I have learned a few things over the past few years that I thought I would share with you.
First, I have learned that the tv isn't the enemy. I'm not about letting my kids camp out in front of the tube all day but a little here and there isn't bad in my opinion. I have to remind myself that once the weather is nice there will be days, sometimes weeks go by where the tv goes unnoticed that makes up for the days where it's on a little longer than what I envisioned before I became a parent;)
Second, this too shall pass. It really won't be long before we will all be complaining of the heat and mosquito's and sweating and on and on and on.
Lastly, in order for our kids to let out their energy and explore their creativity we as Mama's have to lose some control over the order of the home. Let me be honest here, this one is really hard for me. I can find myself following the trail of my children and cleaning up their play time because I feel like I'm going to lose my mind, but I have found that when I close my eyes to the mess and open them up to their imagination I don't miss the moment and I witness memories in the making.
With that I want to give you a list of activities that keep us busy inside that both the kids and I enjoy.
1. Take the cushions off the couch and let them jump, play and make cushion slides.
2. Take a twin or crib mattress and put it on the floor to use as a "trampoline."
3. Make a fort using kitchen chairs and blankets.
4. Get flashlights and/or headlights from the dollar store and let them play with them in the fort.
5. Pile in the bed for stories.
6. Put on a puppet show
7. Place a blanket on the floor and serve lunch as a picnic. Have the kids pretend they are outside in a magical land and have them tell stories of what they see and once lunch is over they can act it out.
8. Bring in an outside toy and let them play with it inside. This could be a wagon or small tricycle or even an umbrella stroller. They will feel so special to get to use it inside and love it! Just make sure to clean the wheels first;)
9. Blow bubbles and let them pop them and then give them damp towels to clean the soapy floors afterwards.
10. Give them chores or jobs around the house. Train them young while they are enthusiastic about helping so that they are conditioned to contribute once they are older. Mine love to do the dishes, one cleans and the other loads. Another favorite is folding warm towels fresh from the dryer. Heck, even I love that!
11. Put on story time and music time. Kids love to role play and this is the perfect activity!
12. Find a kid station on Pandora and play the music and have a dance party. This really gets the wiggles out.
13. Get out photo albums for them to look at. They love seeing all of those pictures you're taking of them!
14. Give spa pedicures! We place a thick quilt on the floor and pull chairs up to large mixing bowls that have been filled with bubbles and warm water we then trim and paint toenails.
15. Setup a pretend grocery store and let them shop, checkout and pay. We create produce, meat, dairy and dry goods in different parts of the house and then I tell them specific items to shop for and how much they cost. This extends the activity and creates a learning opportunity. You can also give a list in text to older kiddos or a picture list to younger kiddos.
16. Bath time! My kiddos love to play in the bath and I use that to my advantage when I want to occupy their time without a lot of mess. I will even give them paintbrushes and watercolors to paint on the tiles in the tub. This keeps them busy and washes right off.
17. Setup animals all throughout the house and go on a Safari or Zoo trip. Have them tell you all about the animals.
18. After the kids tell you about the animals you can then pull up YouTube and watch videos about those animals. This has become one of my favorite things to do. I have learned so much doing this!
19. If you are wanting to venture out take a trip to the library or call your local fire station, police station, veterinary office, and hospital to see if they do tours and allow little visitors.
20. Last thing that is my saving grace no matter how much time we spend inside is......TOY ROTATION! Less is best! Have you ever noticed how overwhelmed you feel when you go to a restaurant that has a 20 page menu? I often do best with fewer options and I believe my kids are the same way. I keep three large plastic tubs out of sight that my kids don't have access to. I fill those tubs with books, games and toys, leaving fewer toys in the house to choose from. Every few weeks I bring the new toys out from storage and then pickup current toys to put in the tub. The kids go crazy over their long lost toys and really get wrapped up in play time instead of lost at play time. I also use a similar method for Birthdays and Christmas. Rather than having all the new toys at once I get out one of their gifts each week. They really seem to appreciate them more when I do things this way.
There it is! 20 things to do indoors with your kids! Hopefully I can add more to the list. I would love to know what you do with your little ones!