We are in Pennsylvania, one of the states that experiences all four seasons; sometimes in one day. But usually between about November through April-ish we are more or less stuck inside. I say this as today was 56° and sunny so we were most definitely outside.
Here are a few items that help us get the jitters out and keep us busy when it seems like the days are 1947538 hours and I can’t let them watch another minute of TV.
Indoor/Outdoor Tunnel- I was pumped to add this to her Christmas list and PTL it was received. Super easy to squish down and open for storage, at 6ft, she poops herself out crawling back and forth. I’m not mad about it.
Mini Trampoline– my parents snagged one of these and we have loved it! When she is quite literally bouncing off of the walls, I tell her to go jump. It’s helped keep us all sane. She loves even just sitting on it to read or color.
Sensory Bins- Building a sensory bin is super easy, and can likely be done with items around your house. Beans, rice, rocks, little plastic animals, bubbles, flour, baking soda, water, ice, finger paints- the options are ENDLESS, and have varying degrees of messiness and required supervision. My post on creating sensory bins is linked here!
Paint Day- My girls will sit for hours and just paint if I let them. I get cheap watercolors and paper and let them go to town. Athena LOVES when I turn on watercolor videos on YouTube for her to watch and attempt while they’re painting too.
A good dance mix– I’ll add in that we are HUGE fans of Bailey Tucker, who does The Good and the Beautiful “exercise” videos.
Super Bubbles- I’ve shared these on Instagram a bunch but they bare repeating. 1c cold water, and a good dump (a few tablespoons) of bubble bath. Whip them in a stand mixer, with your hand mixer, or I’ve even used my immersion blender. You can add food coloring or bath paint for added color. It makes wildly dense foamy bubbles that are JOY to play in. I stick the girls in the bathtub with paintbrushes to go to town.
Anything magnetic- Magnatiles/Picasso Tiles, Pipe Cleaners, other magnets- if it sticks, they LOVE it. We happen to have a few magnet wands to add to the fun. My children spent 3 hours with a tub of pipe cleaners, pom poms, a few magnetic items, and a magnet wand. I’m not even kidding.
Bath Paint- For quite some time I just used regular finger paint. Then bathtub paint came out, and was accessible in the Target Dollar Spot. Is it the “cleanest” product? Probably not. But all things considered, the sanity it brings is worth it. Sure, I could make homemade with cornstarch and food coloring or whatever, OR I can squeeze a few blobs out on a plate with a paint brush and call it a day.
Family Read Aloud– We have almost cut TV after dinner 100% since starting family reading. We typically eat dinner around 530pm when Ethan gets done with work, until 6pm. We clean up a bit and the girls get to play. We often join them (see the magnetiles pics), before getting ready for bed. Then we read for what ends up being 20-30min each night, which sets us up for a 730/745 bedtime. We’ve been working through the Little House Series, and plan on doing Anne of Green Gables next!
Playdough Mats- You can certainly purchase these or make your own VERY easily. After creating a “blank canvas” for your playdough, slide the paper into a sheet protector. Cookies, cakes, flowers, bugs, and additional blank outlines, are great options for kids to fill in with their playdough decorations. I find that with more constructive playdough direction, they play longer, are more engaged, there’s less fighting, and less mess.
Charcuterie- When it doubt, put it on a board. This very basic breakfast dinner was made *MAGICAL* by putting it on a charcuterie board. As an added bonus, they cleared this thing. Seriously. There was almost nothing left when the 2 of them were done. They would have never eaten so much on a “regular” plate. But the novelty of the board made it way cooler. Bonus, get your tiny humans involved in the board construction.
To make it easy, I compiled a shopping list for you to snag ideas off this list, plus a few extra fun additions!