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I’m all for sticking to my daily mom schedule, but cabin fever is inevitable here in the mountains of eastern PA. By early March I’m ready to scratch my eyes out.
That’s because the tail end of winter is always the worst. The kids (and me) are itching to get outside… but it’s still too cold to be out there for long.
It’s pretty much like Groundhog Day – we’re waking up to the same, cooped up routine over and over.
In fact, I know that cabin fever has set in when:
- We haven’t seen any of our neighbors since Thanksgiving. Does anyone still live on our street?
- My children’s behavior is starting to resemble that of caged animals… and I guess that makes me the zookeeper.
- I’ve resorted to allowing the children to run laps in the living room just to burn off their (never-ending) energy.
So what’s a stay at home momma to do?
Well, since hibernating until Spring isn’t an option… I’ve come up with a list of 100 cabin fever fixes. These ideas don’t require you to leave the house – which is great for families like us that only have one car!
1. Put on a cooking show – My daughter Miss C loves watching the kid cooking challenges (be careful which shows you watch on the Food Network – not all support our Christian family values with their contestant features). So we’ve found a great way to fill an afternoon is to put on our own cooking show! It doesn’t have to be a complicated recipe, something as simple as pancakes can be turned into a fun experience!
2. Vlog – You don’t need fancy cameras, your phone or laptop camera will do just fine. My kids love recording themselves and mimicking their YouTube faves (shoutout to KittiesMama), and the best part is they are creating memories for mom and dad to cherish.
3. Put on a play – Let your kiddos creative juices flow! Then sit back and watch them shine!
4. Set up a pretend coffee shop/cafe – You can use your regular coffee mugs or do what I do and keep a stash of disposable coffee cups on hand. Or pick up one of these cute sets – perfect for those little hand. Then let the kids create all of the calorie free mocha lattes they want!
7. Car shopping – After shopping for a new truck, this is a new fave for my kids. They line up their Matchbox cars and take turns selling and buying the cars.
8. Grocery store – Grab some of your reusable shopping bags and line up some dry goods on your counter… and wahlah you have a family grocery store! You can even sneak in some spelling and handwriting practice by having your kiddos write their own grocery list!
9. School – Reverse the tables and have mommy (and some stuffed animals) be the students!
10. Set up a doll salon
11. Set up a library with your own books – Funny story… my kiddos found a few books at our local library that still had their stamp card in the back and they were fascinated with my story of what it was there for and how we used to have to use the card catalog to find books. So we have made our own with index cards and some of their favorite stamps for our books at home… so much fun!
12. Play stuffed animal doctor
13. Pet adoption with stuffed animals
14. Play post office – This is a perfect time to use your stash of old bill envelopes!
15. Pretend camping – Complete the experience by making s’mores!
16. Put on a fashion show
17. Play dress up – Some family faves: construction worker, doctor, waitress, princess, and of course dressing up as mom and dad!
18. Construction play – There’s always a honey-do list… so why not let the kiddos pretend to tackle it for you? Miss C and Bubby love to use their tool set to “fix” our kitchen chairs, the stairs, and their toys!
19. Build a fort – An oldie but a goody… and the best way to secure a fort is with clothespins like these sturdy little guys!
20. Pajama day – I’m usually a stickler for being sure to get up and get dressed every day (and of course wearing my apron)… and that makes it really exciting for the kids when they get to stay in their jams!
21. Nail salon – Even the boys get in on salon days… who doesn’t love a good foot rub?
22. Turn dinner into a restaurant experience – Make it complete with menus (another great way to sneak in some handwriting and spelling!) and using the good dishes!
23. Bake a special treat – Make something yummy that isn’t in your usual dessert rotation or get crazy and try something new!
24. Hot chocolate bar – Perfect for those chilly days! Be sure to include some marshmallows, peppermint sticks, chocolate chips, french vanilla creamer, and whip cream!
25. Ice cream party – The kids and adults love it when you break out these bad boys!
26. Un-birthday party – Channel your inner Alice and set up a fancy-schmancy party to celebrate the whole family’s un-birthday!
27. Snack time necklaces – Some fun ideas to try are Fruit Loops, Life Savers, popcorn, pretzels, and Fudge Stripe cookies. String them on a piece of yarn and tie them off with a simple knot. Let the kiddos wear these while watching Frozen for the 10,000th time.
Arts and Crafts
28. Make a voice changer – Use some of the toilet paper rolls that you’ve been saving, a piece of wax paper large enough to wrap around the top of the tube, and a rubber band to secure the paper… and ta-da! you have a fun robot sounding voice changer!
29. Make an i-spy bottle – Put those mini toys that always seem to end up under your feet to good use here. Grab some Shopkins and Lego guys and toss them in an empty water bottle (the Voss water bottles are perfect for this) along with some uncooked rice. Make a list of the items you put in and let the kids shake and flip the bottles around until they “spy” all the toys.
30. Sew something – You can find embroidery hoops, embroidery thread, and thick fabric on Amazon or at Walmart for super cheap! Put them all together and you have a fun craft for kids from preschool on up. The younger kiddos have fun doing random stitches, and the older kids can work on creating beautiful keepsake designs!
31. Make a paper chain – another oldie but goody.
32. Make bookmarks: A bookworm can never have too many bookmarks! Have fun decorating large popsicle sticks with markers, rhinestones, and glitter (aka this momma’s kryptonite). I know we can’t wait to try these adorable confetti bookmarks from The Confetti Bar!
33. Finger painting – Fun for all ages! These washable paints make clean up a breeze!
34. Paper mache – Using a balloon, newspaper strips, and this basic paper mache recipe you can make an awesome impromptu pinata!
35. Make a paper plate dream catcher – Cut the center out of a paper plate and use your hole punch to make holes around the inner rim. Cut a large length of yarn and string your yarn across the opening to make a spiderweb like design. The kids can also add beads, glitter, sticker, anything their creative minds desire.
36. Make a popsicle stick picture frame – Popsicle sticks are a great Dollar Tree find! Use them to create a cute picture frame for your favorite picture of your kiddos. All you need is some hot glue, a mini clothespin, and of course some popsicle sticks!
37. Yarn wrapped cardboard letters – A great diy decoration for the kid’s bedroom!
38. Make pony bead sun catchers
39.Build your own geoboard – All you need is a piece of pegboard, bolts & nuts, and rubber bands!
40. Make paper bag puppets
41. DIY placemats – Get the full tutorial here!
42. Create a paper bag city – Stuff some paper bags with newspaper. Roll the tops down and staple them shut. Then have the kids paint them to look like houses. Be sure to include all of the important places in a city: police station, fire house, grocery store, church, and your house! This is also a great chance to get in a lesson about communities and safety.
43. Contact paper sun catcher – Tape a piece of contact paper, sticky side towards you, to the window. Then tear up pieces of tissue paper and let the little kiddos stick the pieces on the contact paper to create pretty sun catchers.
45. Build a marshmallow/pom pom shooter
46. Make canvas paintings – Small canvas can be found at the Dollar Tree for… $1!
47. Make paper airplanes – See who can throw them the farthest.
48. Make a galaxy jar – See how it’s done over at My Home Based Life.
49. Start your garden seeds – go with these easy to grow veggies!
50. Make something with Play Doh
51. Do some button art – Decorate cardboard letters, create pipe cleaner creatures, and practice fine motor skills by threading buttons together.
52. Tye die something! Shirts, socks, tote bags… so many options!
53. Make something with perler beads – A great reason to break out the iron (and maybe get some clothes ironed too!).
54. Break open the jewelry making set your daughter got for Christmas and make some new bracelets and bobbles!
55. Sensory bin – This is one of the best ways to keep little hands and imaginations busy! There are so many fillers: water beads, colored spaghetti noodles, rocks/pebbles, dry beans, water, pom poms/cotton balls, shredded paper. Use your imagination here momma!
56. Make some slime! – All you need is a bottle Elmer’s Glue, baking soda, and contact solution.
57. Go through old magazines
58. Write a letter to a family member or friend on fun stationary like this fun animal card set
Burn Some Energy
59. Clean and organize a closet – Make work fun by doing it together!
60. Indoor hopscotch – Use masking tape or painter’s tape to create an indoor (easy to clean up) hopscotch.
62. Indoor scavenger hunt
63. Plastic cup bowling
64. Wash dishes – Kids love the bubbles and a reason to splash in the sink!
63. Take a midday bath – Not only will it make bedtime go faster, you can make it fun with extra bubbles and bath fizzies!
64. Color inside a box – A great reason to stash large boxes from your Christmas Amazon orders is for imaginative play. My youngest loves to hang out in an empty box with a supply of crayons!
65. YouTube exercise videos
66. Balloon volleyball
67. Broomball – This is a fun reward game for the kids after they sweep the kitchen 🙂 A soft kick ball or balloon can be used and it’s played just like hockey!
68. Indoor ball/balloon pit – I’ve always wanted to build a PVC pipe and netting ball pit… but I’ve realized I just don’t have a spot that I can permanently dedicate to it. So a great temporary solution is to go in the basement and bring out the kids’ inflatable pool and load it up with some ball pit balls or balloons! Seriously… this provides hours of fun and minimal clean up for mom!
69. Musical chairs – Depending on the size of your family mom might have to join in… and sharing the giggles and squeals with the mini-mes is totally worth it!
71. Have a board game bonanza – I like to stick with the classics… mainly because I’m not a fan of all of the bathroom-themed games that have come out lately (what’s that all about anyway). Some of our favorites are: Jenga, Candyland, Connect Four, Guess Who, Chutes and Ladders, and Dominos.
72. Play Red Light Green Light
73. Create a story bag – Use printed pictures of items or small toys to tell a story. Put the items in a paper bag and draw one item at a time, adding to the story as you go.
74. Freeze Dance
75. Go through toys for spring yard sale
76. Rearrange furniture in the kids room – My mini me, Miss C, loves any reason to rearrange and organize her stuff!
78. Blow bubbles – Yes, inside the house! A little extra suds can’t hurt your cleaning efforts…
79. Puzzles – Try this set from Melissa and Doug for toddler and preschool ages! A 100 piece puzzle with a beach theme is a great way to break the cold weather blues! And if it’s a really pretty puzzle you can get some Modge Podge and a sponge brush to seal the puzzles for a cool wall decoration!
80. Tic Tac Toe
81. The Dot Game – Grab my FREE printable here!
82. Watch a movie – Not the Paw Patrol DVD for the 1000 time… Try a classic from your childhood! I love sharing my faves with the kiddos! The Sandlot anyone?
83. Set up a toy car wash – This can also be a great sensory bin idea!
84. Make a race track – Masking tape or painters tape make a great race track on your kitchen floor.
85. Laundry Basket Skee Ball – Grab a shoe box and some laundry baskets and see how it’s done over at Frugal Fun 4 Boys!
86. Set up an obstacle course – Couch cushions, chairs, a popup tunnel (a family fave!), and pillows all make great things to include in your obstacle course!
87. Go through family photo albums
88. Roll and cover dice game (like Bingo with dice) – Grab your FREE printable here!
89. Play Simon Says
90. Play 20 Questions
91. Go Fish Card Game
92. Memory Card Game
93. Old Maid Card Game
94. Jacks – Dollar Tree find!
95. Pick Up Sticks – Another Dollar Tree find!
94. Tiddly Winks – You guessed it… a Dollar Tree find!
95. Play Hot Potato – Stuff an old piece of pantyhose with cotton balls or stuffing and tie it off to make a “potato” and toss it back and forth.
96. Mother May I
97. Duck Duck Goose
99. Water bottle ring toss – Use paper plates with the middles cut out as rings, and toss them onto paper towel or toilet paper roll poles.
The bottom line is to get creative for you and the kids. Your kiddos are just as bored as you are, so it’s best to find something new and exciting for all of you!
What are some ways your family beats the cabin fever blues? Comment below!