Here in upstate NY our winters tend to last FOREVER. It gets bone chillingly cold which makes it difficult to take toddlers outside.
What's a mama to do?
Here's a list of tried and true activities I have done to entertain the littles when the weather has been less than desirable.
They mostly require items you already have laying around the house, and even better, they're cheap and easy.
1. This was a large box I had sitting in my basement from Christmas. I went through the pantry cupboard and pulled out macaroni, bow tie pasta, and ribbons. I dumped them all in, put in some of my son's favorite tractors, trucks, and diggers and BOOM total toddler entertainment (for approximately 20 minutes)! You could use anything you have lying around - dried beans, rice etc. Be careful with kiddos who tend to put small items in their mouth.
2. This is a smaller version of a sensory bin. This one was even simpler, a bag of dried beans and some hidden puzzle pieces. Keep the broom nearby. Again, may want to skip this one if your child tends to put everything in their mouth. Or, hey, cook the beans! Entertainment and a snack, doesn't get much better than that.
3. For this one, I simply used a muffin tin, water, measuring cups and a medicine dropper. My daughter loved using the various tools to transfer water. This is a great activity for some tactile sensory play and fine motor skill development. You could also use a turkey baster or any of those squeezie bath toys that squirt water. If you're feeling extra saucy, add some food coloring.
Another variation of this activity is baking soda and vinegar. I fill each muffin tin with baking soda and a drop of food coloring. I fill up a small bowl with vinegar and let my daughter use a medicine dropper to drop vinegar into each muffin tin. She loves the bubbly mini explosion.
4. Too cold to go outside? Bring the snow in! This water table was given to me but you could use any container really. I filled squirt bottles with colored water and we "painted the snow". This is a great sensory activity and also works on hand strength. Squeezing the squirt bottle is a great way to have your child use both sides of their hand together to prepare for scissor use.
5. Another great box activity. Let your child decorate the box with crayons, paint, stickers, markers, whatever you have lying around. Boxes have so many fun uses!
6. Shaving cream painting! This can be done on a cookie sheet, directly on the table, or my favorite location, the bathtub for easy clean up. You can add food coloring to make colors. You can mix the shaving cream with flour for a different texture. Be creative! If you're afraid your child will put the shaving cream in their mouth, whipped cream is another option.
What are your favorite quick, easy, indoor activities?