Our most recent LLL Toddler meeting quickly turned into a “we know each other and really just need some mom time while the kids make a huge mess” meeting and boy, did we all really need that! Between family events, holidays coming up, concerns about our kiddos etc. It was a great time to sit and chat/get advice. The topic of ‘entertaining kids during winter months’ however, was quickly over looked.
I promised the mamas at my house (as well as a few unable to attend) I’d share some of my favorites, some blogs as well as some strictly related to December for those interested. Grab a cup of coffee (or hot chocolate…something), pull up a comfy chair and see if any of these might make your winter a little easier with active kids stuck indoors.
Out and about (localish to Schaumburg/Roselle/Bartlett):
- Free or very little cost:
- Libraries. Schaumburg, Elk Grove Villiage, Bartlett and others in the area have fantastisc kids areas for them to play. Also, most of their story time/art project times you don’t need to register for (and are free!)
- Park Districts: Most have an open gym of some sort weekly. Pay a few dollars and let them loose
- Mall play places: might be busy but they are free ;) The ones at Woodfield, Stratford, St. Charles, and York Town are our favorites.
- Bounce/Play places that cost $$$:
- Yu’s Kids
- Kids Club (newish off Golf Rd in Schaumburg)
- Kids Town
- Jump Zone
- Monkey Business (Wheaton)
- DuPage Children’s Museum (Naperville)
- Nibbles Play Cafe (Wheeling)
- Cafe & Play (Aurora/Naperville?)
(It’s worth mentioning that Groupon often has deals for these places. Also, the “Nearby” or “NOW!” deals usually have discounted admission. We’ve gotten 1/2 off at Yu’s 3 days in a row before.)
- Forts and glowsticks or flashlights. Hours of entertainment :)
- Indoor picnic or tea party
- Make and then play with homemade playdough (if you’re adventurous enough there are even edible playdough recipes out there!)
- TP rolls and rolled up socks to ‘bowl’ in the house
- Make a card/write a letter and mail it to somone (we had a Cailou book about this which started Lils obsession about mailing letters)
- Host a playdate (just let them make a huge mess and worry about it later!)
- Cardboard box fun. We let Lil decorate it however she wants and it becomes so many things.
- Treasure hunts around the house. We’ve even made “maps” for her to follow
- Cook/bake/decorate something
- Chores. Believe it or not, our almost 3yr old ASKS to help and we give her coins for her piggy bank for helping out! They are always old enough to do SOMETHING. Just figure out what :)
- Make homemade bath paints (not the ones that will stain everything that you buy in stores) and let them get messy…all that is necessary to clean up is some water! ;)
- Popsicle stick puzzles, make ‘em and have fun
- Craft, paint, get messy!
- Sensory bins (see the link below for ideas on this one)
- Make rock candy
- “Library Trip” to their bookshelf
- Draw on windows with dry erase markers…haven’t personally tried this but told they wipe off easily
- Play hopscotch or make a huge race track on your carpeting with masking tape!
- Recycle old/broken crayons into new ones! :)
- Go look at Christmas/tree decorations out and about or at a store (we love Menards for this!)
- Make and decorate Christmas cookies
- Make, bake and paint salt dough ornaments
- Clean out toys in prep for Christmas and donate old toys (better for older kiddos)
- Make presents! Or just let kids help you pick them out and wrap them
- Make popcorn and dried cranberry garland for the tree
- Paper chains!
- Grocery shop for a local food pantry/bank
- Celebrate Winter Solstice
- Make food/buy food to put out for the squirles and/or birds
- Prepare and freeze special breakfast for Christmas morning
- Make snow globes! There are lots of ideas online for this one.
- Celebrate a winter/Christmas tradition from your heritage..
- Make paper snowflakes
- Make pine cone Christmas trees.
The links have even more ideas! Happy winter months and rainy days!!!
http://www.playcreateexplore.com/p/activites-for-ages-1-3.html (this one has a lot of sensory bin ideas)