If the snowy weather has got your kids singing the cabin-fever blues, then you're in luck! We've come up with 111 great ways to stay entertained indoors. Challenge your little ones to do something different this afternoon, and try out a craft, recipe, or game that wouldn't have otherwise interested them. Prove to them that being stuck indoors doesn't always have to be a bad thing, and remind them that (maybe) the sun will come out tomorrow!
Winter flicks and a bowl of popcorn are just what a chilly day calls for. Classics like Miracle are both persevering and tear-jerking (for mama), while new favorites like Ice Age are sure to give everyone a good chuckle. Consider our list, and crank up the heat; these heartwarming favorites will fight off any Winter chill the next time your hear the words "snow day"!
Move over, duct tape — there's a new crafting tape in town and both moms and tots are loving it. Washi tape — also known as Japanese paper tape — is similar to masking tape but much prettier. Made from natural fibers like bamboo and hemp, the strong tape comes in beautiful colors and patterns — and doesn't leave residue once it is removed from walls — making it ideal for kids' arts and crafts projects. Keep reading for some fun uses for the tape, as well as some cute patterns specifically designed for tots!
Putting together a floor puzzle is anything but boring. Introduce your tot to the exciting challenge of puzzles with an oversize puzzle that is both educational and seriously fun. From life-size skeleton puzzles to realistic animal drawings, these toys are ready for hours of puzzling enjoyment. Along with challenging your lil one's problem-solving skills, putting together a puzzle also strengthens the little muscles in your tot's hands and his ability to focus and concentrate. So hit the floor and get ready to spread out with these extra-large puzzles!
We know kids love play dough, and this recipe for scented play dough might just be the best thing around. The directions are so easy, you'll forget all about that stuff from the store.
Encourage your little one's budding fine motor skills and entice their noses with scented play dough that is wonderfully soft and perfectly squishy. Along with offering a great scent, using small powdered drink mixes gives this dough seriously vibrant color. And this recipe makes just the right amount for lots and lots of scented play-dough fun.
Toddlers love squishing and molding play dough, which also encourages fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Instead of heading to the store, mix some up together with your tot! Making homemade play dough is easier than you think, and this recipe gets even more exciting with the addition of sand — making it the perfect Summer play dough! Best of all, when squishy playtime is over, your child's finished creations can be left in the sun to dry and then painted with tempera paints for a truly unique craft. All you need are a few ingredients — which are probably already in your pantry — and lots of toddler imagination!
As the Winter lingers, keeping your kids holed up inside, chances are they're more than a little ready for some springtime sun. Help them beat the seasonal blues by switching up your family's routine with these 10 fun cabin fever cures:
- Head to an indoor pool. Part of the problem may be boredom, since your kids are probably sick of their Winter activity standbys. Swap out the typical TV-and-PJs routine and slip on swimsuits instead.
- Switch up mealtime with a Hawaiian luau. Your menu has likely consisted of soups, stews, and seasonal foods lately, so try channeling some Summer sun with a fresh and festive dinnertime luau.
- Get friends together for a bowling night. Pair up with family friends for a fun night out and a change of scenery. Bowling works for all ages, so it's a great way for the whole gang to get up and moving.
- Build a fort in the living room. Try some activities you don't normally do to invigorate your kids' attitudes. Help them flex their creativity by putting an indoor fort together, then crawl inside for a cozy game of cards.
- Have a "pretend we're at the beach" day. Sip smoothies, serve popsicles, and blow up some beach balls to fake a day at the beach. Feeling extra adventurous? Fill a large tub or blow-up kiddie pool with sand for some indoor sand castles.
These cold Winter days are perfect for indoor arts and crafts, so try this fun, original decoupage activity with your kids on the next rainy afternoon. Simple and quick, it's an easy way for them to create some new decor while spending some quality time with you.
What you'll need:
- Decoupage craft glue or diluted white school glue
- Paintbrush or foam brush
- Used book pages, sheet music, or photos
- An item to decoupage (mug, picture frame, furniture, etc.)
What to do:
- Encourage your child to pick out their favorite song, book, or photos to use for the project. Cut the book pages, sheet music, or photos into small pieces.
- Brush a layer of glue onto whatever item you've chosen to decoupage. Or if it's easier, brush glue onto the back of the cut pieces before placing them on the item. Make sure to brush out or flatten any bubbles beneath each piece so that it lays flat.
- Once the item is dry, brush a coat of glue across the entire item to seal in the different pieces. Let that coat dry, then repeat as necessary until you're sure that the pieces are secure.
Get creative with the decoupage add-ons. Consider including magazine pages, pieces of ribbon, candy wrappers, fake flower petals, or anything else your kids might love. We love the idea of a book page collage on a nightstand, or sheet music and pieces of ribbon on a mug. These items would make great personalized presents, too, so consider turning it into a gift for grandparents or a teacher.
With 65 million people sitting in Hurricane Irene's path this weekend, its safe to say that most East Coast families will be spending a lot of time inside in the coming days. Though tots may have a closet filled with toys to keep them entertained as the storm takes its time moving up the coast, kids need a change of scene to liven up their play. Some easily convert household items into play things, but others need some guidance. These home staples make great toys for kids of all ages and can keep your children entertained indoors while the wind is howling outside. Here are some of my favorite ways to keep my children on the move and creative when a hurricane is a-brewing.
In case you live on the moon, you might not have heard that it's snowing in Chicago and apparently, the end of the world is right around the corner. So assuming we have a few more days on earth, here are a few very UN-PC ways I plan to entertain my two sick toddlers during our shut-in:
- Sugar: I've decided that hot chocolate, cookie decorating, baking (and eating), and marshmallows are going to be a huge defense against boredom in my home. Actually, there is some method to my madness. I figure the less I make sweets and snacks taboo for my kids, the less likely they will be to over compensate when they are adults...everything in moderation. Ok, I promise the rest of the list will be really bad and will not include any bits of parenting advice.
- Art Projects: No, the kids can't color on my furniture or walls, but yes, they can color in front of the TV...which leads me to my next crutch,
- TV: On today's most snowiest of days, I thank the technology gods for things like Comcast, OnDemand, TiVo and our extensive personal collection of children's DVDs. If another episode of Thomas the Train is making you want to knock yourself unconscious, try something new and slightly enjoyable like Despicable Me (for rent on OnDemand). At least Michael Scott from the Office (Steve Carell) and Marshall Eriksen from How I Met Your Mother (Jason Segel) are in it. It's cute and tolerable.
- Inappropriate Teenage Activities for Tots: My daughter said she likes my nail polish. I bought her some of her own at Sweet & Sassy so I can paint her nails with kid-friendly, quick-drying, non-toxic polish. She's 1. Meanwhile, my son is skateboarding in the living room. He keeps bumping into my side tables. I don't care. Neither are crying which equals success in my book.