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Indoor activities to keep little kids busy on snow days — Mommy Daze

IndoorActivities BeachDaySnow days with toddlers leave nothing but time to be filled.

After the excitement of playing outside in the snow for a whopping five minutes, my boys start complaining that their hands are cold (duh, should have kept your mittens on!) and are ready to go back inside. That sends me back to the drawing board for ways to keep my energetic toddler boys entertained for the rest of the day here at home.

I’m a big fan of getting ideas from Pinterest, but I’ve also had my fair share of “Pinterest Fails.” There are many Pins that require way too much preparation, are not attention-grabbing enough and entail an annoying amount of clean up. So here are a couple activities that I have successfully used to entertain the kids on these cold wet winter days. Some I could throw together while the kids were running around at my feet, others took a little more prep which I usually did while they were napping.

Crayon Cars

Supplies: Crayons, large piece of cardboard or paper, toy cars/trains/anything with wheels and tape.
Activity: Tape a crayon onto the back of the toy vehicle so that as it’s pushed, the crayon drags behind leaving a colorful line. I pre-drew some roads and set up little garages and buildings with small boxes I have on hand, but this activity can be as simple or complex as you want to make it.

Picture Hide & SeekIndoorActivities HideAndSeek

Supplies: Small toys and a camera (or a phone with a camera).
Activity: Take about 10 to 15 of the small toys (our favorites to use are toy trains, planes and cars), pick a room in the house and hide the toys somewhat out of sight. As you hide each toy, take a very close-up picture of it, showing just a glimpse of the background where it’s hiding (ie: if hiding in the kitchen, I put a yellow plane in the box of Clementine’s and the picture is a close-up of the plane showing just a tiny bit of the oranges). Once all toys are hidden, let your child look at each picture, and let them run to where they guess the toy is hiding. Sometimes I give clues if the picture is tricky.

Paint in the Tub

Supplies: Tub paints or washable paints and an empty bathtub or shower.
Activity: Strip them down and let them go to town with paint! They can paint themselves, each other, the tub or give them bath toys to paint. When they are done, hose ’em off.

IndoorActivities MazeFloor Maze

Supplies: Masking or painters tape, animals, vehicles or other toys.
Activity: Tape lines on the floor to create a maze or “road.” The maze can have little offshoots ending at a little activity, sensory bin or snack. (Thanks to Pinterest, I had on a couple activities on hand in my pile of crafts). I leave the maze on the floor for days, and each day we use it differently. Sometimes it’s a race track for cars, other times it’s a maze for the toy animals to wander through to find their appropriate home (barn for the horse, nest for the chicken, pond for the duck, dirt pile for the pig, etc). The possibilities are endless, but keep in mind it can take a while to lay all the tape depending on how big and intricate you make your maze.

Beach Day

Supplies: Beach towels, inflatable beach ball or other beachy items, small bin of play sand, small bin of water, cups, boats or other small toys and sunglasses.
Activity: Pretend to be at the beach. Place your bin of sand and bin of water on top of beach towels and let the kids use their imagination. Dressing the part helps, so I had the kids wear as little as possible (and setup a heater nearby to keep them toasty).

Bobbing for Apples

Supplies: Small bowl filled about halfway with water, a second empty bowl, a couple towels, some tongs or slotted spoons or sifter, and floating plastic apples or oranges.
Activity: Place the plastic fruit in the bowl of water and let the kids “bob” for them using tongs (which my 3-year-old was able to do) or the spoon or sifter (better for the 1-year-old). They can transfer the fruit to another bowl, or into something else fun like a toy dump truck or grocery basket, or just onto the towel.

What About Baby?

When Luke was too little to participate in these activities, I put him in the highchair with bubble wrap taped down to his tray, or a ziploc plastic bag filled with paint that he could squish around without getting messy. Another safe idea for him was homemade playdoh, which wasn’t too bad if he put it in him mouth.

So the next time you have cabin fever, try out one of these, and let us know what some of you favorite indoor activities are! E-mail them to Betsy@jecoannapolis and we might print them in a future Mommy Daze blog.

Click here to read more Mommy Daze.


Mandy Watts is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Crownsville with her husband, Justin, who runs their family business, and their two sons, 3-year-old James and 1-year-old Luke.


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