Try helping children tackle cabin fever

Sabin, Davis, Hetrick, Anderegg, Macalady, Walker, Darling, and Katers

This in-between-time may be the most difficult days of the year. One day we get a tease of sunshine. The next few days may be cold and snowy.

Children and care givers can feel they absolutely must get outside and run around even for a short time. Corey Holcomb has these suggestions for short bursts of outdoor play with crusty snow.

Snow chunk relay

Since snow rarely is really good for snowballs, loosen snow chunks from crusty snow. Make a pile of about ten snow chunks for each player. Designate an area to drop off the chunks and follow a path to go back and forth until all of the chunks are moved to the new spot and a new geometric shape. If many adults and children are involved set up a course in the backyard for teams to run and pass a chunk of snow to each player. Each player runs along the course and hands the snow chunk to the next player. Tamp down the snow for little legs or hold hands with young ones so they won’t fall.

Snowball roll contest

The object of the game is to make the biggest snow chunk during a designated time or when the players can no longer move their snow. Team up small children against adults or place one adult with each child. Show children how to use their boots to break up crusty snow. Arrange largest to smallest, if possible.

Snow pile hurdles

Make piles of snow. Then run and jump over the piles. Help young ones over the piles so no one is left out. When young children don’t need to use their hands to grasp something, try putting warm adult mittens on their hands and over their jackets. This will keep the snow off their wrists.

Snow obstacle course

Make snow piles again and set up a course path so children may jump over, run around, crawl through, roll, walk backwards, and hop around the next. Help little ones so all are successful.

Snowball target throw

Provide some real targets for snowball or snow chunk throwing. Draw a target in the snow, lay down a hula-hoop, throw into a large plastic storage container, or aim at a tree. Let children know that they can choose their distance to be successful

Buried treasure

This is a good game just before returning inside for a snack. Make a pile of snow. Designate one person to hide 10 colorful plastic objects in a pile of snow that has been shoveled for the purpose. This kind of pile is easy to dig through. Kneel in a circle around the pile and dig until all of the objects have been found.

For more see and Through the Seasons.