Cabin Fever: Activities for When You Just Can't Get Outside

Caroline
January 13, 2016

Every parent has to face it at some point: an entire day trapped indoors with the kids. Usually the weather is to blame but whatever the reason, we parents know that familiar wail when we hear it: "Mom... we have nothing to do." If you want to make it through the day without extensive "screen time" or refereeing round after round of sibling skirmishes, try some of our fun, but easy to do with what you have on hand, activities.

Scavenger hunts: No matter what the age, kids love scavenger hunts. They can be as complex or simple as you need them to be. If you have an older sibling who would like to write clues for the younger ones, put them to task. Be sure to come up with a fun prize at the end too.

Dance party: Kids stuck inside have energy to burn so it's time to clear the furniture and crank up the tunes. Play freeze dance, musical chairs or come up with other games that involve music, dancing and getting energetic in the comfort of your living room.

Crafts: It's time to dust off the old finger paints, pull out the construction paper, grab the safety scissors, the Elmer's glue, pipe cleaners, toilet rolls, old magazines, whatever you have, and get creative. You could make bugs or puppets or holiday cards for the grandparents. It's up to you!

Make your own movie: Have your kids come up with an idea, pick out costumes, set the scene and then video tape it. They could recreate a scene in a favorite movie or make a music video. You could also have them dress up in your clothes and pretend to be newscasters. Whatever they do, film it, watch it back and hold on to that memory for years to come.

Diary of a Bored Kid: Many older kids love the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Use a "cabin fever" day to help your older children start their own diaries. They can decorate an old spiral notebook and then get to work. Make sure they illustrate everything they write about, just like the book.

Sardines: This reverse hide-and-seek game works best in larger homes with lots of kids. Have one child hide while the rest of the group counts. Once the group is done counting, they spread out looking for the hidden child. If they find him or her, they need to hide with them. Soon the hiding spot is crammed with giggling kids trying not to be found.

Baking: When in doubt, bake. Making cookies, breads, cakes, pies, muffins or any variety of treats always keeps kids entertained. Make sure everyone has a job, let them get a little messy and enjoy your time in the kitchen.

Squiggle Game: Have one child draw a squiggle on a piece of paper. Then have another child try and make a picture out of it. Have squiggle races, the first one to make a picture out of a squiggle wins!

Forts: Pull the furniture apart, get out old sheets and blankets, bring in some big cardboard boxes and share all that fort-building know-how you remember from your childhood. When it's done, pop some popcorn, snuggle up inside with blankets, and tell stories for the rest of the afternoon.

Puppet show: Maybe your kids made some puppets during craft time (see idea #3) or maybe you have some puppets of your own. Put up a sheet and create a puppet stage. Let your kids make up a story and put on a show.

And if none of these ideas work, my mother always used to tell me to "figure it out." You might be surprised by just how busy and imaginative they can be on their own.

From the Parents

  • Parent # 1

    These are fun, practical ideas. Thanks.

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 2

    thank you so much and happy new year

    over a year ago

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