Stuck inside? Try something you’ve never done to make cabin fever recovery more memorable.

1. Create your own paper dolls (or paper dinosaurs, robots, elves, whatever) from stiff paper, connecting the limbs with brads if you want them to move. Then cut out accessories. Use large sheets of paper to draw backgrounds. These paper characters can act out stories with endless variations. For more durable creations, do the same thing with leftover felt.

2. Make Flarp. It’s said to have the same properties as Silly Putty, except it also farts. (You know this will be a hit.)

3. Paint without using your hands. Try taping the brush to a remote control toy, dangling it by a string, or rolling it across the paper. Or you might paint as this talented young artist does, by holding a paint brush in your mouth.

4. Learn to play a free instrument you already have. Really, it’s in your kitchen.

5. Make the easiest homemade cheese. You need only one ingredient other than milk.

6. Mix up homemade granola, customized with the seeds, nuts, and dried fruit your family prefers.

7. Yarnbomb a piece of furniture.

8. Make a marble run out of junk.

9. Make a movie. Remember Spielberg started making movies as a kid so be sure to save your child’s film for posterity. Fame may hit.

10. Draw on the windows. Use washable window markers to play tic tac toe or hangman, or draw some sunshine.

11. Perform good deeds. Make some soup or bake some goodies to share with a neighbor, local firefighters, or your librarians. For more family volunteering ideas, check 40 Ways to Volunteer, Toddler to Teen.

12. Slide on the steps. Flatten cardboard from a large box and place over stairs so kids can race cars (up and down), roll balls, or pretend to be mountain-climbers.

13. Communicate via banana. Write a message or draw a picture on the skin of a banana using a toothpick or pencil. It’ll darken within an hour.

14. Get your kids to predict the future. Better yet, write to your future selves. The kids may want to write to themselves as they’ll be in ten years or at your age. Don’t make this a child-only activity. Sit down and write to your future self too. You’ll want to include a description of an average day, list some favorite foods and activities, and imagine what you’ll be doing at that future date. Now seal those envelopes, write “Do Not Open Until ______” on the outside, and keep them somewhere you’ll remember.

15. Make Cosmic Suncatchers using glue, food coloring, and plastic lids.

16. Draw maps. Try a map of a child’s bedroom or map out an imaginary world. Label it and keep it.

17. Make snow cones. Simply crush ice in a blender, then top with a syrup made from frozen fruit juice concentrate that’s thawed and undiluted.

18. Start throwing things. Juggling boosts brain development and reinforces a growth mindset. It’s also fun once you get the hang of it. Here’s more about juggling including how-tos.

19. Build a craft stick catapult.

20. Make secret hideaways by throwing sheets over tables and chairs. Or construct forts using couch cushions and blankets. Let the make believe begin!

21. Make geodes out of eggshells and Epsom salts.

22. Teach traditional clapping games to small children. They aren’t just fun, they’re also great brain-builders.   

23. Create sock puppets. Add features like ping pong ball eyesyarn hair, and a cardboard mouth. For more ideas grab a copy of How to Make Puppets With Children or 10-Minute Puppets. Once your puppets are ready, create a theater out of a large cardboard box, practice a few scenes, then put on a performance.

24. Play vocabulary-boosting dictionary games. Really, these are much more fun than they sound.

25. Write to a business requesting information. My son once wrote to a pen company to settle a bet he had with me. He said my habit of leaving pens uncapped would dry them out. He not only got a response confirming that he was correct, but the pen company’s PR person sent eight different pens for him to enjoy as well as an admonition to keep after his pen-wrecking mother. Here are 37 other ways to do something unexpected via snail mail.

26. Make your own family board game. Keep it simple for small ones, add twists and more complex questions for older kids. Together you can incorporate inside jokes, everyone’s names, favorite places around town, whatever your family decides.

27. Learn magic tricks using books such as Knack Magic Tricks: A Step-by-Step Guide to Illusions, Sleight of Hand, and Amazing Feats and Kids’ Magic Secrets: Simple Magic Tricks & Why They Work. Also check out KidZone magic’s easy card tricks for kids, and video tutorials on Mighty Tricks.

28. Create art out of salt and glue.

29.  Make fairies and superheroes out of wooden clothespins.

30. Enjoy an indoor snowball fight. Grab some paper from your recycling pile, crumple into balls, and throw these “snowballs.”

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