Cold-Weather Play Prompters

By Maureen Healy

Tot starting to scale the walls? These four fun toys and activities will spark toddlers’ and preschoolers’ imaginations—and keep them entertained indoors all winter long.

Artist in residence
Encourage budding artists with an all-in-one station like the Super Rolling Art Center by Alex Toys. This mobile studio will inspire masterpieces in many mediums with its paper roll, dry erase board on one side and chalkboard on the other. Eight storage cups (including four spill-proof paint cups) and two shelves make keeping it organized a no-brainer. Age 3 and up, $242.




Creative crates
Here’s a brilliant way to play with your kids: Kiwi Crate, a monthly mail-order service, sends themed activity kits right to your door. Invented by parents with child development experts and kid-tester input, each crate has a theme, such as Gardening, Dinosaurs or Colors, and includes everything you need for a variety of activities. For example: Make a stained “glass” window, create your own dinosaur fossils and plant a beans-and-squash window garden. Ages 3 to 7, $20 for a monthly subscription.



Back to basics
Solid wood construction and bold graphics make this toy a keeper. Melissa & Doug’s Classic ABC Block Cart will invoke your sense of nostalgia and provide your little one with opportunities to learn letters, numbers and the timeless art of the block-tower knock-down. Age 2 and up, $15.




Imagination on the loose
Playing make-believe is more fun when you have a set of themed finger puppets to cast as your characters. A Day on Mars Finger Puppet Set by Manhattan Toy comes with an astronaut dog, a shiny silver robot and two silly aliens ready to experience their next imaginary adventure. Other themed sets include A Day at the Castle, Cinderella, Three Little Pigs and A Day in Fantasyland. Age 3 and up, $24.