I know I must sound like a broken record talking about all of the stuff I’ve been getting rid of lately. I apologize. I really do. But you’re going to have to keep hearing about it because it’s consuming a significant part of my time these days. And trust me – this is much more interesting than me writing about what I ate for lunch (turkey sandwich), or what I ate for dinner all these nights my husband’s been at work late (turkey sandwich), or what I got at Panera last time (Sierra Turkey sandwich).
School is closed again today.
This is the third day this month that temperatures in the -30 degree range (with windchill), have prevented my preschooler from getting out of my hair her education. With temps this cold, we can’t even leave the house and we are getting stir crazy. Extremely stir crazy.
I’m running out of things to organize, and I’ve been feeling a little guilty about how much television my kids have been watching. So, over the weekend I made a conscious effort to come up with some fun activities that we can do indoors while this winter rages on.
And now I present to you my list of Thirty Indoor Activities for Little Kids. I hope this helps at least a few of you save your sanity today (and tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day).
- Make homemade playdough. Play doh is always fun for kids, but making your own kills even more time and lets them feel like they’re cooking, too. Here’s an easy recipe from The Imagination Tree.
- Use masking tape to create a hopscotch grid on your floor. Then have fun hopping away!
- Make negative space snowflakes (or any other shape). We did this last year and my daughter had a blast. Have fun making any shape you like with your tape – don’t limit yourself to snowflakes!
- Grab a bunch of your kids’ stuffed animals and set up a safari in your house. Have fun traveling around your home checking out all the wildlife and keeping track of what you saw.
- Make salt dough shapes and turn them into ornaments, jewelry, play food, etc. Here’s a great salt dough recipe from Busy Bee Kids Crafts.
- Set up some plastic cups in a non-fragile area and let your kids have fun with indoor bowling. This is always a hit at my house!
- Have a fun sensory experience with homemade moon sand! Here’s a recipe from Play Based Learning.
- Write thank you notes to our servicemen and servicewomen, or local civil servants.
- Make paper airplanes and see whose flies the farthest.
- Create your own slime and have fun playing with it. Check out this recipe from Science Bob.
- Teach your kids about their ancestry by making a family tree.
- Have a pool party in the bathtub.
- Wow your kids with invisible ink paintings! Write a message or draw a picture on white paper with white crayon and let them paint over it. Let them watch in amazement as the hidden message appears.
- Write letters and draw pictures for the grandparents.
- Snuggle up and read some books.
- Freeze water mixed with food coloring in ice cube trays. Once frozen, let your kids melt the colored ice cubes on paper and create beautiful ice cube paintings.
- Have an indoor picnic. Spread out the blanket, eat your lunch on it, and pretend it’s a lovely day outside.
- Make a homemade bird feeder for our feathered friends. Look at the directions for this cute one from Coffee Cups and Crayons.
- Make your own Matchbox car race track with a flattened cardboard box, construction paper and glue.
- Bake cookies. Have fun making them and eating them. This recipe makes some great chocolate chip cookies!
- Make finger puppets and put on a show! Look at these adorable free farm animal puppet printables from Lia Griffith that you can print right at home.
- Do some puzzles, or even make your own! Print a family picture on cardstock and cut it up into several pieces. Let your kids put it back together.
- Make a blanket fort. Maybe you could even catch an nap in there.
- Create a scavenger hunt. Here are directions for an easy color scavenger hunt from Kids Activities Blog, but you can get as creative as you want!
- Go camping in your living room. Spread out a sleeping bag, roast marshmallows in the microwave, and tell ghost stories.
- Grab a flashlight, close the shades and practice making shadow figures on the wall.
- Squirt several colors of tempera paint into Ziploc bags and seal shut. Tape the bags to the table and let your kids fingerpaint without the mess.
- Play a memory game. Here’s a cute Jake and the Neverland Pirates free printable from Spoonful.
- Make your own puffy paint and be amazed when it puffs and hardens in the microwave. This is a great recipe from Happy Hooligans. My kids LOVED this. We didn’t have self-rising flour, so we used an easy substitution.
- Create an obstacle course with pillows, jump ropes, hoola hoops or anything you have on hand.
What activities would you add to this list?
(I’d add drinking wine, but that’s more of an after-hours activity now, isn’t it?)
I hope you had a great weekend! Part of my long weekend was spent getting some Valentine’s Day decorations out. I just love Valentine’s Day because it is so cute. It also adds some fun to a gray and dull time of year.
In getting ready for Valentine’s Day, I couldn’t pass up these cute two-sided mini stampers from Oriental Trading. I thought they’d be a darling addition to my preschooler’s valentines for school. I ordered them earlier this month because I know that Oriental Trading’s shipping is not always the quickest. In this case it took about ten days for them to arrive.
One night while my husband was working late, I decided to create a valentine to accompany these cute stampers. And, of course, I couldn’t resist a cheesy pun: “You get my stamp of approval, Valentine.”
To attach the stampers to the printed cards, I used a mini hole puncher to place two holes on each card – one higher than the other. Then I placed some double-sided tape in between the holes and placed the stamper on top. I then tied some baker’s twine through the holes. These stampers aren’t going anywhere.
Since I’m such a kind and generous person, I’m sharing these free printable valentines with you. All you have to do is download them here and then print at home, or at your local print shop.
If you don’t want to order stampers from Oriental Trading, I saw some Valentine’s Day stampers at Target as well (though the price wasn’t as good).
If you use these, I hope your kids (and the recipients) enjoy them!
Yesterday was extra special because an old friend of mine came for a visit – all the way from Iowa. I was so excited to see her! To pass the time until she arrived, however, the kids and I had a little coloring and crafting time at the kitchen table.
Since Valentine’s Day is less than a month away (and since my daughter talks about it incessantly), we decided to make our first V-Day project of the season – LOVE photo and popsicle stick art!
This was the perfect project for my preschooler because it involved letters (which we’re working on a lot these days), fine motor skills (gluing in a straight line and affixing popsicle sticks in the correct places), and creativity (which is always important). It also didn’t involve a lot of mess and it kept her attention.
To make this project, we gathered supplies that we had on hand, including:
- construction paper
- popsicle sticks (you can get packages of 100 colored popsicle sticks for $1 at Dollar Tree!)
- Elmer’s Glue
- a photo (I printed mine on regular copy paper, but you could obviously use a professionally printed photo)
- embellishments of your choice (we used glitter glue and heart stickers – also purchased at Dollar Tree)
Next, my daughter put glue over the L, V and E letters. She concentrated very hard to get her lines straight! Check out that look of determination!
Finally, she decorated with stickers and glitter glue. I helped outline the photo heart with glitter glue.
Picky Eaters. My kids are the WORST. It’s like alarms and sirens go off anytime anything that’s remotely good for them is placed within a 5 inch radius. Do you feel my pain?
If so, you NEED these muffins in your life. They’re full of good veggies and fiber, and the best part is that they don’t even taste like it. Your kids will not turn up their noses at these toddler muffins. I can pretty much guarantee it! (They may also like these yummy Strawberry Banana Yogurt Muffins, too!)My kids happily devour them any chance they’re given.
- 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup of brown sugar
- 2 bananas, mashed
- 1 (4.5 oz) jar of baby squash
- 2 grated carrots (I used the pre-cut matchstick carrots)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup of all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup of oat bran (I used Kellogg’s All-Bran Buds)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees and grease 12 standard muffin cups.
- Cream together the butter and brown sugar until smooth.
- Mix in the mashed bananas, squash, carrots and eggs.
- Stir in the flour, bran, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt.
- Stir to combine ingredients, and then distribute evenly amongst the muffin cups.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Eat within two days or freeze.
Serving Size:1 muffin
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 182 Total Fat: 9g Saturated Fat: 5g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 3g Cholesterol: 51mg Sodium: 231mg Carbohydrates: 24g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 11g Protein: 3g