As a kid in Minnesota, few things could top waking up to a snow day. No school, no homework, no limit to the possibilities. (Heck, no long underwear if you were really feeling wild.)

Yet, for all their promise, snow days were too often squandered on halfhearted snowmen, mindless TV, and a hot-cocoa coma by noon. Sound familiar?

It’s time to end the cycle. Whether your kids need a more memorable day off or you want ideas for yourself when El Niño’s nasty weather leaves you bored stiff, here are 7 worthwhile things to do on a snow day.

Ideas for the whole family

Don’t let a chance for family bonding go to waste. You and the kids can make the most of your impromptu day together by trying one of these interactive ideas.

1. Get cooking

You’ve got all day, so why not put your kitchen to good use? Let your kids help mix up a giant batch of warm cookies or a delicious pot of homemade soup. They might just pick up some valuable skills for later. Or, at the very least, they’ll have something warm to hit the spot on a chilly day.

2. Put on a show

Instead of having your kids zombie-stare at the TV for the next 10 hours, help them put on some entertainment of their own. Together, you can write and act out a short movie, create a puppet show, have a karaoke concert or dance party — whatever you’re into. Just get that imagination working.

3. Visit a park

If you’re going to brave the elements, do it right. Get out of the yard and head to your nearest park to truly make the most of your winter wonderland. Beside seasonal favorites like sledding or building a fort, try some activities your kids might not have done before — think snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snow golfing, snow tic-tac-toe, building a bird feeder, or creating a maze out of your tracks.

Snow day activities just for you

Snow days are few and far between for adults, but it’s nice to be prepared with something memorable to do when the weather does keep you home.

1. Do a marathon (no, not that kind)

I’ll admit, sometimes a snow day is all about vegging out in front of the tube. But you can still make that worthwhile. As fondly as I think of old game shows, soap operas, and other treasures of daytime TV, they’re an instantly forgettable way to fill the hours.

An unexpected day off deserves better. So why not tackle an epic movie marathon you’d never have time for otherwise? The Lord of the Rings and The Godfather trilogies are classics for any film buff. You could also pick your favorite era of Star Wars films or knock off as many Rocky Roman numerals as you remember how to count. Point is, if you’re going to sit around all day, then by golly sit around you like mean it!   

2. Complete (or at least start) the DIY project of your dreams

You’ve talked about building that coffee table for years. Well, now’s the chance to make it a reality. Same for that stylish wine rack or handsome bookcase — they’re both just a healthy dollop of elbow grease away. And DIY projects don’t have to be exotic to be memorable. You could also use this free time to finally fix that leaky sink or upgrade the lighting around the house. You might be shocked by how satisfied it’d make you feel.

Check out:  How to Clean a Fireplace: 5 Hacks for a Safe and Warm Winter by the Fire

3. Indulge your creative side

Starting that epic novel is probably the first idea that comes to mind. But, in case the vast white emptiness outside your window and the clicketyclack of your keyboard take things down a Shining-esque road, there are other creative options. You could start learning the basics of graphic design, begin picking up a new language, check out a photography tutorial, or take your first piano lesson. Assuming your internet is up and running, there’s almost no skill out of reach. (And if your connection is lost, well, there’s always cabin fever, which is its own kind of fun).

4. Learn how to stormproof your home

It may not be scream “good times,” but reading up on home security is definitely important. Check out our list of storm prep do’s and don’ts, as well as other El Niño survival tips, and do a scan of your home to see where improvements could be made. You’ll remember this snow day as the last one you were ever unprepared for.

Get a snow day quote from esurance

Here’s one more for your list of things to do on a snow day: take care of your insurance.

Having the right auto or homeowners policy can make all the difference when recovering from a major storm. And while insurance shopping may not be a blast, exactly, at least it can be fast and easy with Esurance’s modern tools and intuitive site. Get a free quote and see how much you could save.

DIY hacks | Homeowners 101

about Alex

As copywriter for Esurance, Alex had professional experience in everything from film to literature to (thanklessly!) correcting the grammar in friends' emails. As a fervent Minnesota sports fan, he spends most of his non-writing time gently weeping into cereal bowls.