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Indoor activities?

It will be as cold as heck for a good chunk of the USA for the next few days.  I have a 3 year old that might not enjoy so much time inside and I think he might not be the only kid who won't appreciate being cooped up.  So, anyone want to share indoor activities or projects for when you really can't go outside?

Ideas for older kids that might benefit other moms is okay to post too.

Stay warm!


( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 6th, 2014 04:22 pm (UTC)
Build a fort! I live in a place where it gets too cold to go outside so we're build forts, play real life angry birds... You could make play-doh or paint. Bath time can be fun. A movie and hot cocoa. Coloring and stories. Do you have any boxes from Christmas? You could color with markers and make a house or castle using blankets for a moat.

Edited at 2014-01-06 04:22 pm (UTC)
Jan. 6th, 2014 04:34 pm (UTC)
Right now my son is playing with a massive train set. We built a city (on rock and roll lol). There's also painting, making a clubhouse out of decorating a box (which takes quite some time to make and then play with), baking soda with colored vinegar in bowls with a dropper on a cookie sheet, etc. So many!
Jan. 6th, 2014 04:40 pm (UTC)
We use painters tape to make a 'balance beam' or obstacle course or race track.
Jan. 6th, 2014 04:45 pm (UTC)
Normally I'd say that there's no bad weather, only bad clothes, but the predicted cold snap might actually qualify as bad weather!

You should still be able to manage outdoor time in short bursts, but you have got to pay attention for hypothermia, which can sneak up on you. If you do decide to go outside, dress in layers (the trapped air helps keep you and your kid warm), minimize exposed skin (that means a hat and scarf!), and make sure to stay reasonably dry and hydrated.

If you're just playing in the yard (which sounds like its going to be your limit) you shouldn't have a problem even if you ignore this, so long as you go inside at the first sign of shivering or discomfort, but if you go on a longer trip for whatever reason, pay attention. If you or the kid starts mumbling, stumbling, or grumbling, go inside, give both of you some nice warm, sweet cocoa or tea, and load up on the high energy snacks. Also, remove any wet clothes, and call the doctor for advice.
Jan. 6th, 2014 04:56 pm (UTC)
Frostbite can also be a concern depending on just how cold it is. When we get a frostbite warning those are my definite 'stay in' days!
Jan. 6th, 2014 05:20 pm (UTC)
Or..you could just stay indoors and make it an adventure!
Jan. 7th, 2014 12:12 am (UTC)
Depends on how cold it is where you are and how much indoor time you think you can actually tolerate before losing it.

I can't handle that much indoor time unless I really have no option. I mean, I can, but only by completely isolating myself, which is terrible when you have small children to watch.

Lots of us actually won't have much of an option this week, because the weather is actually going to be *bad*, but if you do have the option of going outside, and plan to do so, you should know what to look out for.
Jan. 6th, 2014 06:24 pm (UTC)
It's -41 degrees Fahrenheit windchill here. Frostbite can happen in a couple minutes, and there are warnings that people should not be going outside unless it's necessary. This does qualify as weather to stay indoors during.
Jan. 7th, 2014 12:09 am (UTC)
I would definitely agree. If the Celsius temperature and Fahrenheit temperature agree, stay inside!

But the temperatures aren't going to be quite as dramatic for all of us (many of us, yes) and if you're going to go outside anyway, you should at least be aware of what to watch for.
Jan. 6th, 2014 04:55 pm (UTC)
We've been indoors for the past week and a half.. kid is sick and we were iced in over the holidays.. We built stuff out of boxes, watched lots of youtube videos, and brought snow inside to play with (put it in the tub). I built him a fort in an extra large storage bin with a blanket over it.
Jan. 6th, 2014 05:05 pm (UTC)
Our weather hasn't been too terrible (lots of snow, but not too cold, so of course we were out in that), but I've had a sick kid the last two days and we've been doing a lot of art projects. Having fingerpaints, regular paints, crayons, markers, glue, safety scissors, and Play-Doh on hand have really been a lifesaver. You can also make homemade Play-Doh and then play with it afterward, which qualifies as two projects in one!
Jan. 6th, 2014 05:19 pm (UTC)
Above ideas are excellent. We also do cosmic yoga adventures (youtube videos)!

Helping with cooking is always fun! Making pizza is a great project and a meal is done! My daughter helps me measure out stuff for making bread, rice, anything really (she is 3.5yo).
Jan. 6th, 2014 06:35 pm (UTC)
My son loves this "spiderman" activity where I make a sticky web with duct tape between the door frames, then we wad up toilet paper in little balls and throw it and try to see how many we can make stick.

Also, when he was littler I would inflate an air mattress and let him use it like a trampoline. And I would gather up all the balled socks in the house and we'd toss them in a laundry basket across the room. I would set up little "stops" in a path around the house and see how fast he could ride a ride-on toy and get to all the stops. Once we saran wrapped the dining room table and did "pudding painting", which is a glorious edible sticky mess that leads right into bathtime.

My son had no patience or interest in any sort of crafts, coloring, or creation-type projects. He is all noise and action, all the time. It made times tough when we couldn't go out!
Jan. 6th, 2014 06:38 pm (UTC)
As a nanny, I've had the kids make 'alphabet books'. we use old magazines or supermarket flyers, choose a letter (B,P,S and T are good ones to start with). Look through flyers and find pictures of things starting with the letter you've chosen. You or the kids can cut out the picture. Glue picture to a small piece of paper. Then you can write the letter and the name of the item. When you have several you can put them together in a 'book'. My nanny kids loved making these and loved "reading" them to Mom and Dad!!
Jan. 7th, 2014 01:35 am (UTC)
This sounds cool. What age were your nanny kids? I have a two year old and I think she is probably still too little to have fun with this, even if I am doing the cutting, but maybe it is worth a try.
Jan. 7th, 2014 02:23 pm (UTC)
They were both preschoolers, 3 and 5. She could have the first letter to search for. S is a good one to start with "S looks like a snake and sounds like a snake; ssssssssssssss" Then look through the flyer and point out words starting with S. You probably have to cut it out for her, but she can probably manage a glue stick to put it in "her book".I did this with my own kids as well, and they all were reading by kindergarten.
Jan. 6th, 2014 06:49 pm (UTC)
I let my kid run around with the dog playing "crazy monsters" where they literally just run around chasing each other. This is normally an outside activity because in the house it leads to crashing into things and tears, but she needs to burn the energy off somehow. We also bake, watch movies, play iPad/iPod together, do chores...anything really.

I do though add an extra layer, bundle her up really well, and we go outside even if it's -40 to just get out of the house. That extra fresh air knocks her down a peg in terms of energy, too. And once everything is all said and done, extra long bath-times seem to be pretty good at tiring her out.
Jan. 6th, 2014 09:04 pm (UTC)
didn't read the other comments
Indoor treasure hunt
play dough
indoor "camping"
baking / cooking projects
drawing or painting
reading books
age appropriate board games (my 3 yo likes memory)
bubble baths

p101 will probably kill me but when it is really cold we go to a fast food place with an indoor play area and hang out for a bit to run off energy.
Jan. 6th, 2014 09:05 pm (UTC)
Re: didn't read the other comments
my son loves his megablox and train set as well

face painting
role playing (coupled with above?)

Edited at 2014-01-06 09:27 pm (UTC)
Jan. 7th, 2014 02:02 am (UTC)
"p101 will probably kill me but when it is really cold we go to a fast food place with an indoor play area and hang out for a bit to run off energy."

Do what you gotta do. It's not like you eat five meals a day at McDonald's, right?
Jan. 6th, 2014 09:58 pm (UTC)
When we have to be inside we tend to watch Netflix, and play with trains, we also "hunt ghosts" play a lot of hide and seek, we also have a wiiU and my kids love it and wii fit (my kiddos are 6 and 2).
Jan. 6th, 2014 11:33 pm (UTC)
I got out a huge piece of paper and paints this morning for my 4 year old, and we also got out a toy she hadn't used in a while and watched a movie. Other things that sometimes work well for us: baking something together, building a fort with pillows and blankets, making hot chocolate, playing in the bath, coloring together (it's soothing!), reading a big stack of books, putting on music and dancing or bouncing on Rhody (one of those inflatable horse things), racing toy cars across the floor...or, if we can get out but not stay outside, we can go to the library, the aquarium, kid art or yoga class, etc. But that depends on wanting to get in the car in the cold, which on the visciously cold days can be hard to do!
Jan. 7th, 2014 03:47 am (UTC)
Oh man. Indoor activities can be really, really fun!

Indoor obstacle courses are fun. Use stuffed animals to make tiny hurdles to jump over, make trophies/medals for each other, time the kid and see how fast they go.

Hide and seek with stuffed animals. This one can be a lot of fun if there are just two of you! You and the child take turns hiding the stuffed animals in places and then looking for them. So simple, but SO fun. You can start with one stuffed animal and then move up to more if they want.

Seeking games in general. A seeking game is one where you give the child something to find. Find a purple toy, find a green stuffed animal, find a toy that had four legs... Then let them tell you to find things. It's also a good way to teach colors/numbers/sorting while still really playing.

Put on a talent show! Sing, dance, tell stories... take turns going on a 'stage' (I used a bed as one when I was nannying) and do things.

Tell stories. Get out a whiteboard, a chalkboard, a big piece of paper and illustrate a story. Then have your child do it. They might start out as two sentences or just bad jokes. But, hey, you're taking turns, you're telling stories, he's learning about stories and drawing.

Paint something unusual. Find a box from a package. Make a box. Grab some old clothing or old furniture or something. Paint it. Paint rocks. Paint anything you're willing to paint. Get creative! Paint with weird things. Use fingers, sponges, sticks, old toys...

Teach a simple board or card games, if you can. Go fish. Trouble. Candyland. Take your time. See if he can learn. Just have fun!

The best advice I can give is also to let the child lead. If you start an activity and it turns into something you didn't expect? Let it go! Let it happen! Letting your child lead in play is an amazing thing and can lead to brand new games. Don't be afraid of being silly.
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )


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