Ways to Cure Your Kid’s Cabin Fever

Find out how you can ensure your kids avoid boredom regardless of whether they are locked in the house because of weather or the coronavirus crisis.

One of the facts of life is that kids’ cabin fever is real, and it can be really annoying to parents. We’ve all been there. “Mom, I’m booooooored,” says your kid with the heaviest sigh and an eye roll to boot.

Well, fear not, I have spent 10 months locked in the house with my husband and our two young sons, 9 and 1. And before that I spent years of fighting my own boredom. Here are some activities you can try to keep the ennui at bay:

Blow Up a Volcano

Get a baking sheet and put a glass on it. Put white vinegar in the glass. Let the kids add food coloring if you really want to make a statement. Then, have them add baking soda to the bowl with the vinegar. It should cause the water to surge up and over the glass. If it doesn’t, just keep adding vinegar. The more vinegar and baking soda you use, the greater of an effect you will see. If you are truly ambitious, you can try to build a volcano and put the glass under it before adding the baking soda, so it really looks like lava pouring down.

Make Alphabet Soup

I’m not talking about cooking here. When I was a kid, my mom’s best friend would have us put all 50 United States in alphabetical order on Christmas Eve. This was her response to us kids begging to start opening presents before the grown ups had finished eating dinner. Back in the ’80s, we didn’t have the internet, so we would look at a map and start putting the states in alphabetical order. For elementary school kids, this is a great assignment. You can make it more advanced for older kids by adding trivia related to the country’s geography or individual states.

Get to Drawing

My son happens to have a passion for art. So, I often find him doodling or signing on to the Art for Kids Hub to follow instructions for drawing everything from a cardinal to a snowman. He will also follow along with videos of Dav Pilkey, author and illustrator of the Dog Man and Captain Underpants books. But you can up the ante.

To celebrate my son’s ninth birthday during the coronavirus crisis, we gathered with my niece and nephew in the driveway of our home. We all wore masks and I gave them paper, pencils, and crayons. (They all had their own piles to avoid giving cooties to one another.) Then, I asked them to draw something like the Pixar character Baymax. They only had five minutes. Then, we compared all three drawings. They liked picking a winner. I made sure they all won at different points. We laughed at some of the drawings that probably required more time. They never wanted to stop. This is something we could do with one another online, too. Pictionary is another possibility.

Write a Letter

Do you remember snail mail? There’s something so special about getting letters or little packages in the mail. When boredom strikes, hand your kid some stationary and a pen. Have them write to their grandparents or another family member or friend who might appreciate hearing from them. You could also have them write to a member of the military who is overseas.

Help them recognize the correct format with a date and greeting and appropriate closing. Also, give them the freedom to express themselves, let them draw pictures alongside the text, and consider including photos or a little gift. Those who receive their letters will be enthralled and might even return the favor.

Sail Away

Hand your kids some aluminum foil and see if they can use it to create a boat. Then, give them each a bowl of water to see if their boat floats. They can put stickers on their boats and give them names. They might even drop them into the water and see which one reaches the end of the bowl or even a bathtub first. This is a great STEM lesson, and it can be lots of fun.

Cook Up Some Fun

Feed your kids love by teaching them how to cook. Even if you’re not the best chef yourself, you can still get to it in the kitchen. Use boxed cake mixes or make sandwiches together. Let the kids wear aprons and make chef’s hats out of tissue paper and cardstock. Take selfies as you work and, of course, photograph your final product. Stir and simmer, whip and bake. It will be a day you’ll never forget.

What fun ways are you combatting boredom? Let us know in the comments.

Francesca Di Meglio is a veteran reporter who has worked for Bloomberg Businessweek and Ladies’ Home Journal. Visit francescaandantonio.com for her blog.

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