8 Ways to Keep The TV Off, Imagination on & Mommy Sane in Winter
We enjoy nature whenever we can but there are just some winter days when it would be sheer insanity to venture outside. We read books for a while but I swear if I ready "Go, Dog, Go" one more time I am going to go...crazy.
I need to meet a deadline, make lunch, or even take a few minutes for myself. I need something easy to set-up that requires minimal involvement from mom and will keep the little ones happy and busy. I once heard of a mom who let her kids draw on her with markers so she could just take a little nap. She woke up covered in more ink than Kat Von D but feeling very refreshed.
When you break out the crayons and watercolors and the kids ask, "Again? Can't we just watch a movie?" here are some low-prep, inexpensive, engaging ways to banish the winter blahs.
8 Indoor Activities to Save for a Rainy or Snowy Day:
1. Build a Fort. Just grab two chairs and a sheet. Have your kid stockpile his favorite toys inside, decorate with throw pillows, and make a sign for his new secret club house. Give him a flashlight to pretend he's camping or make shadow puppets. With any luck, he will fall asleep and you will get an hour of quiet time.
2. Muffin Tin Sorting. This one never ceases to amaze me. Give your child objects to sort into muffin tin compartments by shape, size, color, etc.Choose edible objects like cereal or cooked pasta for younger toddlers who still mouth. Kids who are past that stage can use dried pasta or beans, beads, little toys, pretty much anything small and plentiful. Give them a tray to dump everything out and start all over again.
3. Laundry Basketball. Work on your free throw with a pair of rolled-up socks and a laundry basket. No Laundry basket? Try a cardboard box. Or cut a hole in a piece of cardboard and lean it against a wall for a bigger challenge.
4. Do the Dishes. Kids love to play in the water and they love to mimic mom and dad. Just put a towel down, a bin with an inch or two of water, and a little soap suds if you are feeling adventurous. Add some plastic dishes, cups, spoons, or even a few plastic toys and wash away your boredom. Break out a big pasta pot and some ladles and tongs and "go fishing". What floats? What sinks? This never fails to amuse. (Make sure to watch toddlers around even a little water.)
5. Beading. As soon as my kids are old enough to stop sticking things in their mouths, I hand them pipe cleaners and beads. This is just different enough from the usual coloring/painting default craft to spark their interest. Pipe cleaners are easier to thread than string or yarn and simple to bend into bracelets and necklaces or ornaments or anything else that catches their imagination.
6. Make Music. It might get a little noisy but it is better than whining, right? Toddlers love to bang on pots and pans. Older kids can design their own drums and shakers from coffee cans and plastic water bottles.
7. Put on a Puppet Show. Give the kids some paper bags, googly eyes and any other embellishments you have. Once the puppets are ready, the kids can put on a show for you.
8. Hide the Treasure. I've tried sending my kids to hide and then not looking for a while but they are on to me. A nice alternative that frees me up is to hide a favorite toy. You can even give hints or make it a game of "hot and cold".
What are your snow day favorites?