20 cures for cabin fever brought on by the Polar Vortex

As someone who spent the majority of her childhood in sunnier climes, I struggle a little bit when it comes to these Polar Vortex blasts like the one we’re “enjoying” today. First, I hate, hate, hate having my schedule being shot to smithereens by the four different 5:45am robocalls from the school (home phone, office phone, cell phone, husband’s cell phone) announcing that things will be starting 2 hours late.

And being cooped up inside with two antsy boys without a plan is enough to send any mom to the nut house.

I joke that if we don’t get the daily dog run in (for them), it’s ugly. That’s why I’ve armed myself with a laundry list of fun things for days when it is just too cold and dreary to make it outside. Two years ago I wrote down 20 things on little strips of paper that we keep in a jar on a special shelf in the playroom. When we’re bored and stuck inside, we “go fish” and do whatever it says on the paper.

1. Throw a winter wonderland party.

2. Make an igloo out of sofa cushions.

3. Bake something.

4. Cut out elaborate paper snowflakes and hang them around the house.

5. Fashion an ice castle out of small and large marshmallows.

6. Have a polar bear tea party.

7. Make something out of cardboard boxes (a car, a town, a fort).

8. Go indoor bowling using empty plastic bottles as pins.

9. Have a picnic under the kitchen table. Hang a large tablecloth or blanket over the top and enjoy the change of scenery.

10. Start a chain story. Have kids sit in a circle and start telling them a story. After two or three sentences, hand the story baton to the person on your right, and so on. This works well with kids 3 1/2 and up.

11. Initiate a Face Time or webcam chat with a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or cousins.

12. Play a card game.

13. Play twister.

14. Make a superhero costume by raiding your recycling bin. Cut a helmet shape using a gallon milk jug. Use sticky tape to tie two or three plastic bottles (upside down) together for the jet pack. Paint and decorate as desired.

15. Make a “crazy workout” circuit. Set up specific stations around the house, making descriptive posters for each one. The sillier the exercise the more fun everyone will have.

16. Put on a talent show. Give the kids access to dress up clothes, musical instruments, and art supplies and let them wow you.

17. Make a movie. Give your kids a flip cam or even the camera on your phone and let them play director. If you want, help them edit it and then screen it for the whole family.

18. Download and play an audio book for your kids. If you can, play it for them inside a fort of some kind.

19. Build something fantastic out of blocks. My 2 year old loves to smash his buildings, so when we do this, we put my older son in a different room so his work isn’t ruined by our bull in a china shop.

20. Play a game of nerf tennis or basketball in the living room. Move all the furniture to the side. Use trashcans as baskets and play on your knees.

Yesterday afternoon we did about seven things on the list. This afternoon, I imagine we’ll tackle about that many more.

What is your favorite winter activity?