10 Easy & Fun Activities to Combat Cabin Fever for Young Kids

BY: - 14 Jan '16 | Parenting

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What do you do when it’s too cold to take the kids outside to run around and play? For many areas in the country, this time of year means having to be stuck indoors. If you’re having a pretty mild winter so far like we are in the DC area, consider yourself lucky.

But in anticipation of the cold weather and snow that can shut down schools and keep kids stuck indoors for extended periods of time, I’ve put together these activities for young kids.

These activities are all TV-free because it’s always easier  to let electronics take up time. But growing up, we didn’t have all of this access to tablets, computers and TV. We had to be creative with our fun, so I’m teaching my kids to do the same.

Here are 10 fun and easy activities to combat cabin fever for young kids:

1. Riding buggies/big-wheels in basement

When they were younger, the kids had little buggies and a small big wheel that we kept in the basement. We don’t have a ginormous basement by any means. But I got tired of saying “no riding in the house”. So I started saying, “Be careful and make sure you put them back”.

The basement has become their play zone, so there is nothing that can break, except their own toys. This keeps them entertained and happy…and most importantly, out of mommy’s hair for a few minutes.

2. Puzzles

There is something about puzzles that the kids just absolutely love! We have wooden ones, cardboard ones and plastic ones that come with battery operated cars (thanks Grandma!). We have enough of each so we can work on them together, or they can work on one on their own if they’re having one of those selfish moments.

3. “Ice skating”

Did you know you can teach your kids how to ice skate in the comfort and warmth of your own home? My son’s former preschool teacher did this in their class and I thought it was quite clever.

What you do is tie a paper plate to the bottom of each foot (half a plate for the tiny feet) using a rubber band, and the kids can slide around with their “ice skates”. The best thing is that they work perfectly on carpet too!

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4. Cooking/baking

When my son was in preschool, his class would cook something probably once a week. They would always send home the recipes that they made. My kids get a kick out of just trying to crack an egg, or stir whatever is in the bowl/pot.

To them, that means they are cooking. So we try to cook and bake different things that everyone can take a part in. Now that my son is older, I also use it to test out his math skills. I usually have him read the recipes and have him tell me what the measurement is if I need it to be doubled (i.e. if the recipe calls for 1/4 water, and I need twice as much, how much would we need total?).

5. Flashcards

We loved the “My Baby Can Read” program when the kids were younger. The girls loved watching the DVDs but my son did not. What they all loved though, were the flashcards that came with it.

They love learning the new words and then being able to identify them in a sentence. It’s a learning opportunity for us but just another fun thing to do for them! 🙂 You can always create/download/print your own flashcards and make a game out of it.

6. Memory Cards & Board Games

Now that the kids are getting a little older, we’ve recently started incorporating game nights, etc into our routine. The kids love playing matching games, board games such as Xingo, and just the past Christmas, we added Twister to the list amongst others. For younger kids who may not be able to follow all of the directions, it’s also a great way to teach them colors.

7. Hide & Go Seek

An oldie but goodie that even the parents have fun playing (or, is that just us?)! I don’t think there will ever be anything as sweet as a game of hide-and-go-seek (especially with toddlers). It’s free, it’s fun and they get a kick out of it every time.

8. Play the silent game

Challenge them to see who can be quiet the longest (if you only have one, then I guess they’ll have to compete against mommy or daddy). Although they have no idea that it’s more for my benefit than theirs, they get a kick out of seeing who can “win” this one…well, the youngest hasn’t quite mastered this one, but she at least makes an attempt.


9. Have a good ol’ fashioned dance party

This is probably one of my favorites because of the great joy that the kids have. I get the iPod out, and just put it on shuffle. We go from fast to slow to fast again and we dance to it all. Sometimes I have them do what I do, but most times it’s a freestyle dance party.

So they will generally compete with each other. The best thing about this is that I burn lots of calories (and probably drop a few pounds) in the process. Plus, it wears them out and burns off their energy.

10. Swimming…in the bathtub (with bubbles of course!)

After all the fun is said and done, the best finish to an awesome day is a bubble bath. This is one thing the kids always look forward to (and something I can threaten to take away if they’re not listening). So it makes me happy to see them so happy, for doing something so simple. It’s the little things in life I tell ya!

BMWK: What are your favorite things to do with your children to curtail cabin fever?

 

About the author

Christine St. Vil wrote 153 articles on this blog.

Christine St.Vil is co-author of the Whose Shoes Are Your Wearing: 12 Steps to Uncovering the Woman You Really Want to Be. A happy wife to an amazing hubby of 8 years, and homeschooling mother of three, she teaches moms how to FLY (First Love Yourself). She uses her corporate background to work with women who are ready to start a new business, accelerate their career growth & design a life they love. She's on a mission to help moms to battle the mom guilt epidemic, so they can begin to put themselves first on their never-ending list of priorities.

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Now Share This! Meet the Man Behind the Positive “Black Fathers” Facebook Group That Has Gone Viral

BY: - 15 Jan '16 | Parenting

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For centuries, Black fathers have caught a bad rap – from epidemic absenteeism to a depiction as slackers. Well, one dad has had enough. Matt Prestbury is the founder of the hugely successful Facebook group “Black Fathers” that is shedding a light on the massive involvement of African American dads in their families, their communities, and their world. BMWK caught up with Matt to learn more about the group and his passion for this online community.

BMWK: Why did you create the Facebook group Black Fathers?

Matt: I had been casually and sporadically organizing events, and inviting fathers to come together for years before founding Black Fathers. I always wanted to bring men together with their children to create a fellowship among fathers.

As time went on, and I started using Facebook, I felt that what I was attempting to do on a small scale in the physical realm could also be done on a much larger scale in the virtual/social networking realm of Facebook.

Aside from wanting to bring fathers together on this scale and allow us to network with one another within a group, I also wanted to do one major thing: highlight actively involved fathers, who love their children, who aren’t afraid to show it, and who society largely ignores or lumps in with those whom we call “deadbeat dads.”

  • I made it Black Fathers–versus all fathers–because I didn’t see anything else like that at the time that really catered to, and spoke up for, what I considered to be the most marginalized, the most overlooked, the most stereotyped and misjudged group out there who needed to be able to share their truths the most: Black men raising their children.
  • I wanted to allow Black men to be able to share their stories, good or not-so good, about being a father. I wanted to create a space where we could be a resource to one another, to offer information to each other, advice, encouragement, etc.
  • I started Black Fathers to shatter stereotypes in society and to give us a space of our own where we could say, “Black men who love and care for their children, and who are involved in their lives, do exist, no matter what anyone says to the contrary.”

BMWK: Who did you create it for?

Matt: I created this group for all Black men who have created a life, and even those who haven’t, but who are still considered fathers. This includes those whom we call “step-fathers,” and even uncles, grandfathers, and others who have taken on the role in place of a child’s biological father.

I created this for the fathers who are very actively involved, first and foremost. But I also created this for those are not so active as they could be, and who could use some encouragement to get more active.

I created it for fathers who have no connection with their children at all. I created this for all of us out here as Black men to come together and create that fellowship that I spoke about, in order to strengthen ourselves, our families, and our communities.

BMWK: When was it created?

Matt: Black Fathers was created in  March 2009.

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BMWK: Who were you hoping it would impact most?

Matt: I don’t know who I was hoping it would impact most; I really just wanted to create something for everyone to benefit from.

  • I wanted fathers who are involved to want to be even more involved.
  • I wanted fathers only marginally involved to want to be even more involved.
  • I wanted fathers with no relationship to build one.
  • And I wanted us all to support each other in this.
  • I wanted those who ignore us or negate our roles to change their beliefs.
  • I wanted the larger society, and the media, to take notice and to shift the beliefs held about us as so-called deadbeats or non-existent.
  • I wanted this to impact everybody.
  • I wanted people to feel proud of the role they play in children’s lives.
  • I wanted those who are in the legal system to see the impact they have and can have on our families.
  • I just wanted this to really impact everyone in some way.

BMWK: How has it affected the black community?

Matt: I honestly and truly believe that Black Fathers, among other groups and organizations, has shed such a light on fathers in general–and particularly in our communities–that it has changed how many of us think about fathers and fatherhood.

I would never personally, or on behalf of the group, take all the credit, but I know that my passion and perseverance, coupled with that of every member in this group has really changed the lens through which we look at fathers, and even at ourselves as fathers.

So many members share with me how just being a part of this group has impacted their lives. So many appreciate the camaraderie, the support, the advice, the examples, the love. So many have learned about others pushing through tough times, including custody battles.

More and more women are showing love to fathers, Black fathers in society, and that’s incredibly encouraging. More and more events are taking place catering to fathers. And more and more media outlets are taking notice.

BMWK: What’s next for you and the group?

Matt: The plan as for the group right now is to work toward turning this into a non-profit social enterprise. I want to be able to have brick-and-mortar facilities in various cities that serve as resource centers where fathers can meet up in the same ways that we do in the virtual realm.

In the meantime we will continue to hold events that bring fathers together and support each other. As for me personally, I’m going to continue pushing my first children’s book, I Want My Daddy To Do It, working on my second children’s book, Still A Ladybug, working on a few other business ventures, and trying to be the absolute best father and husband that I can be.

BMWK fathers, click here to join the Black Fathers group on Facebook today!

About the author

Joann Fisher wrote 96 articles on this blog.

Joann Fisher has been a writer and editor for both print and online newpapers and magazines for the last 8 years. She now serves as an Assistant Editor at BMWK and lead Editor at The Celibate Woman.

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