as long as the littlest one will let you.
  • Print out coloring sheets. I don’t know why these are more appealing to my children than coloring books, but they are. I let them pick out what they want from a free coloring sheet website. offers free printable coloring pages based on each Sunday’s Gospel.
  • Pull out old photographs. Children love these if they are of themselves or even if they are of you when you were young!
  • Bake something together, especially to give away to snowbound neighbors. This is an act of mercy plus an activity to boot.
  • Play hide-and-seek around the house. Alternatively, choose a stuffed animal and have one kid hide the stuffed animal in a certain room. The others kids try to find it.
  • Line up your dining room chairs into a train shape, call All Aboard, and see where your imagination goes.
  • Set up your camping tent in the living room. Or just make a fort out of chairs and blankets!
  • Have them make puppets out of popsicle sticks, fabric, cotton balls, and markers and put on a puppet show behind the couch.
  • Write letters to relatives.
  • Exercise contests: Who can hop on one leg the longest? Who can run in place the longest? Who can do the most push-ups? Who can run around the circle in your house (if you are blessed to have one) for five minutes straight? In our house, we always crown a winner for the 2-year-old age group, the 4-year-old age group, and so on.

May you, dear reader, stay warm and safe … and sane.

Copyright 2019 Amanda Woodiel
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About Author

Amanda Woodiel is a Catholic convert, a mother to five children ages 11 to 3, a slipshod housekeeper, an enamored wife, and a “good enough” homeschooler who believes that the circumstances of her life -- both good and bad -- are pregnant with grace. She leads a moms' group at her parish that focuses on simple and meaningful ways to live the liturgical year at home. Amanda blogs at In a Place of Grace.

1 Comment

  1. Perfect timing, Amanda! Most schools in our area have been closed for three days. Our tough Catholic school only closed its doors today, as the temperatures are in the -20s. I shared this article with the moms in our school’s FB group. 🙂

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