Snow Day Solutions for Nannies

Snow Day Solutions for Nannies

A day without school doesn’t mean a day without learning. Seize the opportunity to create key experiences and a positive learning environment in the home when the children are stuck inside for a snowy or rainy day. Here are 3 ways to integrate learning in the home: cooking with children, journey to places beyond your backyard, and home discoveries. For each of these ways, skills or concepts are shared that can be introduced or reinforced as well as resources and websites with learning tools and information.

Cooking with children earns high marks for its educational value. Throw in the fun factor and practicality of accomplishing healthy meal and snack preparations with a child and you have a winning combination earning my #1 way to turn a dreary day into a success. By breaking down the learning into the developmental domains in the chart, you will see why this activity can be a nanny or parent secret weapon to sprinkle in tricky math concepts.

A second way to marry learning and quality bonding time for a child and nanny or parent is to plan and book a trip. This can be either a virtual trip, real weekend getaway or family vacation. This comes in as a close second to cooking with children only because it is a project that may require more than one or two snow days. What better way to spend time with a child than by reinforcing that you enjoy their company, respect their ideas and value their creative input.

When planning a trip that is virtual, you can utilize children’s literature and technology to journey to lands near or far. Choosing a theme or destination that interests the child is the first order of business. Once the theme or destination has been chosen, it is time to gather informative and interactive resources that are age appropriate. Children’s books of make believe or non-fiction picture books can peak a young child’s interest and ignite their curiosity to learn more.

The third way to not only occupy the children but make new discoveries on a gloomy day is with simple science experiments using things found around the house or in your cupboard. This will satisfy the child that has lots of “What if…” questions.

Solutions to the Snow Day:

Developmental Domains

Cooking with Kids

Language Reading recipes, following directions, sequencing, vocabulary development Interpersonal communications with nanny/parent
Intellectual Math – counting, adding, subtracting, measuring, fractions, estimating, math vocabulary and units of measure Cultural diversity when trying foods of other countries and ethnic groups
Physical Many fine motor skills such as pouring, stirring, cutting, kneading, peeling, cutting, and chopping
Social/Emotional Sharing tools and tasks, turn taking, time bonding with nanny or parent
Resources Kidspot Kitchen – recipes and lunchbox ideas Kid-friendly recipes at All RecipesKids Health – recipes and cooking Food Network – Family and Kids Organize weekly school lunches and snacks: On the Go Snack Boxes

PBS tips for cooking with kids

Online games after cooking together: Nourish Interactive

Explore Agriculture virtually by taking a trip to the farm, or learn the story of milk

Virtual Farm from 4-H

Helpful tips If cooking with a young child, read directions and recipe ingredients aloud.Ask child’s help with tasks that are age appropriate and let them be hands-on.Engage child with questions about where the ingredients are found, how they are grown, stored, processed, packaged and how much they cost.Allow child to sort and organize ingredients.If the recipe requires ingredients you do not have, ask the child for help when making the list and include them on the grocery store outing.Be intentional to include lots of opportunities to use math while cooking such as doubling a recipe, cutting it in half, calculating cook times, or estimating amounts.
Developmental Domains

Journey Beyond the Backyard

Language Reading non-fiction, vocabulary development, interpersonal communications and telephone skills if calling businesses, voicing opinions and preferences, asking questions in real life settings
Intellectual Math – money concepts, budgeting, adding, subtracting, calculating distances, units of measure, time management, time zones, charting and sequencing Map skills, geography, explore different modes of transportation, geology, weather, life sciences, arts and humanities, and practical living skills
Physical Could be small or large motor skills when actually engaged in travel excursions
Social/Emotional Cooperating, decision making and compromising, expressing dreams, wishes and fears
Resources Scholastic’s Global Trek – book a virtual trip to another country Creating Key Experiences and Adventure Suggestions from Personalized Educational Adventures Awesome Places from National Geographic Click on a place and go: Aerial Panoramic Views from Air Pano

The Seven Wonders of the World – 360 degree from Air Pano

Castle Kids from Castle on the Web

Smithsonian – from animal cams, to virtual dinosaur museum tours many resources for kids

Virtual Tours to Hawaii, Alcatraz, London, a fossil hunt and many more from Vicki Blackwell’s Internet Guide for Educators

Volcano Field Trip from Tramline

Our World from NASA, also see Kids Club and K-4 activities

Find more virtual tours by Googling: virtual cave tour, human body virtual tour, a specific museum name, virtual volcano tour, etc.

Helpful tips The planning can be as much fun as the actual adventure. Use the theme when preparing meals or snacks to help develop more interest.   Divide the planning and research into age appropriate blocks of time. Use videos, music, children’s books about the theme, currency from that country, food, and any other visual aid to help the child make new discoveries about their destination. Give the child a disposable camera to take pictures of what interests them while on the adventure. Travel journals to record thoughts, feelings, questions and information is educational and fun. Scrape booking after the adventure helps to bond over the memories and relive those exciting experiences. For virtual trips, encourage children to make up a story or adventure about their destination. You can make a fictional book together filled with dreams, daring adventures and vivid illustrations.
Developmental Domains


Language Reading directions, following directions, expressing predictions, articulating or writing conclusions
Intellectual Inquiry, cause and effect, trial and error, critical thinking and problem solving, scientific method, measuring, calculating, sorting, comparing, analyzing, synthesizing and evaluating
Physical Fine motor skills when measuring, cutting or combining materials
Social/Emotional Expressing opinions and reflections in a constructive way, collaborating and sharing
Resources Home Experiments from ScifunScience Experiments from Science BobThe Science Explorer from ExploratoriumScience Experiments for Kids from Science Kids

Kidspot and more experiments

ZoomSci from PBS

Scholastic on YouTube with 40 science experiments

Helpful tips Safety first! Use safety goggles and gloves when needed. Teach children how to be safe when conducting experiments.Ask for child’s help when gathering materials and during clean-up.Give the little scientist a clipboard and paper to record observations: young children can draw pictures to show the changes before and after, older children can write down their observations using words or short phrases.Encourage questions and help children to use credible online resources to find answers.

CareMatchPro.comA special THANK YOU to INA member Angela Riggs, Early Childhood Education Associate Dean, Sullivan University, Louisville KY for sharing these resources with the INA.

Angela serves on the INA Board of Directors and chairs the Education Committee.

Do you have a special skill, tips, or information to share with other INA members? The INA encourages all members to consider submitting a blog post for consideration. Together we are strong.

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