cabin fever boy windowWeekends can feel incredibly long when cold temperatures and icy weather keep your entire family indoors for 48 hours. While your children have been stimulated and learning all week at preschool or their childcare center, weekends can drag on a bit. How do you help your kids burn off energy and remain engaged when winter weather prevents them from running around the yard or heading to the beach or the park? Try our five ideas for fighting off boredom during long winter days at home!

1. Try a treasure hunt. On a day when the temps are mild, but there’s plenty of snow on the ground, try an outdoor treasure hunt with a wintry twist! At your local dollar store, you can stock up on inexpensive toys that your children will enjoy finding in the snow. You can even hide candies or pieces of fruit in the snow for a frosty treat.

2. Bring winter inside. Do your kids love to play in the snow, but below freezing temperatures have made it dangerous to allow them to venture outside? Bring the fun indoors! Using a plastic storage bin or a large basin as a container, and fill it up with snow from your backyard. Give younger children plastic shovels and buckets that they can use to scoop and gather snow. Older children may have fun using food coloring to make designs in the snow. This activity takes the edge off when your kids are clamoring to play outside, but indoor play is more safe.

3. Maybe your children aren’t that interested in winter weather fun, and miss the summer days when they could camp out in the backyard, or in the woods with the whole family. Assemble a tent indoors, complete with sleeping bags and flashlights, for an indoor campsite. For lunch, lay down a picnic blanket, and make traditional summertime favorites like potato salad, fruit salad, and lemonade!

4. Become a tourist in your own locale. Take the family out for a day of tourist activities, which can range from more local trips, to nearby historic homes, small museums, or statues and monuments. Are these activities not quite engaging enough for your kids? Find out where the nearest children’s museum or aquarium is, and go for a day trip! Being a tourist isn’t just for summer vacation!family board game

5. Is everyone feeling a little worn out from trekking around in freezing temps? Maybe some of you have caught a cold and want to relax. Try creating a family board game for a few days of relaxing, low-key, indoor fun! The beauty of a family board game is that you can create the rules and the goals, and you can even include fun family trivia, inside jokes, and nicknames.

When the snow days pile up and the long weekends of January and February seem interminable, pull a few creative ideas out of your arsenal, and combat cabin fever! Kids love new games, activities, and scenarios, so mixing things up will make this winter fly by.