May 28, 2013

How to: Entertain Toddlers When it Rains

So. Forget my last post, titled "April Snowstorms...Bring Summer?" because no it doesn't bring summer. In fact, it just brings more rain. At least here in MN. Here we are at the edge of May, onto June and we haven't seen the sun for weeks. I don't know what's going on Mother Nature, but it's getting old. The kids and I are SO bored! I had to conjure up some of my creative juices to keep the kids busy these past few weeks. Here's a little list I compiled of ways I kept the kids busy indoors! Some are at home, some are places to go!

1. Do 500 arts and crafts activities. Seriously the kids can't get enough and we do some of the most simple crafts. Kids get a kick out of everything and anything. Need some ideas? I have some listed below, as well as a gazillion here.

For this project, I put dots of different paints all over pieces of paper for them and they just painted.

Noelle and Evan's, respectively. Very different products. ;)


Canvas painting with toys!

They used blocks, cars, animals, sponges, different brushes, etc.

Noelle does a bit of art at home too!

2. Pet stores. We go to a different pet store almost every week. It's like a mini zoo for little kids. They love it, it's free, and easy. At most pet stores you can hold animals too, which makes it even more exciting for the kids.

Here we are, at the Har Mar Pet Shop.

This day we went to Petco. The kids loved seeing the ferrets!

Tweet tweet!

3. Bookstores. Why not? Barnes and Noble rocks my socks. We always go here. The kids get to read new books for free, play with Legos and trains, and I'll usually get them a small treat from Starbucks. You can always go to The Wild Rumpus too (where they have animals), or the Red Ballon (where they have story times). There are so many different bookstores that offer different things.

4. Using water to "paint" the chalkboard. I let the kids scribble all over the easel and then they get to "paint" with water. It's easy and it doesn't matter if they spill!

5. Color scavenger hunt. This day, I taped colored paper on the floor and had the kids go around the room looking for toys to match the paper. It was fun for them and also it was a learning activity. You could also do this with shapes, or sorting objects.

6. Break out the tents and tunnels! The kids always think this is endless fun! Especially when they haven't seen it for a while.

7. Painting on tin foil. The kids like this because it's different. A little note: you need to mix the paint with some dish soap first so that the paint sticks to the foil or else when it dries the paint will fall/chip right off. Or if you don't plan on keeping the artwork, it doesn't matter - you can just toss it away!

8. Pipe cleaners. These things are so cheap and I always find use for them. We mostly use them in art projects but lately because of the dreary weather we've been using them for fun too. I can get Evan to sit for over half an hour just sticking pipe cleaners through a strainer! It's simple, mess free, and he's working on his fine motor skills!

We also like to make glasses, masks, and hats with pipe cleaners too.

9. Colored bubbles. Crayola makes colored bubbles now, which normally would be used outdoors but since we've been stuck inside, I've used them with the kids for art projects. We blow the bubbles right onto their paper to make bubble art!

10. The mall. Easily understood! And there's one in every single city. Or head out to Toddler Tuesdays at Mall of America!

11. We have probably visited every single indoor playground and trampoline park in the last month. These are perfect for a rainy day, but of course, everyone else is thinking that too since it's usually super busy. We like to go first thing in the morning, literally right after breakfast to skip the crowds. Here's a lengthy list of places you can take tots.

At Sky Zone.

Eagle's Nest.

12. More art. Dotters are perfect for toddlers! It's so easy and Noelle loves doing it. More supplies that are sweet? Stamps. Stickers. Foam. 

13. Baths! A bath on a rainy day can be fun with lots of bubbles, toys, and if you are REALLY bored, you could do a sensory bath! (Put in scented bubble bath, food coloring to add color to the water, spaghetti if you are truly adventurous...the list goes on.)

14. Trips to Target/Wal-Mart. These are dangerous because they obviously don't always stay free. You will be tempted to buy things. Unless you are like me, and pack your own snacks and continuously enjoy saying "No." I often take the kids out to one of the stores and we just browse. We play with the toys, check out the music samples (below) and at Wal-Mart we check out the fish.

Buttons that we are allowed to touch! Yes!

Free tunes.

Hi fishy!

15. More stores. More specifically...TOY STORES. Now this is great. Don't you ever remember being a kid and going to Toys 'R Us? It was HEAVEN and it still is. The kids love going to the toy store. We easily spend 1-2 hours there at a time. The kids play with toys, play with the train table, check out bikes and cars, and sometimes I'll even buy them something. (Unlikely.)

Trying out some new rides.

Honk honk!

Here come the popo.

16. The library. Of course this is a fab choice for a rainy day. 

Here we are at Maplewood library.

Here's hoping that it will clear up soon so we can go back to enjoying the outdoors! 

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