Fun things to do with kids in the winter? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 01-29-2007, 03:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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(x-posted in Frugality & Finances)

Since I've started decluttering and started buying only what we absolutely need these days (which turns out to be not a whole lot!), getting out of the house has been much harder. I can't (won't) just pack us all up and head off to Target for some retail therapy, because it always involves buying something and getting a snack and drink as well. Plus, it just feels dirty to be in there for the point of mindless consumerism anymore.

It's hard to go to the park in the cold with the toddler--she won't wear a hat or gloves, and doesn't like wearing a bulky coat. I could go to the local indoor play park, but that's at least $18. We have been watching WAY too much TV at home, and now that we hired a part-time nanny (I know, I was going to quit to SAHM, it didn't happen, I'm mostly OK with it), I won't have to work during my time with the kids anymore.

So what can I do with these kids that doesn't involve spending gobs of money? They're at such different ages right now that it makes it harder too. For example, if I set them both up to paint, the little wants to eat the paint and smear it on the walls. Pretty much any craft project goes the same way, she's really just not ready. They can't play in the bath together anymore because the big one doesn't want the little one in with her and the little one hogs all the toys

Suggestions, please! I am so not creative! TIA...

Melissa, a homeschooling, caffix.gif-guzzling, SAHM of two: reading.gif (11) and joy.gif(8)
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#2 of 22 Old 01-29-2007, 04:19 PM
 
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what about things like this i like it because then they can watch for the birds and other animals to eat it
Disappearing Bird Feeder
Stale bagel (i used slice of bread before i dried it i put a hole in it)
Peanut butter
Solid vegetable shortening (Crisco)
Bird seed
Yarn
Instructions:
Mix peanut butter (creamy or chunky) with vegetable shortening. Use about 2/3 peanut butter (the vegetable shortening keeps the peanut butter from sticking in the bird's gullet). Roll in bird seed.
Tie yarn on and hang your feeder outside.
i got it from http://familycrafts.about.com/cs/bir...a/blbirdf4.htm
i find that about.com has alot of craft ideas
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#3 of 22 Old 01-30-2007, 04:00 PM
 
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Do you have any childrens' museums, zoos, things like that in your area? I just got an email that our zoo is starting a free indoor education program during the dead of winter.

Does your local Y have daytime swimming lessons? One of my cousins did that, and her son absolutely loved it!

Our favorite indoor activities:
picnics on the living room floor
library (storytime or just hanging in the children's area) and/or bookstore with big children's area
arts/crafts
playing under a card table with a blanket over it (this is about the most fun thing ever, for some reason! I still remember loving it when I was a kid.)

Good luck!

Nichole
wife to Sasha, mom to Marlena, nursed for 3.5 years, aunt to 3 adorable nephews
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#4 of 22 Old 01-30-2007, 04:17 PM
 
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Barnes and Nobles have a storytime.
Your Local Library should have a storytime.

Does your Mall have a play area designated for the kids?

What about those Indoor Jumping places? In my area, they run about $5 bucks a kid...

I live in Atlanta and I pick up my copy of The Atlanta Parent Magazine that keeps Parents up to date on happenings (some are free) in our area.

Do you have a local Magazine like that in your area?
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#5 of 22 Old 01-30-2007, 07:35 PM
 
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I feel your pain. We have nothing to do here that is OK to bring kids to except for the library. And it is a very small library and not terribly interesting for dd. First off, I go for a walk every single day. It is very cold and snowy here but I do not care. I have a clean plastic cover that came with my stroller. With that, a blanket, and a few extra pieces of clothing dd is fine, even without mittens Could your oldest walk with the little one in a stroller?
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#6 of 22 Old 01-30-2007, 08:44 PM
 
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Call a friend?
Walk the aisles of Whole Foods?
We are struggling here too....
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#7 of 22 Old 01-31-2007, 01:38 AM
 
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Make playdough. Between getting the ingredients, mixing it up, playing with it and then cleaning up, you can easily fill half a day if not more. The kids love it and I do too!

Throw a big piece of paper on the floor and squeeze some paint into paper plates. Let them paint with their feet. (Following, of course, by a soak in the tub! Maybe some shaving cream play in the tub.)

Bake cookies. Measuring, mixing, rolling, cutting, baking, decorating, eating -- fun and time-consuming!

Make collages, paint treasure boxes, indoor picnics.
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#8 of 22 Old 01-31-2007, 11:26 AM
 
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I am thinking back to when my kids were similar ages...

Hide and seek was always a big one in our house. And, while I was counting, I could also be folding laundry. After you are through playing hide and seek with people, play hide and seek with objects ala treasure hunt.

If you don't mind pulling apart the beds, you could let them play with blankets, sheets, pillows and empty laundry baskets. Mine like to be turtles inside the baskets. You can also play parachute type games with a fitted sheet. Throw on a little ball and the kids can make the popcorn pop. Let the kids take turns sitting underneath while you bubble the sheet up and down.

I'll keep thinking....
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#9 of 22 Old 02-01-2007, 12:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all so much, some great ideas here! We're finishing up the nanny's first week, so next week will be the real test of the new schedule. I'm printing this out to put on the fridge for the nanny too. She knows her main job (besides keeping the kids from killing themselves and each other) is to keep them busy with the TV off! I know she'll appreciate the ideas when the novelty of Candyland and coloring wears off

Melissa, a homeschooling, caffix.gif-guzzling, SAHM of two: reading.gif (11) and joy.gif(8)
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#10 of 22 Old 02-01-2007, 05:13 PM
 
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I have taken the mattress off of the bed and set it up in the middle of the room so dd could just bounce away. Its a good way to get out the wiggles. :-)

And we push things to the side of the rooms, so that we can have room to ride a tricycle in the house or just run around in circles.

Its hard during the winter! Our mall has a free play area that we use often.

Good luck!
rebecca
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#11 of 22 Old 02-01-2007, 06:02 PM
 
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Our 3 favorite indoor activities:

1) follow the leader -- we have the type of house you can go all the way around in a circle, so we go around the house skipping, backward, on all fours, etc

2) Freeze dance -- turn on music and when you say "FREEZE!" everyone has to stop in mid-dance

3) Obstacle course -- take cushions off the couches and set up blankets over the coffee table. Hop over things, under the table, around the chair, jump on the cushion 3 times, slide over the play table on your tummy, etc. Everyone wants a chance to create a course, so between creating and doing, this takes a good hour or more!

Have fun!
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#12 of 22 Old 02-01-2007, 06:35 PM
 
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Quote:
It's hard to go to the park in the cold with the toddler--she won't wear a hat or gloves, and doesn't like wearing a bulky coat.
Kids are often warmer than adults. As I child I couldn't stand wearing bulky clothes I wanted to be light and free. I was hot with all the running around, playing hard.
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#13 of 22 Old 02-04-2007, 02:53 AM
 
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I scour the newspaper for free activities. I found a church that has Feeding the Soul of the City concerts once a month. They are free, only last 1/2 hr and you can bring snack! It's perfect to expose kids to all sorts of things. We need to start going again. We have done story time at the library since she was a toddler. We do the mall play area and bring our own snacks. I found a mom's book club that provides a playgroup for the kids. (that one isn't completely free, we pay for the book and then $2 a wk for child care and everybody takes turns volunteering in with the kids/providing snack)
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#14 of 22 Old 02-04-2007, 08:58 AM
 
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When my dd was a toddler, she didn't like one big coat either. But she would wear layers. Could you try that and see if she's OK with it?

all these ideas are great!
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#15 of 22 Old 02-04-2007, 11:32 AM
 
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Get some blue painters tape and show her how to make roads on the kitchen floor. Then get some blocks and people and cars and make a city. My kids wil amuse themself most of the day by making a city and playing with it.
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#16 of 22 Old 02-04-2007, 05:16 PM
 
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When ds was younger I'd make peanut butter playdough, so it didn't matter if he ate it (it was good--yum!)

Ds has a bunch of diggers and trucks and he like to play with flour or beans, scooping and dumping. Or you could roll the playdough into "rocks"

I recently found a gymnastics school that has a playtime for toddlers twice a week. It's great indoor exercise and doesn't cost much.
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#17 of 22 Old 02-04-2007, 09:23 PM
 
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sledding (buy off-season -- those red plastic circles are darn cheap)
ice skating (can be pricey, depending on where you live and if you own skates)
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#18 of 22 Old 02-04-2007, 11:00 PM
 
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do you have snow? bring it inside! in a bucket or throw it in the tub--add cups, spoons, ladels, plastic animals to "climb the mountain"... course my kids just sit and eat it,but that's fun too. throw towels down to keep carpet dry--that adds more fun, cuz then you can wash them, my 4 year old LOVES to fold towels, wash cloths.

sarah

Mama to girl (11), boy (7) and girl (4).  "Can't we all just get along?" joy.gif
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#19 of 22 Old 02-05-2007, 04:33 AM
 
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Originally Posted by jenniferg72 View Post
Get some blue painters tape and show her how to make roads on the kitchen floor. Then get some blocks and people and cars and make a city. My kids wil amuse themself most of the day by making a city and playing with it.
Ooo I love that.. We're trying that one this week - love it! These threads are great.

We get stir crazy here too, in the rain. We go to the pet store, just for amusement. Put on boots and umbrellas, just for a walk. Walk the aisles of the craft store, looking for those perfect googly eyes or $1 stickers, or whatever. Sometimes just ride the bus, because it's a fun outing. There are two coffee shops with kids' play areas here. Our playgroup took the kids bowling last week, for over and hour and they charged us $1, I guess because the kids were so disorganized, they only played one game.
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#20 of 22 Old 02-05-2007, 10:19 AM
 
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These ideas do cost money but they are active or educational: ice skating or roller skating (there are walker things for the little ones to hold and push), bumper bowling, ans planetarium at local university has preschool targeted programs
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#21 of 22 Old 02-05-2007, 10:23 AM
 
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Originally Posted by jenniferg72 View Post
Get some blue painters tape and show her how to make roads on the kitchen floor. Then get some blocks and people and cars and make a city. My kids wil amuse themself most of the day by making a city and playing with it.

Excellent idea! This is one we've never done here. Thanks! Gonna get some tape today!

"We think we're gliding down the highway when in fact we're slip sliding away." Paul Simon
DD-7 & B-G twins, 5
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#22 of 22 Old 02-05-2007, 10:27 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mamatoady View Post
do you have snow? bring it inside! in a bucket or throw it in the tub--add cups, spoons, ladels, plastic animals to "climb the mountain"... course my kids just sit and eat it,but that's fun too. throw towels down to keep carpet dry--that adds more fun, cuz then you can wash them, my 4 year old LOVES to fold towels, wash cloths.

sarah
I'm glad someone posted this! My kids think I'm the coolest mom because I let them bring snow inside. My 3 1/2 year old doesn't like to go outside much in the winter. She gets too cold, and it ruins the fun for her. She spends too much time standing there saying she's cold. Plus, we live in an apartment with no yard and the closest playground is still a good walk away in the cold.

So I decided to start bringing the snow inside to her! I go out and get a huge tupperware bucket full of clean white fresh snow. (very important. ) And I put a blanket on the kitchen floor. I give them spoons and bowls and other things and let them play away. Even my 1 year old got into it the other day. It was a lot of fun!

I often worried that I was depriving my daughter of not being able to "play in the snow" since she hates the cold so much. I can remember how fun it was as a kid. And now, she can have her snow and keep warm too! Surprisingly it lasted a good 3 hours or so before it started to smoosh up.

treehugger.gifAutistic pagan mama with five kiddos on the spectrum, learning through living life. autismribbon.gif  computergeek2.gif

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