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Fun activities to overcome cabin fever

Based out of Dallas, Texas, Mary McCoy is a writer and social worker for disenfranchised women and children. She's a single mom, lover of Texas barbecue, and a die-hard fan of yoga

Get me out of here!

We all know the wave of restlessness and irritability that overcomes both kids and adults during a brutal winter. Don't let your family fall victim to cabin fever the next time a polar vortex rolls through your hometown.
Bored little girl

Play the lava game

Tell your kids that the entire floor has turned into lava. Have them line up on one side of the house and figure out how to make it to the other side without falling into the molten-hot magma. They'll come up with clever ways — through the use of pillows and other household items — to traverse the challenging terrain.

Host relay races

Exercise is a natural mood booster, but it can feel difficult to get moving when the family is stuck inside. Instead of letting the kids veg out in front of the television or dangerously bounce off the walls, try channeling their energy into relay races. Using normal household items, set up obstacles to slow them down a little bit while adding interest to the course.

Facilitate a dance party

Crank up the Kidz Bop, ladies and gentlemen! Treat the kids to a loud and rambunctious dance party with some of their favorite tunes, and make it interesting by encouraging wild dance-offs. You can participate, too, Mom.

Make paper dolls

Craft paper dolls from old cardboard boxes, and use your on-hand scrap paper, glitter, glue, buttons and tissue paper to create beautiful outfits for the paper dolls. Don't hesitate to involve your boys in the project, too.

Check out The LEGO® Movie!

You'll have to pile into the car, but the trip out of the house will be worth it. The LEGO® Movie features your kids' favorite characters in an exciting and funny cartoon adventure. The movie hits theaters on Feb. 7, so be sure to check it out. If you're completely locked down with bad weather, you can still visit the movie's website for interactive gaming and printables.

Play balloon ball

This idea is straight out of my own childhood. Inflate several balloons and set up a volleyball court in the living room. The kids will leap about and bounce the balloon back and forth for hours, with little risk of breaking anything in the house.

Go outside, for goodness' sake!

Unless it's dangerously cold, allow your kids to run around outside like the wild animals they are. Even if they only last 30 minutes, they'll burn a lot of energy in the process. Once they return indoors, warm them up with delicious hot cocoa and a relaxing rest by the fire.

Plan a party

Give your kids a party theme and let them run with it. Regardless of the time of year, you can tell them to create a Christmas party, a luau, a Fourth of July party or even a Halloween party. Give them a few hours to plan and decorate, and then you can enjoy the fruits of their labor by kicking back and allowing them to host.

Pudding finger paints

Really, engaging in any baking or cooking activity is a great way to while away your family's wintertime hours. But painting with finger paints adds another dimension of fun to the kitchen! Provide your kiddos with a couple of varieties of pudding (and nutritious "extras" like raspberries or blueberries), a white piece of poster board and aprons for a hands-on painting treat.

Make sock puppets

Gather a few old socks — along with yarn, buttons and markers — for a sock-puppet craft. Simply affix the decorative items to the socks and then let your kids put on a show for the family!

Tell us:

Which activities are sure to break your kid's cabin fever? Tell us in the comments section below.

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