Take your school-aged kids for a safe family hike. Keep an eye out for snow-tographs and let them experiment with the camera.

Take your school-aged kids for a safe family hike. Keep an eye out for snow-tographs and let them experiment with the camera.

Tom Fox

By SARAH BLASKOVICH and ANN PINSON

Dallas-Fort Worth's first sleet storm of 2015 means an extra-long Monday morning wearing sweatpants and catching up on a good book. Right?

Not for parents.

The day could get tiresome, and quick. There's nothing to do, mom! Allow us to give you a few ideas that'll make playing hooky seem fun for the whole family.

Turn your winter wonderland into a photo essay. Your school-aged kid always wants to play with your phone, right? Let your kiddo explore his creative skills by taking snow-tographs of some of the prettiest outdoor scenes. Encourage him to zoom in on an interesting icicle or snap a puppy footprint in the sleet. Edit the photos inside and send your favorites off for hard-copy prints. Most online photo companies will have prints on your doorstep in a day or two, and you'll have a lasting memory to hang on the fridge.

Build a fort. Pile up the couch pillows, haul in the sheets and prop them up around your kids' favorite toys. Then plan events inside the fort, such as storytime, tea time and - mom's favorite - naptime.

Plan dinner. You might not make it to the grocery store today. Challenge your child to pick a few ingredients already in the house that will make a great meal, then brainstorm recipes the family could cook together. If you get stuck (or if your child insists pizza and peanut butter go together), try myfridgefood.com. You can plug in ingredients you already have and find easy recipes for any meal.

Make a picnic. Once you've made lunch or dinner, allow your kids to eat in a special spot because it's Sleet Day. Let them stake out the special spot and ask them to set the table, even if that means on the floor of the den. (Just make sure the dog's in another room.)

Inspire a dance party. Embrace the cabin fever! Shake the blues away by cranking up the music and getting down - even if that means listening to "Roar" and "Let It Go" on repeat. If you're feeling extra energetic, break out the broom and get everyone to limbo.

Rearrange a room. Ask your child to help reimagine where the couch could go in your living room. The whole family can help move furniture until you've rearranged it to the perfect new setup. If you're up for rearranging one of the kids' rooms, ask him to take a sweep through the closet and pick out any clothes he doesn't wear anymore while you're at it. There's nothing like cold weather to remind us that someone is in need of new, warm clothes if you have any to spare.

Start a Pinterest board. Let's say your elementary-aged son wants a new bike or your middle-school daughter dreams of painting her room. Start a Pinterest board and let them add items that seem like a fit. It doesn't mean you have to buy any of it; it just means they get to be creative.

Make a craft with stuff you already have at home. Perhaps your child wants to learn to knit and you have yarn and knitting needles shoved at the back of a closet. Or maybe one of them will find her inner Picasso if you'll get out the paint. Moms and dads who need a little more direction, consider this window art craft made with simple items you already have at home: glue, food coloring and a picture frame.

Inspire your own family Olympics. Pretend like it's recess inside the house since it's too cold to play outside for a long time. Make up challenges that kids of all ages can participate in. For example, see who can shoot the most baskets on the Nerf hoop, test who can stand on one food the longest or try to catch mini marshmallows in your mouths. Prizes can range from high fives to an extra-long storytime before bed.

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