The Beau and Belle Littles Family is from Colorado, so during the winter months when we can’t go outside to play it can be hard to come up with ideas to keep the kids busy and not just busy with streaming. I will be the first to admit that I often have to resort to the third parent we call TV when I need to get work done while the kids are home. I also have some great suggestions for things to keep them occupied. Some of these suggestions can be messy, but kids are a mess anyway so what’s the difference.
Playdough. It can seriously occupy my kids for a really long time. We bought one of those big tubs that comes with a lot of cool tools and I limit the kids to one color at a time. If you want to make playdough at home here’s a safe to eat recipe.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour.
- 3/4 cup salt.4 teaspoons cream of tartar.
- 2 cups lukewarm water.
- 2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil (coconut oil works too)
- Food coloring, optional.
- Quart sized bags.
- Essential oils for some sweet scents
Kinetic Sand. I think Laelle prefers the sand to playdough. Maybe it’s a sensory thing, but I use tupperware containers one for each kid and let them play on the table. We have sand toys from our actual sandbox outside that we use and it is super fun. This is another thing you could make at home if you wanted.
- 1 cup of play sand
- 1/2 tbsp corn starch
- 1 tsp dish soap1 cup of water (added as needed
All things Painting and Coloring. There are soo many things you can do with painting and coloring here are just a few suggestions we have.
- Printing coloring pages
- Painting with water on construction paper. (if you have a cricut you cancut out shapes for them to paint which is really fun too. Or practice letters)
- Get some rolls of paper and roll them out for coloring or painting. Just make sure you’re using washable paints.
- Finger paintingShaving cream paint (or whipped cream if you want it to be edible)
Baking Soda and Vinegar experiments. Actually this one could be a two for one. If you have a drain that isn’t draining well baking soda and vinegar can help break up what’s clogging your drain and it's natural. You can add food coloring for special effect.
- Mix in a bottle with a balloon and watch it fill up.
- Launch a rocket
- Create a Volcano
- Fill a baking sheet with baking soda and small cups with coloured vinegar. Drop drops of vinegar onto the baking soda for a bubbly rainbow!
Building blocks. Sure let them create on their own, but maybe challenge them to make something specific. Beau is really into the Lego masters show right now so I could see him spending a lot of time building something if I told him to say build a bridge like the recent show challenge.
- Magnet Blocks
- Old Fashioned Lincoln Logs
Baking/cooking meals. We used to get the meal delivery service that came with picture instructions and both of my kids really like to help me cook. So instead of using that service now I still have them help me cook dinner. Beau peels potatoes and carrots when I need them and will get the ingredients out of the fridge. It’s almost like a treasure hunt sometimes.
Bubbles. These are always an easy win. It may not keep the kids entertained for a super long time, but it is super fun and something you could technically do inside or outside. Take something apart and put it back together. Make sure this is something you actually know you can put back together. This way we can see how things are built and how to put them back together.
Build forts. When Paul’s out with friends or traveling this is something I know will make a huge mess, but it will also occupy the kids for a really long time. I’ve even set it up before with the idea that we would crawl under the fort and watch a movie. Definitely plan the movie location first or maybe make a hole where you can still see the TV from under all the blankets and pillows. You might even be able to pretend there are stars or make shadow puppets.
Monster Truck Ramps. If it is possible to go outside and you have some cars and trucks laying around build some ramps in the snow or dirt. The building part will take a while and then you can leave the ramps set up for play the next day too. Use cardboard to create roads and cities.
Toy baths. Use the sink or bathtub to give your non battery toys a bath. You can even take it up a notch and sanitize some of them in a bleach/water mixture. The recommended mix is a 1.5 teaspoon to gallon of water for hard toys. Before the bath,use your toys to paint (driving vehicles through paint or making footprints with animals) is always fun!
Dance Party. Who doesn’t like to dance? You can even turn it into freeze dance. Or Karaoke. Tired of the same old songs the kids like to listen to? Search for the metal version or even the electronic remix. It will open a whole new world of musical fun.
Decorate cards. Brighten someones day by creating cards and mailing them to family and friends.
Make a sculpture. You can use clay or really any material you have that would make something 3d. The latest preschool creation Beau brought home was toothpicks and marshmallows. The good thing about the marshmallows is they can eat it when they are done.
Water bottles. Make different projects using water bottles
- Hide and Seek. Fill a bottle with rice or sand and fill with small toys. Make a list of everything you put in there and see if they can find all the items you put in.
- Tornado mix water and oil and shakeGlitter soap water and they have to shake it until the glitter separates.
Indoor/Outdoor Obstacle course. Go over the couch, under the table. Stop to sing a song.
Read. Make a goal to read all of the children’s books in the house. Or you can try StoryLine and have a celebrity read to your child while you get some work done.
The floor is Lava game. Pretend the floor is lava and make it across the lava flow back to safety.
Make chores a competition. Who can match the most socks. Or who can clean their room the fastest. Be creative. You can also pay for chores like cleaning windows or baseboards. We use chores as a way to earn technology time.
Garden. Create an indoor herb garden or start your spring garden. You can use egg cartons as seed starters. If it is nice enough to go out side get your garden ready for planting.
Tea Party. Real tea/ cookie/ snack parties with kid sized everything but grown ups sit at table and kids bring out the snacks. Or help your kids set up a stuffed animal tea party. Make sure everyone dresses up.
Restaurant play. Plan the menu of imaginary items, taking orders of the patrons and serving, clean up ect... this also works with real breakfast lunch or dinner depending on age and possible grown up interaction for helping get plates ready but children still serving.
Woven Wrap Hammock. Use your old baby wrap or a sheet to make a hammock under the table. This is a great activity to promote quite play by reading or technology time.
Glow stick bath. Get some glow sticks and turn out the lights. You can even save the glow sticks and have a sweet bath for yourself after the kids go to bed.
Can’t go to the real store? Set up shop at home. Set the toys on the shelf to buy and then fill up the cart and head to check out. Switch roles when you have multiple kids. They can even call for the manager (you) if they have a problem with a customer or employee. Have older kids? Give them play money and a budget that they have to stay within.
Sensory bins. Fill a container with water beads, sand, rice and beans, shaving cream, or whatever else you’ve got laying around! It’s messy, but it’s hours of fun!
Chocolate Fondue. Dip everything in chocolate. I mean do I need to say more since it is chocolate? This is a great activity to do in the afternoon after naps and the kiddos need a snack.
Cosmic Kids Yoga.bv rfwsaZ (Youtube) okay so I know it is screen time, but it is still being active and getting the blood moving. Plus we could all use a little stretching every now and then.
Play Nail Salon. Paint those fingers and toes and add some glitter. Everyone feels better with glitter! Use a cardboard cutout of a hand so they can't paint without ruining anything.
Play charades. Put some pictures or figures of animals in a container and have your child reach in a pick one without showing it to the rest of the family. Have them act it out and you try and guess what it is!
Illustrate. Pick out your favorite book(s) and draw a new picture for it. Or turn a shoe box into your own personal library by covering it in paper, coloring/drawing on it, and filling it with your favorite books!
Write a family story. Take turns making up a story as a family. One person starts with a sentence or a couple sentences and then another person adds to it, and so. Have someone write it down and then let the kids turn it into a book or draw pictures on the paper. A fun keepsake of the glorious days of hibernation!
We would love to see the activities that you are doing with your littles while you are stuck inside/in your own back yard. Share those with us on Instagram Tag @bblittles in your photos. You may even find it featured here on the blog.