5 Mothers On Favorite Indoor Activities

I feel for these kids by this point in March.  Daylight savings is such a tease.  It's light at bedtime but there's still snow on the ground!  We've had our fair share of days homebound and I feel lucky that Bodie is quite self-directed in guiding us through our days.  He'll happily go from watercolor to stamping to legos to Eco Dough to fort making. When we both just want a lay, this Richard Scarry Biggest Word Book will take us a half hour to point out all the different things we see on each page. Those are our current favorites but I was curious what other moms were doing to keep the kids engaged at home.  Here's a panel of five mothers I love on their household favorites. 

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Jessica, Mother of two, New York, NY

Right now we are very into large puzzles which promotes self-play and allows me to pop in when he needs help but keeps him engaged in a productive way. Coloring books, puzzles, Play-Doh, Kinetic Sand and Magna-Tiles are amazing for self-play.  Family fun includes lots of playing catch, reading books and building.  I engage L in everything from putting away groceries (we discuss what each thing is and have been doing this since he was old enough to walk), cooking dinner and folding laundry (although he just loves being wrapped in warm laundry ) ... I think the smallest activity can be turned into a fun activity for a toddler - it takes the mundane aspect out of it for you too. 

Alexandra, Mother of three, San Francisco, CA

For self-play, Tegu blocks, wooden trains (Brio), paint with water, anything Play Dough and a large empty cardboard box...G and friends will make spaceships, cars, etc.

As a family, we're into fort building - we build tunnels and bridges using blankets and couch cushions balanced between the furniture and the ottoman in our living room.  "Choo Choo Train" is a favorite - G lines our kitchen chairs up like a train and passes us each a ticket and assigns us a seat.  We even have a "choo choo train" song on Spotify ("Choo Choo Train" by Patty Shukla). Paper, colored pencils and crayons, and stickers are all popular in our house.  We ask G what he'd like to color and we all work together to create it.  We also love tracing his hands and our hands and then coloring them in.

G is a great sous chef.  He loves to pour ingredients from measuring cups into bowls and is a pro mixer.  If I'm making something that's harder to participate in, I'll give him some ingredients (ex. cheese, raisins, grapes...anything easy to clean up) and some cups/bowls and let him experiment with his own "cooking".

Touch the Brightest Star by Christie Matheson is all of our favorite bedtime book. It's really interactive.  G loves following the directions on each page. The Ultimate Book of Vehicles features cars, trucks, ships, airplanes, construction vehicles, etc. all with flaps that can be lifted to show the inside of the vehicle and any people/ products within.

Tali, Mother of one, New York, NY

1. Finger painting on a tarp (naked!)

2. Reading 18 books

3. Baking something 

4. Obstacle-course making using dining chairs cushion etc and pretending the wood floor is a shark infested water.

5. Magna-Tiles

6. Going to Trader Joe’s and riding in the trolley 

Katie (Founder of Witten Kitchen), Mother of one, New York, NY 

The beginner trains and tracks by Brio are awesome for toddlers. Even if they say 3+, give them to your 1 1/2-2-year-old and I bet he/she will figure out how to build and play along the tracks faster than you could imagine. H loves to figure out new track configurations, working to put together and take apart the pieces like a puzzle. It definitely promotes self-play and problem-solving. Running the actual trains along it is a reward for solving how the tracks can run together. 

His art table was the best thing we bought once we noticed he didn't want to always be on the floor. It's a great way to get them started sitting and working on a project for a small amount of time or just knowing that there is a space for their work. It gives him a sense of personal creative space that isn't the shared family space. 

We are very into any and all kitchen cookware and utensils (except knives and sharp objects, of course), pots, pans, and containers, etc. There are so many interesting shapes and objects in a kitchen, especially when you don't know what they are actually made to do, the possibilities for play are endless. I set up a drawer in the kitchen for all the safe kitchen objects that are "his" while I am cooking or in the kitchen. He loves to find creative/strange uses and games with everything from strainers to whisks. I also love that he has a safe space in the kitchen where he can watch and learn as I cook. I buy the miniature versions of things from Curious Chef and as he gets older he can get more of the items from their line of safe real cooking tools for kids

Zoe, mother of two, New York, NY

Things we enjoy!

Music and dance. Not just kids songs but also grown up songs!

Play-doh. We watch YouTube channels and then try to make what they’ve made. Drawing - we use rolls of paper and put all the pens and textas out and draw. 

Pretend. C has a kitchen and we pretend to make food and cups of tea etc. and then we do picnics inside. C also has a doctors set and I pretend to be sick and she treats me like doc McStuffin.

Reading. We lie together and read loads of books in C's tent. 

Cooking. I’ll get C to help with cooking. She sits on the bin whilst I make food and I talk her through it. She’ll help with bits and pieces!