Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Keeping kids entertained indoors

I hope you all had a fantastic V-day. My husband and I are celebrating Friday, so my day of hearts has yet to arrive. Can't wait. Meanwhile, we are getting a little stir crazy being cooped up in our itty bitty apartment this winter. Any new ideas of how to keep mister J and lady P entertained and happy are quickly slowing down to nada. I'm sure many of you out there are feeling the same way. So, I have asked Ashley from Taking Terrible out of Toddler to do a guest post today on fun ways to fight the cabin fever. She's got some amazing and clever tips, so be sure to read on and visit her blog! And here you have... Ashley.
Lately the cold days have been dragging on, and on. Instead of taking my toddlers outside, there are other great places to take them, like: Library Programs, Indoor Swimming, Pet Store, Mall, Skating , Play Groups, Bounce Houses or Activity Centers. If for some reason I can't take them anywhere, there are plenty of ways to stay inside and keep everyone sane during the long winter days.

What do I do with my toddlers all day? I bring the outdoors inside! Here are some ideas on how I do that:

Leaf Jumping Party: I got this idea from my friend Lara who did a guest post for me, Teaching Creativity. What to do: take an old newspaper or magazine and let the kids shred it up. Give older toddlers children safe scissors...good practice for them, let the younger toddlers tear it up. Shred enough paper to make a nice jumping pile, this is the pile of leaves. Toddlers love to rake the pile up. My toddlers love to jump into the pile, bury each, throw shreds up in the air and let them fall on their faces. When we are done we clean it up by singing to the tune "first you pick it up, then you put it in the bag...bum bum," I remember it from an old cartoon, called "In The Bag." You can keep the "leaves" for future play times, recycle them, use them as hamster bedding, or even crafts.

Camp Out: Go camping in the HOUSE! Put the tent up, sleep in sleeping bags, use lanterns...the real deal...with the exception of a warm bathroom with running water (isn't that nice). When my family does this, we eat camping food like: hot dogs, chili, dinners wrapped in foil, and smores. You might have your own camping food you like to eat. The food makes it feel more authentic. We also play games inside the tent and tell stories. The kids think they are getting to do the real thing, the parents are happy they don't have to pack and clean all that camping gear, or deal with curious toddlers that think dirt and ashes are as good as chocolate cake.

Picnic: Pack a picnic just like you would if you were going to the park. Lay out a blanket (water proof on carpet floors) in the living room and set up the picnic the same as you would on a hot summer day. My toddlers bring out all the stuffed animals and dolls they can find...sometimes the dolls get plates too. Then we eat our real picnic food (I like to buy a watermelon just to make it feel like summer) and we enjoy the company of our stuffed friends.

Summer Day: Declare the day a summer day and let your toddlers dress in swim suits, shorts, sandals...whatever summer cloths suit their fancy. We wear sunglasses, throw beach balls around, sip lemonade, eat ice-cream...its a summer day! We even sometimes lay out on towels and pretend we are tanning...very relaxing if your toddler lies still long enough. We do this all while staying inside and just pretending. You might want to turn the heat up or find a south facing window on a sunny cold day, open the blinds and lay in the sun coming through the window.

Go Swimming: That the bathtub. Put the toddlers in swim suits and get out all the small swim toys and fill the tub, its a pool party. Put a towel on the floor for precautions and don't worry at all about cleaning the kids. I let a little stream of water run down from the faucet or shower...just for the fun of it. Then they just play, play, play in the water.

Petting Zoo: Go to the zoo. The zoo in your toddlers room that is (it may seem like one everyday). While the kids are occupied with something else, get out the stuffed animals and some of the small hard ones...they are fun too. Then bring the toddlers back into the room (it is more surprising that way) and pretend you are at the zoo. We pet all the animals, name them, feed them whatever it is they eat (pretend), talk about where they live, make the sounds they make...and so on. They can actually feed the lions this way and not get eaten! We have a lot of fun.

Come visit my blog to read more from this post and find other ideas and useful information about toddlers.


  1. This is great!! We at The Polka-Dot Umbrella have done a similar post if you want to check it out here you go.

  2. Very cute ideas. My older children are 7 and 5, but I think they would really enjoy playing in the leaves! :)