I remember when I had my little sweet two and half year old and a one year old and was going crazy trying to find things for them to do, especially during the winter months. The days felt so long and boring, and I needed ideas. Back when I wrote for Like a Warm Cup of Coffee, I wrote about my boredom and asked my readers for their suggestions. Below you will find a mix of their wonderful ideas for the long days along with a few of mine. Here we go!
What to Do With Your Toddler During the Long Winter Days
Have them wash dishes (plastic, of course!)
Have them play with cups, bowls, and water!
Bubble milk was (and is) a favorite in our house. Just get a cup and put about 1/4 cup of milk into it, set it on a tray, give your babe a straw, and they’ll have fun for a long time. Mix it up by using food coloring to make the milk different colors!
Go to the science museum!
Do you have a science museum near by? See if you can find a preschool program to attend with your babes!
Bake treats together!
Go for a treasure walk! Look for neat things to take pictures or collect.
Curl up and read together!
Paint some tootsies!
Read a story and act in out!
Play in the snow!
Collect buttons for a button jar!
Kids love buttons, and there are many things they can do with them to have fun! Need ideas? Read this!
Curl up with a good movie!
If you’re a bit on the wild side, you could have them couch jump! Not for the faint of heart.
Play a game!
Get your hands on some felt, a plastic needle, yarn, and a hole punch!
Check out your local library’s kids programs, they usually have many free events for children!
Plastic bowl play!
Have a spare cabinet? Let it be your child’s and put items in there they can play with!
Build a fort!
Fort Building Ideas:
Use your dining room chairs and put a sheet over them. You can also take a large sheet and drape it over your dining room or other table. Tell the children it is their “fort” for the morning. They can put their toys in there, draw or color (or other age appropriate thing), and have a snack or have a lunch “picnic” in there. You may have to sit on a chair with the “door” open (sheet lifted up) while everyone eats. Usually they can come up with their own play with a special “fort”. Maybe small flashlights? Or special music (do they have their own tape or CD player?) or watch a DVD (if you have a portable DVD player).
Ideas from my readers:
Play music and let the kids go wild dancing – give them instruments as well, even homemade ones.
Put out a pile of big and small pillows or large stuffed animals and let the kids play/wrestle/roll around
Bring out the Christmas movies and Christmas cookies!
Save some housework for them to do like dusting, windows, picking up, etc
Give a quiet time (aside from nap) to sit with his children’s Bible, color Bible pages or listen to Bible songs.
Vary your days: Monday could be movies. Tuesday could be Tent Day (build tents using sheets and your furniture). Wednesday could be Wiggle Days (put on some music and dance!)…etc.
Rotate the toys so it’s like getting something new.
My friend Laura has an awesome list of “It’s 8 a.m. and I’m tired out already!” things to do; Check it out here! It’s really fantastic!
“Make memories. You do not even have to do anything special to do that. My daughters remember food we ate while watching a movie or reading a book. Just because we were together and their senses were being engaged: yummy smells, soft material, warm towels, classical music playing, dress-up material of all sorts. Don’t worry about entertaining them, just engage them. read, play, make them play without you, give them chores, memorize scripture, have them fold all the wash cloths, give them a water bottle and let them spray the appliances and wash them. Don’t try to do it all, just breathe and do the next thing JOYFULLY.” –Robin Brookshire
“This too shall pass.” -Unknown
“The days are long, but the years are short.” -Unknown
“Give yourself PLENTY of grace; you might as well, God does.” –Laura
Make sure to take pictures so you have some beautiful memories to look back on! Oh, and don’t forget, have fun!