Here are some ideas to get your creative mind going and bump your house bound family out of the crankies.
1) Take food coloring squeeze tubes outside and paint a picture on the snow. Be sure that whatever is buried under the snow won't be damaged by food coloring and that the kids have on old clothes not their new winter gear. A variation of this is to build a snow sculpture or snowman and then use coloring to decorate.
2) Start a neighborhood snowball fight. Find a place away from cars and windows, build a stack of snowballs, wait for someone who looks up for some fun to walk by.
3) Make snow angels.
4) Get a snowball and freeze it for summer or until you need the space, whichever comes first.
5) Take your camera outside (or cell phone : ) and take turn capturing pictures. Ideas: get pictures at the minute, snowflake level and pictures of the whole landscape. How small or how large of an area can you get? Try to get pictures with white and only one other color in them. Of course, this is an activity for not-clumsy kids unless you wanted a new camera, anyway : )
1) Cotton ball snowmen (and/or other creatures). Glue cotton balls to paper to create snow creatures. Use markers to add details such as eyes and buttons.
2) Create a fort or tent inside. While this can be messy, it is a contained and manageable mess (just big blankets) that will often keep kids busy for HOURS. Encourage them to design rooms within the fort, to read books inside it, to invite in their stuffed animals or dolls in to play.
3) Mine the recycling bin for "treasures" and have a creativity contest. What creative repurposing ideas can the kids create for things from the recycling bin? (Contestants vote to identify winners OR everyone gets a prize indicating the unique attributes of each creation.)
4) Pull out the photo albums and tell your kids stories about the pictures. Ask them what stories they remember. Write down their memories or have them write them down if they are old enough. Put the stories into the album or create a new story album.
5) Make puppets. Brown lunch bags, an old tube sock, two rectangular scraps of material from a ripped shirt, etc. can all work as bodies for puppets. Add yarn or curled fabric hair, some button or paper eyes and features and you are well on your way to a puppet show.
6) Do something you never seem to have time for - bake with the kids, read to each other, curl up and watch a movie...
Of course all of the above will be even better with hot cocoa. Hopefully, you have some instant stashed away in the cupboard. If not, here's some options:
Heat milk and add chocolate syrup OR
Mix 1 c. sugar, 1 T cocoa, 1/2 cup milk and heat until sugar is dissolved. Add to by teaspoonful to hot milk until it meets your chocolate and sugar preferences. ORMelt chocolate chips or a candy bar and add to warm milk. When melting chocolate either place in microwave or melt in a double boiler on stove. If you don't have a double boiler just use two pans of a similar size put water in one (1" or so) and put the other over top it w/the chocolate in it.