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With cold weather on its way, there may be those afternoons and weekends you and your kids are cooped up in the house. Whether you're concerned about your kids watching too much TV or having too much energy inside the house, these five ideas can get the whole family active and energized.

1. Family room picnics.

These can get the whole family involved. Simple meals like build-it-yourself Mexican-style burritos, macaroni or potato salad, or a simple contact grill can get the kids involved from start to finish. Consider divvying up the tasks, such as having one child lay down the blanket and set the, um, table, another help with food prep, and perhaps have a third choose a movie for the family to enjoy together.

2. Dart gun war.

This can keep your kids entertained for hours. Be sure to establish safety rules, such as no shooting at each other's faces. To add more creativity, consider ordering the darts separately, and making the gun from something like PVC pipes or paper towel rolls and have the kids decorate them. To add more variety, consider adding a capture-the-flag type element to the game.

3. Video game/movie character food.

These fun ideas for meals and snacks can bring you and your kids together in the kitchen in a way that can get the kids away from the TV/gaming console and learning a useful skill. If your kids like role-playing video games or a certain movie, consider dressing up with the kids like their favorite characters and making a dish that theses characters like to eat.

4. Around-the-house carnival.

Pinterest has tons of great ideas for this, including water bottle bowling, balloon volleyball, and multiple ideas for Scotch tape games, including sticky spider web, hopscotch and "target" practice. This can also be a great time to have the kids invite their friends over to play with them. Beforehand, you can put together prizes, or even make or bake them yourself.

5. Scavenger hunt.

This can help eliminate the childhood need to explore and plunder when bored. Make sure that you set rules about where the children may look for items. You can have them check off a list or even take pictures of each item for them to locate. Variations of this can include letter-sounds, colors, or even favorite toys. Whoever comes back with the most items, of course, wins.

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