Today is our first rainy, cold, we-are-sooooooo-bored day of Fall 2019. After a summer and pseudo-fall where the boys ran free and wild every second we weren’t sleeping, eating or schooling, this is a rough adjustment. Thankfully, the older ones are content to watch college football, but four hours of TV time and the same commercials make me feel like a shabby mom, added to the fact that our youngest is busily destroying the entire house as I try to clean.
As much as I dread staying inside and being cooped up in the rainy fall and winter months, I am more terrified of going into the wide world where the rest of society is gathering and getting…the flu. Truly, one of the best perks of homeschooling is the amount of time we don’t spend being sick. But back to the point: what’s a mom to do to avoid cabin fever and the literal fever in these upcoming, nasty months?
Hopefully, you can get some fresh ideas from our family!
Find a Gym
You all know I am an advocate for exercise, but the child care areas at gyms (while they do work so hard to be clean!) can be breeding grounds for all kinds of germy-squirmies. I am suggesting a literal gymnasium! Our church has one that often families will ask to use on random nights of the week to let their kids run, skate, play and get moving outside of the house but still be in a warm environment. If you don’t have a church that you attend, you can look into your neighborhood or city community center, or other churches which offer inexpensive family memberships that also allow you to use their gymnasiums when it is not reserved. (I highly recommend The BX if you live in Chattanooga or North Georgia.)
Visit a Museum
Ooookay. Boring homeschool mom tip, right? No way! I have yet to take my kids to the Hunter Museum in the Art District, but this tip comes from Jessie Weaver, a CMB writer. I have other friends who have also brought their kids to this museum multiple times. Best of all, admission is free for ages 17 and under. You can check their website for free days or discounts for adults.
Make Your Own Art Studio
Yes, it will be messy and you might even regret it, but it will be better than coming home with your child’s precious reproduction of “Starry, Starry Night” that costs you a doctor’s visit and a week’s worth of sleep and gatorade. We found a wonderful online pastel chalk class that is slow and entertaining enough for all of my kids. You ARE An Artist has sweet Nana teaching your kids how to draw all sorts of things in chalk pastels (definitely the easiest clean up of art supplies), learning history, geography, famous art, and more! The initial investment are chalk pastels that last forever and some construction paper, plus the cost of streamed classes, which you get to use over and over again! It is a fun activity to invite friends over to do together.
Since caves are around the same temperature all year around, fall and winter are good times to explore your local caves! A great place to start is Raccoon Mountain Cave; it is small and easy to walk through with kids, but you still get to see salamanders and cave formations like you would in a big cave. This website lists all the caves local to Chattanooga, and you could also look into the Russell Cave National Monument in Bridgeport, AL, and the Lost Sea Adventure in Sweetwater, TN. Cave tours generally discourage visitors from touching the cave and encourage washing hands before and afterwards, so it is a perfect experience to keep your kids’ hands clean from catching anything!
A Little Rain and Cold Won’t Kill
I would never recommend something that would harm your kids, but I think sometimes we overestimate how much wet and cold can do to our kids. My brother, who is a doctor (ha, which gives me so much more authority on the subject, right?), once told me that the cold doesn’t make you more sick — touching germs and then touching your mouth or nose does. I don’t understand how that works with the flu always coming around in the fall and winter, but I am sticking with his theory and sending my kids out to play in boots and rain jackets and warm clothes every now and then.