"I'm bored, what can I do now?"
A question that I, and no doubt all parents, hear frequently on dark, rainy days.
No matter how much we love our kids, how creative we are, or how many play dates we arrange, parents are always looking for new and exciting activities to keep our little ones entertained indoors.
As the owner of Kidville, a children's business in Bethesda, MD, I am fortunate to have exposure to a steady stream of creative arts & crafts and activities which I have found easy to replicate at home, as well as exposure to many moms who have provided great tips on fun indoor activities for the little ones.
Rainy days won't feel as long with the following fun family activities:
1. You Make Me Feel Like Dancing!
I have to admit my 4-year-old is a mini rock star so anything in this category always bodes well in our household. You will be amazed at how much little ones will be entertained with an iPod and a few instruments. Freeze Dance is popular at our home as well as at Kidville birthday parties. Just play your little one's favorite songs and pause the music at intermittent times throughout the song -- when you pause the music, everyone (including you) freezes! Who knew something so simple could be hours of fun? We also love playing in our band with instruments that we have around the house or ones that we have made (e.g., Chopstick drumsticks, shaking a Nerds candy box, etc.).
2. One Cup of Flour, ¼ Cup of Milk, Tons of Fun!
Both my 2- and 4-year-old boys love to pull their stools up to the kitchen counter to help me cook dinner or bake fun treats. While they pour and mix ingredients, I am able to integrate a little bit of learning. I have introduced the concept of fractions as well as nutrition, food groups, and the fragrance of various spices. Not to mention it is a "win-win" because I am able to get dinner on the table while having a good time with my boys!
3. It's not Rocket Science!
My preschooler has become increasingly interested in science and chemistry -- well, let's be honest, it is the fizzing, blowing up, and cool reactions that fascinate him! There are several great websites that provide fun science projects including:
2. Disney's Familyfun.go.com
4. TLC Network's Family website: TLC.Howstuffworks.com/family
One project that has been a hit in our Kidville Science Class and is easy to replicate at home is the Fizzing Volcano. All you will need is:
2. Baking Soda
3. Play Dough
This can be a two-part project for your little one. This first part of the project is making the volcano out of play dough. I would encourage your child to get excited about the creation of the volcano by using glitter and different colored play dough. Once the volcano is complete, you and your child will spoon in a couple of teaspoons of baking soda, then pour in a small portion of vinegar, and watch your child's eyes light up as the "lava" fizzes over! It's a basic project that you can do with items you have around the house that ends up being loads of fun for you and your child!
4. Outside of the Home!
There are also several resources outside of the home that you can leverage to keep children occupied in the winter. Children's' facilities, like Kidville, offer music, gym, art classes and often times provide indoor playspace hours in their gym for members. Many local restaurants, bookstores, libraries, and malls offer a free story time or arts and crafts for toddlers. Finally, museums are a great way for you to have fun while also exposing your little one to learning.
I hope those rainy days fly by now! Happy playing!