Indoor play activity suggestions from other parents:
- Playdough: My 18 month old and 3 year old love playdough. We use homemade playdough so if the youngest eats it, it is harmless. They have some cookie cutters, playdough scissors and like to use a plastic tea set too as they serve up all their cooking.
- Painting: My kids LOVE to paint. The difference in winter is the pictures take a lot longer to dry. Hang them outside on the clothes line or on a indoor drying rack. I also always have a bucket of warm water with a facewasher and a towel next to it, to try to stay clean as we go. My boys love to get their hands in and finger paint. If using brushes have some water there for cleaning their brushes.
- Cubby houses: Get out some blankets, cushions and dolls and set up a cubby house. Hang the blankets over a table, the back of chairs, between the couches. Get some torches and have a play in the cubby with your children. Its also a great place for morning/afternoon tea.
- Cooking: We started cooking with my daughter when she was about 18 months. She is now 3 and loves to help cook. Its a great rainy day distraction! Sweet, savoury, dinner preparation she loves it all. One of our favourite things is to make pizza. I chop up all the ingredients and then she spreads the sauce on the pizza and adds her favourite toppings. A fair bit of the toppings get eaten in the process.
- Board games: My 4 year old has discovered board games and can play over and over again. Her current favourite is snakes and ladders. She has also become very resourceful at cheating, but I think its all part of the learning process.
- Pasting: Save up all of your old magazines and junk mail and cut out the pictures for your children to paste. My daughter is 2yo and is getting quite good at using a glue stick. Sit with them and talk abou the pictures they choose to keep them interested longer.
- Dress up and dance: I like to still do physical exercise with my children when they are stuck inside. So we pull out the dress-ups and crank up the music. We all have a good laugh and get lots of exercise.
- Play dates: ask your friends around for a play, this will break the boredom and keep your children engaged.
- Cardboard boxes: Little boxes can be hats, used to store their favourite possessions, made into cars or houses for their toys. Big boxes are great to climb in, decorate, cut windows out for a house, make a car to fit your children (paper/plastic plate for a steering wheel, wool or ribbon to hold in place on their shoulders). You can also buy a kit (robobox) to add wheels to your box for your children to pull around.
- Skittles: You can use milk bottles or buy some skittles. Great for hand eye coordination.
- Shakers: milk bottles or drink bottles filled with water with food dye, rice, pasta, cut of bits of straw and then seal well can make fun shakers. These will entertain babies and toddlers alike.
- Pots and pans: Make some music with your pots and pans, give your child a wooden spoon and they have instant musical instruments.
- Tupperware cupboard: Younger children love to pull things out of the cupboard. Give them their own cupboard (tie a ribbon or a toy to the handle) and fill it with child safe Tupperware and plastic kitchen spoons etc they can play with.
- Craft: Fill up a craft container with ribbons, small material offcuts, pipe cleaners, cotton balls, sequins. Give your children some coloured paper/cardboard, glue and scissors and let them get creative. Don’t tell them what to make, it may not look like what you imagined but letting them do it themselves, with some help and encouragement is much more fun.
- Clay: Its messy, but fun. You can store and reuse clay or let it dry out and paint your creations. Pop smocks on your children and have a wet facewasher handy before they go touching their other toys. If the clay dries out a little, use a bit of water to freshen it up.
- Balloons: Blow up some balloons to play with. Hit them up in the air. Set up a net to hit them over. Throw them, try to catch, hit them with a cardboard tube and play indoor cricket. My children also like to blow them up, don’t tie them and then watch them zoom around the room when you let go.
What indoor activities do you do with your toddler? Share your tips below.