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Stuck Inside

9 ideas to turn cabin fever into cabin fun

Together time can hit its limits when the weather, sickness, or some other circumstance means you’re stuck inside.

We are huge fans of playfulness here at Pariva — we believe it’s the pixie dust that transforms relationships and learning from ordinary into magical. Below are nine playful ideas that can help your family make the most of being stuck inside. Just adapt them to your specific needs.

Some of these activities can be self-directed for children; some are best done with adults. If kids are hesitant, gentle guidance can help them get started so they can continue on their own, freeing parents up for other responsibilities.

Parents, please hear us loud and clear: Your needs are important, too — and taking care of yourselves helps the entire family! Even as you try to be playful with your children, remember to take short breaks for personal time, reach out to friends, or choose indoor activities that allow for moments of relaxation.

Here are some of our ideas:

  1. Camp out (or rather, in): Build a blanket fort in the living room, even using couch cushions, chairs, a broom for a center pole, or large bedsheets. Grab a flashlight and climb inside, pretending you’re around a campfire. Tell stories, make shadow puppets — if you get really crazy, you can make microwave s’mores and have snacktime, too.
  2. Scavenge up an art studio: Have children search around the house for painting, drawing, or crafting supplies — even household items, old stationery, or things out of the recycling bin that can be repurposed — and let them unleash their creativity as artists, builders, or inventors.
  3. Turn the kitchen over to the kids: Nothing helps pass the time like making — and anticipating — delicious food! Choose a simple recipe and let kids become junior chefs. They’ll not only get a treat — they’ll learn basic life skills. Just prepare mentally for a mess or two! Here are a few ideas to get you started: Banana Sushi, Kid-Friendly Baking Recipes, Ants on a Log 6 Ways, Easy Naan Pizzas, No-Bake Cookies.
  4. Get the competitive juices flowing: Dig out all those card and board games and let each family member choose one in turn. Want to up the ante? Place a friendly bet between the parents and the kids. For example, if the parents win, the kids help do a certain job around the house. If the kids win, the parents plan a time to take them out for ice cream.
  5. Host a movie marathon (ideal for families with pre-teens/teens): Choose a theme or series and have a movie marathon, complete with popcorn or other theater-type snacks. Some families like to work their way through classic Disney movies; others may choose to watch movies based on a book series they’ve read.
  6. Throw an impromptu dance party: If you need a quick reset, there’s nothing like jamming out in the living room. Crank up some upbeat tunes and show off your moves! For a twist, particularly with younger children, periodically turn off the music and have them freeze until it turns back on.
  7. Try yoga or mindfulness: Everyone benefits from deep breathing, stretching, and silence from time to time. Have children think through what each of their five senses is feeling, teach them Box Breathing, or try a child-friendly yoga video from a trusted source (Cosmic Kids Yoga, for example, features familiar children’s characters).
  8. DIY obstacle courses: Use pillows, blankets, toys, or furniture to create obstacle courses. You can even pretend the floor is lava and try to move around the room without touching the ground!
  9. Take brain breaks: There are many great, free online exercise videos for children that can help get some wiggles out. Many are only a few minutes long. Just be sure to choose from trusted sources!

May your “cabin fever” day turn into a day full of playful memories! Need more ideas or help with specific concerns? Reach out to Pariva’s clinicians for advice tailored to your family’s needs. Get started here.

Pariva Health Admin