By Serena Norr
I love playing outside with my daughter’s as we take walks or explore our local parks. Although outdoor activities are a huge part of our day, we also have a lot of crummy days where heavy wind/rain or snow keeps us inside. To avoid watching TV all day I try to focus on fun creative activities that incorporate art, science music and language into their play. Here are some of my favorite activities to avoid any otherwise dull day.
Hand Paints. It is incredible how quickly children grow. To document their size, I love to paint their hands and place them on a piece of paper. After the paint is washed off, they can then decorate the rest of the paper with crayons or markers.
Collage Fun. I love doing arts and crafts with my daughter and one messy activity we enjoy is to make collages. I cut out images from magazines and she glues them on paper or an old box that we also decorate with stickers, glitter, markers and crayons for our very own masterpiece. As she has gotten older we have even started to make shaped collages like pencil cups and picture frames for hours of fun. This is also a fun project to teach toddlers about recycling as well as for you to use items in your home that you would normally throw away like old egg cartons or milk containers.
Bubble Dance. Make your own bubbles with dish detergent and water that you place into a bubble can. Put on some of your favorite music and your toddler bounce around as you blow the bubbles into the air.
Make a Fort. My house has seen many forts and although they are messy, my daughter just loves the idea of “hiding out” in her homemade fort. All you need is to two chairs and a giant blanket or sheet where your kids can hang out underneath with a flashlight or some of their toys.
Get Cooking. I love to cook with my daughter that we have been doing since she was a toddler. Try something basic like cookies and have them mix and pour or use cookie cutters. Toddler may not all be interested and often I let my daughter play with containers and Tupperware so that I could get some cookies in the oven.
Play with Nature. This is a fun two-part activity that can start on a nice day where you and your toddler collect various items from nature such as leaves, pinecones, rocks, twigs, etc. On a not-so-nice day, have your toddler use their elements from nature for an art project or you can also talk about the different shapes, textures and sizes of the items.
Make Music. Using an old container, like an oatmeal box, add two cups or rice or barley and seal it shut with heavy-duty tape. Let your toddler play with this homemade shaker or shake it yourself for an instant band.
Play Pretend. There is something so sweet and simple about playing pretend with a toddler. As they try to understand their world, you can be apart of this magical time by playing this child-led game with them. You can also incorporate dressing up into this fun indoor activity.
Go Bowling. Toddlers love to knock things down, so why not try to do so in a structured game like bowling. No pins are required; you can take something as simple as toilet paper rolls (minus the paper) and line them up. Then take a small ball (rubber is best) and let your toddler try to knock down the pins. This is also a great activity to teach them how to roll the ball and pick up the pins after they knock them down.
Move Time. There is nothing wrong with occasionally “vegging out.” I love movie time with my family and it can be extra when it’s raining and you are all huddled together. Pop some popcorn and enjoy this simple, but special time together.
Make Flubber. At a recent trip to a Children’s Museum where I live my daughter spent hours playing with this gooey concoction called Flubber. Essentially glue and borax, this two-part activity actually had us make at home that she was able to play with and enjoy in minutes.
Flubber – Recipe from Children’s Museum of the Arts
1 cup of school glue
1 cup of hot water
1 tablespoon of Borax (from brands like 20 Mule Team)
Mix glue and water together until creamy smooth.
Add food coloring for preferred hue.
Dissolve Boraz in a 1/3 cup of water.
Pour Borax solution into glue/water in a circular motion.
Let set for one minute and then dive your hands in there and start splishing it around.
Should take about five minutes or working it to become the flubber-like substance you know and love.
Store in an air-tight container.
About the Author:
A Brooklyn-based writer and mom of two, Serena Norr created her original blog Seriously Soupy as a way to learn more about soups and to experiment with new ingredients. She also writes about healthy living, parenting and lifestyle topics on her blog Mama Goes Natural.