Cures for Cabin Fever!
[ NEW BOOK SUGGESTIONS!]
By Tamara Eaton
Cabin Fever:"A condition of increased tension, boredom, blahs,
etc. caused by living for some time in a confined space or an isolated area,
especially in winter."
After three weeks of steady rain, I'm beginning to think we should consider
"boat-schooling" instead of home-schooling--and preferably in
Hawaii! The younger children are suffering from a lack of outdoor exercise and
their pent-up energy and crankiness can be contagious. It's time for
spiritual refreshment and practical ideas-- sure cures for cabin fever!
I love what Andrew Murray had to say to parents about teaching their
children and it still applies to parents of our generation. (Here he was
teaching from Deuteronomy 6:1,2,5-7)
1. Instruct With All Your Heart!
"Parental instruction must come from the heart. We all know
that instruction has little influence on children when given by an apathetic
"When the work of instructing the children becomes a burden, you
may be sure it is an indication of something wrong within your own heart. Your
love for God in heaven, or the delight in His Word, has been fading. When
you need more energy to joyfully perform your work, you must only turn to the
words that reveal the secret of a godly education. Then, you will
experience an unspeakable blessing in the wisdom that connects the heart's
secret love with the mouth's spoken words:
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart. And these
words shall be in thy heart. And thou shalt teach them to thy children. "
2. Instruct With Diligence!
"Parental instruction must also be diligent and earnest:
"Thou shalt diligently teach them unto thy
"He [the parent] must carefully consider how he can best gain both
the child's understanding and affections. He does this by making the
most of opportunities and activities in which the child is interested.
The parent must also learn the art of speaking in the spirit of love.
His whole life must be an attractive example of what he has taught. There
is nothing that drives home the word of instruction like a consistent and holy
3. Instruct With Perseverance!
"Parental instruction must be persevering and continuous.:
"Thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt
talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the
way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up."
The entrance of divine truth into the mind and heart, the formation of
habit and the training of character, are not attained by sudden and isolated
efforts, but by regular and unceasing repetition...."
"....The parental instruction was not to be at set times and stated
in formal lectures. The whole life with all its duties has to be interwoven
with the lessons of God's presence and God's service. With a heart full of
God's love and God's Word, the ordinary activities of daily life help to lead
youthful hearts toward heaven."
To those who would object that all this speaking and instruction would tire
and alienate our children, Andrew Murray says: "Parents will receive
wisdom from on high and be guided to know when and how to speak to their
children. Love will influence their children's hearts and find a willing and
listening ear when others would only grow weary!"
A Parent's Prayer
"Lord, give me wisdom and grace to be the teacher of my children
that You would have me to be. I see how You do not permit any other to assume
the parent's position. You have appointed me the first and most important
teacher. Fill our hearts with Your love and Your Word. Help us to sharpen Your
words deep into our children's hearts. Help us all the day long to walk in
Your love and presence, and influence our children for You. In Jesus'
[Taken from Raising Your Children For Christ by Andrew Murray (1828-1917)
CABIN FEVER REMEDIES
Here are some of our family's favorite things to do on cold, rainy
- Build miniature clay villages or clay people. We use large rubbermaid
lids turned upside down on top of a table and leave projects out for days,
adding to them as inspiration strikes! The children have so far created
parks, campgrounds, a Mexican village, Western towns, etc. [Check your
local $1 Dollar Tree store for inexpensive modeling clay.]
- Make little people out of felt and pipe cleaners and scraps.
- Make bread dough sculptures. [Here's a great book resource,Creative
Dough Crafts : 100 Delightful Designs to Make in Your Own Kitchen by
Brigitte Casagranda --available from chfweb.com's bookstore.]
- Fabric crayons or fabric paints --decorate T-shirts or pillowcases, etc.
Decorate t-shirts with the name of your homeschool or one of your favorite
- Build a house of cards.
- Bring out the board games!
- Build log cabins, etc. out of toothpicks and glue.
- Start an indoor mini-garden.
- Sew a mini-quilt or sampler. [Quick
Method Quilts by Anne Van Wagner Childs is highly recommended! Read
the review --available from chfweb's bookstore.]
- Take up cross-stitch. [Two-Hour
Country Cross-Stitch : Over 500 Designs by Susie Steadman is a
terrific resource for busy homeschooling moms and kids! Easy enough for
beginners, this book is available from chfweb.com's bookstore.]
- Learn to knit or crochet.
- Read aloud favorite books about being snowbound: adventure stories from
pioneer days, etc. [For new book suggestions and reviews, visit the Best
Loved Children's bookstore!]
- Bring out the old family photos and share favorite memories.
- Never finished that baby book for your child? Let them make one now from
old photos! Supply funny stories and sentimental memories.
- Use your video camera (or borrow one!) to make your own funny
commercials, news shows, or movie spoofs.
- Or record your own educational video sharing what you've learned in
- Make family goals and create a banner to reflect this year's goals. Hang
it in your kitchen or family room as a reminder. (Perhaps it will even be
a scripture such as Psalm 19:14: "Let the words of my mouth, and
the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my
strength, and my redeemer.")
- Try some new recipes! Have a few days of totally new menus, let each
family member choose a new recipe to try.
- Make homemade doughnuts.
- Have an old-fashioned taffy-pull.
- Pop popcorn, roast marshmallows, bake apples and tell "add-on"
stories around the fire or kitchen table!
- Create a family newspaper and send copies to all your friends and
- Create a family cookbook with all your relatives' favorite recipes, send
copies to all your family.
- Explore the books about hobbies in your library and try something new!
- Make a family tree to hang up in your family room.
- Go on a "pretend trip" using the Internet resources and your
local library to learn more about the area you have chosen. Keep a
"travel diary" or "write letters home" as a way to
keep track of what you're learning. Try new recipes from the countries in
- Look up different countries of the world and find out their capitals.
- Begin making a book of all the different countries, listing their
capital and other basic facts, include a copy of their flag. This can be
an on-going project for years, if necessary!
- "If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you
live?" Research it!
- "If you could live any period in history, when would you
live?" Research it!
- What are some of the things that have been invented in the last ten
years? Twenty years?, etc. Find out about how they were invented.
- Get creative! What would YOU like to invent?
- Pick a decade from the past and learn what it would be like to live
during that period of time.
- Create your own time line and stretch it across the family room--use
butcher paper and markers!
- Create a newspaper about a certain period in history-- research what it
would have been like to live back then and write news stories,
advertisements and draw illustrations to reflect that period.
- Research the history of your hometown, visit the genealogy section of
your library to read old newspapers and books about your town.
- Choose a famous person in history (or a relative or friend!) and write a
mini-biography of him or her.
- Learn about missionaries in different places and study their lives.
- Become pen-pals with missionary families overseas, support them with
your prayers and send them "care packages".
- Play the presidents' game. Our children used to sit around with a book
of all the presidents and take turns listing trivia and allowing the other
children to guess which president.
- Learn something new in science! Have a family science fair! Each member
of the family chooses a scientific topic to research and shares his or her
findings with the others.
- "What do you want to be when you grow up, dear?" Let the kids
research different jobs and the requirements necessary!
- Make a "Blessing Box" by decorating a box and filling it with
Scripture promises so that you can pull out one scripture at a time. Give
them as gifts for grandma or nursing home residents or for friends in the
- Have an indoor picnic or plan a party for no reason at all!
- Have a "cowboy" night with food and music of a Western theme.
(Our young "cowboy" loves to hear the "Cowboys for
Jesus" sing songs!)
- Plan a "talent show" (or an "untalent show" ) and
let everyone sing songs, recite poems, put on a funny skit, share Bible
- Write someone you haven't heard from in years or give them a call.
- Have an indoor treasure hunt, hiding clues all over the house for the
children to find the hidden treasure.
- Write each family member's name on a slip of paper, then draw names for
"secret pals". Each person will secretly do something nice for
their pal and at the end of the week (or day) everyone will try to guess
who their secret pal was!
- Draw colorful, cheerful pictures and add scriptures, then deliver them
with some homemade bread, cookies or muffins to someone who needs cheering
- Ask the Lord for an opportunity to minister to someone outside your
family--then prepare for it by praying and getting His Word into your
Boredom shouldn't be a problem for God's children--our Heavenly
Father is so creative and delights in blessing us with ideas and opportunities
to learn and grow in Him every single day of our lives--in sunshine and in
rain, and warm weather and in cold! May we all say with Paul:
" ...I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be
content." --Philippians 4:19
Even in a house full of children after 21 days of cold, rainy weather!
[Note--If you don't know the Lord in a personal, saving way--find out how
you can be set free from all condemnation and receive Eternal life, as well as
His daily help and guidance! (Knowing God)
© Copyright Tamara Eaton 1994-2000, all rights reserved.
Permission is given to reprint any of Tamara's articles in non-profit
publications as long as the article is reprinted in full and contains the
copyright information and website address. Please send a copy of the
publication to :Deeper Life Family Ministries, P.O. Box 909, Killen, AL 35645.
We have always homeschooled our seven children (elementary through high
school and beyond!) and enjoy encouraging other families in their
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"And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord;
and great shall be the peace of thy children."