Many of you are back to work and school but for those of you who are still stuck indoors with your little ones, here are some free, fun and easy ideas to fight that winter cabin fever. If you plan ahead of time and keep some of the ingredients or items handy then next time you need a boredom buster, pull it out and you are ready to go.
1. Create a dance party. Part of the excitement is setting up for the dance party so get dressed in party clothes,clear space for a dance floor, turn on the music and dance away. Teach your children how to do different types of dances and if you don’t know how, turn to YouTube to learn how. Get a stick and limbo. If you really want to go all out then decorate a balloon with sequins and paper and glitter and hang with a string from the middle of the room to resemble a disco ball.
2. Paint the windows – It will end up being a mess to clean up but it will beat boredom! Spread newspaper under the window and dress your kids in clothes that can get messy. Water down water-based tempura paint and use fingers or paintbrushes and let the kids have fun on the windows.
3. Mess-free finger painting – Another idea is to fill large ziploc bags with paint and tape the top of the bag to the window. Lay the bag flat and fill different corners with different colors of paint. Watch as your kids have fun making art in the bags. You could also tape the bags to a table.
4. Shaving cream paint in the bath tub – Mix shaving cream with food coloring and let your kids go wild with colored hair and a colored beard. They will enjoy exploring the fluffy texture of the shaving cream.
5. Lots of fun and easy things to do with an empty egg carton. I love the idea of making a flower wreath – get the house ready for spring. You can also use an egg carton to make a fun game, learning math games, art or a treasure box.
6. Indoor ice skating – Wrap feet in wax paper and rubber band it around the ankles. Your kids will slip and slide around the rug but be careful because it can be slippery.
7. Beat the others and start on making valentines day cards. You have time so why not make them at home instead of buying the cards at the last minute.
8. A day at the beach – Pretend its not freezing outside – urn up the heater, get in your bathing suits, hats and sunglasses, get out beach blankets, make a mocktail and pretend you are having a fun day in the sun. To really do it up, make a construction paper sun and hang it up and get out the beach toys to play with indoors.
9. Make friendship necklaces for friends and family members. Or just make the kits to give out to friends. All you need is pasta, ziploc bags, food coloring, vinegar and string. Hours of fun from start to finish. The kits or necklaces with a tag could be the perfect valentines for school.
10. Handmade paper with seeds. You will need to buy the seeds ahead of time but everything else you can find at home.
11. Go camping – Spend time making an elaborate tent. Get out sleeping bags, flashlights and all your camping gear. Go hiking around the house looking for treasures (create a list of things to find that resemble nature). Make a campfire with a candle (be careful and safe with little ones). Makes smores on the stove or microwave. Take a nap in the tent after all the excursion.
12. Use large boxes (store for a rainy or snow day) to make cardboard cars for the little ones to sit in. Spend time decorating and painting. Make edible snack necklaces to eat while watching a movie at the drive in.
13. Have an indoor picnic. Spread a blanket on the floor and indulge in a picnic lunch (sandwiches, lemonade, fruit, chips etc…).
14. Glow sticks in the bathtub – turn off the lights in the bathroom and cover the window to make it as dark as possible. Get dressed in a dark room with a flashlight then read books in the dark with a flashlight to continue the dark play.
15. Teach phases of the moon with oreo cookies then eat them with a glass of milk. Mix in a little education with a lot of fun!
16. Bake cotton balls then smash them – Easy to do and painting them is optional. Get more into it by wearing goggles and smashing the cotton balls with toy hammers.
17. With masking tape or painters tape, make a city with roads on the floor. If you have legos or small toys you can even put buildings around the city. Or make buildings with construction paper. Drive matchbox cars through the city to different places.
18. Host an Olympics party – Your kids may not be familiar with the Olympics so this is the perfect opportunity to familiarize them with it and get excited about it. Get out a map or globe and find Sochi, Russia on the map so they know where the Olympics will be hosted this year. Then have each child pick a country to represent. Make the country flag to parade around the house for the opening ceremonies. Don’t forget to dress in hats and gloves because it is the winter Olympics. Make a large image of the Olympic rings and hang up on the wall. Watch some videos online from previous winter Olympics to learn about the different sports and competitions. Make indoor versions of the games (skating on the carpet – see above, make skis out of cardboard). Make medals ahead of time to hand out at closing ceremony.
19. Go on a treasure hunt – Give each kid a brown bag to decorate with crayons, markets and stickers. Make a treasure list ahead of time and send them on a treasure hunt around the house. Make the list as hard or as easy as you want based on your kids age (clues for older kids and basic items with pictures for younger ones). The last clue can be a box decorated like a treasure box filled with small toys and trinkets from the dollar store. To make it more fun, dress in pirate gear.
20. Toothpicks and mini marshmallows or gum drops. See how elaborate you can go without your creation falling apart. Sit down for a special treat after you are all done. Or make hot chocolate and add the marshmallows.
Finally there are the obvious ideas such as baking or cooking together, read, play board games (if your little one is old enough), play doh etc..