A Snowy Day Off School

Sledging on Isle of Wight photo by Philip Bell Copyright 2013

On Friday the long predicted snow finally fell on Isle of Wight. To be honest it was bad timing for me because I had to cancel several book project sessions due to my children’s school being closed. Needless to say my kids were very happy to have a day off school to use sledges that had been gathering dust in the loft.

So I trekked out in falling snow and a brisk wind  in search of a big hill, dragging my children behind on sledges. Unfortunately all the big snow-topped hills around us seem to be owned by people, so we headed to a gentler hill along a footpath. I was initially worried about the narrow slope with a fence and brambles either side, but my kids ignored the danger and leaped on and slid away and before long epic snow fails and laughter ensued.

My kids building an igloo photo by Philip Bell copyright 2013

Eventually the snow seeped into our bones and made us cold so we trudged home and draped our gloves and socks on radiators and sipped hot drinks. But no sooner had I thawed my children begged me out into the white stuff again. In our back garden my daughter found a plastic box and started to make snow bricks. My son had the idea to make an igloo with them. Presently I got involved and soon I was making the bricks, while my daughter collected snow and my son placed snow bricks in a circle. As we played, we discussed a range of topics from how the inuit traditionally constructed their homes in the ice (and still do when off hunting), the nuances of good brick laying and how to make an arch that stays up. It was clear we were not experts in any of these topics as we had a number of collapses, then we ran out of daylight and energy and didn’t quite finish our igloo, but the learning and fun on the journey was invaluable.

I don’t think it was such a bad thing that the kids had a day off school. I think they learned more about the world on our snowy day off school. And even if they didn’t learn anything we all bonded and had a good laugh.

It reminded us all of a similar happy time a few years back when we made our winter children’s book Jack and Boo’s Snowy Day.  We hope our fun and learning captured in the book will inspire you and the kids the next time you wake to a snowy day.

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