Who else has a toddler or preschooler that is going a little bit crazy being stuck indoors because of this frigid weather? I've got a toddler and a preschooler driving me crazy. My oldest thrives when he's able to be active, especially outdoors, so this freezing Winter weather is a little bit awful...for all of us.
We've tried it all. Playdoh, telling him to run in circles, watching movies, playing with sensory bins...but eventually the list runs out of activities. If you're in the same boat (or igloo), I have you covered with a list of 15 activities that are toddler-approved and great for the indoors when it's too cold to even drive somewhere to play.
Activities to beat winter boredom
Fill a plastic container or the bath tub with warm, soapy water and give your kiddo a clean tooth brush and some toys to wash. You don't even need to dirty up the toys, just have them pretend!
Masking Tape Race Track
Make a road on the floor and the furniture using masking tape and have your toddler follow the tape as the road. To add an educational lesson into it, use the tape to make shapes and have them trace the shapes with their car.
Paint the Snow
This was such a fun activity and a perfect way to play with the snow without going outside.
Supplies: a baking sheet, large paint brushes, cold water, food coloring, and snow.
Directions: Place the baking sheet in the freezer for a little while, just so it keeps the snow cold a little longer. In the meantime, fill a few glasses with a little bit of cold water and add some food coloring to each one to make water colors. Venture outside (or simply lean out the door) and scoop some fresh snow onto the baking sheet, make sure you have a few inches of snow on the baking sheet, the thicker the pile of snow, the longer it will last. Give your toddler the baking sheet of snow and the cups of water colors and let them "paint" the snow.
This activity is especially great for younger toddlers. There are two ways to do this activity:
1 - Find different textured items and tape them onto the floor to create a path. You can use things like textured cardboard, sandpaper, felt, foam sheets, carpet pieces, bubble wrap...the options are endless. Simple have your toddler walk down the textured path and talk to them about how each items feels on their feet.
2 - Grab a few large, plastic bins and line them up in front of each other to create a path. The difference with this version is you can use an even larger array of items to fill the bins. Filler options: water beads, dry beans, water, shredded paper, feathers, smooth stones, shaving cream, etc. Have your toddler step from bin to bin and talk about how each item feels on their feet. Stand beside them and help them step from bin to bin, if needed.
Sensory bins are SO fun and my boys will play with them for quite awhile, I just have to watch my youngest who thinks that all things are edible and they do often make a bit of a mess. My tip is to place the bin on a hard surface so you can sweep up any of the filler items that may escape the bin.
Supplies: a large, shallow plastic container and sensory bin filler items. (I put together a whole Pinterest board of Sensory Bin ideas, check it out here)
Instructions: Put together the sensory bin, you can go as simple or as detailed as you'd like and let your toddler play.
This is an oldie but a goodie! Grab all of your flat sheets and throw blankets and pull together a bunch of chairs to make a fort. Let your toddler help if he/she is old enough and then have fun in your fort! You can even have a picnic in the fort if you'd like!
When in doubt (or when you're going crazy), throw your kids in the bath. Okay, maybe don't literally throw them but place them in the tub with bubbles and bath toys and let them play until the water is way too cold. When my boys are bouncing off the walls and I just can't even, this is my go-to activity. It keeps them in one spot, isn't too messy (except both like to pretend to swim and that involves kicking...), and it's lots of fun for them! And mama gets to sit down for a few minutes, too!
Make Homemade Cookies
If your pantry is stocked, making cookies is a perfect cold-weather activity. Our favorite cookie recipe is my recipe for Coconut Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies. They are easy to make, super yummy, and to make them dairy-free, all you have to do is sub chocolate chips for Enjoy Life! chocolate chips. My oldest absolutely loves helping me cook and bake so I do the measuring and he helps me count and he pours ingredients into the mixing bowl. He also loves turning the Kitchen Aid on and off for me. My youngest (well soon he'll be the middle child) is just now getting interested in helping me bake so I have the boys take turns pouring ingredients into the bowl.
Roll and Move Dice Game
This is a great activity to get your toddler moving and super simple for you to put together.
Supplies: the free dice printable, available in the resource library
Directions: Print out the dice and cut out and fold, use glue or tape to hold the edges together. Have your toddler roll the dice and do the action that the dice says to do. There are four printable dice available in the download. The first dice is the "...like a..." dice and your toddler can roll on actions like "eat like a..." or "sound like a..." and this dice is designed to be rolled alongside the "animals" or "people" dice. So some of the actions your toddler could roll on may be "act like a...monkey" or "dance like a...dinosaur" or "sound like a...police officer." The fourth dice is the "actions" dice and has actions like "clean the windows," "paint a picture," and "make pizza."
You can grab the printable dice in the resource library. If you're already signed up for the library, the password to access it is at the bottom of every email I send you. If you don't have access to the library, sign up using the form below and once your email is confirmed, you will receive instructions for accessing the library.
Toddler Dance Party
Another way to get out some energy is to have a dance party. Currently my boys' version of dancing is mostly just spinning in circles but my oldest will spin around for like 15 minutes straight. We have some favorite songs for our dance parties and I've put them all together on Spotify into an epic playlist. You can check out the playlist here!
Masking Tape Balance Beam
Similar to the masking tape race track, all you need to do is make a straight line on the floor with some masking tape. Have your toddler try to walk across it, one foot in front of the other, without wobbling off. If you have the space you can also just make a crazy maze-like path for them to follow with the masking tape.
Baking Soda Volcano
Get creative and learn some science by making a super simple baking soda volcano. We actually made a baking soda volcano as the gender reveal for our second baby, we just added food coloring into the baking soda so when my eldest poured the vinegar in, it all came bubbling up blue! Artful Parent has a great, toddler-friendly tutorial for a baking soda volcano that you can check out here.
Edible Finger Painting
This is another activity that is perfect for the littlest toddlers. Although if yours is anything like mine, he/she will probably just eat the "paint" rather than paint with it.
Supplies: vanilla yogurt, food coloring, (paper) plates, and paper.
Directions: Divide the yogurt up into however many colors you want to create. Add food coloring to the yogurt and mix to create a few different colors. Place the "paint" onto a (paper) plate and show your toddler how to dip his/her finger into the paint and then onto the paper to create pictures with it. Seriously though, my son just shoveled it straight into his mouth. Oh well! #toddlerlife
Grab a bag of balloons from the Dollar Tree and blow them up and toss them around! The more balloons the merrier!
Indoor Scavenger Hunt
Encourage your toddler's sense of adventure and curiosity by creating an indoor scavenger hunt or treasure hunt. You can hide an object and draw a map or leave clues or use one of my printable scavenger hunts! All you have to do for the printable version is print it out and give it to your toddler and tell them to find the items that the see on the paper. If you have multiple kids you could make it a race! You can grab the printable scavenger hunts in the resource library. If you're already signed up for the library, the password to access it is at the bottom of every email I send you. If you don't have access to the library, sign up using the form below and once your email is confirmed, you will receive instructions for accessing the library.
What are your favorite indoor activities to do with your toddler when it's too cold to go outside? If you need more toddler-friendly activities, you'll love my post that includes 10 Minimal-Mess Toddler Activities!