Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday Forum: What to do on those long Winter days

Rog on his new stick horse--a Christmas present that has proven golden on dreary days.


We loved last week's Friday Forum and are working on writing and compiling posts to answer all of your requests.

We thought we'd start by putting forth a common question to all of you:
What do you do all day with your children when it's cold and nasty outside?

In two parts...

1) What are some fun inside activities to keep in my mind on a long day?
2) What are some fun and inexpensive places to take your restless children who have been stuck inside all day?


20 comments:

LJ said...

We love making forts and playing in our little felt playhouse. I also love taking baths with my 18 month old. He's super happy to play in the tub for an hour and it solves that pressing question of "when do I shower?" We also like to have little dance parties. I created a Raffi station on Pandora that's proved to be quite popular with my two boys. If we are really desperate, I'll take them to the playground at the mall, but usually it's warm enough here in Georgia (even in January!) to go on long walks to the playground to burn off all that extra energy. I'm looking forward to seeing how everyone else keeps busy!

jeanine said...

I'm really lucky that my boys are so good at playing make-believe by themselves. They are always playing with their super heroes or building forts. My 2 year-old loves baths and I can usually convince my 5 year old to hop in with him. They can play forever in there! Occasionally we do a craft or watch a movie...

Places to go? We love the local library! I've also trained them well... they love going to Target with me! Sometimes in the evening my husband and I will take them to the mall to play on the playground there or to the bookstore--both are a treat in their eyes!

Mandi said...

We've spent a lot of time in the unfinished basement, riding/driving any kids toy on wheels. It's become bumper cars. Yeah, it's cold, man, but the kids are enjoying it.

liz said...

We love a cheap lunch at Costco. We're also lucky here in SLC to have the beautiful Discovery Gateway, which we love.

My four year-old can often entertain herself for a long time with just markers, paper, scissors and a glue stick. My friend Amy, who has four boys five and under, recently made "roads" out of strips from a cardboard box and they had a grand time making a city for all of their cars and trucks. Free, and it kept them busy all day.

Rachael said...

Like Jeanine, I'm realizing how lucky I am that my kids are happy playing with each other all day! They have a bunch of toys in their room, but inevitably they end up playing in the library--either reading their books or playing with Legos, Lincoln Logs, or trains, which I keep stashed in plastic bins under the sofa. We'll usually listen to one of their favorite Pandora stations while we play.

Places to go--I must confess I leave the house as rarely as possible with the third baby, but we like going to the library for storytime & we have a standing weekly playdate with good friends. In winters past, we've also gone to the demo playset at the local home improvement store; you can't been indoor swings and slides, especially when they're trying to show off all the available components!

Linds said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only mom that uses bathtime as playtime. There are days (long ones) when my toddler takes two or three baths. Sometimes just a trip to Target to get out of the house is necessary. With two of my children in school though, we mostly stay home on the weekends and I try to just soak them up.

Jacque said...

I am trying to save for living room furniture so my usuals ie:Target and Costco have been avoided. Here are a few things I have pulled out: print out Disney Magic Artist online pics and bring out the Crayola watercolors; bowling is pretty cheap and can entertain little ones because of the bumpers and your teenagers; tea parties with left over sparkling cider; it seems like sliding down the stairs in a sleeping bag filled with couch cushions never gets old; or go to the dress ups and make a play for me while I video them and then we watch it, any digital camera will do then plug into your computer or tv with the cables; or watch old videos of them. That's all I got right now.

Jesslyn said...

My 2 yo and I play in her card table house (made of fabric that fits over a card table) or make lots of meals with the complete kitchen set she got for Christmas. We decide where we want to take the fairy/cinderella/sleeping beauty/belle/ figurines and take that trip all around the house.

To get out we'll play in the snow at the park near our house or go to the library.

Diana said...

We have a membership at our local children's science center...it's about $80 a year and so worth it...lots to do indoors in the winter for children of all ages.

Bloom said...

oh, we would go batty without the bathtub. my children play in the tub 'til they're pruney and water-logged on an almost-daily basis.

we also love:
the library
pbskids.org
chutes & ladders and bingo
we love a good pandora dance party (thanks for inspiring me to create a raffi station, Lindy)
we also like to check out books and watch videos on YouTube about things that Henry's curious about (lately we've watched/read about seed growth, sharks, earthquakes, and puppies)
we bake a lot in the winter. a lot.
my kids help with dinner almost every night - they love it. it's messier and slower, but i love it too.
and i really believe that if you unplug/turn off the electronic devices kids have wildly creative imaginations -- and they'll use them! get out some wooden spoons, a cardboard box, some stuffed animals, and a few towels/sheets (for costumes) or start an engaging scenario with their toys and let them entertain themselves.

em

Jonesy said...

Now that my kids are a bit older, I don't have a big problem with them being bored and restless. I guess that's one of the advantages of having 4 girls in 5 years...built in playmates! They usually can find plenty to do, but when they were littler, I would take out the table leaf and set it up on the couch and they'd slide to their heart's content!

Joan said...

Winter time for us is the only time we really enjoy the weather. Our "Nasty Winter" is "Nasty Summer."
But with that being said...it's really the same issue: outdoor weather is not suitable for kids (at least for long periods of time)...so, what is to be done with those long hours of the day with little ones?
Google images is one of my favorite things b/c we have access to all the characters/toys my boys love such as: Sonic the Hedgehog or Thomas the tank engine...then we print them and they play with their pictures (almost as if they're action figures). We've cut them out and glued them to popsicle sticks to turn them into puppets too, which is fun.
Redbox is a cheap, easy way to spend an hour or two during quiet time (when my younger one naps). One dollar = a movie James has never seen before...and he thinks it's the greatest thing ever.
Walmart has little clay figurines in their craft section that are 50 cents each...we buy a handful of those and paint our hearts out. The kids enjoy that b/c after they craft they play with their new, personalized toy--and all for fifty cents!

Annette said...

We dance. We go to PetCo to look at the animals. We also make cookies and personal pizzas with cookie cutters. So fun!

Abbie said...

We read a lot. And cook and bake. And blog:). We're trying to get outside even though it's bitter cold and that's kept us happy.

Rae's Corner said...

Use your local church! (Whether you're LDS or not... you simply must find a Mormon with keys to the church and befriend them)
I am a part of a little playgroup of moms and we love using the church gym for a weekly playgroup date. We bring lunches and picnic blankets, lay them on the gym floor, and the kids bring any bikes or toys and play and run around in the big gym to their hearts content!
It's wonderful because nobody's house gets destroyed (der, uh, except the Lord's? We clean it well afterwards), it feels big and open and the kids can run and yell and throw balls without disturbing anyone, and us mom's sit and enjoy each other's company!

:)

Rae

Jennie said...

Our local library system has great programs for kids under five. They have a story hour including coloring pages and some sort of craft plus dance-alongs and story readings. We hit it up about once a week.
Also, someone early mentioned a pass to the science center. We've done something similar through AMSE. A membership is $35/year and gets you in free to over 200 science and children's museums for free, nationwide. Look 'em up :)

sandra said...

I have to say my favorites listed here so far are riding down the stairs on a sleeping bag filled with pillows :},(used to do it on a huge stuffed bear as a kid )the getting a friend at the church to use the gym etc is an awesome idea but my old stand byes are baking ,crafting and movie marathons with tons of goodies to munch on.Have fun all!!

Valerie said...

Sometimes we pick a short movie and make popcorn and have hot chocolate. Sometimes I will pull out the home videos and my 5 yr old and 2 yr old will sit forever and watch the "memories". They love those movies more then any cartoon, plus it's fun to see them as my little babies again.

I also find little crafts at the dollar store to do. There are little wooden crafts that I buy there and let the kids paint.

This may sound weird, but my kids love getting an apple, then marshmallows and toothpicks and sticking them in the apple and adding marshmallows to make a creation, then once they are done we take out the picks and eat the apples.

Another idea, we live in St. George, so even though it gets cool, it's not too cold to be bundled up outside for awhile. I get the kids bundled, fill up squirt bottles with hot water, and send the kids in the backyard. They spray everything, even my windows, which they then clean off with a towel. Sometimes I let them wash their bikes too. This activity keeps them busy for a looong time.

You can buy a cheap bowling set,(target, ross, walmart, or make your own set, and set up a bowling game on the kitchen tile, you can use black electrical tape to set up the lanes.

I also have some of those plush sports balls, and I will take a laundry basket and set up an indoor "basket ball" game for them.

If we decide to go somewhere it's usually a place like "Jumpin Jacks" or Costco, during their food sample times (ha ha ha just kidding...sort of)

Natalie said...

Oh the fun we've had. I have to admit, things have been a little slower since we added baby #3 to the mix, but I think there are so many magical things you can do with your children when they're young, and life is easy. Right now, mine are 5, 3 and 5 months, here are some of our favorites:

1.Noah's Ark -- get tons of stuffed animals and pile them on the bed
2. Bear Hunts -- hide stuffed animals and then give the kids flashlights. My little boys LOVE this.
3. Playdough
4. Birthday parties for little animals/guys. We did this for the first time when Sam was about 2, he thought it was so funny we kept it up
5. Hide and seek til you can't count any more!
6. Books, books and more books
7. Baking together
8. Hot/Cold (hide an item, when they get close they're hot, far away cold)
9.Dance parties in the empty living room!
10. Put a bunch of blankets out on the floor, the blankets are islands or boats, the floor is the water, no one can touch the water when jumping from one blanket to another.
11. Make cards for people, grandparents, teachers, friends etc
12. Lots of dress up and make believe. My kids love when I play along with them.
13. My oldest thinks it is such a treat to hear stories about when my husband and I were little. When I'm done, he always says "What else happened when you were yittle?"
14. Get all the pillows in the house, pile them on the family room floor and let you boys do Wrestlemania. (This is not an every day thing for me...I've gotta be feelin' pretty perky for this one!)
15. Put those little people to work! My kids love to vacuum, unload the dishwasher, rinse (fill up and dump out over and over again) the dishes in the sink, spray windex...man if you include squirting a spray bottle in there, you're set, dusting etc. It's all about the presentation. Make anything sound exciting enough, and they will love it. If it means they get to spend time with you, they will love it.

duck said...

i am loving these ideas!!