We are entering THAT time of year – the holidays are long gone, spring is still in the misty distance, and we’re feeling a bit of cabin fever. Add to that a baby, toddler or two and you might be ready to scratch your way out with your fingernails. Never fear! Here are some indoor activities for you and your baby that are sure to make the days pass a bit more easily – and before you know it, spring will have sprung! So, whether you’ve got a little one who’s not yet crawling, a toddler who’s all over the place, or someone in between, we’ve got something that’s sure to suit! So here it is: activities for you and your baby: winter edition.
- Create a Rainbow: Make bath time fun for any age! All you need is white shaving cream, some food coloring, paintbrushes and a muffin tin. Squirt some shaving cream (cream, not gel) in each section of your muffin tin, add food coloring for the colors you want, mix well, and then let your little ones paint the sides of the tub to their hearts content. You’ll probably find that you have to coax and cajole them to leave the tub! Our recommendation is to let them play, then clean the tub and fill it again for a typical bath. Note: Remember that even amidst the fun, you never want to leave any child or baby unattended in the tub.
- Snap, Crackle and Pop: No matter how old you are, everyone loves to pop bubble wrap. So, why not create a bubble wrap trail for babies, crawlers, toddlers and more? You may have some lying around your house, or with a little investment at your local UPS store, you can have enough bubble wrap for hours of fun. Roll it off and tape it down to your floor’s surface (painting tape is a safe bet for most floors). Make it interesting as it winds through your house, maybe even around furniture or up the stairs. You can create an obstacle course, make a bubble wrap runway and more. Granted, your husband may come home and wonder what happened to the house, but hey – hasn’t he done that before?!
- Get Boxed In: Whether it’s a TV box, an old moving carton or maybe something awesome like a refrigerator box, playing with a cardboard box never goes out of style! New crawlers will love exploring, especially if you turn the box on its side. With toddlers, use some scissors (grown-ups only) to create windows and doors. Get older siblings to join in the fun with crayons and coloring. In our household, cardboard boxes have long been a source of great fun, from building forts and creating villages to making robots or just crawling around in them. Children of all ages will love this indoor activity, and you’ll all be sad when recycling day comes around and the boxes head out to the curb.
- Story Time: If you’re feeling like colored shaving cream and bubble wrap throughout your house may be more than you can handle, don’t worry. Not all indoor activities involve advanced planning. Regardless of age, from infants on up, your little ones will love hearing your voice as you read to them. On especially cold or rainy days, it’s great fun to pick a big stack of books and work your way through. With babies, board books are awesome. Let your child feel and touch the pages. And, don’t feel that you need to read to get through to the end – talk about what you’re reading, or just practice words and letters. For toddlers and older, talk to them about the book and ask open-ended questions for them to answer. Your child may even be able to repeat the words or know the book well enough to read to you! You can even launch into an easy craft from story time as your child draws and colors, based on the favorite books of the day. Reading is easy, enriching, educational and fun!
- Cooking up Fun: Let’s face it – we all have to eat. So, why not get your child involved in the process. Even at a young age, your little one can sit strapped in the high chair with measuring cups and Tupperware bowls, adding and stirring ingredients as you go. My 3-year old used to love to stand on the step stool in her apron, mixing a little of this and a little of that into various cups and bowls while I baked, prepared dinner or we just played. You can even make it a sensory experience as you let your kids smell garlic or sniff cinnamon; touch breadcrumbs or the soft, slimy feel of a piece of fruit. Whether you’re cooking for play and fun or actually preparing a meal for the family, it’s something that children will love.
- Make some music: Sometimes, all a winter day needs is a Dance Party! These were very popular in my house when the kids were 3 and 4 – and younger. Whether you put on CDs, stream music through your computer or just plug in your ITunes or Pandora, music makes everything better. If you’re feeling particular noisy and want to blow off some steam, add in some wooden spoons, a plastic recorder or two, a Tupperware bowl for a drum and you’ve got your own band. Include dress up costumes for some extra flare!
So there you have it. Just a few activities with babies – to save your sanity – as we ride out the rest of winter. And, these are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Look around your house where crafts, activities and indoor fun abound. Just channel your inner child, put the housekeeping and chores on hold for a bit, and enjoy. After all, you’re only young once!
Need to clean up after all that fun? Try our 2-in-1 Hair and Body Wash. It won’t irritate or cause allergies, but it smells heavenly from a natural essential oil.
Lippman, Sara (from American Baby). “11 Fun Activities for When Winter Weather Traps You Indoors.” www.parents.com.