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January 7, 2015

Winter Family Activities to Avoid Cabin Fever

Its hard to believe that the holiday season is already over, but if youre like much of the country, youre ready to shift your focus to the next task at hand: getting through winter!

The first months of the year often bring the worst of the winter elements, and with that comes long weekends inside or even canceled school. If the thought of stir-crazy kids sitting in the house sends a shiver down your spine, fear not: weve put together some of our favorite family winter activities to help the whole household avoid cabin fever. Even better? Almost all of these activities involve items that you probably already have around the house.

Stay active insideindoor bowling is a great way to reuse water bottles and avoid cabin fever in winter

Whoever said staying indoors is boring hasnt tried any of these activities! Avoid cabin fever with these games that will get your heartrate up and keep the whole family entertained for hours.

  • Skip the alley and have a bowling game at home! If you have 10 plastic water bottles (reusable or recyclable), a tennis or other small ball and space to set up a ”lane”, youre ready to strike all afternoon. Cheryl at has a great tutorial. The best part of being at home: silly shoes are optional!
  • Move the furniture, put on your favorite tunes and have a dance party. This Spotify playlist is sure to be fun for everyone! Added bonus: The whole house will sleep soundly tonight.
  • Get creative with masking tape! Map out favorite games like hopscotch and tic tac toe, or even create a ”balance beam” and long jump for those feeling more adventurous.
  • Want to take it to the next level? Do these activities tournament-style and have your own winter Olympics! Host an opening ceremony, award prizes for each event, and teach your children about the real Winter Games.

Play with your food

Whats better than winter family activities that are able to be eaten in the end? Were probably biased, but in our opinion…nothing!

  • Remember the classic Tinkertoys? Give them an edible spin! Let your family play, build and imagine with edible building blocks like pretzel sticks, marshmallows, and Watermelon Rings. See who can construct the tallest or sturdiest structure.
  • Speaking of marshmallows, try this mini-marshmallow popping contest from Real Simple magazine. While we dont endorse eating the launched treats off the floor, its always good to have extras on hand.
  • Turn mealtime into a family activity! Stock up on miniature crusts, lots of vegetables and other favorite toppings to let each family member create their own personal pizza masterpiece. Or if your family has a sweet tooth, decorate sugar cookies instead. (A snowflake cookie cutter would be perfect for our neck of the woods right now.) This way, everyone gets to express themselves through their foodit makes preparing almost as fun as eating!

DIY fun

Crafts are the perfect activity to help your house avoid cabin fever. Weve chosen a few favorites that are high on creative expression but low on mess!

  • If youre like many, you probably got some new socks at the holidays. So clean out your drawer and make a bunch of sock puppets! It can be done in as few as seven steps. Afterwards, put on a show for each other. Bonus points if you record it and send it to grandparents! Many of our friends even send us snippets though Snapchat and Instagram.
  • Create a family portraitwith a twist! No matter what medium you choose, be it marker, paint or colored pencil, let each family member add him or herself to it.
  • Take the time stuck inside to finally put together a family photo album! Get those photos off your Camera Roll and let the kids help choose for printing their favorite photos that youve taken over the past year. Then, gather paper, stickers, movie stubs, and any mementos that will add flair to the pages. Let each family member decorate some pages for the book.

The favorite fallbacksprint out your own DIY movie night ticket (we chose to watch frozen!)

The classics are such for a reason! These winter family activities (though why confine it to just one season?) have stood the test of time and can make for a great day for the whole family.

  • Put on your most comfortable pajamas, gather up your warmest blankets, and gather around for a family movie night! Just because youre at home doesnt mean you cant have the movie theatre experience: Print tickets (download your own here), pop popcorn and have plenty of sweet treats on hand (how about Gummy Worms or Peach Rings?).
  • Put together a puzzle: Puzzles are a great activity for kids; they help develop problem-solving and cognitive skills, as well as cooperation and patience! Choose a puzzle together as a family and be sure to find a big, well-lit workspace. Planning ahead? Make your own puzzle! Find a favorite photo and many companies, like Walgreens, can transform it into a puzzle within a few days.
  • You may be cooped up inside, but get your imaginations running wild by making up a story together. Have each person take a turn to add the next few lines. Youll never guess where the story will end up! Dont forget to preserve your tall tale by writing it downyou could even let the kids illustrate it!

What are your favorite winter family activities to help avoid cabin fever? Let us know in the comments!