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8 Cabin Fever Relievers for Both Kids and Mom

Without turning the TV on, there are a slew of options available for families to entertain themselves this winter, and most of them are free or inexpensive. From the public library and camping indoors to turning basic errands into games, all it takes is a bit of creativity. (And don't forget about actually going outdoors -- just because it's cold doesn't mean you can't embrace the elements for a little bit.)
A pair of girls look for books in a library.

If I hear the words “polar vortex” again, I'm going to scream. When you work from home, cabin fever seems to hit, oh, about 1,254.8 times harder. The best way for me to break up the boredom from staying home is to dig out the jogging stroller, but unfortunately, no one has invented snow tires for them yet (and I'd rather not have a babycicle). Feel my pain? My cabin-fever-fried brain has come up with a few ways to get out of the house that are entertaining for both me and my son, so I'm sharing the wealth. Here are eight toddler-friendly ways to relieve cabin fever.

Head to the Library

The library is a perfect retreat—it's warm and full of pages and pages of adventure. Head to your local library and let your little one(s) pick out some books. Read some there and check out a few to take back home. While you're there, ask if they offer any kids activities such as story time and pick up a calender of events. And don't forget, it's free!

Check Out the Indoor Play Places

Sure, it's too cold to head to the playground, but not all play places are outdoors. Many malls have a section of toys for young kids to climb on. While you're there, bring the stroller and go for an indoor walk. Some fast food places still have play areas for kids, too. Just make sure it's a good option for your family since little ones that tend to put everything in their mouths might be better off elsewhere during cold and flu season.

Turn Simple Errands into Games

When cabin fever hits, even a trip to the grocery store can help. Make shopping fun for the little ones by turning it into a game, depending on their age. Devise a “scavenger hunt” with your grocery list. Or, see how many things of one color they can point out or let the littlest tots out of the cart to “help.”

Bring the Outdoors Inside

Inventing new activities at home can make staying inside a little less stifling. Have an indoor beach day—lay out a towel on a sunny spot by the window, blow up a beach ball, have a picnic in the living room and wear swim suits in the bathtub. Whatever your family likes to do in the summer, bring an element of it inside. Like to camp? Build a blanket tent or set up an actual tent in your living room. Like physical activities? Create an indoor relay course.

Visit a Museum

If there's a children's museum in your area, now is a perfect time to go. You get out of the house and it's even educational.

To Grandmother's House We Go!

If you are lucky enough to have family members close by, plan a lunch or dinner over there, or simply stop by for a visit.

Organize a Play Date

More than likely, you know a friend with kids in the same situation. Schedule a play date and rotate locations so you can get out of the house.

Don't Rule Out Outdoor Activities

If it's not dangerously cold, don't forget about outdoor spots simply because it's cold outside. Many outdoor places offer discounts on entrance fees. For example, a children's zoo in my area is offering free admission and there's a few indoor exhibits to warm up in. For older kids, bundle up and go sledding or build a snowman.

Getting out of the house (or bringing the outdoors in) can do wonders for the winter downers. And while it may not feel like it, don't forget that spring is coming.

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