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Like many of us, winter means lots of time indoors where the weather is too cold for outdoor play. When it comes to little kids, it’s always good to have a backup plan for the times toddlers are getting cabin fever and it’s not even the witching hour yet. Consider these 10 ways to entertain a toddler in winter!
Here are a few things we do for entertainment in winter to break up the day to day!
- Take the bike to the mall. For her first birthday we got her a Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Trike, which she loved to ride all summer and fall! In winter, when we make our way to the mall, instead of rolling around in her stroller, I bring her trike and let her ride in style! She, of course, liked to walk and push it also which let her and I both stretch our legs.
- Sign up for a class. This winter we are participating in our third semester in a Music Together class, a program that mixes slow and fast songs, instruments and is based on musical education. Brielle LOVES the music and seeing the other kids, but I love that we have a scheduled place to go each week at a certain time. They do schedule makeup classes if there is snow so we won’t miss out on our paid classes!
- Arts and crafts. This is, of course, one of the number one things we do in our house! Brielle loves to do fingerpainting and contact paper play, but this winter we also introduced play dough, sticker play and coloring with finger crayons into the mix! If she’s not actually making art with her supplies, she’s having fun sticking them in and out of egg cartons, muffin tins, tupperwear containers and recycled wipes containers.
- Try new foods. Winter is a great time to look at that “Recipes you want to try” pinboard you keep adding to and actually make something! I involve Brielle in the shopping process – where she tags along to the grocery store, the cooking process – where she’s my little assistance sitting in her high chair as I prep, and my taste tester as she enjoys the foods I’m making. Looking for a healthy toddler muffin recipe they’ll actually eat? Check out this one that we’ve made several times now!
- Switch up the play areas and the toys in it. We luckily live in a split level home which means multiple levels/rooms for play. While most of the time is spent on our main living room/kitchen level (as it’s the most properly child proofed) we do bop around to other floors for play time. Tip: mix around the toys on these levels so they can discover or rediscover an old friend!
- Sing and DANCE! If you were to walk in our home you’d probably find our tv on most of the day, but set to the toddler music channel. I now know all the regular songs and sing along to Justin Roberts, the Chenile Sisters and The Wiggles, all people and songs I never heard of before this year! We also love to put on the cds from our Music Together sessions where Brielle dances, bounces, runs and “sings” along to the ones she recognizes from class.
- Let them choose their story. I have a bookshelf in her room but was always hesitant to let her get at the books as she was into ripping them for a while. Now that she’s older, I moved around some of the contents on the shelves and gave her a selection of sturdy board books within her reach so she can grab them and read as she desires. In our living room we also have an old magazine rack filled with an additional selection of books that she goes to get all day long. Current favorites? Fisher-Price Little People Farm (Lift-the-Flap), First 100 Words Board Book, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
- Box play. We had several large boxes left over from Christmas shipments that we kept for a while for her to play with or in. She likes to climb in and out or put her toys inside. She also gets a kick out of us pushing her around going for a ride (same thing goes for the laundry basket).
- Take a bath during the day. Don’t reserve baths just for the end of the day. Take one in the morning or midday just for something to do! Break out the bubbles, the bath accessories and have fun splishing and splashing!
- Tents and forts! Even though she’s a bit young to understand the construction features needed for a successful pillow fort, she enjoys the one mommy makes! We also have a pop up tent that was in our basement and now moved to the living room which she enjoys frequently. I caught the above photo recently where she brought a book (from that magazine rack mentioned earlier) into the tent and she was “reading” it (upside down) while on her belly. It was so cute!