Indoor Activities For Toddlers

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Between chilly temperatures and almost non-stop rain, we have barely gotten outside this month. Have you ever spent time around toddlers who haven’t been able to run and be wild outside in weeks? It’s maddening. They get fussy and angry. Combine that with me getting cleared to work out again and you’ve got a whole family of people needing to be active, but not able to do our go-to of walks and running outside.
We’ve been having to get creative to get moving, so I thought I’d share my tips on how to stay active and avoid getting cabin fever through the cold winter months.

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1. Take the Pillows off the Couch- One of my children’s favorite activities that we save for when they’ve got “cabin fever” is to take all of the cushions off the couch and act like it’s a giant trampoline. Now that Sawyer is getting a little more creative, it’s also a great chance for him to explore his imagination. He likes to pretend the pillows are icebergs that are breaking apart and he has to jump from one to another. He loves it, it gets him moving, and keeps us all a little more sane.

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2. Play Music- We have all kinds of instruments around our house, and have picked up some great kid friendly instruments lately. We have some quiet times when they aren’t allowed to play them (like nap time), but other times I’ll let them bang their hearts out on the drums or we’ll sing along with guitars or the piano. It’s a great way for them to get some energy out and make some noise. To mix it up, we’ll use bowls and mixing spoons to make drums or I’ll tickle the boys and play music on their tummies.

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3. Eat Healthy- If kids aren’t getting a good diet, they’ll be unhappy in any situation. Healthy eating is important, especially in the winter when the vitamins kids get from the sun in the summer aren’t as abundant- we all know how depressing it feels when it rains for weeks and you never see the sun. We like to find fun ways to mix up meal time and snack time, like having picnics on the floor in the living room. My kids love going to Sam’s Club to pick out healthy picnic food and grab some vitamins. They have a great produce selection and a huge variety of vitamins and supplements, both for the kids and for me. The vitamins are located right by the pharmacy, which makes it super easy to grab anything I need while I’m there. With three little kids, I try to make as few stops as possible when running errands, so I love that I can fill any prescriptions we need and get all our groceries in one place. I can drop off a prescription and the pharmacy fills it while I shop! They even offer health screenings for eyes and hearing so it really is a one stop shop!
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Getting my kids to eat all their fruits and veggies isn’t always easy  but Sam’s Club has a great selection of tons of produce. Sam’s Club Healthy Living Magazine even has some great articles about kid health and fun ideas on how to get your kids to eat their fruits and vegetables, like cutting them up into cute shapes or making a game out of eating. They have tons of great articles on healthy living and how to be more proactive about your health, which I know I definitely could work on.

4. Find Somewhere to Run- I fully believe that kids need to run around everyday. I know my kids are better behaved and happier when they’ve gotten to run around, but when it’s freezing cold and raining outside, it’s so easy to just turn on a movie and veg out. In our new house, we’ve got a big room in the basement that we’ve purposely left a little bare so that the kids can run down there. We even made up a game the boys call “basement baseball” where I toss a big rubber ball to them and then they try to hit it with racquet ball racquets and run fake bases if they hit it. My kids love playing it and it’s a great way to wear them out. I’ll even let Sawyer skate down in that room. If you don’t have a lot of space at home, see if there are any indoor playgrounds near you, or have a play date with someone who does!

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5. Find Toys that Encourage Movement- When I get my kids toys for Christmas or their birthday, I try to find ones that don’t just make noises or light up when you push a button. I like simple toys that my kids have to be up and use their imaginations to play with. Our Sam’s Club has a huge selection of toys that keep kids active, from balls to throw and bounce on, to train tracks, to paddleboards and lifejackets for when the weather warms up. My kids will play for hours with trains, building tracks and pretending that they are in different places. The train track is probably our most played with toy and it keeps their attention, so I’m not constantly having to find something new for them to do. With our fishing set, the boys will fish for the fishes it came with, or we have fun seeing how heavy of magnets it can pick up. I’ll set up their fish on the floor in the living room, or behind the couch, so the couch is the dock, or sometimes they’ll get on the top bunk of our bunk bed and fish down to me at the bottom.

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Playing imagination games can make play for hours and it doesn’t always even require toys. Sometimes we’ll just lay on the floor looking at the ceiling and pretending to be star gazing. We’ll pretend to see different shaped constellations and when my 19 month old comes running in we pretend he’s a bear and run away while he giggles chasing us. We play a lot of pretend camping, firefighting, rescuing, etc. I love that my kids are learning play without needing techy toys to tell them what to do.

6. Dance Parties- When my kids are whining or being difficult, sometimes I’ll stop what we’re doing, turn on some music, and we’ll have a dance party. Taking ten minutes to shake it out and be crazy with them usually means they’ll get happy and I can finish up what I need to do and they’ll play on their own for a bit. It’s a great way to get exercise indoors and get out energy, especially if you dance as crazy as we do!

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7. Art- Art can come in so many forms, from coloring and playdoh to building giant art installations out of blocks. We’ll build shapes and letters on the floor, make them out of our arms, or I just let the boys smash up some play doh. Either way, it usually gets their bodies and their brains working, and it’s usually pretty quiet which is hard to come by in my house!

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Winter is not my favorite season since it’s cold and rains so much, but we’ve actually had fun finding ways to stay active and keep these boys from going crazy indoors. Sam’s Club has everything I need for staying active through the winter months and Healthy Living Magazine has even more great ideas for getting active and staying healthy. Let me know how you keep your kids entertained indoors in the comments!

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