Toby’s Snow Day: Creating Checklists for Independent Play


It’s snowing today. It’s snowing hard. Of course, the schools in the city aren’t officially closed. But, I’ve got one kid home sick already. [Poor Bea’s recovering from pneumonia.] There’s really no point in making the GROUP effort to get the other one off to school through a boot-rise of snow, especially with more coming. Hooray, Hooray, it’s Toby’s lucky day!! But what the heck are we going to do? I’ve got work to do. Bea’s isolated herself in her room to do some reading and to get a start on all of her missed schoolwork [read: play on her tablet]. And, torture of tortures on a snow day…he can’t go out and sled down the fantastic hill in our park until papa comes home!! It’s checklist time!

Over the past few years, my husband has gotten the kids into the good habit of making lists of fun [or necessary] things to do over the weekend. Most P.A. days and Saturdays, he’ll sit down with the kids and come up with a list of TBDs and WTDs [Want to Dos]. It’s been a real lifesaver in our household. [I started doing it on our Summer of Funner days too!] The list can serve as a structured schedule or as a loose guideline to consult when someone [or all of us] looks as it they’re about to lose their way. This morning, he helped Toby come up with a very special list of items to do on his snow day. They made their list and made sure that most of the necessary toys and supplies were within arm’s reach. It took all of ten minutes, and let me tell you it was absolutely worth the time and effort. I consider it an early Valentine.

Here’s a transcription of said inspiring manuscript 馃檪 :


  • Read at least two chapters of Warriors in your room
  • Do a grand prix race [with toy cars on a track] and record results on a score sheet
  • Read two issues of Shogun Warriors…or finish the Saga
  • Trace your 3 favourite Skylanders [on tracing paper] and then draw them in your sketchbook
  • Create a story about a Raven and a Tortoise. Write it in your sketchbook.
    Name your characters
    Design the Characters – Draw them so you can recognize them in each picture
    What do they do together?
    Can they talk?
    What kind of story is it? Funny? Adventure?
    Do they meet for the first time or do they already know each other?
    Do they meet other characters?
    It should be about as long as a Frog & Toad story. One Idea: Snowy Day/Blizzard
  • Be prepared to show me your five favourite or strangest super characters you never knew before [from a book of comic book heroes]
  • Draw these five characters in your sketchbook
  • Build a new Skylanders Giant out of Lego
    Maybe use Bionicle Pieces
    What type is it?
    What is its name?
  • Build a giant Thomas Track in the basement [haven’t done that in ages]
  • Learn a Deadly Checkmate [from the chess book in T’s room]
  • Copy out your favourite Dr. Suess poem in your BEST handwriting on lined paper

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And here’s the little man checking it off!!

How do YOU manage?

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