5 Nerdy Things: Snow Day Edition Part 2

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I kind of feel like I’ve been cheated this year.  So many reports of crazy snow, but somehow it feels like it never really came.  Apparently my son’s teacher said that if you wear your pajamas inside out and back to front it will snow.  So here’s hoping it will come and then I can sleep without half of my hiney exposed.

When (if?) it comes, we get to have fun, unexpected family time.  So here are some more ideas for fun things to do:

1. Write encrypted messages to each other.

 (I have a slight thing for cryptography – enigma, Bombe, Turing, Navaho code talkers, etc etc).  Write secret messages to each other!

It can be fun to write in white crayon and then unearth the message by coloring the paper with watercolor or marker.  I am able to do this with my daughter if I press realllly hard.  But my son can’t ever seem to get his message to appear because he is really, really heavy handed and seems to just plow right through the crayon.

Also, it can be really fun to create a cipher.  Write out the letters of the alphabet and then assign each another letter, number or symbol.  “A” could be a star, “b” a dash, “c” a squiggle, and so on.  Or “a” could be “z”, “b” is represented by “y,” and “c” by “x.”  You can write the alphabet and then write it backwards as in the last example or so many other ways.  Have fun.  Brainstorm.  Get your kids to create the cipher.  And only show each other the code so it’s TOP SECRET.  Then write to each other.

secret code

2. Make a mermaid tail…and then tell a tale to go with it.


See our instructions here.

3. Learn about Painting/Drawing techniques and make your own.

I really hope that despite the circumstances, I am raising well-rounded children who are creative and who are also critical thinkers.  Art can play a part in this.  It is an appreciation for something that can be quite foreign.  An ability to see beauty in the traditionally beautiful as well as in things that don’t fall under the traditional definition.


So we learn about landscapes, modern art, impressionism, cubism, realism, pop art, splatter painting, line drawings, and so much more.  We have a few nice books on art, but Google is a great resources as well.  Try different styles together or even make up your own.

Colored in Line drawing. All done in water color.
Splatter pain – also water color
The invention of blindfolded painting

If you have puffy paint and wax paper, you could also make window clings.  Here is how we did it.

4.  Make a Baking Soda Vinegar Volcano

I was planning on doing a whole post on this and I still will.  My diva daughter and I thought about possibly making a video about it, but for now it’s really pretty simple.  Start with a cup, create a pyramidal shape using the tape as the “bones” of it.  Papier mache around it.  (Painting is optional, but it usually increases the time it takes to an extra day to wait for the paint to dry.)  When it dries put a cup (or half if it’s a small pyramid) of baking soda in the cup.  A funnel might be required.  If you want it to erupt red, add some food coloring.  Then, when you are ready, pour an equal amount of vinegar into it and watch it erupt.

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The first one we made, we painted and used food coloring.  The next, we  just wanted to erupt so we skipped a couple steps.

5.  Play Doctor Potter Wars.

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Make up as many new aliens and planets you can think of.  Make up crazy names for them.  My challenge is always who can make AND REMEMBER a planet name crazier than Rexicoricofallupatorius.  Then we travel to them in whatever sci fi/fantasy vehicle we can imagine and out who’s friendly and who’s hostile.  Occasionally, my son turns into a power ranger and fights them off for us.

Get as silly and creative as you can.  Wear costumes or make hats (newpaper, paper plate crowns, or whatever you have lying around that you can put on your head.)  Use or make wands or screwdrivers.  Or maybe you use dancing as a tool or weapon to open things, defeat bad guys, make the ship move.  Just have fun!

And because sometimes 5 isn’t enough – bake together, play board games, read, and check out Part One of The Snow Day Edition.

But most of all enjoy your time together!

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