- Despite the pattern of some unseasonably warm weather this year, we are
approaching the dead of winter in the Washington area and days of possible
indoor confinement due to inclement weather and dropping temperatures.
"cabin fever" is defined as "a state characterized by anxiety,
restlessness and boredom, arising from a prolonged stay in a remote or confined
your space allows, here are some ideas for things to do during days too cold to
How cold is too cold?
County, public schools in Maryland and Fairfax County
public schools in Virginia have set parameters for schools in their counties
for determining if and when it is too cold to play outside for recess.
both counties take wind chill into account and temperatures dipping into the
20s or teens as an indicator of when it is going to be an indoor recess day.
But the consensus seems to be if there is sun and the temperature is above the
20s, you and the kids are generally safe to play outside for at least a half
Take advantage of a Winter Wonderland
Let's Move! campaign for kids says, "It's tempting to hibernate during the
winter, but cooler months are a great time to get out and try new activities
with your family."
the event the D.C. area does get a snowstorm, Letsmove.gov
offers these activities:
an indoor jungle gym: IKEA sells affordable and sturdy
indoor climbing pieces. The online website One Step Ahead has an Energy
Busters section for kids offering indoor seesaws, hop-scotch
and trampolines. The Playaway Toy Company Inc. offers Rainy Day
Combo kits in which an indoor swing, trapeze bar or ladder can
be added to a sturdy doorframe.
an obstacle course or build a fort: Design an indoor course using
tunnels, ladders, hula hoops or whatever safe materials you have around
the house. Pillows, sofa cushions and blankets are great basics for
building a fort.
up and move on game night: Choose a night of games which
require everyone to get up and move like Twister. Turn your pillow cases
into an indoor potato sack race. Toy stores sell indoor versions of
miniature golf, bowling and horseshoe sets as options.
a tumble: An
tumbling mat might be worth the investment as kids can
somersault away on the padded surface. Most mats can be easily stored and
placed out of sight until you need one during bad weather.
Hot cocoa on a stick
have learned that kids seem to love hot chocolate on a cold winter day -- and
things on a stick. The King Arthur Flour Company offers this recipe
for hot cocoa on a stick:
cup heavy cream
can sweetened condensed milk (1 1/4 cups)
cups semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (chopped chocolate bars or chips)
cup unsweetened baking chocolate
Line an 8" x 8" pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
Heat the cream and condensed milk over low heat until steaming. Remove from the
heat and add the chocolate. Allow it to gently melt.
After about 10 minutes, return the chocolate mixture to low heat to completely
melt the chocolate. Whisk vigorously until the mixture is thick and shiny. Add
a few drops of flavoring oil if you like. Hazelnut, coffee or vanilla is listed
as popular flavors.
Pour the chocolate mixture into the pan; shake the pan gently to level.
Sprinkle with cocoa, if desired. Set aside overnight to allow for hardening.
down a slope is a fun winter tradition, and the return hike uphill
promotes a great workout.
skating is a great way to exercise the lower body and engage the core, or
abdominal or back muscles.
castles don't have to be just for the beach. Make the summer pastime a fun
winter experience and build a snow castle.
winter outdoor versions of games such as scavenger hunts, tag and red
light, green light.
the slopes as January is National Ski and Snowboard Month.