Weeding Out the Couch Potatoes

Across the nation, crops of couch potatoes sprout up every winter. They are fueled by the colder days and early sunset, leaving them unable to do more than is absolutely necessary. If you are looking for alternative ways to entertain the kids and yourself this winter, try leaving the electronics in their chargers. Here are 50 suggestions to help combat cabin fever and get you through until the spring thaw.

Use your imagination:

Make paper airplanes out of colored paper

Cut out paper dolls and accessories from newspapers

Create dollhouses and furniture out of felt pieces

Build skyscrapers out of Legos or Tinker Toys

Use large cardboard boxes to create kid-sized houses that they can decorate

Get outside:

Take a walk around the neighborhood with the dogs or a friend

Roller blade around cones in a parking lot on a sunny day

Head to the park for a trip across the monkey bars

Jump rope in the driveway

Bundle up for an outdoor winter scavenger hunt

Make a game of it:

Pick card games like Uno, Hearts or Rummy

Try a dice game like Tenzi or LCR

Bring out the board games– classics like Monopoly or Sorry!

Create a Battleship game out of two pizza boxes

Tape a tic tac toe board on the floor and use colored bean bags for the X and O

Expand your mind:

Play Sudoku or complete on a word search

Browse the library for a good book

Set up a home laboratory and create some science experiments

Put together a model car

Work a puzzle

Play road trips game without leaving the house:

Name that Tune– Turn on the radio and see how quickly you can identify the songs

I Spy– Describe something in the house so the other players can guess what it is

Alphabet Game– Name animals, foods, or athletes starting with the letter A, then B and so on

Mad Libs– Fill in the blanks to a short story with nouns, verbs and adjectives

Bingo– You will find free printable bingo sheets online

Spend time with family:

Look through photo albums or school memorabilia

Use your talents to create a family variety show

Cook dinner together or bake cookies

Sing karaoke or have a dance party

Listen to a book on CD together every night

Get crafty:

Make homemade playdoh from Kool-Aid

Build structures with marshmallows and toothpicks

Create pasta people with glue and a variety of pasta shapes

Use duct tape and cardboard to make swords and shields

Design Popsicle stick snowflakes, paint white and hang in the windows

Get out and go:

Go bowling

Play indoor laser tag

Head to the indoor pool for a game of Marco Polo

Get messy with a game of paintball

Try rock climbing

Do something for the animals:

Teach your dog a new trick

String popcorn on a string or make homemade suet for the birds

Collect towels and blankets for the animal shelter

Create a maze for your hamster

Make a no-sew pet bed for your cat

Think spring:

Plant seedlings to start your garden early

Have an indoor picnic

Use watercolors to paint a summer sky

Make a kite out of sticks and a kitchen garbage bag

Order a caterpillar to butterfly kit and watch them grow

Pam Molnar is a freelance writer and mother of three. This list was compiled over the last 16 years of hearing her children say, “I’m bored!”