Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Some Novel Ideas for Fighting Cabin Fever With Preschoolers and School Age Kids This Winter


This is a sponsored post

Even before the holidays -- it always seems -- cabin fever begins setting in for just about everyone who has kids.  As a mom of four born within a year, including triplets, I can definitely relate to that.  

It's getting dark outside a lot earlier, so the days are noticeably shorter and the weather is cooler.  This all adds up to our children spending much more time indoors in late fall and winter than during the rest of the year.   This couldn't be truer than in places like Minnesota and other northernly states that have already had quite a bit of snow this year.

Parents: have no fear because this blog post has been written specifically to help you and your children make the best of the chilly months ahead.  With hope, you'll find a few ideas here for creatively carving out family quality time by looking at such basic quiet indoor pastimes as reading books and playing games together as a family in a whole new way.

Winter Reading
Can you imagine anything better than reading together with your child?  I know I can't.  My kids may all be teens now, but each still looks forward to the required hour before bedtime at our house called "Free Read" on school nights where each kid much be in their bed quietly reading the book of their choice. 

Without a doubt, whether you read to your child or he/she reads to you, the rewards will always be the same.  You'll not only be maximizing the chances that your kid will build strong verbal reading skills that will serve him/her well as she moves into the school years, you will also be fueling their growth as a full-fledged reader who will always love books.

It's not difficult to get children excited about books if you start when your kids are babies and always remember to
  • Choose books that appeal to your child and that are age-appropriate, such as board books and sturdy pop-up books for babies and, for older toddlers and preschoolers, illustrated picture books with increasing amounts of text as they reach school-age 
  • Encourage your child to answer and ask questions about the pictures in the books they read as this is a great way to build both vocabulary and verbal skills, even with children who are not ready to read by themselves
  • Stimulate your soon-to-be kindergartner's imagination by asking them not only why they think things happened in a book, but by encouraging them to create their own sequel ideas if they were writing a new book
Certainly, infants, toddlers and preschoolers all have different reading abilities and needs and as parents we need to pay attention to these.  To get started download and read this FREE Comprehensive Reading Guide, courtesy of Kindercare.com, which outlines these variables and how you as a parent can help your child blossom through exposure to reading books at every stage.

Family Game Night
Set aside one night per week to get together and play games as a family.  This may be easier said than done unless you follow a few ground rules.  To make it work make sure you
  • Require all family members (dads and older siblings included) to plan ahead so they can always participate each week
  • Turn on the phone answering machine and turn off all electronic distractions in the house (except for appropriate music), including cell phones, computers, video game devices, television, battery-operated games and toys, etc.
  • Select games for younger children that are age appropriate and that are naturals for you to play along with them, such as building with blocks or large Legos side by side with your child for toddlers or playing a game like I Spy with letters and sounds for preschoolers
  • Play simple, but fun board games with school age children that are fun for everyone such as classics like Monopoly or Scrabble
About KinderCare
Kindercare Learning Centers operates year-round and is currently accepting registrations for their Winter Science Camp that runs from Dec. 20-23 and Dec 27-30.  During these sessions fun and educational activities will include learning about gravity, creating balloon rockets and simulating volcanic eruptions, among other fun things to do that teach through doing about science.  With approximately 1,600 centers located in 39 states and the District of Columbia, KinderCare Learning Centers, an accredited early childhood provider, offer a range of educational programs and after-school care for infants as young as six weeks old to school aged children through age 12.  For general information about childcare and educational programs visit Kindercare.com  or to sign up for this year's Winter Science Camp here.

What are your favorite ways of spending quality time with your children during the long winter months?  Please leave a comment below and share.

FTC Disclosure:  This story featuring KinderCare makes MommyBlogExpert eligible to receive a gift card.  However, this did not influence the content of this post.  See complete FTC Disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's main page and at the bottom of every individual post on this blog, including this one. 


  1. There's a lot of fun ideas here to do with children. I know cabin fever is coming soon when winter hits so we'll have to try a few of these ideas.

  2. I'm all about the idea of Winter Reading. Reading is great during any season but there's nothing like cozing up to a good book when it's chilly and unbearable outside.

  3. These are fun ways to play. Kids can get bored easily.

  4. O this is a great list for summer things here in az, we get all couped up in the summer!

  5. Yes, cabin fever is real, especially during loooong snow days. We love family game nights and reading! I'll have to check if we have a Kindercare nearby.

  6. These are great ideas! It can be so tough after so much time outside in the summer and fall for kids to get stuck indoors. It's so important to have some ideas like these in your back pocket for just such occasions.

  7. Family game night is a regular activity in our house. When the weather is nice we play outdoor games.

  8. Our favourite is family game night. We love to pull out the games, pop some popcorn, and have some laughs. Thanks for the great ideas!

  9. My kids love to make forts in the house in the winter. We enjoy a lot of outdoor activities in the snow. Reading is always a good pastime.

  10. KinderCare sounds like a great way to beat the boredom this winter. I think it's cool they have a winter science camp!

  11. We love to spend time reading books, and finding fun crafts to do indoors. :)

  12. Love all your ideas! It's important to have a game plan!!!