Caroline Knorr, Common Sense Media
Is there any day of the year that kids look forward to more than a snow day? After the snowball fights, snow angels, and snowman building, it’s time to enjoy some family time indoors. Our snow day favorites include books, movies, apps, games, and TV shows that will keep kids’ minds and bodies active – and maybe even teach them a little something along the way.
Check out Essential Books for Kids and Teens. If you can’t get to the library, you can download Amazon’s Kindle app and read books on your device.
- The Snowy Day, age 2+
Bright color cutouts and lively language deliver a book that’s both soothing and exciting.
- Ladybug Girl, age 3+
Guided by her curiosity – and with her trusty dog, Bingo – Ladybug Girl makes her own fun by using nothing but her imagination.
- Flora and the Penguin, age 4+
With loads of charm and a range of emotions, this wordless story follows Flora as she teams up with a graceful bird on skates in a cold, icy landscape.
- Greenglass House, age 10+
A creaky family inn starts receiving unexpected guests, setting in motion a twisty mystery that takes place over winter break.
- The Ice Dragon, age 10+
Set in the same universe as Game of Thrones – but with different characters and no blood, gore, or sex – this lavishly illustrated fantasy about a girl who’s more at home during the cold of winter offers readers lots to sink their teeth into.
Check out our Essential Movie Guide for watch-together ideas for every age.
- Frozen, age 5+
In a Scandinavia-like kingdom, two princesses grow up separately, have adventures, and fall in love, but circumstances call for them to reinforce their unconditional sisterly bond.
- Snow Day, age 5+
One snow day in particular changes the lives of all five members of the Brandston family in this silly Chevy Chase flick.
- Ice Age, age 6+
A ragtag group of animals discovers that they have more in common than they thought.
- March of the Penguins, age 6+
Get an up-close look at the circle of life – at 80 degrees below zero – in this fascinating documentary about migrating penguins.
- Snowmen, age 10+
This coming-of-age movie follows a boy with terminal cancer who rallies his school and community to try to set the Guinness World Record for the most number of snowmen made in 24 hours.
- The Mighty Ducks, age 11+
Despite the occasional iffy humor and content, this vintage classic about a group of underdog ice hockey players and their selfish coach shows the positive values of sports.
Check out our Essential Apps Guide for more downloadable fun.
- Into the Snow: A Stella and Sam Adventure, age 3+
Sweet siblings model curiosity and creativity in this short animated story with embedded activities.
- Disney Karaoke: Frozen, age 5+
The windows are closed anyway, so why not let the kids burn off energy by belting out the hits from the movie?
- Frozen: Storybook Deluxe, age 5+
This interactive storybook lets little Frozen fans listen to the story, record their own narration, play games, draw, and do other activities.
- Telestory, age 8+
This video-creation tool lets kids while away the hours creating their own themed TV shows with fun background scenes, face-detecting costumes, cue cards, and special effects.
- Frozen: Olaf’s Quest, age 6+
Kids play through the misadventures of the movie’s lovable, bumbling snowman, Olaf, as he works through 60 short side-scrolling run-and-jump levels.
- Just Dance 2015, age 10+
When wintry weather traps the kids inside, just dance! This updated classic features new pop songs and funky moves and encourages group dancing.
- SSX, age 10+
Intense downhill races on giant mountains, crazy midair stunts, and a host of colorful characters make this snowboarding sim a super fun virtual thrill.
- Frozen Planet, age 6+
Sure, it’s cold outside, but consider the poles, the subject of this beautiful series that brings gorgeous scenery, stunning time-lapse videography, and intriguing storytelling right to your living room.
- Toughest Race on Earth: Iditarod, age 8+
This exhilarating, entertaining reality show about the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race follows several competitors in the grueling, 1,150-mile wintertime slog through the wilds of Alaska, revealing much about determination, strength, and relationships (both human and canine).
- Life Below Zero, age 12+
Set in rural Alaska, this reality program shows what it’s like to live where winter never ends. Lessons include positive messages about the personal satisfaction that comes with being self-sufficient and the importance of respecting the environment.
(Photo: Corbis Images)