With a few wintery months ahead of us and the pandemic raging on, the need to entertain our little ones is at an all-time high.
15. Sensory Scoopin’
“A big Rubbermaid container filled with rice or noodles with scoops/containers/nesting cups/cars/anything,” writes one mom. “Colouring the noodles is a neat little activity too. Put them in a large ziplock with a little bit of rubbing alcohol and food colouring then shake them around. Lay them out to dry overnight and then you have some colourful sensory fun! Keep a broom handy, and stay close.”
14. Bathtub Ball Pit
“Ball pit balls in the bathtub. Actually, I throw anything in the bathtub that I think will survive water, then they get clean-ish,” one parent shares.
13. Inside Snow Exploration
“Last year I wanted my two-year-old to be able to explore snow but it was crazy cold out. Solution – fill Rubbermaid tub with snow, bring inside with some plastic cups and utensils, put mittens on the kid and let him play. Enjoy watching without having to be cold or wet.”
12. ‘Fun Bath’
“We do ‘fun bath’ sometimes on days like this,” another mom writes. “Grammy got them a set of bath paints and crayons. They can paint the tub but their favorite is getting big plastic cups and using spoons or the brushes to take turns mixing the different colors and seeing what they get and making bubbles.”
11. Animate with PuppetMaster
10. Pretend Chef
“Mine loves her play kitchen and plastic tea set, but occasionally I’ll give her real kitchen stuff to play with. Big plastic mixing bowls and measuring cups and spoons, the big silicone spatula, real rolling pin, etc. Especially fun with homemade playdoh. We also have a real china tea set for dolls that I got at a thrift store for super cheap that only comes out on rainy/cold/’special’ days.”
9. When In Doubt, Bounce!
“Mini trampoline and some collapsible gymnastics mats were a lifesaver us. We also have a tiny inflatable bounce house that stores away really small.”
8. Act It Out
“One thing I remember loving when I was little was when my parents (or just my mom) would act out stories I was familiar with: Cinderella, the 3 Billy Goats Gruff, etc. Since I was familiar with the story I’d get parts in it, too. It became sort of a mixture of a skit and storytelling time, with some props and costume elements thrown in (a magic wand, a towel as a cape. I don’t know how old I was when they started this but by age 2.5 we had been doing it for quite a while.”
7. Indoor Sandbox
“We make an indoor ‘sandbox’ with a giant bag of rice and a big cardboard box. Kinetic sand is also pretty fun once you can trust them not to eat it.”
6. Baker Extraordinaire
“I’d let them help me make cookies or cupcakes or something too. They could pull eggs out of the fridge. I could pre-measure milk and let them pour it from a cup into the measuring cup. They could stir the mix. At least once a week I’d sit them on top of the counter while we made some baked goods together. As they got older they got to do more things. We’d also make pancakes or french toast together. Dinners were more difficult, unless it was like putting frozen french fries and chicken nuggets on baking trays, but they happily did that too.”
5. Time To Get Washin’
“We do car washes (or little pony washes, whatever your kids jam is). Just throw a towel on the kitchen floor and put a couple [of] tupperware bowls full of soapy water down, some wash clothes and a toothbrush.”
4. Shaving Cream, Shaving Cream And More Shaving Cream
“Everything with shaving cream. Shaving cream + toothpicks to stick in it. Shaving cream + washable paint + paintbrushes = easy cleanup paints (my son paints his figurines). Shaving cream + bathtub. I get it at the dollar store and go through at least a can/week on toddler activities.”
3. Paint Away!
“My daughter especially loved anything with water. I got a chalkboard easel from ikea and would color the chalkboard in then give her a water and paintbrush for her to “paint”. I would gather dolls or cars or pkay dishes to do “washes” and set up multiple plastic tubs for dirtying (usually shaving cream), soapy washing, and rinsing. Another favorite was to line a baking sheets with paper towels and make potions on it using colored water, maybe glitter, and lots of droppers, spoons, straws, syringes, etc. As they got older I added soap, baking soda, vinegar so they could make volcano potions.”
2. Cardboard Box But Reimagined
“Call a nearby appliance or plumbing supply store and ask if they have refrigerator/bathtub boxes and will save you one. Huge cardboard boxes are the best toy ever! And you can let them paint/draw all over them, and then recycle them when they’re too beaten up for further use.”
1. Lego Contests
“Lego contests. We pick a theme, get ten minutes to build and someone else (whichever parent lucked out of Lego-ing) has to judge.”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
- 1 15. Sensory Scoopin’
- 2 14. Bathtub Ball Pit
- 3 13. Inside Snow Exploration
- 4 12. ‘Fun Bath’
- 5 11. Animate with PuppetMaster
- 6 10. Pretend Chef
- 7 9. When In Doubt, Bounce!
- 8 8. Act It Out
- 9 7. Indoor Sandbox
- 10 6. Baker Extraordinaire
- 11 5. Time To Get Washin’
- 12 4. Shaving Cream, Shaving Cream And More Shaving Cream
- 13 3. Paint Away!
- 14 2. Cardboard Box But Reimagined
- 15 1. Lego Contests
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