I’ve got two words for you: Cabin. Fever.
It’s hit hard around here, forcing me to get creative with indoor activities…’cause you know, there’s only so much Dinosaur Train and Daniel Tiger you can watch. Don’t get me wrong, I’m almost as obsessed with Dinosaur Train and Daniel Tiger as my kids are (ugga mugga, by the way), but sometimes you gotta break free (break from the chains). Can you tell I’m going nuts??
So here’s our Seven Things for this week…prepare for craftiness!
1.) Print making. Stamping. Call it what you will, it was a good way to fill a couple of hours with Mags while the littles slept.
We used whatever paint we had around and a whole bunch of textured odds and ends to create some interesting art. We had foam hearts with designs on them, various shaped blocks with holes in them, and cars. I had been wanting to try using toy cars for art projects for a while, so this was the perfect excuse! It was pure magic to see Maggie react to the suggestion of getting the tires all covered in paint…I don’t think she believed that I was really okay with it until I did it myself.
2.) I’ve got two more words for you: Obstacle. Course. With so few opportunities to get out and play, these kids have a ridiculous amount of physical steam built up. Since my house is generally a disaster area anyway I figured I might as well organize some of the larger disaster pieces into an obstacle course. It was a pretty big hit, if I do say so myself!
So, they had to climb over the chairs, hop on their horses (incidentally named Barnaby and Seymour), scoot through the tunnel, then cross a body pillow without falling in the “hot lava,” and hit the light on their lantern to make wolf howling sounds and win. It was hilarious and a really good time.
3.) Another two words: Dress. Up. Now, this one isn’t particularly out of the norm for us. We basically wear
ridiculous fabulous get-ups 24/7. However, I took this to the selfish next level and let them wear their dress up tutus to the grocery store yesterday. I say this is selfish because it really did me more good than the girls. I read a blog post the other day, and for the life of me I can’t remember where it was or who wrote it…but it spoke about that rough postpartum period when mamas are stuck in the house going absolutely crazy, feeling out of control and inadequate. This blogger went to a breastfeeding support group and the leader told her to get out of the house more. This takes a lot of work, true, but when we take the babies out and strangers coo over them and tell us how gorgeous they are, we’re reminded that those things are true!
When you’re stuck inside, it’s really easy to get stuck in the rut of viewing your children as little dictators who cry all night, scream all day, take your doors off the hinges (literally, that happened), spill water on purpose, pull each other’s hair, and generally give you migraines. But in public! In public, perfect strangers remind you that your children are fantastic. They’re so well-behaved! Sure, they can have a cookie! Look at their sweet eyelashes/hair/cheeks! Listen to those giggles!
If you dress them in tutus beforehand, it’ll take it to the next level. Trust me. And I bet, after you’ve wandered through the grocery store being adored by everyone in a five-mile radius, you’ll be so genuine and really, really mean it when you answer the checkout-lady’s question of whether or not you’re crazy to have so many kids by saying, “I am absolutely not crazy. I’m just the luckiest woman ever.”
4.) How’s about another two words! Play. Dough.
Are you a fan of The Imagination Tree? This post is pretty much the Mecca of preschool tactile/sensory/amazing activities. A word of caution, though. If you visit this site, be prepared to want to create everything. I’m not even kidding. There are so many good ideas that are really educational and fun. So, yeah. Go there and have fun.
One of my favorite things from The Imagination Tree is all of the play dough ideas and recipes. We whipped some up today just for funsies and it turned out really well!
Here’s the recipe we used for The Imagination Tree’s No-Cook 4 Minute Play Dough. It seriously never fails.
5.) Give ‘em a mid-day bath. When there’s nothing else to do, this is a great way to let people blow off some steam and keep them contained all at the same time! And odds are, at my house anyway, the little cherubs are covered in some sort of jam or tomato based sauce anyway. Add some kitchen “toys” like measuring cups and whisks or food colored ice cubes. Heck, I may even put mine in their bathing suits and let them pretend they’re at the beach just to mix things up!
6.) Read books that promote play. If you’re not already familiar with Tana Hoban, you should really check her out. The one we’re obsessed with right now is Over, Under & Through.
As you can see, the books have great photography that is paired with concept words like, over/under, in/on, beside/below, etc. These can be tricky concepts for little ones to grasp. But paired with lots of photo examples, these books do a great job of teaching. They also lend themselves very well to “Simon-Says” kinds of games that allow kids to physically explore the concepts and get some energy out. Perfect, I say!
7.) Take selfies. Because all the cool kids are doing it and, let’s be honest, it’s totally fun. Here are ours from today!
Side note: I always think Lily looks like the old Eloise Watkin illustrations of baby Jesus.
Okay, so those are my Seven Things that will hopefully give you an idea of how to spend these seemingly endless snowy days! Anybody else have good ideas for indoor activities?
Happy Saturday, y’all!!