Fighting Cabin Fever: Fun & Affordable Indoor Activities for the Kids
Posted on 12/11/20 in Parent and Caregiver by Estee Ezinski
There was a time when winter break was filled with squeezing in as much fun as possible while everyone was home from school. Since we’ve all been home since March, my list of fun ideas quickly began to dwindle and with colder weather not allowing for daily outdoor play, I was left with finding fun activities for my children who are ages 2-11.
When choosing activities, there are a few things I ask myself: 1) can it be done with things I already have at home, and 2) will the activity last longer than the prep time?
Here are a few activities that fit this criteria and that my children have enjoyed. I hope you and your family have as much fun with these as we have!
Cookie Decorating - This is a seasonal go-to that the entire family enjoys! Not only is it fun, it’s a great way to work on fine motor skills (squeezing the icing bottle, spreading frosting and scooping sprinkles). For older children it can be fun to have a light-hearted “contest” to encourage spending extra time, effort and precision.
Sensory Bins - The first time I saw my son's occupational therapist pull out a bin filled with uncooked rice and dinosaurs I thought there was no way that my son would be entertained by it. I definitely learned something that day! We’ve done rice, snow, water and sand – we lay down a sheet to contain the best we can but even if it gets a little messy it is so worth it! A few fun things to include are: funnels, cups, cars, action figures, animals and anything else your child may enjoy!
Play-Doh Volcanos - Mixing vinegar and baking soda is exciting but only lasts a few seconds. I gave each child a dollar store baking sheet and lined up the containers of Play-Doh and told them to build a volcano – give a small cup or foil starting point to make sure it could hold the “lava”! Once they are finished they scoop in baking soda and then pour or use a syringe to add in the vinegar! The laughter and wide eyes watching their volcanos “erupt” leaves me enjoying this activity just as much as they do! Here is a Youtube link to see what other parents have done.
Messy Drawing/Writing - In the summer we put out a tarp in the yard, but in the colder months, this would work well in your garage or bathtub! We give the kids a can of shaving cream and let them get messy. We learned the hard way that while shaving cream is fun it doesn’t taste great… a container of cool whip is cheaper than shaving cream and edible! We pull out our dollar store baking pan and line the bottom with cool whip – from there we can practice letters, math, draw or even play a game of Pictionary or tic tac toe! It’s also fun to sprinkle in a little kool aid for color and flavor!
Obstacle Course - My oldest child helped me a lot with the creation of an obstacle course which I think ultimately made it even more fun for her siblings. Painter's tape was used on the floor to walk on like a balance beam, couch cushions were lined up to jump along, and streamers in doorways to climb under or over. If you have a small indoor trampoline, tunnels or a yoga ball, that can all be incorporated too! It’s a great way to work on gross motor skills and burn off energy!
Spa Days - This activity is a win-win! You can use store-bought masks or make your own! Light a candle, drink sparkling cider, turn on relaxing music and bring the spa to you! You can find ideas for homemade masks here.
Whatever you choose to do with your family, it is important to keep in mind that any craft or activity will not always happen seamlessly. It’s important to stay patient, have fun be the number one goal and if your child doesn’t enjoy an activity, that’s okay. Ask them to help you plan the next one!
ABOUT THE WRITER
As Milestones Helpdesk Coordinator, Estee Ezinski supports individuals and families in finding resources in their communities. Estee has a professional background in pediatric patient care and is a mother to a child with autism. As a mom, she is dedicated to serving families while being able to utilizes her own child’s and family’s experiences to help guide other families. Estee is an active PTA member currently serving as PTA President in her district while sharing her passion for advocating for the autism community.