Recently I noticed a friend ask on Facebook how others keep their kids entertained when indoors. We agree, the outdoors is an easy form of entertainment and the best one at that, but we're also glad that our girls play really well indoors without needing much guidance from us. Here are a few of our favorite indoor activities.
Project Books: Recently our friend Merrilee gave us this hand illustrated card and not only did we think it looked awfully familiar :) but we were reminded of her amazing book, Playful. Project based books are great for pulling out when your child needs something new & exciting and the best part is that you most likely already have the needed items on hand. One project we loved from her book is making zoo animals out of paint chips. Our oldest always stash's them away in our cart when out shopping, do your kids do the same?
Kinetic Sand: Our kids spend hours playing with this. We keep a bag of cookie cutters, plastic utensils, and play dough toys for playing with the sand. The sand strewn around the house is worth the 2 hours of happy kiddos.
Art Supplies: Our girls are very into art and so an accessible stash of watercolors, paint markers, stamp paints, canvases, construction paper, decorative tape, pieces of wood, glue, crayons, blank books, etc. is top priority in our household.
Role Playing: One of my favorite activities as a child was lining up my mom's food storage and playing store. I'm a bit surprised she let me do such a thing because I'm sure nothing ended up back in the same place, but, role playing is such a huge part of childhood play that I'm glad she did. Your kids can turn just about anything into a mimic of something they see in real life. Pull out books and turn the living room into a library, cook up something tasty with water and rice and age appropriate tools from the kitchen, take those stuffed animals to the vet, or the classic school classroom!
Other: Puzzles, Spirograph, Toys that require assembly like a train track or legos, Dry erase board (for some reason this is more exciting at times than paper!), and even the unexpected Photo Album (our girls love to sit and look through photos of their early days), Dancing to music (dressing up or dancing in front of a mirror is a bonus) or making musical instruments from household items, and lastly, pulling out an old Camera and letting them play photographer.
The biggest thing I have learned to help promote good indoor play is to make things easily accessible. Several months ago, we moved a shelf with art supplies, small toys, etc. into a more high traffic area of our home so that our girls would be inspired to pull things down on their own and come up with their own options for entertainment. I also switched out our methods for storing toys. I changed from bins with clasped lids to open baskets which allow our girls to see their options as well as clean up more easily. Tossing into a basket is so much easier than sorting and organizing into separate lidded bins. Rotating toys/activities is a great way to keep your kids inspired and to make play exciting.
What ideas can you share?