12 Activities to Beat the Cabin Fever Blues
By Apryl Duncan
Families tend to hibernate when the temperatures get colder, but there’s plenty of winter fun for kids and parents to enjoy together. You’ll forget all about the winter blahs with activities that keep all of you occupied until the spring thaw.
1. Play Snow Games: You don’t have to tell kids to go outside and play in the snow. Try shaking up their snowsuits with winter play activities that include a snowy hike, outdoor hockey or a frosty game of frisbee. No white stuff where you live? Make fake snow so your kids can experience the same winter fun as their northern neighbors.
2. Trace Your Family Tree: Help the kids learn about their family roots. They can interview you, their grandparents and other family members to hear the names and stories of people who’ve helped make them who they are today. Filling in the names on the family tree branches can keep their interest long after snowmen have melted and winter is gone.
3. Watch a Family Movie at Home: Why spend a small fortune taking the families to the movies when you can stay at home for an even better theater experience? Host an unforgettable family movie night that’s more than a couple of hours sitting on the couch together. Let the kids create movie tickets, make snacks and open their own concession stand. After the movie’s over, let their inner critics write movie reviews.
4. Start Scrapbooking: We all love our digital cameras. But then our pictures usually sit on a hard drive and aren’t viewed as much as the pictures we once took with our film cameras. Print your favorite pics and start scrapbooking with your kids. Theme your scrapbook pages for the winter and holidays with layout ideas and tips from other scrapbookers.
5. Go Skating: Today’s kids are plugged into their online social networks and their video games. Take them back to your own childhood when a Saturday night meant a trip to the skating rink. Roller skate or inline skate with your family or get in a wintry mood with ice skating.
6. Create a Website With Your Kids: It’s cold outside, so stay warm with the kids in front of the computer. Create a website together, even if you have no web design skills. You both can learn as you build a website that covers the life of their dog, a tribute to a favorite child star or a sampling of her short stories, to name a few of the possibilities. Learning how to maintain her own website is just one of many learning activities that are fun.
7. Redecorate the Kids’ Rooms: Kids spend a lot of time within their four bedroom walls during the winter. Since you’re stuck inside, re-energize their rooms in the winter months. Work closely with them to choose colors, themes and accessories to give their bedrooms a new look. As much as you may not want that fluorescent green color on the wall, try to relax some of your rules to give them ownership of the project.
8. Cook Together: We often unpack the cookie cutters around the holidays, but get the kids more involved in the kitchen. The youngest chefs-in-training can gather ingredients, help stir and clean up. Prepare crockpot soups and other winter recipes together to help your kids learn more about their food, nutrition values and healthy eating.
9. Donate to a Charity: Get into the holiday spirit while teaching your kids how to be thankful. With so many charitable organizations relying on donations around the holidays, your kids can buy toys for less fortunate children or even pack up a shoe box of items with a personal note to send to children overseas. Pick any charity you feel is worthy or specifically look for holiday-related charity projects.
10. Volunteer Your Family’s Time: Let the kids volunteer during the winter. There are plenty of kid-friendly charity events where your family’s help would be greatly appreciated. Serve food to the homeless for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Visit the elderly at a nursing home or hospital. Help your local animal shelter during an adopt-a-thon. Look over volunteer websites that match you and your family to the right opportunity based on your interests. Exposing your children to volunteering can open the door for a lifetime of service to others.
11. Make Your Own Wrapping Paper: As children get ready to swap gifts with their friends, skip the high-priced wrapping paper at the store. Make your own wrapping paper with rubber stamps, and let the kids personalize it with their crayons, markers or stickers. Use the same ideas to create more handmade packages, such as gift boxes and gift bags.
12. Build Model Cars or a Dollhouse: Enjoy one-on-one time with your kids when you take on classic hobbies. Building die cast cars and dollhouses keeps you busy on those cold winter days and requires you and your children to work together as a team to complete the project.
If you’re not sure you can handle these types of projects on your own at first, take the kids to a Lowe’s Build and Grow workshop or a Home Depot Kids workshop. These workshops encourage kids to build everything from bug houses to schoolhouses, and you can assist them as they create something out of wood.