I have two boys. Wonderful and sweet as they may be, they both love to be active and Go-Go-Go! The addition of the baby girl didn’t slow things down at all. Now that she’s walking, I feel like a Three-Ring Circus more than a Picture Perfect Family. But, in attempts to keep up with their ever growing energy and curiosity, I’ve become a mom of adventures, redefining the title of Stay at Home Mom, because we are rarely staying at home.
But, what about the days we do stay home? What do we do then? Here are some of my favorite TV-Free activities we have on hand.
1. Rainbow Rice Bucket
A fun sensory experience with endless possibilities. I dump a whole bunch of colored rice in our sensory table, a large bowl, or a shallow Rubbermaid storage bin and give the kids all kinds of tools to use. I add things for them to find – dinosaurs, toy cars, letters, numbers, etc. I give them cups and funnels to pour and measure. And on other occasions, I give them paper and glue for art projects. Click here to create your own colored rice.
2. Indoor Forts and Obstacle Courses
On wet or cold days when you can’t go outside and the kids have pent-up energy, building a fort and obstacle course is always engaging! Using furniture, blankets, sheets, and towels, together you can make great hiding places to read and play. Obstacle Courses help kids develop physical coordination, control, and balance. Some ideas for an indoor obstacle course are:
- Crawling through the legs of the dining room chairs
- Under a coffee table (watch those heads!)
- Tie a cord between two chairs to slide under on their tummies
- Make a tunnel out of chairs, cushions, and a rug
- Play leap frog, stepping from towel to towel (only on carpet so they don’t slip)
- Tie some balloons under a table and crawl through without moving any
- Roll up some towels and make a long ‘balance beam’.
Depending on the age of your child, you can time them to see what their shortest time can be. Graph the results together. Besides having fun and being active, they will have math experience, too.
3. Fun in a Box
Another idea to add to the forts is making a box tunnel. Go to a local produce or housewares store (Home Depot, Lowes, etc.) and collect boxes of all sizes. Bring them home and let the kids go wild setting up tunnels, cubbies, and towers. Decorate it with markers and stickers. Cut out holes for windows and doors.
4. Balloon Sailing
Beware: This activity has your whole family laughing in minutes! Grab a few deflated balloons and an electric air pump. Using the pump, blow the balloons up and just let them sail without tying them in a knot. Your kids will love to run and catch them and bring them back to you for more! Of course, the pump just makes this easier and faster. You can have just as much fun blowing them up on your own!
5. Pudding Play
It’s messy; that’s true. But it’s worth it. Together we make a batch of instant pudding, then spread it on the table to do finger painting. We draw pictures of our favorite things, play I spy and draw things in the room to guess what it is, draw our letters and numbers for practice, etc. For the children who don’t want to get their hands dirty: use a chopstick or Popsicle stick. For the Moms that want it cleaner: use cookie sheets instead of the table. And since no activity for my boys seem complete WITHOUT their toy cars, we bring those out, too, for them to drive in and make tracks. Then they LOVE the carwash they do in the sink while I clean off the table.
Going on adventures is fun, but something magical happens with the kids when together we experiment with materials we have around the house. The most important thing is that you are spending amazing quality time with your children and engaging in their world.