Cabin Fever Busters

How do you deal with cabin fever?

In our family, we get creative!

As winter drags on, everyone can develop a big case of cabin fever. Kids are bouncing off the walls. Parents dream of getting away (by themselves). And everyone wishes that the weather would get better sooner so that everyone can get escape outside. Here are some ideas to help your family escape:

Go For a Swim! When we’re bored in the middle of the day, I let my kids go swimming in the bathtub with their bathing suits. Plus, we add food coloring to the bath water. (Make sure you add the color before anyone or anything gets in since food coloring can stain before it dilutes into the water.) My kids have loved bathing in the ocean (blue water), the swamp (green water), the lava pit (red water), and lemonade (yellow water).

Go Camping! We transform our living room into a campsite. A small pup tent usually can fit in a living room, or build a fort by dragging in chairs from other rooms and draping sheets over the top. My kids love to hide out underneath with flashlights and books.

Travel to an Exotic Location! We also pretended that our home is another country. We check out books and music about another country, such as Tanzania or Korea, from the library and then do activities from that country. We make food, play games, do crafts, and even make flags using markers and an old white bed sheet.

Let the Crazy Take Over! When cabin fever hits us especially hard, we go on exploration adventures. Since my kids like to swim, we find an indoor pool at a community center that we’ve never gone to before. Sometimes getting a snack at a different mall that’s 30 minutes away can feel like a new outing. We even once drove out to Darwin, Minnesota, just to see the world’s largest ball of twine. My kids were even more excited when they discovered that singer Weird Al Yankovic recorded a song called The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota.

Give! We also like doing projects to help others. Creating cards or joke books for sick relatives or neighbors is always a hit. So is baking cookies for a friend and bringing them over—just because we appreciate the friendship. Doing something nice for others often helps us to forget that we have the crabby cabin fever.

To our family, cabin fever signals that we’ve fallen into a rut. We’re doing the same thing over and over, and we’re tired of it. Cabin fever means it’s time to do something new, to change in some way. So when cabin fever hits, we put on our creativity and adventure caps and begin to dream up something new and interesting to do.

1. Jolene Roehlkepartain, Parenting Preschoolers with a Purpose (Minneapolis: Search Institute Press, 2006).

2. Lawrence Cohen, Playful Parenting (New York: Ballantine, 2002).

3. Family Fun, Parentfurther

4. Photo Credit: Gran Velas Riviera Maya via Flick’r

Crazy can be good! Children’s author Dan Gutman just released his newest book, The Genius Files, which includes adventures at the world’s largest ball of twine, the Spam museum, etc.

My family loves traveling to see quirky roadside attractions like these! We have a blog, “Go BIG or Go Home,” which chronicles what happens when our small-town family visits the “world’s largest”…whatever!

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