The Snow Day Hack I Keep in My Back Pocket

published Jan 25, 2022
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As a parent of a kindergartener — and a former Southerner — snow days are an outright novelty for me (hurricane days, however, are not). I’ve only just begun to understand how to properly dress my kiddo for a Midwestern winter. And now: School days called off in the 5 a.m. hour because of winter blizzards? New parent challenge unlocked. Of course, we absolutely understand and support teachers and school admins who have to make the difficult call; and above all, safety is important for the community and our kids.

Like some parents, when a snow day is called, there’s a giant scramble for childcare in my household. Luckily, my husband and I both work from home, so we’re usually able to switch off childcare, while getting work done in the background. But after the coloring pages and crafts; the umpteenth Disney+ show; and some actual playing in that fluffy, new snow (this snow building kit is loads of fun), we were all a little tapped out. 

My daughter and I found ourselves eating leftover brownies while staring at each other in silence, when I remembered something that changed the course of our day: We still had an Outschool membership. In the early onset of the pandemic, we’d signed up for Outschool, hoping to fill our days with some structure and companionship. With Outschool, you can sign up for one-off or ongoing virtual classes on all sorts of topics, ranging from music, dance, art, STEM, storytelling, and everything in between. The class lengths vary, so you can find one that works with your schedule, or your child’s patience level.

We took cartoon drawing and Descendants hip hop classes, and attended fairytale storytime. I was impressed by the breadth of Outschool’s offerings — and the specificity, if you have a child whose obsession with dinosaurs just won’t quit. There was even a class all about Dogman, my daughter’s very favorite comic book. And if you find that you love a specific teacher, you can filter by their classes too. It’s the simplest and most hassle-free process, with big reward. But when in-person social activities resumed last spring, we just sort of forgot about our Outschool membership.

On this auspicious snow day, I logged back into our Ourschool account and searched for classes going live in the next couple of hours. You can filter by age range, subject matter, time, and other criteria, making it extremely convenient for last-minute kid entertainment. Within a few seconds of scrolling, I found a class on drawing unicorns and pegasi (the plural of pegasus, which I now know, thank you very much) that made my daughter jump in excitement. No special equipment needed, an engaging teacher, a show-and-tell opportunity, and a half hour of uninterrupted fun. Sold! My daughter loved the class, and even continued drawing for about an hour afterwards, working on more perfect pegasi. 

Now, I’ll always have something engaging in my back pocket for snow or rain days when we are all getting a little antsy. Each class costs around $10 and you can pay as you go. I also love their Keep Learning initiative, which offers unlimited classes for any schools in the U.S. impacted by remote learning changes. The company supports low-income families, and are offering up to $20 off one class for all parents with the code KEEPLEARNING at checkout. We love a great parenting resource from a company that gives back!

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