The weather has a way of dampening our plans. Unfortunately, when you have kids, it also has a knack for causing cabin fever. When you are stuck indoors with little bundles of energy, you sometimes have to get super creative to figure out what to do. After all, you can only stand the sound of Minecraft music in the background for so long, and even your kids will eventually get bored without something challenging to pour their energy into.
When it’s Teens
When the temperature outside is in the single digits or a storm is brewing, teenagers may retreat to their bedroom with video games in-hand. While there’s nothing necessarily wrong with wasting a wet afternoon away battling Bulbasoar or searching Hyrule for Princess Zelda, Education World explains kids don’t get much educational benefit from it.
Have them change things up a bit by grabbing a laptop to help them play a few educational games or finish up any lingering homework. If you don’t have one already, it’s an investment that they can use for years to come. Before you buy, however, look for one that will last – durable, plenty of storage, and easily portable.
In the Middle
Middle school children – those between 11 and 14 years – may still enjoy a few hands-on activities. Red Ted Art offers several ideas for weather-themed arts and crafts that even tweens may find fun and challenging. You might, for example, build a sun catcher, sundial, or a bottle wind spinner.
You can also use these creative sessions for their personal development and to help them learn about the weather and the world around them. If your kids are into music, put their knowledge to the test by playing “name that tune.” You can download songs to your phone or simply hum them out loud.
Something else that the not-yet-adult crowd may enjoy is getting in the kitchen to cook with you. By this age, they are plenty old enough to crack eggs, use the blender, and take things out of the oven with supervision. Mom Junction’s ideas for easy desserts can serve as great inspiration, but don’t be afraid to let them dig through the cabinets and pantry to come up with their own dishes.
The elementary and younger crowd are both the easiest and the hardest to keep busy when the backyard is off limits. If you have multiple age groups, the littles may have already gotten jealous that their big brothers or sisters got to help out in the kitchen.
You can appease their need to refine their own culinary skills by making no-churn ice cream together. While you will still need to do the whipping, this is a great recipe for little hands to gently mix the ingredients together, and of course, you can let them pick the flavor and any extra ingredients like nuts or chips.
With the sugar rush, the youngest members in confinement will need a way to burn off some excess energy. This is another place where music can come in handy. This time, however, plan a dance party in the living room or use your smart home speaker for an impromptu karaoke session. You can also play hide and seek, have an indoor scavenger hunt, or, when all else fails, let them jump on the bed until nap time.
Unpleasant and unpredictable weather does not have to ruin your time together. Look for activities that are age-appropriate and that can serve as instruments of fun and educational growth. Whether that’s math games on the computer or whipping up a sweet dairy treat in the kitchen, there are many activities that can easily pull double-duty on those days Mother Nature puts your parenting skills to the test.