Is cabin-fever cramping your family? It is ours. We have entirely too much energy to be cooped up in the house during this long and super cold winter! Not to mention that mom’s sanity is at stake! So we had to find some fun winter kid activities to make the days goes faster, and I have to say they’re pretty darn fun!
The #1 and most obvious solution to this is bundle up your kiddos and get some fresh (and cold) outdoor air! One of my girlfriends is a trooper… she takes her kids outside every. single. day.! I was absolutely wowed by this when she and her family came to visit and she suggested outside play time in 40-degree weather. I also thought she was a bit crazy as I am not a fan of cold weather or snow. But all our boys loved it and it made for a calmer rest of the day. Kudos to you if you do this already!
For the rest of us cold weather wimps with cabin fever, here are some great ways to get your kids some outdoor-type play indoors and work out the wiggles.
Join (or start) a Mom & Tot Gym Time! I recently got invited to join in a weekly playdate in the gymnasium at a local church. Take bikes, balls, wagons, scooters, or whatever your kiddos love to help them get their energy out! It’s an hour and a half of nothing but time to run and get some of that outdoor play kids love indoors!
Go swimming. Call your local YMCA, a city aquatic center, or school pool and ask about family swim times and fees. (If you’re a member of the YMCA, it is automatically included in your membership!) Or, enroll your child in swim lessons. Water is a great way to wear kids out!
Bring the outdoor toys inside! If you have an unfinished basement or a heated garage, bring bikes and roller skates inside. I used to be a roller skating diva in our garage growing up and my husband has fond memories of riding his bike in his basement even as a teenager. Our basement is finished, however, we let the boys have their jumpy balls in the basement and they have a blast bouncing!
Have a race or set up and obstacle course indoors! Yes, race inside! Clip a pedometer on your child, set a timer, and have them run in place. See who can run the farthest in one minute! Then have a swimming race! Have your child lay on their back or belly and with a pedometer clipped to their pant leg, have them kick and see who “swims” the farthest in a minute’s time. Reward your little competitors with their favorite healthy snack! Or set up an obstacle course of things to crawl under or slalom around. You can time obstacle course if you want to add the element of competition. Otherwise, just the opportunity to get moving makes most kiddos happy!
Playplaces. Most playplaces at restaurants are free! Besides the obvious fast food playplaces, lots of new café and play type playplaces are becoming more popular. They are typically much cleaner, nicer, and offer a variety of play for different ages, however, they may have a minimal fee to play.
Sports teams and camps. Get your child enrolled in a sporting event a couple times a week. It’ll work on their gross motor skills in addition to getting some energy burned off.
Inflatable fun zones. Indoor trampolines and inflatable fun houses are great places for kids to run, jump, climb, jump… oh, did I mention jump? For our family, this would be a special treat as these type of fun zones can be pricey. However, kids love ‘em and are pooped little people at playtime’s end.
Nerf wars. Set the parameters for the war zone, make safety glasses mandatory, and then turn the wild things loose. I was not a fan of the idea of the boys playing “guns” for the longest time. But when we finally allowed them, let’s just say they were a sanity saver. The kids will be entertained for hours and will wear themselves out!
Take a field trip… or as we call them “A Family Adventure”. Since we live just 45-minutes outside downtown Chicago and we love the city, we often take field trips there… even in the winter. You don’t need to spend money or do anything fancy. Just going for a walk to see new things keeps everyone entertained for the day. Of course, we throw in some fun things like donuts for a snack or finding somewhere cool to eat dinner. But it’s such a great way to experience new things and enjoy time together.
Here’s hoping that spring got the memo it’s supposed to be coming soon. And to happily helping our kiddos work out their wiggles while we wait out winter.