44  Fun Ways to Prevent Cabin Fever

How to Avoid Going Stir-Crazy at Home

Thanks for doing your part to keep your community safe by staying home for the next few weeks (or months) responding to the coronavirus emergency. Now what?

Hold a family meeting and create a daily schedule so everyone knows the plan – including times for structured learning, play, fitness, reading and screen time. Keeping the day fairly consistent can help everyone feel regulated, calm and make a potentially scary situation feel much more predictable. We’ve gathered a bunch of great ideas and resources for the whole family, and even a few just for you, to help make the most out of your new home-time routine. Your whole crew can stay busy as you stay put!

Stay busy during the coronavirus outbreak


Outdoor Fun & Fitness

  • Garden: It’s a great time to prune and prepare beds for spring or start a container garden on your balcony. Order seeds and starters online and play in the dirt!

  • Fresh Air: If permitted in your municipality, go for a hike or a bike ride, fly a kite at the park or at the beach. Remember to keep a safe social distance of 6-8 feet or more from folks outside your family and you’ll be set to enjoy the sunshine.

  • Sporty Fun: Play tennis against your garage door, kick a soccer ball with your kids, practice batting or shoot hoops with your family in your driveway or at a park with few people.

  • Get FitThe apps Down Dog, Yoga for Beginners, 7 Min Workout, HIIT, and Barre are all free through April 15 (or longer).

  • Camp: Pitch a tent in the backyard, grab your flashlights and sleeping bags and cue ghost stories. (Too cold? Camp in your living room!)

Indoor Fun

  • Make a Movie: From writing the script to costumes and direction, the whole family can be involved in your smartphone movie masterpiece.

  • Experiment & Explore: Our friends at KiwiCo have a huge collection of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math) activities using household items arranged by age group.

  • Dive into a Book: “Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.” M. Cooley - Escape with a book from the shelf, download one from your local library, or try an audiobook. Our friends at Brightly have reading recommendations for all ages.

  • Card Games: Think War, Uno, Go Fish, Apples to Apples for the kiddos and Hearts, Poker, and Cards Against Humanity for older teens and parents.

  • Build a Fort: Create one out of blankets in the living groom or with boxes and tape in the garage. Forts are always loads of excitement and fun!

  • Puzzles: Working alone or with your family,  jigsaw puzzles, sudoku, crosswords and word puzzles all entertain while keeping your brain sharp.

  • Board Games: Bring out the Monopoly, Scrabble, Sorry and Candyland for group game time, or chess, checkers and backgammon for a one-on-one competition. Many classic games can also be played online now.

  • Make Music: Apps like Music Maker Jam and Soundtrap are free for a month and let you experiment with new sounds and beats.

  • Learn an Instrument: Now is a great time to finally learn to play piano, guitar, flute or your favorite instrument. Beginners can find many free lesson sources on YouTube and intermediate and advanced students can continue their lessons via video conference.

  • Dance it Out: Get your groove on to expend some of that bottled up energy! Record your dance and your family may become the next TikTok sensation.

Self Care/Self-Improvement

  • Meditate: Claim a few minutes each day to find your zen and focus on mindfulness. Apps like Calm, Headspace and Aura help you reduce stress and increase positivity.

  • Spread Cheer: When you cheer another it cheers yourself. Write encouraging notes to neighbors and leave them in their mailboxes, bake cookies to share with the neighborhood, or pick one (or some) of these ideas for boosting spirits in your neighborhood.

  • Spa Day: Think bubble baths, home facials, foot massages and mani-pedis. The internet is full of simple and fun DIY Spa Day suggestions.

  • Journal: Keeping a diary of your thoughts and feelings is a great way to manage anxiety, reduce stress and set and track goals.

  • Pray: Although gathering is prohibited, many churches and faith groups are offering streaming services and collective prayer.

  • Color: Adult coloring books bring us back to a simpler time and are a creative outlet for practicing mindfulness and reducing stress. Download some of these free Museum Coloring Sheets and grab your favorite set of colored pencils or pens.

  • Gather Virtually: Use video chat services like Facetime, Skype or Zoom to schedule a virtual coffee klatch or happy hour with your closest family and friends, and make it happen! Staying connected is vital for your mental health and wellbeing.

  • Adulting Lessons: Teach your kids the basics of adulthood – how to do laundry, make a nutritious meal plan, cook, create a budget, change a tire, etc.

Screen Time (with a twist)

  • Keep Learning: Here’s a thorough list of  PreK-12 learning resources parents can access while schools are closed.

  • Social Games & Apps: Online games like Minecraft and Fortnight and apps like Words with Friends can keep friends and classmates connected. (For any online game, look at the privacy settings the site offers, and talk to your kids about responsible online communication, including not sharing personal information.)

  • Binge Pandemic Classics: Watch your way through classic pandemic movie thrillers such as Contagion, Outbreak and Andromeda Strain. Vulture has a great collection here.

  • Couch Drive-in: Take turns picking the theme of the week and programming family movie time - such as movies about musicians, superheroes, princesses, or aliens, or TV shows about sharks, space, or travel. The site JustWatch.com will give you recommendations based on your viewing history on any service.

  • TV Rerun: Choose a popular TV series you missed (or loved) and stream ALL the seasons from the beginning.

  • Visit a Museum: You can virtually tour these 500+ museums from the comfort of your own couch.

  • Night at the Opera: The Metropolitan Opera of New York will stream encore presentations free each night. 

Get Arts & Crafty

  • Build Something: Make it with Legos, wood, popsicle sticks, toothpicks, paper tubes & tape, even old fashioned card houses can keep kids (and adults) busy for hours.

  • Needlework: Knitting, sewing, crochet and needlepoint -- pick up an old project or start a new one. There are buckets of YouTube videos to inspire and guide you.

  • Scrapbook: Preserve memories with digital scrapbooks using tools like Mixbook, Canva or Shutterfly, or take those boxes of family pictures stored away and make those baby books you planned so many years ago.

  • Paint, Draw, Collage: Break out your favorite creative supplies and see where your mood takes you. No paint? Try a drawing app on your tablet like Krita or Microsoft Paint 3-D.

  • Friendship Bracelets: Weaving thread into colorful bracelets has kept tweens busy for decades.  Friendshipbracelets.net has free patterns and tutorials.

In the Kitchen

  • Family Traditions: Teach your kids how to make your favorite family recipes and invent some new ones together.

  • Cooking Challenge: Learn to cook something new - choose by region, or by researching new recipes based on your pantry ingredients.

  • Dress-up Dinner: Choose (at least) one night a week to ditch the jammies, sweats and yoga pants and dress up for dinner. Shaving, hair, makeup, shoes - the works!

  • Bake-off: Now’s a great time to experiment with new cookie recipes, cupcake and cake decorating. Engage your neighbors and swap treats with them (left on the front porch, of course.)

Home Improvement

  • Declutter: Find joy in your closet with Marie Kondo’s method for decluttering your home and your life.

  • Organize: Choose a contained target and get to it - think your junk drawer, the coat closet, toy box, or sweater drawer.

  • Home Repair: Finally a chance to attend to the squeaky door, unstick that window, or re-caulk the tub. 

  • Decorate: Change things up, move furniture into a new flow, rearrange pictures, post new hand-made art, have the kids swap bedrooms.

  • Deep Clean: Now is a great time to deploy the entire family on a deep spring cleaning. Designate one room each day and dust the blinds, ceiling fans, bookshelves and baseboards, don’t forget to sanitize all high-touch surfaces with cleaners approved by the EPA effective on coronavirus.