[Image Descriptions: Feature of a little boy standing on the table sprinkling flour everywhere is from the inner page of ‘Big Snow‘ by Jonathan Bean] The rest of the images in this post are book covers of titles referenced before the images.
In this post: Cozy children’s stories to keep you warm through this cold and blustery winter.
Cabin fever with little kids is nightmarish
Ugh snow days.
Being stuck inside with two small children is brain-frizzing. They’re bouncing off the walls, but still too little to play outside. At this age, we spend more time getting suited up than playing in the snow. After dumping snow all over the walkway I just shoveled, they enjoy screaming about cumbersome mittens until they figure out how to rip them off.
Then they start screaming, “Cold hands! Cold hands! My hands are so cold! AAAAAAHHHHH.”
Drop the shovel. Spend ten minutes wrestling kid back into mittens while his brother dumps snow back on the walkway. Repeat.
Our hygge kit
“Hygge,” according to wikipedia, “is the Scandinavian word for a mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment.”
Yes please. I want that.
This year, I’m searching for that feeling of cozy, light-hearted connection. I want to enjoy this snugly stage before they grow into big stinky teenagers. So I’m building a hygge kit for the terrifying days when school has been cancelled. It consists of:
- Indoor snowballs – I know these are hyped up and ridiculous, but they seriously amazing and way better than the rolled-up socks like we used to fight with.
- Huge sofa cushions (aka fort lumber) and loft beds – Forts! Or you can get a kit. We have this one but it’s super hard to connect the pieces.
- Kids shovels – When I have to shovel, the kids insist on following me outside and ruining everything I’ve cleared. I’ve found they are less likely to move snow around if I hand them shovels. This is the one toy I am willing to buy two of, because I just can’t deal with bickering in this weather.
- Stationary and stamps for writing letters (or craft or baking supplies or whatever) – Don’t misunderstand me – we aren’t mailing any letters. This is just for the kids to throw around the house with glee, believing they are messing up my plans. If you try to use real stamps, the kids will eat them. So maybe use stickers instead, which will end up on your face and destroy your favorite sweaters in the wash.
- Smashing things / Marbles in under the fridge / Feed the heating vent games – Again, they won’t actually play the games, they’ll just argue over who gets/has to set it up, but during the fistfight you can binge-eat chips in the bathroom.
- And, of course, books.
Children’s books embracing winter & hygge
In an effort to pursue a calm and airy hyggeligt connection with my little earthquakes, I’m giving up snow forts and sledding until next year. Hopefully by then they can walk in snow pants without tipping over and thrashing about like upended turtles. Snow is hard. Stories, I can do.
These are the classics we’ve loved for years and new ones I’ve recently fallen in love with.
They capture the excitement and hope of this stage with little kids, the mystery and magic of quiet snowfall, and the grateful feeling I get when I step into a warm house with red cheeks and snowy boots.
*Asterisk-marked books normalize kids of color without making the story about race. YAY!
Captioned age ranges are for when my sons were able to understand and enjoy each story.
Safety & shelter – inspiring gratitude & fostering generosity
My family has unlimited access to a warm, safe home – but many do not. These stories help my boys understand why we support homeless shelters and organizations for refugee relief. ‘The Robot And The Bluebird‘ is a bittersweet story of unrequited kindness. ‘Shelter‘ features feelings of scarcity contrasted with generosity. ‘The Road Home,’ celebrates the journey, even in times of challenge.
Anticipation & adventures with little heroes
‘Ladybug Girl In The Snow’ is a modern tribute to the classic ‘The Snowy Day,’* validating the challenges of being a little kid navigating a snowy landscape. ‘Big Snow‘* (one of my top 10 favorite books) features a little boy much like my spirited son – trying hard to be helpful, but distracted by creativity and daydreaming as he eagerly waits for snowfall.
‘Red Is Best‘ is the official degree of toddlers and preschoolers everywhere – this little girl wants her red boots, her red cup, and her red mittens, practicality be damned. ‘So Much Snow!‘* is a silly, ridiculous romp that will make anyone laugh. ‘The Reader‘ is a slow story of tenacity, grit, and a love of books.
Teamwork, togetherness & conviviality
‘Snow Day!‘ is my favorite early reader – fun-loving alligator school principals more excited for a snow day than their students. Both ‘Blizzard,’ and ‘This Place In The Snow‘ are semi-autobiographical stories of the makers’ childhood memories sharing the possibility and adventure snow offers.
Embracing wintertime folktales
‘Winter Waits‘ is the loving story of Winter and his dad (Father Time), personified. ‘Lucia and the Light‘ is our go-to for those February nights when it feels like winter will never end (be warned, it’s a little scary). ‘Grandmother Winter‘ turns goose feathers into snow and works in tandem with nature to bring comfort to the land.
Contentment, warmth & well-being
‘Sun Bread‘ brings warmth to the darkest days of winter with hope and community. ‘It’s Snowing‘ captures the slow pace and cozy silence of wintry days home alone with an infant (another one capturing the silence of a blizzard: ‘The Snow Day‘ (ages 4+), and ‘Snowman’s Story‘ is a whimsical illustration-only story that adds magic to ordinary nights.
Stay Curious & Stand Brave
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