Beat cabin fever with fun-filled winter activities

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Crisp air and cold temperatures are a trademark of winter. Colder days likely mean more time inside; for children, being cooped inside can be frustrating, exponentially so if there are multiple children in the home. Days can be filled with serenade of “I’m bored!” and “Can I go outside?” and then, after two minutes, “It’s too cold outside.” Step out of your comfort zone and explore activities and games!

Indoors

Play board games

Playing board games or card games is easily a favorite wintertime activity. Uno, Sorry and Chutes and Ladders can all provide hours, or possibly minutes, of fun for the whole family. Learn a new card game or pick up a new puzzle, turn on a movie and get playing! Making games educational can add another layer of learning. Dominoes teach math skills, Monopoly can teach real-estate theories and sometimes a board game can teach someone how to simply lose with grace.

Camp in the living room

Is it too cold to camp in the backyard? Never fear, a living room, a tent or pillow fort and flashlights make for perfect indoor camping. Make s’mores in the oven, bundle in plush sleeping bags and tell spooky stories in the comfort of your home.

Decorate for the holidays

Oh, Christmas Tree, Oh, Christmas Tree! Decorating for the holidays is a tedious chore if you let it. Making a game of decorating the house with tinsel, lights and bows can be an easy, fun afternoon, occupying children for hours. Fashion popcorn garland to wrap around the tree, coffee filter snowflakes for décor or cinnamon stick bundles to hang over doorways.

Make snow globes

This is a quick, easy craft suitable for most ages including adults. Using a clear jar with a lid, fill the jar with water, glitter and any other shimmery things that may make a snow globe special; glue figurines or small toys to the inside of the lid. Line the inner rim of the lid with hot glue and screw the lid onto the jar. Allow the glue to dry, flip it over and enjoy a homemade, personalized snow globe.

Teach children how to cook their favorite meal

More than a holiday activity, this is a life skill. Have children make lists of their favorite meals. Accompany them to the grocery store and help pick and purchase ingredients. Learning to prepare a meal from start to finish, is a valuable life skill that every person needs; the quality time spent together is just a bonus.

Bake cookies

Baking cookies can be messy, sure. Baking cookies can also bring joy and a love of baking that develops over time. Measuring ingredients, rolling dough and cutting shapes is a fantastic avenue to teach fractions and shapes; decorating with icing and sprinkles can teach colors and textures.

Have an at-home spa day

Face masks, nail polish, lotion and body scrubs are likely in most women’s bathroom vanities. Use what you have to create an at-home spa. Make a pot of tea, throw on a robe and a facemask (cucumber eye slices optional) and flip the television to a chick flick or holiday-themed movie. Manicure your fingers and pedicure your toes, lather on body oil and lotions, drink some lemon water and you could imagine it’s taking place in a high-end salon, without the price tag.

Transform your house into a scavenger hunt or obstacle course

There are tons of self-guided scavenger hunt plans available online to download, or you could make your own scavenger hunt map. Hide gifts and treats around the home, and dream up riddles to help guide players to the clues. Similarly, masking tape and normal household objects can quickly turn a house into a live-action episode of Wipe-Out, creating obstacles and roadblocks on the way to finding a prize.

Make your own playdough

Playdough can be made in less than five minutes and costs less than $1 to make. It’s a natural DIY activity for frugal moms. Create crazy colors with food dye, and cut shapes with cookie cutters. You can even bake this play dough in the oven to make sculptures that will last quite a while. This activity can provide hours of busy play, making for a happy mom.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup salt
  • 4 tbsp. cream of tartar
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable or coconut oil
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Quart zip bags for storage

Stir dry ingredients in a pot and add the water and oil. Cook over medium heat, constantly stirring until all ingredients are combined and the dough forms a ball. Place the dough into the quart bags or onto wax paper to cool. If coloring is being added, add food dye and knead until smooth (tip- add the dye to the dough and knead the dye into the dough while it is inside a quart bag, otherwise the dye can stain hands and clothes). When the dough is cool to the touch, it is ready to be shaped, sliced and stretched.

Create a movie theater and host a movie night

Pull the curtains closed, inflate that air mattress, pile up the pillows and have a family movie theater night. Choose a movie from a streaming service or rent a DVD from Redbox and serve movie theater snacks like popcorn, nachos and boxed candy; all can be purchased at any grocery store and are relatively inexpensive.

Learn to finger knit

Finger knitting with chunky yarn is a fast and user-friendly craft for those who love cozy gifts. Finger knitting generally requires a thicker, more plush yarn that is weaved using your fingers instead of a crochet hook or knitting needles. Because the yarn is much thicker, a project is completed faster. Throw blankets, pillow forms and scarves can all be made in a small amount of time.

Indoor snowball fight

Balling up a plastic shopping bag and folding it in a sock makes the perfect lightweight indoor snowball. Move furniture and create obstacles with tables, curtains, chairs and sheets. Dodging the opponent’s snowballs, and taking cover more impressively than James Bond, an indoor snowball fight will surely hold attention for a few hours, at least.

Try your hand at Solo Cup bowling

Love bowling but can’t make it to a local alley? Set up an impromptu bowling alley in a hallway with disposable cups and fruit. This activity can be done easily; the only supplies needed are disposable cups and a round fruit for the ball. An orange or an apple would be great to lob down the length of a hallway. As the game progresses, the stakes rise. Knocking down a 7-10 split with a grapefruit is one accomplishment that deserves fanfare.

Read a book

Reading is so beneficial for everyone. Reading can expand vocabulary, educate about significant events or even create a separate reality for the reader, an escape from mundane life. Choose a favorite chapter book to read to children, pick up that Reality TV star’s memoir or read about economic collapse in other regions. No matter what is read, reading is a great way to pass time and have fun in the process.

Organize and “spring” clean

The least favorite, most obvious answer when asked how to keep busy in winter, is “clean your house.” Nobody enjoys tidying up and organizing their belongings, but it is a task that must be done. While tedious and trying, cleaning and organizing can become a game in itself if creativity takes over. Make cleaning toys a game: who can fill this bucket the quickest? When all the books are put away, crank up the dance music and have a dance party in a freshly tidied home, giving room for all the above activities.

And for those who want to brave the outdoors…

Go on a hike

Alabama is home to so many beautiful areas for hikes and nature walks. State parks often have children’s attractions. Some offer train rides and petting zoos, some even have museums and historical items on display. An outdoor excursion during the winter season may sound daunting and unenjoyable, but with proper planning and clothing, it could be a smashing success.

Build a colorful igloo

Experience how indigenous hunters slept and waited for their prey in an igloo with a twist. Using plastic containers, water and dye, an igloo can be made by freezing multiple “bricks” of colorful water, creating rainbow ice blocks. Shape and stack them together in a traditional spherical shape; with snow or water between them to cement them together. This activity is time-consuming, as you do need a large number of bricks.

Channel your inner Anna and Elsa and create a snowy friend

Do you wanna build a snowman? Snowmen and snow angels are trademarks of snowy winter days, ones that captivate all ages. Make a snowman family and dress them for a performance; create a snowscape with angels on the ground. Spray bottles with colored water can add festivity and character to Frosty, as well.

Make frozen suncatchers

Explore nature and create frozen suncatchers. Search for and collect twigs, berries and leaves from your area, place them in a pie pan with water, and freeze them. That’s it! After the catcher is frozen, remove It from the pan, and using a lighter or a hot object, melt a small hole for a ribbon. Hang the suncatcher from a nearby tree limb, and watch as the sun shimmers and reflects the colors of the nature items in the heart of the catcher.

Explore local Christmas markets and holiday light displays

Winter is home to all sorts of holiday light displays, ready to explore! Meet Santa Claus at a local Christmas market while perusing and purchasing gifts for friends and family. These local events usually provide activities and games geared toward children, making this a huge holiday hit.

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