8 Ways to amuse your kids while you're all cold and miserable

Jan 9, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. ET
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Anyone who isn't living in a cave knows all about the Polar Vortex. Of course, if you are living in a cave, get out of there right now because storms are coming. Seriously what are you even thinking?

The Polar Vortex is back, and with it, the natural enemy of parents everywhere — the snow day. It's not enough that it's so cold you can't feel your extremities, once school is cancelled and the day cares are inaccessible, you'll have to spend time with your family, too. Usually this is easy, because children love sitting inside for days on end with nothing to do, but if you live on the East Coast, it looks like you're in it for the long haul, which is why you need this list of things that will keep you occupied while you are cold and miserable and hate everything everywhere.

1. Huddle together for warmth.


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If your house is like mine, there are probably large swaths of it that don't appear to be insulated at all. Take this precious time to force your family to bond with you by never turning up the thermostat and insisting everyone be touching at all times.

2. Play a high-stakes round of "The Quiet Game."


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In which the loser has to take a nap. The winner also has to take a nap. Basically everyone has to take a nap.

3. Watch The Longest and Most Meaningless Movie In The World (1966)


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Expand your child's cultural horizons with a little foreign cinema. This one comes to us from the U.K. and is 48 solid hours of B reel, commercials and outtakes. No, seriously, this is a real thing. I Googled it.

4. Complete a Sisyphean task — as a family!


My personal favorite is to dump all of the salt and pepper from the shakers into a bowl, and then use tweezers to separate flake from grain. If your children complain that it's tedious and unfulfilling, laugh and say, "Welcome to life!"

5. Watch some paint dry.


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That one patch of wall above the light switch in the bathroom is never going to be clean, no matter how many Magic Erasers you buy from that bald charlatan, Mr. Clean. So do what I do, and just give up! Paint over the weird brown and gray smudges, and then watch it dry as a family.

6. Read the backs of cereal boxes.


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Watch in wonder as your child's favorite thing to do when they are already late for school suddenly becomes "boring" and "lame."

7. Play Hide-n-Seat.


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This is just like Hide-n-Seek, except after you count to 100 and your children hide you just take a seat on the couch with a coffee and a back issue of Boy's Life or Highlights or something because you haven't purchased a grown-up book since 2006 and wait for them to figure it out.

8. Get out the home movies.


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This one is great if you have teenagers because it doubles as birth control. If your children just absolutely won't shut up about how bored they are, introduce them to the miracle of birth: their own! Make sure you pop some popcorn and don't let anyone close their eyes when it's time for the episiotomy.

More on snow days

Surviving the cold winter months
4 Fun snow-day activities
8 Fun activities for snow day blues