My husband knows me as the never-can-not-be-busy bee. When I met him, I always had a multitude of projects, events, etc., so when I had children AND we moved to Nebraska where there are winters, staying inside started to drive me CRAZY. Now that we have 3 kids, here’s my go-to Cabin Fever list of ideas for those dreary and dark winter days.
I got this idea from my son’s preschool teacher who’s now a homeschool mom (thanks Tonya)! Over the past couple years, I’ve collected trinkets from the dollar spot at Target, the dollar store, or even little toys that kids have admired like our VeggieTales Nativity set. The basic recipe to a sensory box is a huge plastic box with a lid, filler, and small toys. Some ideas for filler are rice (thanks Costco!), water beads, oatmeal, or even paper from your shredder. As for the items, I always like to set a theme for the box. For example, our Christmas Nativity box has the VeggieTales figures, sparkly stars, scented rice (with peppermint essential oil), and lots of plastic farm animals. One, that my son particularly loved, was rather simple: water beads and lots of little cups. My kids could spend hours at a particular box!
My son’s cello teacher told me about this amazing YouTube channel called Cosmic Kids Yoga. It’s seriously the greatest thing in existence! They follow a story with Jaime, a kids yoga instructor, while moving their little bodies. Also, don’t feel weird about wanting to join in because it’s totally fun, especially if you’re like me and wear yoga pants all the time! Another idea is to create a mini obstacle course while doing small chores like dusting, picking up toys, or even cleaning counters…then your house is clean and fun. Lastly, no one ever told me how much work it would be to build forts with kids and then destroy them…talk about moving!
Games, Games, and MORE Games
One of my favorite questions I like to hear around our house is “Can we play a game?” It’s taken me a few Christmases, consignment sales, and Goodwill trips to accumulate our collection of games, but it’s my favorite resource! (Another tip: check your local library to see if you can check out games while you’re building up your stash!) Memory games are a go-to in our house, but we love fun ones for preschoolers and kindergarteners like The Maisy Game, The Hungry Caterpillar card game and even Candy Land. Even having a set of dice or a deck of cards are enough to stave boredom away. There are also some great printable games from places like Pinterest or blogs, so the internet can be a great tool in this case!
Since I have my bachelors in film studies, I strive to introduce my kids to good quality movies. Pixar films, especially the shorts, are a favorite in our house. If you ask my kids, they’ll tell you that I’m the first one to make a treat when we watch a special movie—it can be as simple as animal crackers while you’re watching Zootopia or as complicated as making ratatouille from Ratatouille. Sometimes it’s nice to escape into another world with your kids and make your home the world’s best movie theater.