Any of you moms out there going stir crazy yet?? There are things that I enjoy about winter, but being cooped up inside with a toddler day in and day out is not one of them. As winter continues to linger on, I’ve found myself having to get creative in finding ways to entertain my rambunctious almost-two year old. Here are my top 10 activities that I’ve come up with to stave of the stir-crazies.
1. “Washing” dishes
This was a BIG hit with Nora as she is currently obsessed with water. I filled our kitchen sink, added some soap, threw some plastic dishes in, handed her a sponge and let her go to town. There were quite a few “No, we don’t ring the sponge out onto the floor” comments coming from me, but I tried my best to just let her be and have fun.
Oh how I used to love playdough! I was excited to introduce Nora to it and thankfully she found it just as exciting as I used to. I’ve just been using the store bought kind along with some cookie cutters to entertain her, but I have this homemade version on my to do list.
3. Painting/Coloring/Playing with stickers
This can keep her occupied for quite some time. We’ve tried finger painting, painting with a brush, and this cool idea for mess free finger painting that I found on Pinterest. The last one worked well until she discovered how to pull the tape off the table and undo the bag. That ended the creativity quickly 🙂
Nora loves to color, so I got her a big pad of white paper as well as a few coloring books to go to town on. I also found some sheets of stickers at the Dollar Tree and let her peel them off and stick them on paper. Hours of fun…OK well maybe more like lots of minutes of fun, because let’s be honest, entertaining a toddler with one activity for hours is near impossible.
4. Helping me “clean”
Yes, this may seem like a weird one, but Nora really does love to clean. She likes to sweep and clean with paper towels, so I will give her both and let her go to town on the house.
5. Couch or bed jumping
This one I make sure to keep a very close eye on her, but she loves to jump, so I will let her jump on her bed or on the couch and dive into the pillows and cushions. If your kids are older you may be able to set up a type of obstacle course with the cushions and furniture. Definitely not for the faint of heart, but it can be a great way to let them get some energy out.
6. Sorting activities
Toddlers love to sort things. Nora can spend quite a long time putting things into a basket or container, dumping them out, and doing it all over again. Some things I’ve used are clothes and a laundry basket, marbles or rocks and ice trays, and beans, pasta or rice and tupperware containers.
7. Bath time
Like I said above, Nora is currently obsessed with water, so she LOVES bath time. I’ll throw her in there in the middle of our afternoon slump, dump some toys in and let her play and splash around until she starts to turn pruney. And at the end all I have to do is clean up the gallon of water that is now on my bathroom floor.
8. Cook or bake something
I love being able to share the kitchen with my little girl. It is so fun to see her mimic my movements and want to take part in what I am making. I pull up a chair and let her “help” and try desperately not to worry about the mess (notice I said “try”).
9. Get out of the house
I find that there are times where we just have to get out of the house. Nora’s energy becomes too much for our house to hold and we have to find an outlet. Here are some great options around Burlington:
*ECHO– We got a membership specifically to use during winter because we heard that it was a great place to let the kids run loose. Nora really enjoys it and it does the job of tiring her out 🙂
*Burger King play place- While I wish there was a play place somewhere with healthier eating options, this one does the trick when you need to let the kiddos run around.
*Regal Gymnastics open gym– Regal is a great facility with tons of options for the active toddler and child. They have an open gym on Monday through Thursday and on Saturday from 11-noon.
*YMCA family gym– The downtown and Winooski YMCA’s are another great open gym option. Take your kids to the downtown Y on Friday or Sunday from 10:30-noon and the Winooski Y on Thursday and Saturdays from 10:30-noon.
*The library- Whether it’s just to go check out some books or to enjoy a story time, the library is a great morning or afternoon excursion.
*Music times- There are some great music times at different places throughout the week. Be sure to check out Find & Go Seek’s calendar to find some options near you!
*Craft Time- We love Creative Habitat, and they have a great craft time on Saturdays from 1-3pm where you can drop in with your little one and create an adorable craft to take home with you. All supplies are included in the $3 charge.
They also have a Petite Artist class on Saturdays where children from ages 3-5 can explore different art mediums in their studio space and get creative! There is a $5 drop in fee.
10. Bite the bullet, bundle up, and go outside
On really cold days it can be hard for me to find the motivation to do this one, but there really are very few days that it is legitimately too cold to go outside. What usually deters me is the time it takes me to get Nora ready compared to how much time we actually spend outside. But on the days that I somehow find the motivation, we end up having a lot of fun.
What do you mommas do to fight off the winter crazies??