Entertaining the Kids Inside & Outside the Home

These wintry days are killing me! I thought I had it bad when it was just me to worry about, but now I have two little people to keep warm and occupied all the live long day and it’s through this I know the true meaning of stir crazy. I am craving spring and summer weather so much right now that I’m considering packing all of our stuff and moving to southern California. Okay, I’m being super dramatic, but that’s what 20-30 degree weather with kids will do to you.

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A while ago, a friend reached out saying she’d be interested in reading a post about activities to do with kids inside and outside of the house. She couldn’t have asked at a more perfect time because lately, I’ve needed a refresher on the things we used to do with our daughter for ideas for our son.

Indoor Activities

When it comes to winter, we obviously spend a lot of time indoors coloring, reading, watching movies, dancing, singing and painting (painting can start as early as six months with some Greek yogurt and food coloring!). I try to rotate her toys to keep things new and exciting, bringing out different things to play with at different times. I also love going on Pinterest to find different crafts or activities to keep her occupied. And one last thing, I love to have her cook with me. When your toddler gets to a “willing to help” phase, it’s great and a fun rainy day activity.

As far as our infant goes, we kind of rotate him in different places throughout the day. We usually start him off on a mat or carpet where he can roll around and grab at toys and then we’ll move him to our bouncer or a swing and give him toys to play with. For him, it’s all about switching it up to keep his curious mind working. We’ve also read to him and just talk to him about what’s going on around him because he’s always listening!

When we do want to get out of the house, but still stay indoors, we go to Target (haha!), or participate in the following:

  • Story time at the library. Most libraries have great programs built for infants, toddlers and children. I started taking Peyton to story time when she was 6 months old and we’ve visited since then to check out books, play in their childhood area, participate in their craft corner and attend their other events/programs. We love the library and the fact that going there will encourage our children to grow to love reading. I’d recommend visiting your library’s website, or ask moms in the area the kinds of activities they participate in.
  • Classes at the park district. From my experience, classes normally start after around 6 months to a year (Peyton did a Tot Rock class before she was a year old). After your child becomes a toddler (one-year-old), there are usually several classes and programs for them to participate in. We’ve done dance, tumbling, swimming and the music class she was in. I know Gymboree also hosts play classes as well if your park district doesn’t offer what you’re looking for.
  • Visiting museums and aquariums. While this is on the pricier side, it’s a very fun and educational experience for everyone. There are a couple of children’s museums near us (we have yet to go), and we also love the bigger museums in the city. The Shedd Aquarium was a huge hit when Peyton was about 1 1/2.
  • Events on Facebook. Local businesses and facilities always seem to host little pop-up events for families and kids. A great way to find what’s going on in your area is to look in the events section on Facebook. We’ve participated in a local Kid Rock event and recently did a Mama & Me Painting party at a local shop in our downtown area. I’m telling you, there’s always something going on. Especially around the holidays. This also applies to outdoor activities too.

Speaking of outdoor activities… our favorites are going on walks, drawing with chalk, having outdoor picnics, bubbles and playing in our little pool in the backyard. We love letting Peyton run free in an open fields or on the sidewalk. It gets her energy out very quickly.

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Outdoor Activities

  • Visiting the Zoo. We have a small community zoo about a mile from our house that we visit all of the time. It’s small and something to do before nap time, and we can’t get enough. We also just became members of a larger zoo about 40 minutes from our house and we’re excited to visit more this spring and summer. The zoo is the perfect place for littles to run around and learn about wildlife.
  • Events at local outdoor facilities/forest preserves. Again, Facebook is a great way to find these events. Whether it’s a movie in the park, or family kite night – there are a lot of local outdoor events during the warmer months.
  • Parks, parks and parks. We take advantage of going to the park throughout the summer. We’re so lucky to have several in walking distance and our toddler is getting to the age where she’s actually interested in climbing and playing on the playground.
  • Splash Pad and Pool. Both amazing and great way for mamas to enjoy the warm weather too.

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I’m sure I’m forgetting some of the things we’ve done and this post is making me depressed because I want those outdoor activities so bad!! I’m always, always looking for new things to do with the kiddos, so please comment with some indoor or outdoor activities you participate in.

 

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