Ok, here it is. The long awaited list of my favorite activities to do with children when its just too cold to go out. There are many more, but this is a great start. Here we go…
- Baby Drag: Place your small child or baby (should have good neck and core strength) on a large blanket. Children can be sitting and holding on to sides of blanket or laying down, babies should always be laying on their backs. Gather a corner of the blanket and drag that baby around. Great for your arm strength and the kiddies love it!
- Baby Races: Can be done anywhere! Children pretend to be crabs, bears, babies, etc and scurry to the other end of the room. Then turn around and do it again. You can even do a wheelbarrow walk race where you hold your childs feet. These activities use large motor muscles and are a lot of work for little guys and girls!
- Laundry Basket Play: The number of things you can do with a laundry basket are endless, but if you’ve got two children they can take turns pushing each other in the basket. For slightly older children they can collect things along the way. For example, only red things or things they might need for bath time.
- Tub play: While playing in the bath is a great activity, in this case I mean an old rubbermaid tub or even a large tupperware. Fill it with kosher salt or sand and some sand toys and watch the fun begin. For younger children, scraps of paper from your shredder works well. You can even bring in the outside by filling the bucket with snow or leaves. Putting this smaller tub inside your bathtub for playtime will save you lots of cleanup.
- Freeze Dance/Dance Party: Self explanatory, but always a good time. Get dressed to the nines, pump up the music and let yourself go!
- Obstacle Course: Have a small trampoline with a handlebar? Have a tunnel? Don’t have either? It doesn’t matter. There are lots of things around the house you can use to make an obstacle course. For babies, simply adding a bunched up blanket to the floor, makes crawling hard work. Piles of pillows and couch cushions, tape on the floor for a balance beam, or spots for jumping on “lilypads” can be great elements in your obstacle course.
- Movement Activities: Depending on your child’s age try the Hokey Pokey, Simon Says, or Animal Actions. For Animal Action your child can choose which animal to act like. Are they big or small? Do they make a noise? What do they eat?
- Make a Marching Band: You can either use instruments you have or make your own. A paper plate can be folded in half, filled with a few beans and stapled or taped shut to be a maraca. You can shake keys. Put some small balls into a tupperware, put the top on and see what noise it makes. Ask your children to play fast and slow, quiet and loud. Let the band choose a parade route and march, march, march.
- Make play dough: Keep an eye on the blog for my favorite play dough recipe. It’s very easy to make at home. And its edible (though it doesn’t taste very good), so even the littlest players can enjoy it.
- Cook or Bake Something: Children love measuring and mixing. Involve them in preparing lunch, dinner, or a special snack.
- Treasure Hunt/Investigation: 3 year olds on up will love having a list of items to find. For younger children, draw pictures of what they are searching for. They can use crayons to cross off the items as they find them. Lists for older children can have simple words.
- Exercise: Stretch and bend different body parts letting the children be the leader. This is a great activity for working muscles, taking turns, and letting the children be “in charge.”
- Elefun: This is a great game for indoor active play and hand/eye coordination.
Truth be told, it’s time for me to go to work. I’ve got even more ideas for you and will post them soon in Part 3. Enjoy these for now. Let me know what you think. And stay warm!
(Note: Please be aware of your child’s developmental capabilities and modify these games as needed. Have fun!)