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We were lucky this year that snow didn’t really hit us until the end of January. However, even without a ton of snow, the chilly weather kept us inside more than we would’ve liked. With a newborn at home, I worked to come up with more ways to entertain my active 2 year old toddler during these cabin fever type stretches.
This is a continuation post from the original 10 ways I entertained my toddler last winter which you can read here.
- Bring the elements inside! Brielle woke up from a nap one day with the kitchen sink full of freshly fallen snow! I added some plastic utensils and cups and let her have fun with the fluffy white stuff. When daddy came home that evening she told him all about how she got to “scoop the snow” so I know she had a fun time.
UPDATE: We have done this dozens of times since this post and just recently added our washable liquid watercolors to the mix to create a discussion of color mixing and the science of melting!
- Indoor obstacle course. One of Brielle’s favorite activities I did this winter when she needed to expend some energy was an indoor obstacle course in the basement. I put up her pop up tent (that has two openings), created a little tunnel with a blanket and the couch cushion and set up some miscellaneous toys around for her to do different activities. It wasn’t timed but I cheered her on giving directions “crawl through the tunnel, now do a somersault, put all the balls in the bucket!” She had so much fun and asks to “play the games” often!
- Scissor practice. This Christmas Santa brought Brielle a pair of squeeze scissors and she’s been obsessed ever since. I, of course, keep them out of reach and only give them to her supervised. I don’t want the wrong thing cut up! Tip: not all papers are created equal and thicker papers tend to cut easier. After I’m done flipping through catalogs, she gets lots of new pages to cut up to her liking.
- Fashion show / Dress up. While we don’t have any pretend dress up clothes yet, Brielle does enjoy hunting through her closet and picking out things she thinks are “cute” to put on. Sometimes we go in mommy’s closet and she tries mine on to be funny and sometimes she puts on daddy’s clothes when we’re putting away the laundry!
- Easter Egg Hunt. Yep, you read that right. Why do we only do this activity one time a year when they clearly love the hunting aspect of it? I say break out those pastel plastic wonders and get hiding! My favorite thing to do it visit her room to get her after a nap holding a basket and telling her to go find them in the basement. She LOVES it and asks to do it again and again. UPDATE: Consider doing this as an educational activity and create a letter hunt with the eggs!
- Scavenger Hunt. This is along the same lines as the last activity but it includes a list of things they’re specifically in charge of finding in your house. Get them to go up and down stairs (safely, if they’re able to) and look high and low for some of their favorite or well-known items.
- Go on a color hunt. (Yes, another hunt. They tend to tire the kids out!) She’s at the age where she’s working on learning her colors. (and I’m crossing my fingers she isn’t color blind like her daddy). Earlier this winter the Elf on the shelf visited us and sent her a color hunt for green and red objects in the house. This winter we expanded this thought and let her explore her pile of toys for all the colors of the rainbow.
- Bake! At 2 years old Brielle loves to help me bake in the kitchen. I measure, she pours. Yes it can get messy but it’s a delicious mess so I’m ok with that.
- Pretend restaurant play. Brielle’s 2nd birthday gift from us was this KidKraft Kitchen which has been stationed in our living room ever since. Our set of fake foods and Cutting Fruit Set items are great for our pretend restaurant play time. I usually get “soup” made of all sorts of random goodies and “water with ice,” apparently a favorite thing to enjoy.
- Let them direct a photo shoot. Brielle got a VTech Kidizoom Camera for her birthday and has been obsessed with it for quite some time. It has holes for both eyes and allows her to look through and click the button to capture digital photos of her life. I spend so much time taking photos of both girls with my cell phone or dslr cameras so why not let her be in charge? She has fun telling me where to sit and what to do. She takes her little camera and I smile nice for her shots. Hopefully she’ll do the same for me!