We are alllll in the same boat right now of having to keep kids at home more and still entertain them (and ourselves!) along the way. We are usually outside a lot during the warmer months, and while we still go outside during the winter as well (our toddler never gets cold!), just the nature of winter forces you inside a bit more until spring comes. So we have to regroup a bit and get our indoor game plan together! Now, we are certainly not parents who don’t allow any screen time, but even with all the craziness of pandemics, working from home, and trying to renovate a house in the middle of all that, we are still trying to limit how much screen time happens in a day. So it’s a good idea to plan out activities that you know will be away from screens to accomplish that goal.
Related: For more kids activities and printables check out Childhood Magic!
For this post, we are partnering with KiwiCo, which is an amazing company that I’ve used several times to entertain Lola over the past year. They have a subscription service with award-winning boxes that are specific for you kiddo’s age range delivered right to your door, or you can pick and choose a box at your leisure with no subscription needed! They have everyone in the family covered from toddlers to teens and beyond, with items like party packs, chemistry sets, seasonal holiday projects and more. Since I have an older toddler, I’m focusing on ideas for her age range, but I love that the box options will grow with her as she develops. Here’s some of the things I’m looking forward to doing with her to keep us all busy:
Do a science experiment: Little kids are easily wowed so even small things like coloring eggs, dying carnations with food dye in water, or Mentos in a bottle of Coke will kind of blow their minds. I love KiwiCo’s Colorful Chemistry Kit that has lots of bubbles and teaches kids color mixing at the same time!
Set up an egg hunt: Who cares if it’s not Easter! We did an egg hunt over Halloween to think of another way to find candy/prizes and it was a huge hit even when done indoors in a living room. Take turns being the “hider” and the “finder” (kids love to do both) and leave little stickers or treats in the eggs for a reward.
Decorate for a holiday (any holiday!): If I know one thing about little kids it’s that they love to party! They are basically so excited for whatever holiday/party is coming next, so give them a reason to celebrate! Take some time to make decorations or party favors for whatever holiday is coming up or you can check out a world calendar and see what other celebrations may be happening around the world, and theme your decor for that holiday. I’ve even told Lola it was one of her stuffed animal’s birthdays and we spent a bunch of time setting up a party and decorations for that—she loved it!
Make a tent/tunnel fort with blankets: Do you have blankets and furniture? Well, then you’ve got yourself a fort! While it can take over your room a bit to do a fort area, it’s always fun and Lola loves to sit under the fort with her stuffies and a flashlight and try and convince the cats to come in … add some books and you’ve got a pretty cozy reading nook!
Bake a fun treat: I recently bought a donut pan so I could learn to make a mean baked donut, and you can bet that Lola is excited to help bake and taste the end result! While it can be a bit of a mess to bake with kids, it helps to teach them patience and to follow directions and you get to eat something yummy at the end. Win!
Make an indoor window garden: Kids love dirt and shovels, so why not let them plant a little window garden to watch and care for as the months go on? And when you finally get some plants started, you can either transfer them outdoors when the weather is right or grow some herbs to help make dinner with as they get bigger. KiwiCo’s Window Garden Kit has everything you need included to get started and your kiddo can help you water, measure how tall the plant gets, and then maybe taste a new food once it’s fully grown.
Make a puppet theater: You can decorate paper sandwich bags or old socks to give them eyes, hair, eyebrows, hats (extra points if you have some googly eyes around the house to glue on) and then put on your own little puppet show! You can even decorate a big board behind you to be the scenery and invite an audience of pets and stuffed animals to watch.
Let KiwiCo decide your activity! For this option, you can just sit back and let your box from KiwiCo do all the prep for you. Whether you choose their subscription option or just one or two boxes at at time, you get to have all the fun without any of the work and you know your activity will be research-backed and age appropriate—yay!!
Set up the ultimate bubble bath: Grab some bubbles and some water toys and let your kid splash around to their heart’s content! Things like playing their favorite music or giving them a popsicle in the bath (no sticky mess to clean up—they are already in the tub!) can also make things more fun, and a small water gun or tub crayons can really buy you some extra fun time.
Make a mini town: Using cars and fold out roads is a great way to set up a little town for some imaginative play! You can make a mat by painting some cloth or cardboard material and add in some homemade trees (or Christmas bottle brush trees) and landmarks that look familiar to your kiddo, or you can let KiwiCo do the prep with their Pop-Up Play Mat Kit and get to playing right away! Try designating your house and Grandma’s house and drive back and forth between the two for visits or to take her a present!