Winter is here...
Pinterest is full of ideas on the subject of indoor activities, but the reality is that most of us moms are either too lazy or too OCD to pull them off. At least behind my front door, this is the case. As a homeschooling mom, I am pretty much exhausted by 3pm every day. This is the point I kick my kids outside to play until dinner. Even my two year old is gently nudged out the back door. We have been luck this far, as the weather is still pretty mild. From the comfort of my kitchen table, I can watch bows and arrows be shot from our two-story club house, be served dirt pie, and keep an eye out for any boo-boos or knees that need kissed. I know not everyone is lucky enough to have a yard that allows this, but if you do, UTILIZE IT! Learn to let go a little bit and give your little ones some independent freedom to explore a bit.
I have decided to have a plan in place for when the weather truly turns into winter this year. I feel as though the TV or electronics almost always end up in use, and I really want to delay (because preventing isn’t on my radar) this from becoming the first choice. Instead of having 100 ideas that I will probably never pull off, I am breaking everything into themes with activities that can be performed throughout a week. I’m hoping this will keep my kids interested, promote conversation, involve the whole family, and keep everyone happy throughout another cold week.
Without further ado, here are my 10 weekly themes, including several book ideas you can checkout at your library on the topic, hands-on activities, and toy ideas to invest in to extend the play. Remember to alter an activity, book list, and discussion to be on-level with your child(ren). Try to keep everything fun!
Train Tracks: Set up a town and all your train tracks!
Egg Carton Bus: http://funfamilycrafts.com/egg-carton-bus/
- Busy Boats
- I Love Trucks
- I Love Trains
Conversations: Ask how people get from place to place, car, bus, train, bike, plane, etc. Talk about engines, power, speed, or lack of these for each mode of transportation. Use colors and sizes with younger kids to play matching car games or category games.
Toys to Invest in: Trains and tracks, Matchbox cars, Ride on Toy for inside, toy planes (we love the vehicles you can take apart and rebuild!)
Build forts each day!
Watch a documentary: There are hundreds to choose from!
Make a cave from play dough: Use your imagination with this one.
Design a cave: http://www.preschooleducation.com/swinteranimal.shtml
Read Books, watch movies, and nap!
Play the Hibernation Game: First person to move is out!
- Bear Snores On
- Hibernation Station
- Time to Sleep
- Not a Buzz to be Found
- Animals in Winter
Conversations: Learn about why some creatures hibernate and why some do not.
Toys to Invest in: Play Dough (or make it yourself!), Toy animals
Zebra Puppet: http://storytimekatie.com/2011/09/28/zoo/
- Color Zoo
- Dear Zoo
- From Head to Toe
- My Heart Is Like a Zoo
- Two at the Zoo
Conversations: Animals, animal sounds.
Toys to Invest In: Zoo Animals (Little People Zoo is great!)
Kinetic Sand: www.goldenreflections.com
- Rainbow Fish
- Pout Pout Fish
- Little Fish
- Busy Beach
- Seaside Poems
- That’s Not My Mermaid
Conversations: Number of oceans, animals and plants that live in the ocean, salt water versus drinking water.
Toys to Invest In: Kenetic Sand
Draw a Map: Draw a layout of the house with a compass.
Map Flip Book:
Treasure Map: http://researchparent.com/homemade-treasure-map-game/
- Me on the Map
- Where Do I Live?
- Follow That Map
- There’s a Map on My Lap
Conversations: Directions, adventures
Toys to Invest in: Compass, Binoculars, Pirate costumes, maps
Ribbon Dancers: http://www.rockabyebutterfly.com/2013/06/ribbon-dancers.html
Rainbow Necklace: http://www.houseofbabypiranha.com/2013/03/rainbow-necklace.html
- Mix It Up
- What Makes a Rainbow?
- A Rainbow of My Own
Conversations: Colors, Mixing Colors, Creating Rainbows
Toys to Invest In: Wooden Rainbow Stackers
Heart Play Dough: http://www.mumsmakelists.com/2014/01/valentines-day-crafts-for-kids/
- The Day it Rained Hearts
- Roses are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink
- Fancy Nancy Heart to Heart
- Amelia Bedelia’s First Valentine
Conversations: Kindness, Generosity, Showing Love
Toys to Invest In: Wooden Mailbox
Goop Aliens: http://www.makeandtakes.com/googley-eyed-green-blobs
- Papa, Please get the Moon for Me
- My Sister is an Alien
- Man on the Moon
- The King of Space
- Alien Tea
- The Way Back Home
- The Accidental Space Ship
- Mickey Moonbeam
Conversations: Planets. What the earth is made of. Stars. Constellations. Space Ships. The moon.
Toys to Invest in: Rocket Ship with astronauts and aliens
Temperature Chart and freeze water outside: Design a chart and record the temperature outside. Set cups of water (or sand toys) outside overnight and see if they freeze.
Rain Light Catcher: http://www.allkidsnetwork.com/crafts/spring/rain-cloud-craft.asp
- Weather Words and What They Mean
- Sun Bread
- Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
- The Cloud Book
- Shapes in the Sky
Conversations: Weather cycles. Temperature. How to prepare for certain weather.
Toys to Invest in: Flashlights, outdoor thermometer, buckets
Human Body Week
Make a skeleton:
Play Doctor: Bandage up boo-boos and treat all of the ill or injured dolls and stuffed animals in the house.
Exercise: Children’s yoga on youtube is a great way to introduce exercise into the home!
- My First Human Body Book
- Uncover the Human Body
- The Magic School Bus Inside the Human Body
- See Inside Your Body
Conversations: Proper Body Part Names, Privacy, Functions of the Body
Toys to Invest in:
- Magic School Bus Human Body Kit
- Doctor Kit