I feel lucky to live in Texas and to get to experience the occasional 70+ degree days in January. We love taking or son to the park on those days as he loves to play outside. But that’s not the normal temperature for this time of year. It is January, after all, and so it’s cold in much of the country this week; some areas are colder than others. If you are forced to be indoors due to the weather, whether it’s rain, extreme cold, or extreme heat, you may need some fun activities for your toddler. I’ve come across a few good ones I’d like to share with you.
Cornstarch and Water
Cornstarch is a funny thing; it changes texture when you pick it up and when it’s wet! For a fun activity for my son, I put some cornstarch in a baking pan and added some water. I don’t remember the exact ratio so just keep adding water until it’s the right consistency. Let your child reach in and pick it up. They will enjoy how it feels and what it does! This is a messy activity so I just had my son in his diaper.
If you are brave (which I wasn’t) you can add drops of food coloring to make for fun, colored cornstarch blobs.
For another fun water activity, put a little water in an ice cube tray or color mixing tray and add three drops of red, blue, and yellow food coloring into different compartments. Then use a dropper to start mixing the colors in other compartments. If you want, you can use another little tray to display your created colors (a shallow container works well). This is very easy, educational, fun, and cheap – the perfect activity! Here are a few additional ways to enjoy color mixing:
- When you are done, you can add your colors to some cornstarch for additional fun.
- Do color mixing with frosting. Make the entire color wheel and then frost small cookies.
And yet another idea for the water lover, like my son, is to go fishing indoors. Get a small tub and put some water, fake fish, and other little things in it. Take a fishing ‘net’ and go fishing!
For this one you can obviously use regular finger paints, make your own, or you can find other things to use. Finger painting with chocolate pudding on waxed paper sounds like fun, not to mention delicious. Or you can put some shaving cream (or whipped cream) on a cookie sheet and they can draw in it with their fingers.
Make Homemade Play Dough
Sure, you could buy some Play-Doh and your child could play with that, but that leaves out half the fun. Why not can create a fun activity for your child by having them help you make your own homemade play dough. Here is a recipe:
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup salt
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
- food coloring
Mix flour, salt, and oil, and slowly add the water. Cook over medium heat, stirring until dough becomes stiff. Turn out onto wax paper and let cool. Knead the play dough with your hands until of proper consistency. Use as is, or divide into balls and add a few drops of the food coloring to make various colors. Here are a few additional notes:
- If you don’t want to use food coloring, you could use beet, spinach, and carrot juice to make pink, green, and orange play dough.
- You could even use the colors you made from your color mixing activity. Just think of all the fun play dough colors you would have!
Fun with Containers
Start saving containers of every kind: egg containers, yogurt containers, anything with a lid, cardboard boxes, etc. Find safe objects around the house that can be put in the containers and taken out and put back in again. Cut holes, slots, shapes out of the containers to make it trickier; different sized holes for different sized objects. Whenever your child is bored, find your containers (or start rifling around in the recycling bin). You might be amazed at how much fun they will have with this one.
Keep the fun simple with this activity. Find cardboard boxes your child can crawl in and out of or open up. Drape a blanket over two of them so he can go hide underneath.
Some Activities with Prep Time
Here is a list of some other fun activities that require some advance work and set up.
I have provided many fun activities for you and your toddler when you must stay indoors. Try them out and let me know what you think!
Wendy – Parenting Tips 365