Winter is here (in full force)...

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 almost two year old is gently nudged out the back door.  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 -and the weather is mild enough- UTILIZE IT!  Learn to let go a little bit and give your little ones some independent freedom to explore a bit.

In true Midwest fashion, the winter has hit HARD. Looking at the entire map, it seems as though winter is playing rough. I feel as though the TV or electronics almost always end up in use too soon during this time, 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 a few 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!

 

Transportation Week

Activities:

Paper Airplanes:

a

Balloon Rockets: 

a1

Car Jump:

a2

Train Tracks:  Set up a town and all your train tracks!

Egg Carton Bus: 

a3

Books:

  • 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!)

Hibernation Week

Activites:

Build forts each day!

Shoebox Cave:

a4

Watch a documentary:  There are hundreds to choose from!

Make a cave from play dough:  Use your imagination with this one.

Design a cave:

a5

Read Books, watch movies, and nap!

Play the Hibernation Game:  First person to move is out!

Books: 

  • 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

Zoo Week

Lion:

a6

Binoculars: 

a7

Giraffe:

a8

Zebra Puppet: 

a9

Books:

  • 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!)

Ocean Week

Activities:

Rainbow Fish:

a10

Octopus: 

a11

Crab: 

a12

 Ocean View: 

a13

Kinetic Sand: 

a14

Books:

  • 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

Map Week

Activites:

Color a map!

Draw a Map:  Draw a layout of the house with a compass.

Map Flip Book:

a16

Compass

a17

Treasure Map: 

a18

Books:

  • 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

Rainbow Week

Activities:

Half-Circles: 

a19

Ribbon Dancers: 

a20

Rainbow Mobile:

a21

Rainbow Necklace:

a22

Construction Rainbows:

a23

Color Mixing: 

a24

Books:

  • 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

 

Valentine’s Week

Activities:

Heart Necklace

a25

Light Catcher:

a26

Love Bug:

a27

Heart Play Dough

a28

Books:

  • 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