Hate to state the obvious, but it’s mighty cold out there. We have been spoiled with mild winters, but this week that changes. In the North East, we will see temperatures around 0-30 degrees all week. It’s so frigid that sharks on the shoreline of Cape Cod are dying from cold shock!
Of course, that doesn’t mean we have to hibernate. I did take my kid to the Bronx Zoo last week, like a maniac. But we do find ourselves indoors more now, and that can get, how should I say … interesting with a toddler who can’t stop moving or saying, “NOPE!” Remember we are in a two-bedroom apartment too, people.
Even though staying inside can get challenging, it can also be a nice opportunity to connect and play together as a family. Yes, we can get off our phones and computers and get on the floor with our child, and have fun too? You don’t seem convinced. The other day, a friend invited me over for a playdate so we can “pass the time” together. For a second I wondered if I wanted to pass time with my kid, or get right in there and enjoy the time, not wanting it to pass at all. That’s something to work on in the New Year!
In the meantime, how the heck do you keep an active toddler and two sleep-deprived parents occupied while having a jolly good time all-day indoors? Here are some different activities that have worked for us recently:
Daytime Bath Fun – Turn the bath faucet on, get the bath toys out and let your child splash and play in the tub. You don’t even have to draw a full bath. My kid was splashing away in his bare feet with his clothing on. He also loved filling up cups with water and pouring them out on his toys. It’s amazing how water keeps his attention!
Build a Farn and Jungle – My boy is obsessed with animals, so we get out all his animal figures and create a farm scene on the floor or a short table. Then we do the same with his jungle animals. We also name each animal as we go. For some reason, most of his animals are called, “Kiss kiss.” (Shrug.)
Dance and Sing Party – There is nothing more fun than dancing and singing if you’re my family. Of course, our boy’s regular hits are “Old McDonald” and “Daddy Finger” which don’t have much of a beat. Or we roll the dice by plugging in “Toddler Tunes”, “Michael Jackson” and “Grateful Dead” into Pandora. Then we dance together till mommy and daddy are exhausted, which is usually after a good 5 minutes. The boy will keep going!
Floor Puzzles – My boy loves a good floor puzzle, especially if it includes pictures of animals. We have 40-60 piece puzzles that we do with him and it keeps him occupied for a while. Though, I’m no good at this first thing in the morning when he wakes up at 5:30/6am for obvious reasons. We usually start the puzzle and then my boy will join us, finding and placing pieces on his own. When the puzzle is complete, he yells, “I did it!” and then we think, “Yes!, Shoot, what next?”
Closet Organize and Dress Up – When I need a little me-time, I find myself organizing my closet. Don’t ask. The other day, I asked my little boy to help, and he was into it. I gave him hangers to hold and dresses to wear. It was adorable and fun. Who knew he could look so fabulous in pink lace?
Clean Up – Most little kids like to clean, so why not take advantage of this? I can spend a good 30-40 minutes getting my boy to help me clean every part of our home. We put away pots, then, of course, he wants to take them out again, but then we put them back. We take out clean dishes from the dishwasher. This works well an hour before bed when you want to tidy up the huge mess you’ve made.
Crafts and Cooking – Other kids might want to get into some arts and crafts, play dough or dare I say, finger painting, but my kid isn’t as into crafts. You might also want to bake a cake or cookies with your child and have them help mix and taste.
Of course, if all else fails, you might have to turn the T.V. on and let your child watch some Curious George or the movie, Sing—and then feel like you’ve completely failed as a parent. Just kidding! Don’t worry, most toddlers are watching T.V. these days. I must have watched at least 2-4 hours a day growing up, and I’m perfectly fine! Well, sort of.
In any case, enjoy these cozy, indoor moments with your family. They will pass you by before you know it. Soon enough it will be hot and we’ll have to worry about getting that darn sunscreen on every inch of your child’s body. What’s more fun? Stay warm, safe and definitely stay positive!