Editor's note: Parts of this story were originally published in February 2015 at

With winter weather expected to keep people off roads in the Upstate this weekend, many parents might be wondering, "What do I do with the kids?" — especially if those parents are trying to work from home.

Not to worry. Upstate Parent reached out to parents through Facebook and Twitter and has compiled 10 activities most children can do on their own, and some families can do together.

Build an indoors fort 

If outdoor play is out of the question, let the kids play inside. Build a fort using blankets, couch cushions and pillows, or put up a real tent in the living room to make an indoors campsite. Families can roast marshmallows or s'mores over a fire in the fireplace or make s'mores in the kitchen.

Make snow ice cream

All you need is a large bowl to sit out and capture clean snow and a few ingredients. Here's what you'll need, according to

  • 8 cups snow, or shaved ice
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place snow or shaved ice into a large bowl. Pour condensed milk over and add vanilla. Mix to combine. Serve immediately in bowls.

On Facebook, Gail Waldrep-Seckman said, "Easiest recipe ever! Snow, condensed milk and any flavoring or extract you choose. Just pour the milk in until the amount of snow you've collected is smooth, then add the flavor. Great with chocolate syrup too. We experimented last year, made chocolate by adding chocolate syrup, strawberry with strawberry preserves, vanilla with vanilla extract, lemon with lemon juice, even added caramel sauce with the chocolate for a turtle flavor. Endless possibilities! And no gritty sugar that hasn't dissolved. Yum yum."

Do easy crafts

On Facebook, Theresa Little Blandin told us she went to the dollar store ahead of the snow and "bought all kinds of crafty things!" Valentine's Day is right around the corner, so what better time than now to have children work on homemade decorations? Here are some suggestions, courtesy of Disney:

Get creative

One idea: Have the kids draw the scene outside the window using crayons or markers. Ask them to draw family or pet portraits. Then, task them with writing letters to soldiers to go along with their drawings. Military pen pals can be found through the organizations Any Soldier (, Adopt A US Soldier ( or Forgotten Soldiers Outreach ( This could be a great tool to teach kids how to address envelopes or explain the military. It could also keep them busy for at least an hour or two.

Movie time

It's not an ideal solution, but what parent doesn't resort to it every now and then, especially if work time is required? Here are some suggestions. Amazon Instant Video and Netflix streaming have a plethora of children's films and TV shows — including many Disney favorites — available for families looking for something outside of their own collection. Remember, both Amazon Prime and Netflix offer free trials to nonsubscribers. What better time than now? Of course, if you can safely travel, there's always Redbox locations across the Upstate and Family Video in Mauldin, which offers a selection of free kids movies to its members. Want to know what's new to streaming services this month? Check out Upstate Parent's list linked below.

Game on

This was a popular suggestion from our readers. Set up a video game tournament for the kids. Board games work, too. Simple enough.

Read a book

Numerous children's books are available as digital downloads on smartphones or tablets. Read to your children, or if they're old enough, promise them a reward if they finish a book and report to you about it this week. Need some suggestions? Browse some of the books being featured in this month's story time events at local libraries.


Have the kids start with their rooms, and older children can help with the rest of the house, too. Remember to reward them when they're done with a special treat. On Facebook, Lisa Blackstone told Upstate Parent, "If they are so bored, they can scrub baseboards and clean windows. They usually decide they aren't that bored."

Make up indoor games

Last February during a snowstorm, Danielle J. Roland told us on Facebook she created an activity: "Hopscotch made from duct tape." There's also musical chairs, shadow puppets, hide and seek, scavenger hunts and charades.

Bake some goodies

Make some S'mores treats and bake cookies. Or try one of the recipes dished up by Upstate Parent columnist Tracy Friedlob or Cindy Hosea — many of which can be found at

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