If you live pretty much anywhere in the United States right now, it’s probably pretty cold where you are. So cold in fact that I saw an article the other day that said that one day last week was the first time in a long time that there was snow in every single state in the US, on the same day. Even though I’ve spent my entire life on the East Coast, I’m still not a huge fan of the cold and snow. Give me a beach any day! I don’t like to leave the house when it’s cold and I certainly could live without having to bundle up three kids to take them out anywhere in weather like this, so we’ve been spending a lot of time in doors. Three kids ages five and under stuck in a house can get pretty hectic, so I’ve been scrambling to find things to keep them entertained and occupied. I decided to share the top ten things with you!
10. Discover New Books
My kids, especially my preschooler, love to read. Since we’re all stuck in the house, this is the perfect time to break out the new books they all received for the holidays and put them to good use. My five year old son’s favorites are anything to do with Rescuebots and, of course, Pete the Cat is a huge favorite. My middle daughter is a big fan of princesses and is in the middle of potty training, so we have a variety of subjects to read about! We normally always read, at least before bed, but we’re definitely reading much more now that we’re stuck inside. We’ve been using this time to discover Kindle books too. Using Amazon or your local library’s e-book service is a good way to discover new books without actually leaving the house!
Arts and crafts are a big favorite for my kids but, I have to admit, not totally my thing. I’m not super creative, but one of my son’s favorite things is to draw. I found some books that teach him how to draw using simple shapes and lines and he is loving it! Of course, the books are a little advanced for my two and a half year old, but she loves trying to keep up with her big brother anyway. They also really love to use bingo markers or dot markers to draw things. It’s more like painting to them than regular markers but less of a clean-up, which I really like!
8. Make your own books! This is another favorite of my kids. I’ll take a piece of construction paper, fold it in half, fill it with a few pages of regular computer printer paper, and staple it together like a book. I help them write the words but they tell the stories and draw the pictures. They love “reading” their finished books to us, even if the story changes sometimes when they do!
7. Legos. Legos. Legos! I don’t know if it’s just my kids, but they can play legos for hours! We build all sorts of things - castles, cars, boats. Whenever they said they’re bored, this is the one box I immediately pull out. Sometimes we’ll play games where I’ll give them a task - what can you build using all red Legos? - and it’s fun to see what they can come up with when they can only use certain blocks. Sometimes I’ll build a shape and have them tell me which shape it is or ways that they can change it into a different shape or object.
6. Board games! These are hit or miss sometimes, but it’s always worth a try. Some of our favorites include matching games (which you can sometimes grab for super cheap at the Target Dollar Spot or the dollar store), Zingo (which is basically bingo with a little twist), and The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel game. Of course, old standards like Candyland and Chutes and Ladders are still good, too.
5. Colored Rice Sensory Bins! This is an activity that my mom showed me a few years ago. She takes white rice and uses food dye to dye it different colors then puts it in a large bin with little cups or trucks or little trinkets. The kids can then use the rice like sand. They like to measure it out using the cups or try to separate the different colored grains or they make little roads for their trucks to drive on. It entertains them for awhile and I like to see them use different problem solving skills when they play together.
4. Goop! One of my favorite activities when I was a kid was making goop. It’s essentially just corn starch, water, and a little bit of white liquid glue. You mix it all together and it forms a strange mixture that is solid until you touch it and then it becomes a slimy liquid. It was a hit when I was a kid and it’s a hit now. Sometimes, I’ll add different food coloring so they can see which colors make new colors when they’re mixed together. My son is really big into science so he loves measuring out the ingredients, seeing how it all comes together and watching it go through the various physical states. My daughter just loves to make a mess with it. Either way, we all love it and it’s so easy to make and easy to clean up!
3. Dance parties! Since we can’t get outside as much, if at all some days, it’s important to keep them moving. We often do dance parties where we’ll put Kidz Bop on my Pandora and dance away! My son loves to make up silly dance moves and my daughter loves to copy him. Sometimes this only keeps their attention for two or three songs so we either do multiple dance breaks throughout the day or I’ll switch it up and do a few songs of dance party and then an exercise video. There are a ton of kids’ exercise videos to stream on Amazon Prime or YouTube to keep them moving. My son loves kids’ yoga and they have some fun aerobic ones too! It’s good for me too, but getting to the gym doesn’t always happen so at least, with this, I get some sort of physical activity in!
2. Movie Nights!
We do A LOT of movie nights for my oldest. Since he can stay up a little bit longer than our girls can, it’s a good way for him to get some quality time with us after his sisters go to bed and he loves it. We set up pillows and blankets on the floor of the living room to form a little bed, pop some popcorn, and let him pick a movie. He loves ones that seem to be on everyone’s rotation this past year - such as Trolls, Sing, Moana, and Boss Baby - but sometimes he’ll surprise us with something like Megamind, Rio, or Home.
1. Living Room “Picnics”! For some reason, my kids will eat more if I let them sit on a picnic blanket on the living room floor than if they sit at the kitchen table. Riddle me that one! But this is super easy and they love it! We pack a picnic basket with a ton of random foods - cut up fruits, little sandwiches, cut up veggies, applesauce pouches, or fruit snacks - then set it up on the living room floor and have a picnic! Sometimes we’ll read books while we’re eating or pretend that we can see the clouds and name which shapes we can see in the clouds. My kids love to eat outside and do often in the spring and summer so I think this is way to tide them over until we can get outside and eat without freezing!
So there you have it. Just a few simple ways to bust through boredom while we’re all stuck inside. Of course, you can also go places like the library, the YMCA, the children’s museum, or various other places if they’re close to you but some days you just don’t feel like leaving the house, and that’s when these ideas come into play! Enjoy the rest of your winter and try to stay warm! Only a few more months until we’re back on the beach…..
Hi, I'm Amanda. I am a work-from-home mom of three sweet babes under five. After spending years in the corporate world, I decided to switch gears (after having my third baby) and started working from home as the Operations Manager for a national consignment sale franchise and as the Content Creator for RussneyPartyofFive.com. My main goal in life is to raise kind children and I love finding other moms with a similar mindset. I look forward to sharing my learnings and sharing here on Mommy of Minis!