beat cabin fever

Last Updated on March 19, 2024

After the busyness of December and early darkness with chilly weather, winter can seem tedious. Less daylight and cold weather can result in cranky kids and moms!

Choose to focus on others. Bundle up the kids and head outside (or even to the garage) to burn off extra energy. Below are 31 ideas for winter fun to help you combat the blues and beat cabin fever!

Looking for even more great activity ideas? Check out these fun role-playing ideas for kids!

How to beat cabin fever with your kids

  1. Head to your local senior center and pass out helium balloons or cookies.
  2. Pull out the markers, paper, pipe cleaners, and leftover Christmas cards and make “Happy Winter” cards for friends and neighbors.
  3. Serve dinner under the table.
  4. Send the kids to play in the garage. Rollerskate, bounce balls, race toy cars, or do jumping jacks in a different environment. Even if your garage is unheated, it still offers protection from the wet and cold.
  5. Bring a tub of snow inside or fill large bowls with shaving cream and make sculptures.
  6. Head to the mall with homemade bingo cards and stickers. The bingo squares can include objects like: pair of purple shoes, woman wearing a red scarf,  store display with snowflakes, man with a beard, etc. First person to get a bingo wins an ice cream cone.
  7. Sort through the toys and pitch the broken ones, donate neglected ones, and store some in a box to pull out later in the year
  8. Have everyone choose a Secret Pal. You can limit this to your family or choose a neighbor or friend at school. Do one kind thing for your Secret Pal every day this week: make his or her bed, slip a treat in his or her lunchbox, put away his or her laundry, write a list of his or her special qualities, sweep his or her front porch, make a special snack. Little ones can draw or color pictures and assist with chores.
  9. Check with your local nature center or zoo for programs about animals who love the cold and how to identify animal tracks. Take a nature walk through the park.
  10. Pull out the fine china and light candles at dinner. Even if you’re eating chicken nuggets, enjoy your “special” dishes!
  11. Plan a weekend getaway — even if it’s just to a local, inexpensive hotel with an indoor pool.
  12. Watch old family movies or look through photo albums together.
  13. Dress up your pets. If your pet dislikes dressing up, give your kids crayons and let them become pet fashion designers on paper.
  14. Make an indoor obstacle course. Heap the couch cushions to climb, stack chairs to crawl under, and pile boxes to jump over or slide through.
  15. Make cards and a treat for a service provider you appreciate. Are you thankful for your dependable mail or newspaper carrier? Does the visit from the sanitation truck bring your preschooler great joy? Let them know!
  16. Check out books from the library to teach your children about Dr. Martin Luther King’s accomplishments.
  17. Set up the camping tent in the living room or make your own tent with tables and blankets. Pull out the sleeping bags and flashlights and enjoy S’More Brownies.
  18. Pop some popcorn! Cover popcorn with white chocolate & crushed leftover candy canes, glue it to paper, season it, sprinkle it outside for the birds, or just enjoy it while watching a movie.
  19. Go on a safari. Hide the children’s stuffed animals around the house. Climb in your “Jeep” (cardboard box “car,” wagon, scooter, etc.), and see how many wild animals you can find.
  20. Turn everything upside down! Wear pajamas for the day, put on your clothes at night. Eat pizza for breakfast and pancakes for dinner. How many opposites can your children name?
  21. Great day for a beach party! Turn up the thermostat and wear swimsuits and sunglasses for the day. Have a picnic on beach towels. Blow up balloons or a beach ball to play beach volleyball.
  22. Set up a table and begin a large jigsaw puzzle for the family to work on. It’s amazing what kids will discuss when their hands are busy doing a puzzle.
  23. Write a letter to or call someone you have not been in touch with for awhile. Let them know what you miss about them or share a precious memory.
  24. Collect large boxes from the appliance store or superstore and let imaginations run wild!
  25. Silence is golden … see who can go the longest without making a sound. (See what we did there? You’re welcome!)
  26. Have everyone get into their pajamas right after dinner and grab a stack of books to read together as a family under the biggest blanket you can find.
  27. Fill a basket with Dad and Mom’s shirts, pants, socks, hats, old jewelry, purses, shoes, nightgowns, and even underwear. Record their giggles on video as they dress up in too-big clothes and try and look like Daddy and Mommy!
  28. Have a spa day at home. Give foot and back rubs while listening to instrumental music. Sip water with cucumber slices and eat finger sandwiches. Even boys like a little pampering!
  29. Make treats for wildlife and/or hang a bird feeder in front of a window and give your children the joy of experiencing nature in their yard.
  30. Bring a bit of the outdoors in. Cut some evergreens and put in a vase, or purchase a houseplant or bouquet of flowers to brighten your home.
  31. Declare a Bubble Bath Day. Let the kids soak until wrinkled like raisins. After they’re in bed, grab a book and enjoy a soak yourself!

Cabin fever is nothing to be afraid of when you’ve got these fun ideas in your back pocket. Don’t be afraid to try some new things and get a little messy with your kids. These are memories that they’ll take with them forever, long after the cold weather has gone! Enjoy this time of year when the pace is a little bit slower and families have more time together.

What are some of your favorite ways to beat cabin fever with your family?

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  1. Wonderful ideas! We've been trying to combat cabin fever and the blues this month too! I'll be adding these to our list.

    1. Yay! So glad you like them! Let us know which ones you do. 🙂