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Early years

Curing Cabin Fever 2.25.09

Bust the winter blues with these fun, simple, and affordable ideas!

For younger children:

Build an Indoor Fort. Get out building blocks, chairs, pillows, and other large items and build forts together. Once a fort is built, it's a great place for you to read to your kids. You can also use whatever you have on hand to build a small obstacle course - hula hoops, jump ropes - be creative with the space you have.

Make Playdough. Let your creativity take shape! Build a joint creation or have a contest to see who can build the biggest/tallest/ugliest creation. To get started, check out this simple recipe you can prepare in advance or with your children. Or, make some slime - kids love playing with it and letting it ooze between their fingers.

Unleash Your Inner Mad Scientist. What is better than a dad + kids + science experiments? Even if you aren't a scientist by trade, these easy science experiments will have you and the little ones entertained for hours. White lab coats and evil laughter not included.

For teens:

Day trip. Does your local area have attractions you've never actually visited? Are there state parks within an easy drive? Let one of the children pack lunches for everyone, assign someone else to pack some gear or Google directions, and let someone else choose the soundtrack, and then hit the road for a min-road trip/daytrip. Let the conversation develop naturally, but allow your older children to have a direct hand in planning and executing your daytrip plans. Treat them as an equal, and the conversation - and fun! - will follow.

Bust Out The Board Games. Did you know board games are on the rise as more families spend time at home? And for good reason - they are a great way to spend quality time together. If you're looking for a game that allows your family to be on a team against the game, check out Shadows over Camelot. Or try any of the classics: Monopoly, Scrabble, Clue or Risk. For a modern twist on board games, you can try Scene It? which allows you to compete over famous film clips.

Tackle Your To-Do List... Together. Some of the best opportunities to have great conversations with your kids as well as teach them handy "life skills" are items on your to-do list. Does her bedroom need a fresh coat of paint? Does the oil in his car need to be changed? Do you need to organize the garage? Even if they aren't excited about any projects you have on the docket, ask them to brainstorm about something they'd like to work on. Working together and talking together is a great way to spend quality time with your children, plus, you get something tangible finished at the same time!

If you need m ore ideas, check out the following sites:

Family Education
Babble - 25 Indoor Activities

Regardless of what you decide, spending time with the kids will benefit everyone involved. And even if the first idea seems like a flop, kids take your time investment in them very seriously - you won't be sorry for the hours spent with them! Plus, it will make a great story for later... maybe 20 years later... but later.

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