Just For Fun

Cures for Cabin Fever

by Lori Cawley

TJust when we thought we were making it through another long winter, it happened. We got the bug — the dreaded week-long, fever spiking, don’t-leave-the-house flu bug.

And of course, all three of the kids had to get it. Not all at once, but back-to-back. One would just be headed back to school when another one would get it. The first week wasn’t so bad. But by the third week, I was climbing the walls; the non-sick kids were bored and getting on each other’s nerves. Nirvana was a quick solo trip to the food store.

Whether your cabin fever is brought on by illness or a long winter, getting through it with your sanity intact can be tough. Channel some of that cabin-fever, get a little wacky and try some of the following ideas:

Camp out in your house. Get out the tent and the sleeping bags. If you don’t have a tent, drape some sheets to create the illusion of a tent. Give the kids flashlights to play flashlight tag and to read with in their sleeping bags. Roast marshmallows in your fireplace. Who says s’mores are only good in the summer?

Have a scavenger hunt. Come up with five or six clues that direct your kids to track down an object you’ve hidden somewhere in the house. The more creative you are with your hiding spots, the longer the hunt will last. Then have your kids create their own scavenger hunts for each other.

Pack some snowballs and put them in the freezer. Months from now, when the kids are complaining about how hot and bored they are, pull them out.

Encourage your kids to make their own fun. Every time they say, “I’m bored,” respond with “Good, I could use some help with the chores around here,” and assign one. They won’t complain about being bored again for a while.

Let the kids create their own fort. Use any and all furniture cushions and pillows. Yes, the house will be in a bit of a shambles, just be sure to enlist the kids in the clean-up process once they tire of their fort.

Dig out any and all puzzles, card decks and board games. Set up a designated game table where they can keep that marathon Monopoly game going or work on that 3,000-piece puzzle.

Introduce them to Charades. On small slips of paper, write down names of books, movies, songs and people that your kids are familiar with. Fold the slips in half and throw them in a hat or bowl. Each person takes one and acts it out; you may want to pair up younger kids with older teammates.

Rearrange the kids’ furniture. Have them draw a map of their rooms as they are now and how they might change. Get them to measure items to see where they will and won’t fit. Or, consider trading rooms or an item from another room (for example, switch desks).

Get them cooking. Help the kids make something they love. Cookies, brownies, lemonade or hot chocolate are great starter recipes. Children who can read can be in charge of the process and handle measuring. Younger kids can stir, dump, and mash. For safety’s sake, you will need to handle the stove.

Lori Cawley is a freelance writer.