6 Must-Try Indoor Winter Activities for Toddlers
December 15, 2017
The holiday season is here, and with it comes much more than we bargain for sometimes! As a mother of little ones, you may find yourself working extra hard to keep toddlers occupied all day long inside the house when it’s often too cold to go outside. And when they finally find something to do— like a build a blanket fort or finger paint— you’re probably left with a giant mess to clean up.
Balancing children, holiday preparations, and those day-to-day chores like laundry starts to take it’s toll. Don’t worry— we’ve got a handful of easy, must-try activities for you and your little one, guaranteed to keep them interested and give you a little break!
1. Homemade Dough Ornaments
Okay, this activity may involve a little clean up, but we promise it’s worth it! Children of all ages will love this combination of baking and painting, and you’ll love the easy ingredients and extra quality time.
All you’ll need is 4 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 cups of warm water, and 1 cup of salt. Preheat oven to 325 degrees, then let the little ones combine the flour, salt and water. Show them how to mix and knead the dough— they can do this for about 10 minutes while you switch your laundry. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface, and then let them cut their favorite holiday shapes with cookie cutters. Don’t forget to punch a hole for the ribbon!
While this dough is safe if consumed, it’s not for eating (that means no spoiled dinners!). Bake shapes for about 45 minutes— when they come out, they’ll be hard, and you can help your toddler paint with non-toxic tube paints or poster paints.
2. Alphabet Learning Activity
Not only is this one educational for toddlers, but it can keep older children involved, too! Not to mention the very minimal clean up.
You’ll need a poster board, markers, and alphabet letters (magnets will work, or foam letters). Have an older child (elementary school age, with developed motor skills) lay out the alphabet in order on the poster and trace around each letter, or do it yourself. Then, you or the child can hide the letters around the house while your toddler covers their eyes— no peaking!
Send your toddler on a hunt for the alphabet, and let them get accustomed to the order of the alphabet as they search for the letter on the poster. You can then show them the sound of the letters, while your older one hides the alphabet all over again! They may even want to try tracing the letters themselves.
3. Balloon Tennis
This is a great way to pass the time, as long as you’re always close by to supervise!
Get paper plates (one for each little one and yourself!), and tape each one to an oversized popsicle stick, a paint stirrer, or even a plastic spoon, so it looks like a tennis racket. The only other thing you’ll need is a balloon, which can be inflated halfway so that it doesn’t pop easily.
Now your little ones can pass the balloon back and forth, developing motor skills while having a blast indoors. You can help your older ones to make up their own rules, too. Just remember not to leave them alone with the balloon!
4. Fluffy Snowflake Art
For little ones who aren’t able to use scissors safely yet, decorating the house with cut-out snowflakes is off of the table. Instead, try this fluffy alternative!
Gather cotton balls, blue construction paper, a paint brush and white liquid glue. Pour the glue in a small dish (we recommend reused egg cartons, yogurt containers, or even First Spoons containers!), and let your toddler dip the paintbrush in a spread the glue in the shape of a snowflake. Careful not to get glue on any little fingers— this will make picking up the cotton difficult!
Before the glue dries, show your little one how to tear the cotton balls to spread the ‘fluff’ across the snowflake. For older children, you can replace the cotton balls will small cut shapes, and have kids organize them into a snowflake. Don’t be afraid to get creative!
5. Toddler Disco
We love this option because it’s so simple. It’s also a great excuse for parents to get up and moving, too!
Put on a playlist of your little one’s favorite music and move to the beat! You can designate a ‘stage’ area to preform, and put on some extra-silly costumes for the occasion. This is a great chance to bond with your toddler— let them pick out their costume and yours, and teach each other some dance moves!
When you’re ready, get the party started. Here are some of our favorite songs and soundtracks:
“Gummy Bear” by Gummibär
The Mulan Soundtrack
The Frozen Soundtrack
“I Like to Move It Move It” from Madagascar
The Sing Soundtrack
If your toddler is very advanced, feel free to add instruments into the mix!
6. Snowman Finger Puppets
How do you make a puppet show more fun? Make the puppets yourself! For this activity, you should be able to find most of what you’ll need around the house.
Grab glue, paintbrushes, white paint, and a dish for the paint. Gather things like yarn, felt, cotton balls, beads, gems— even pasta noodles. Cut as many snowman puppets as you’d like from cereal boxes and help your toddler paint them white, then let them decorate! We bet you’ll have just as much fun with this one as they will.
The clean up should be easy— just toss any left over scraps of yarn or noodles. Save the card board, though, and make a little ring to glue onto the back of your puppets. This is where your little one will put their finger. Have hours of winter fun, in the warmth of your house!
Let Us Help You Even More
While you’re playing, snap a picture to send to us! We’d love to see how your winter activities came out. In the mean time, let us take even more of the holiday pressure off your shoulders. Subscribe to First Spoons, so you could spend a little more time with your family, and a little less time preparing healthy, nutritious meals.
*All photo credit belongs to their respective links!