With ever growing snow banks, temps barely in the 20s (if we’re lucky) and ice patches nearly everywhere, spring feels like a far off dream. Cabin fever has set in. The kids are bouncing off the walls and making daily – sometimes hourly – proclamations of boredom. It’s time to get creative.
To beat the winter blues, my family is making our own fun – without the help of screens. Below are 9 screen-free activities that are favorites in our house. Here’s to making the best of the wait for the first robin of spring.
1 – Play 20 questions
Challenge your kid’s mind with this classic game that can be played anytime, anywhere. My son loves partnering with myself or my husband to try to stump the other parent. We all have a blast asking insightful and silly questions to win the game.
2 – Crank up the tunes
We all love a catchy tune. How else would Baby Shark make it onto the Billboard Hot 100 chart
? Fill your house with your favorite music and become part of the band. With some imagination, cardboard boxes can transform into drum sets, combs can become microphones and brooms can turn into guitars. Before you know it, you may have a dance party on your hands (see idea #6)!
3 – Build a fort
Do you remember how fun forts were as a kid? It’s time to relive the experience. Raid your linen closet, deconstruct your beds and start building. With the help of card tables, you can create a solid structure that has room to play games, read books or have an indoor picnic.
4 – Embrace family game night
The best family game nights feature games that both kids AND parents enjoy. It’s a tall order, but it’s possible. For younger kids, I recommend the board game BusyTown
, which is a collaborative seek-and-find game. We’ve also had fun playing the card games
Go Fish, Old Mai, and Slap Jack and teaching my five-year-old how to play checkers.
5 – Play flashlight hide-and-seek
Take advantage of winter’s early sunsets with this twist on a familiar game. You’ll need a flashlight for each person and kids who don’t mind being in the dark. The game is played exactly like regular hide-and-seek but uses only the light from a flashlight. Playing in the dark gives the game an added challenge and a greater element of suspense.
6 – Bake a treat
Baking can be an excellent cure for cabin fever. Yes, you’ll likely end up with flour on the floor and egg on the table, but you’ll also make some great memories – and a delicious treat. Plus, I’ve discovered that baking is an excellent way to sneak in practical counting and math lessons.
7 – Have a light up dance party
If your child likes to dance, they will love having a dance party in the dark. Gather your kid’s light up balls, wands and glow sticks and turn off all the lights. Once the party tunes are playing, grab the various light up items and start dancing. The strobe light glow of the toys will have everyone feeling like a dancing superstar.
8 – Create an obstacle course
Obstacle courses are a great way to get the winter wiggles out. Arrange toys and furniture into stations that your child has to climb, run, crawl or jump through. Turn it into a competition by timing each run and challenging your kid to beat his or her personal record.
9 – Take a trip down memory lane
Dig out your photos and videos and relive your kid’s early years. Your child will love seeing earlier versions of themselves (and you!), and you’ll have fun sharing your favorite stories and memories. While not technically 100% screen free, viewing these photos will provide better entertainment than even the best episode of Paw Patrol.
What about you? How are you saving your sanity and keeping your kids entertained during these long days of winter?