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Hi there, Fellow Adventurers, and welcome to my Winter Adventures Series. It’s that time of year again! You know, that time when Christmas decorations come down, along with the temperatures and your desire to leave the house. I hope you and your family have been keeping warm and have had some time to check out our Favorite Indoor Places to Play!
Rest assured, after spending six years in the Upper Midwest, I understand that sometimes it’s just too cold to go out (and too much work to bundle everyone up!) Luckily for you, my six years in the Upper Midwest have equipped me with a long list of indoor activities for kids of all ages. In this installment, we will concentrate on the cutest and most difficult age to entertain: toddlers!
Bring Snow Inside!
My absolute favorite thing to do with toddlers when it’s too cold to go out is to bring the snow inside to them. Brutus and Gertrude were only 20 months apart, and there were some days when I could barely get out of my pajamas, much less get us all bundled up to go outside! Add to the fact that most little ones don’t enjoy playing in the snow for more than 5 minutes, and bringing the snow inside starts to sound like an excellent idea.
For your littlest adventurers, get a clean bowl and a serving spoon. Fill the bowl with snow, dump it on the high chair tray, and give your little one a spoon and some other small toys and let them explore. When their little hands get too cold, just dump the snow in the sink!
If your children are a bit older, spread a towel on the kitchen floor and fill a large container like this one with snow. (I used to go out on the front stoop, grab our snow shovel, get two big scoops, and drag the container back in.) Some ideas of things to play with in the snow are hot wheels cars and trucks, Little People, spoons, toy food, and plastic cups.
Car Wash or Baby Bath Time
Take the container mentioned above, again, with a towel underneath it, and fill it with about an inch or so of water. Trust me on this, that is plenty of water for a toddler to handle. If your child is a Lightening McQueen freak like Brutus was, give him or her all the toy cars in the house, a sponge or scrub brush, and put a small squirt of dishwashing liquid in the water to make bubbles.
Another variation on this is to put a plastic baby doll in the soapy water and let the kids “bath” the baby. Little ones love this!
Worried that your kids will dump the water everywhere? Simply tell them that if the water leaves the container, bath time or car wash is all done. I bet it will only take one time for you to take the fun away for them to keep the water in there. If not, have them do it in the tub next time. That way, both the toys and the children come out clean. 🙂
Make Your Own Play Space
Instead of dragging everyone out to an indoor play space, why not create your own? Here are some ideas that either I or friends of mine have done inside the house to keep little ones busy:
- Make your own ball pit with a baby pool and a set of balls.
- Get a mini trampoline
- Let the children use their ride on toys in the basement.
- If you have the room, invest in a mini bounce house
If all else fails, toddlers love to follow you around and imitate you. Let them wash dishes in the sink next to you, give them a feather duster and have them “dust”, or give them a squirt bottle of water and a washcloth and have them squirt and wipe down the cabinets! I even used to give Brutus a spoon and a bowl of just a small amount of water, and let him help me “cook”. You’ll be teaching them good habits and making them feel like a “big kid” while entertaining them, all at the same time!
What are your favorite winter activities when you’re stuck inside?
Share with us in the comments. I’m sure we could all use some ideas!