I’m sure we all have visions of green, lush grass, the sweet songs of robins, laying on the front porch glider reading a book, sipping lemonade and sweet tea, the smell of freshly cut hay, watching the kids chase fireflies and building forts…oh, I could go on and on and on. I have the worst case of Cabin Fever. Judging by the amount of arguing, tv watching that’s been going on I would say I’ve spread my *fever* to the kids.
Time for some Cabin Fever tips! Some of these are tried and true, some I have in a folder I keep from magazines and some are just activities I’ve been wanting to try.
#1 Brown Sugar Sand Castles: My boys LOVE playing with brown sugar in place of sand. All you need is extra brown sugar, containers (think *outside the sandbox on this one…could be Tupperware, plastic milk jugs cut in two, empty and clean cans who are waiting to be recycled or reused, measuring cups, cleaned OJ boxes…the sky is the limit!) Instead of sticks use spoons, straws or paintbrushes for flags and decorations. I’ve tried doing this on our activity table-cloth or on cookie pans. I would recommend using both and line the cookie pan with foil which can replicate water for the moat. WARNING: This is not a good activity if you are a high maintainance mom who does not like big messes. It’s similar to Moon Sand whereas it can get everywhere with an added bonus of stickiness. With that said, the kids LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this activity!
#2 Mini-Me Scrapbook: Gather up any group of photos per child – at least 35…alphabetized based on the activity. Using typical scrapbooking supplies mount the pictures on a piece of acid free, lignin free cardstock or heavy scrapbook paper. Using a patterned pieces of scrap book paper have your child draw or trace the letters of the alphabet (make sure they will fit on the scrap book page). Then if age appropriate have them cut the letters out (adult supervision advised). Pair up an activity which begins with the letter “A” and place the cut-out A on the page, then decorate. Stickers, acid-free pens and other embellishments will finish the page up nicely. Continue until you have a page for each letter. There are a few options for assembling the book. Using a 3-hole puncher, you could prepare the pages and place in a binder. Or, you could only punch one hole in each paper and attach with yarn, ribbon or string. If you’re needing a day out of the house, run to Staples, FedEx/Kinkos or your nearest office store and have it professionally bound…this can increase the cost of this project. You can also use my favorite method and place each page in a scrap book, covered in plastic…you have a homemade book to help your child learn the alphabet and a family treasure.
#3 Ice Skating in your kitchen (this idea comes from “The FlyLady” website under the Camp Gonna Wanna Fly section) – We use this in conjunction with our weekly cleaning chores. Begin by digging out the swimming suits! And, maybe turning up the heat a degree or two. Next, make sure everyone keeps or puts socks on. On the Flylady’s website they suggest using a tub for the kids to get their socks soapy and wet. We save a dish and just spray down the floor (and sometimes the kids) with the kitchen sink sprayer. Using your regular dish soap draw the kids’ initials in the floor or pictures, lines, whatever makes them giggle. Begin skating!! Once I can tell they are starting to become bored I bring out six towels. I spray the floor again and give each child a towel. Sitting on their knees, they pull themselves around in their “boats.” This is the rinse and dry cycle. Finally, once the floor has had a good scrub down provide each child with their own towel and presto, you have exhausted, exercised, giggly children and a sparkling floor. All you have to do is remember to take pics!
#4 Trip to Barnes & Noble…One of our favorite winter and summer outings is taking a trip to Barnes & Noble. Our nearest store has a table for the older kids to sit and read. The real highlight is the Thomas the Train table that’s complete with all of the engines. Most of the time I can quickly grab a book of my choice, stop at the Starbucks counter for a coffee and then go relax in the children’s section while the kids play Thomas the Train. For this reason only (besides the fact we live in a little old farm house), I have never thought twice about not buying a set. Some days we even tie this in with a McDonald’s lunch date.
#5 Family Film Making: I’ve always wanted to try making a large puppet show theater, complemented by sock puppets. I keep the old socks and then we never get around to doing the activity. I recently found a new type of puppet which will allow you to reuse those mix/matched gloves. Sit down and go through magazines or photos with your kids. Have each child pick out the face they would like to be. Paste the picture or photo onto card stock and cut around the face. Grab those gloves which are missing their partners and cut the fingers off. Using craft glue or a glue gun (adult supervision recommended), glue the face to the front of each finger. You could also put a little dazzle into each character by using some sparkly, puffy paint. Draw dots or lines or whatever your kids dream up. The large set that I’ve always dream of ends up being overwhelming to build. So I found an idea using cardboard or a shoe box. Cut-out a large rectangle in the lid of the box. Cover with inexpensive felt from Walmart or your local craft store. Add ribbon or other embellishments for decorations. Set up the box, pop some popcorn and you have your own home theater!
***School has already been canceled for tomorrow and mostly likely Wed. due to the impending Blizzard. I think we might give this a try and then I’ll have pics to share!***
#6 Horizontal snowman: As long as the temps are too low and you have snow on the ground…make use of it! Of course you can stick with the traditional snowman where you roll the three balls but last year we ended up with quite a few cold snows where the snow just would not pack. Instead we would make three hills of snow, one small, one medium, and the bottom would be the largest. It sure did help turn some frustrated frowns upside down!
#7 Snow Fort: If you live out in the country and have access to a tractor or Bobcat you’ve got the beginnings of a fun, filled fort. Now, even if you live in town or do not have access to a tractor look for nearby ditches where the snowplows will sometimes live a nice mound of snow. Even if these aren’t options, you are not out of luck! As long as the snow packs you can roll three or four enormous snowballs. Set them each next to each other and find a sheet of plywood for the roof. My kids love to use their hills of snow for sledding and when they grow tired of that they begin to dig tunnels. Our hills can get so big that tunnel digging is only allow with an adult nearby, just case something would cave. My favorite is when they build slides that go down into their fort!!
***My hubby is stoked about tomorrow’s snow storm. He is already planning where he’ll place the pile.***
#8 Fort building without snow: When there isn’t snow on the ground (which hasn’t been very common this year) the kids will head down to our storage shed for a ‘roll’ in the hay. Willis must be adequately medicated prior to doing this but they are never disappointed with the fun. So you don’t have a hay shed or barn? That’s alright! Grab as many blankets as you can and get ready to move some furniture. Your family room can quickly be transformed into the coolest fort on the block!
#9 Search and Find/Name Game Decorating: Long name, tons of fun! A really neat way to decorate your home is by creating a unique picture frame which contains every letter in your last name. The letters are found around town, in the country, house or where ever. As you find each letter, stop and take a picture. Edit using your favorite software (Photoshop Elements is inexpensive compared to the full version, or go to piknic.com for free software.) Print the pics and frame each individual letter. Display on the wall and wade through all of the compliments you’ll receive! I might work on this one tomorrow!
#10 Library Day, with a twist: Going to the library is another great way to spend quality time with your kids. Many offer wonderful children programs, story time, etc… If you are like us and only have a small library to your disposal you can play library at home. Don’t get me wrong, I love going to our one room library that’s about the size of my dining room and kitchen combined. It reiderates the fact that we live near one of America’s all-time true Mayberry’s. And, I LOVE it! However, there aren’t the programs you find at larger libraries.
At home you can play library, killing three birds with one stone…it can be done! Pretend you are librarians going through all of the on-hand books. As you go through them keep your favorites but make a stack for a local child care center or crisis pregnancy center. Make sure you give the kids a little fun by “checking” out a couple of their books! Entertainment, organization and giving. I like it.
I had originally planned to post this last week but wasn’t ready. Boy am I glad it wasn’t! I hope these tips help those of us who will be stuck a home with three little boys…two of which want to wrestle, constantly.
Happy Snow Day to those receiving all of this wonderful snow!!