Posted by Abby Branham
Learning should be fun! I am always looking for activities to keep my toddler-aged twins active and their brains stimulated. Today I have compiled for you a list of kid tested, fun activities to do indoors on a rainy day or on a waaaaaay too hot day, like today. These activities can also be adapted for the outdoors.
Get movin’ (for a good night’s rest!)
1) Create an obstacle course
Get creative. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Kids love to climb, jump, run, roll, kick, throw, dance…move! Here are a few ideas I’ve incorporated into our course.
- I love to throw pillows down on the floor so that the girls can either jump/leap from one to the other, or they can zigzag around them.
- We have a pop up tunnel that is about 6 feet long. It’s an easy one to add to the obstacle course, until you have to demonstrate, but you’ll get a good giggle out of that too. You can also create a make-shift tunnel by tucking a blanket in between a chair and ottoman or two chairs. (Side note – kids can also use this makeshift tunnel as an indoor fort. My sisters and I used to do this ALL the time – very fond memories).
- You can also use a small ottoman to have kids climb up one side and down the other.
- Have them roll across a yoga mat. My girls love rolling, and, for whatever reason, it serves as a fantastic distraction when they lose their cool.
- Add a ball to the course. Have them kick it, throw it or try to shoot it in a basket ball hoop.
- Balance a small ball on a spoon to start or end the course.
Most importantly, remember to demonstrate the obstacle course, play, and have fun!
This is the DIY, inexpensive version of bowling. Start saving the center cardboard tube of your paper towel rolls (they are great for this bowling game but for lots of other crafts too). Once you have at least ten, set them up on a flat surface, get a ball and knock em’ down. I made a bowling lane using our Yoga mat. My girls usually drop the ball on the pins instead of rolling it…to each their own. Again, demonstrate, play and have fun!
3. Set Up A Mattress Slide
I change the girls sheets once a week. When I do, I take the mattresses out of their beds, and set them up so they can slide and jump to their little hearts content. It’s great fun, and the girls always look forward to it. (This one was inspired by a childhood favorite of my sisters and I as well. We used to slide down the stairs in our house on a twin mattress. Not sure how safe it was but we had a blast!)
Crafts (to calm)
4. Calming Jars
This craft is easy to make, looks pretty when it’s done, but, even more importantly, can be used as a calming tool. When my daughters get frustrated, need a break, or are in a spiraling tizzy, I very softly sing some calming songs, and I reach for our calming jar. We whisper about how the glitter is swirling and frustrated, and then watch the glitter settle down. As the water becomes clear, we take a deep breath together. We try to do this 5 times giving them 5 deep breaths to collect themselves. In general, they just love shaking it up, and watching the glitter fall, but I see it as a win-win.
You’ll need a few supplies:
- plastic water bottle, with the plastic wrapper removed, but keep the water
- bottle of glue
- food coloring
- hot glue gun
Keep about half of the water in the bottle. Have your kids help you squeeze about 1/3 of the bottle of glue into the water bottle. Add a drop or two of your child’s choice of food coloring. Then ask them to watch the water as you add a small bottle of glitter to the water bottle. As an alternate, you can use glitter glue instead of the glitter and glue separately, because let’s face it, glitter can get everywhere. Twist the cap shut, and tip the bottle up and down. You will want to make sure the water isn’t cloudy. I had to dump some of the water out and add some clear filtered water to mine because I put too much glue in it. When you are happy with the consistency of the water, hot glue the water bottle cap on the water bottle.
5. Painting with Greek yogurt
I have been really excited to paint with my girls, however, one of my daughters puts everything in her mouth and the other doesn’t (though she likes to put food in her nose and ear…again, to each their own). You can get around this problem by paining with yogurt.
Here is the list of supplies you will need:
- whole milk Greek yogurt (I buy the 5% plain Greek yogurt from Wegmans.)
- food coloring
- paint brushes or just fingers
Put a scoop of the yogurt into a small container, add food coloring to create the colors you want, and stir. Put some paper down and let them create using brushes or their fingers.
6. Create a Simple bird feeder
This one is an oldie but a goodie and is another really calming, fun activity for the entire family. I’ve done this with pine cones, which are more decorative, but using a handy-dandy cardboard tube from a paper towel roll is easier for toddlers.
The supplies you’ll need are:
- center cardboard tube of a paper towel roll
- baking sheet
- bird seed
- parchment paper
- freezer bag
Set out the baking sheet as their work space (aka, mess catcher). Put some peanut butter in a bowl that will be easy for toddlers to scoop. Use a spatula to scoop and spread the peanut butter on the cardboard tube. Next, put bird seed on the baking sheet, and shake the seed so that it is evenly spread. Now roll the tube through the seed, the seed will adhere easily to the sticky peanut butter. Punch holes in the tube to attach the twine. Roll the tubes in some parchment paper, place them in a freezer bag, and freeze them. I do this to freeze the peanut butter, so on a hot day it won’t drip off of the tube immediately. I love to put these out in the winter time, but you can put them out whenever you like. Be sure to find the perfect spot for your simple bird feeder, hang it, and observe as new feathered friends arrive.
We love quietly watching the birds come to our window. We have a lot of sparrows. Birds are very interesting and entertaining creatures, and, fortunately or unfortunately, squirrels can be too! We just got a few age appropriate bird books for the girls so that they can start identifying the birds that come to our feeder.
7. Color – Or, Even Better – Enter the Button Jar Coloring Contest
Here’s a fun one that can result in a cool prize (click here for details on prizes)!
- Download and print the Button Jar Coloring Contest page (seen below) by clicking on this link – Download Me! Coloring Contest Page.
- Get coloring. Or painting. Or water coloring. Or pasting on colorful papers. However you like to pretty up a picture – you do what strikes your fancy.
- Take a picture or scan a copy of your finished product and email it to us at email@example.com or submit it to us on Instagram #buttonjarcoloringcontest.
- Get us your submission no later than Wednesday, July 27. We will announce the winners on Friday, July 29.
You can also create your own personalized pictures to color from photographs. Click here for details shared with us by Cheyenne Coleman, who created Button Jar’s coloring contest page.
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This post was shared on Pint Sized Baker’s Two Cup Tuesday link party, on the You’re Gonna Love It link party at Kathe with an E, on the Merry Monday link party on My Pinventures and on the Made By You Monday link party on Skip To My Lou.