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.
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!
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?).
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?