Jodi - posted on 01/13/2010 ( 4 moms have responded )
It’s winter time and it’s about this time of year it seems even the children are ready for spring! I have done much internet browsing and have come up with a list of some great activities, many indoor activities but also outdoor activities which are listed last!
Many of the activities you will find that I’ve listed are for groups of children, my suggestion to all is to throw a mid-winter get together with your children’s friends or playmates! I hope this helps everyone who is getting a case of cabin fever like I am!
Coloring Pasta - Place a handful of dry, uncooked pasta, such as ziti, rotini or farfelle, into a plastic zipper baggie. Add a tablespoon of white vinegar and 2-3 drops of food coloring. Close the baggie and have the kids shake the bag until the pasta is completely colored. Spread out onto a paper plate or paper towel and allow to dry. Use several baggies to create different colors. Once the pasta is dry, kids can use yarn to string together pieces to make necklaces and bracelets, or glue them to paper plates or construction paper to create a work of art.
Sardines (Reverse Hide-n-Seek) - One child is the hider, everyone else is a seeker. The hider hides while the seekers seek. However, when a seeker finds the hider, instead of pointing him out, he joins him in the hiding place. Soon, the children will all be stuffed in one place, like a box of sardines! The first child to find the hider gets to hide next. (I can remember playing this game growing up and it was an absolute blast!)
Stealthy Thieves: In this game, one person sits in a chair with a key chain full of keys or another clangy item placed on the floor underneath. The "keeper of the keys" then closes his or her eyes and listens carefully for the sound of an approaching "thief." When the keeper hears a suspicious sound, he or she tries to thwart the attempted act by pointing in the direction of the sound. If the pointing is accurate, the thief is eliminated from the game. If, however, the thief can remove the keys without getting pointed at, the mission is a success, and a new keeper takes the chair.
Maybe you can have too many cooks in the kitchen, but you can't have too many thieves in this activity, especially thieves who can work together to distract the keeper of the keys!
Pantyhose Polo: Cut a pair of panty hose up the middle and drop an orange into the toe of each leg. Stick 2 lengths of tape to the floor about 15 feet apart for the start and finish lines, then place 2 more oranges behind the start line. Tie the panty hose legs around 2 players' waists so that the oranges hang about a half inch off the floor.
Without using their hands, players must swing the panty hose orange to knock their floor orange over the finish line. The first one to do so wins.
This game is made for two or more…but I really think that even just one child will have fun whacking an orange around the house! Why not make an obstacle course for your child to navigate through?
Giggle Belly: Have one player lie down on his back. The next player lies down with his head resting on the first player's belly and the next player lies down with her head on the second player's belly. Arrange all the players until everyone is zigzagged around the lawn or floor, each with his or her head on someone else's belly (if possible, make the line into a loop so that the last player can put her head on the first player's belly).
Then, the first player shouts, loud and clear, "Ha!" The second player responds with a vigorous, "Ha, ha!" then the third player chimes in, "Ha, ha, ha!" Continue until all players have shouted out their "Ha's" or (more likely) have dissolved into uncontrollable laughter, with heads bouncing on the bellies of giggling friends, uncles, cousins or grandmothers.
Stone Faced Steve: Players sit in a circle, making sure they can see everyone else. One player who is “It” starts the game by smiling widely, while all the other players are somber. “It” then uses his hand to wipe the smile off his face and throw it to another player who has to catch the smile with his hand and put it on.
This new “It” can then wipe off the smile to throw to someone else -- though he will probably choose to mug wildly at everyone for a few minutes before relinquishing his happy role. Meanwhile, all other players must sit stone-faced. One smirk and they're out.
Marshmallow Tinkertoys A bag of marshmallows and some thin pretzel sticks are all you need to build the perfect puffy pal, a 3-D house, or tepee. Your child simply skewers the marshmallows with the sticks to create his own masterpiece. Add to the fun by placing toy pigs or other animals in the house and challenging your child to be the big bad wolf and blow it down. Older kids can practice 3D shapes, challenge them to build a trapezoid or rhombus!
Blowing Bubbles! Blowing bubbles outside can be so much fun in the winter! They last a little bit longer in the cold air and if cold enough can freeze mid-air! BUT, here is a really fun variation for your child to blow bubbles outside by himself! Stir 2 TBsp of tempera paint or 15 drops of food coloring into a half cup of bubble solution. Give your child a wand and let him blow bubbles and watch them make beautiful splats, splashes and circles in the snow as they pop! (I would advise getting plastic food service type gloves to put over your child’s mittens to keep them dry!
Snow Painting: This is the same idea as the bubbles, but instead of bubbles, mix food coloring and water in empty spray bottles, shampoo bottles,squirt guns etc. The snow is your canvas! For older children, why not let them spray a bullseye target in the snow…have a competition to see who can throw snowballs the closest to the center!
Snow Blocks: Save cardboard milk cartons, plastic food containers and pull out muffins tins, bread pans and the like. Freeze colored water (to save freezer space…set them outside for a few days!) Set up a card table or keep it in the snow and let your children build ice sculptures, towers or whole cities! Big icicles hanging from the house? Throw those in the mix too! Use a paintbrush to dip in a glass of warm water as “glue” to make the blocks stick together!
Snow Ice Cream: Scoop some freshly fallen snow into a big, chilled bowl. (Make sure the snow you take is clean and white. If the snow is brown or yellow, it will taste yucky.)
Nestle the bowl in the snow to keep it cold while you make snow ice cream. Add a little sugar, a few drops of vanilla extract, and some very cold milk or cream. Stir together and eat.
You might like to take your tasty treat inside to enjoy by a warm fire. Experiment with different flavors of snow ice cream. Try adding some cinnamon or cocoa powder. I have not tried this one, but it does sound like something any child would enjoy!
No Two Snowflakes: all you need for this is a piece of black or navy blue construction paper. On a snowy day, set the paper outside some place where it will get cold, but NOT snowed on for about 15 minutes. (Plastic baggies or page protectors work well if you don’t have a place), go outside and hold the paper out for snowflakes to fall on and examine them. Want a closer look? Grab a magnifying glass! A follow up activity would be to draw some of the snowflakes you and your child saw or teach your child to cut out paper snowflakes!
Winter Scavenger Hunt: Mix food coloring and water in one or several different colors, freeze in muffin tins or ice cube trays. Hide the colored cubes in the snow after they have frozen and let your child find them! Don’t want to give away the where-abouts with tracks in the snow? Either make dead ends that have no cubes or throw them a short distance from where you are! After you’re done, let your child use them as building blocks, or bring them inside and stick two different colored cubes in a plastic baggy, as they melt what new color do they make?
Nature Snowman: Build a snowman as you usually would, or build a family! Instead of using the traditional pieces for eyes, nose mouth, why not large nuts for the eyes, a carrot or celery nose, acorns or small nuts for the mouth? Use sticks for arms but spread a small amount of peanut butter on them and sprinkle with bird seed. Spend the next days seeing who comes to visit your snowman…don’t forget to replenish his features!
I would love to hear if anyone used any of these ideas, how they went or if you have any other ideas to share with us! Best of luck curing the cabin fever blues!