Now that it’s December, the days are becoming shorter and the weather is getting worse. You might be thinking, “What? But Today’s Family loves outdoor play!” and we do. Sometimes, though, it’s just too cold and dreary to get outside and play. With all the benefits that outdoor play has to offer this might concern you, but fear not! Indoor play is here to save the day!
On the days where getting outside isn’t an option there is still a whole new world full of possibilities and learning. With indoor play there are endless opportunities to help kids develop new skills, and exercise existing ones.
Now, we know, when your living room becomes a playground on a rainy day, it can make for a bit of domestic chaos. Remember, though, messes can be cleaned up, with some help from your kids, but memories and lessons last forever.
1) Building Forts
Forts are a great way to teach little ones about planning ahead. There is nothing worse than building an awesome fort out of pillows and then realizing that you don’t have enough blue sheets left to fill your moat.
With a little help from an adult, let the little ones create their own fort. Let them instruct you on where to put the blankets, and how high to build the walls. By instructing someone else on how to make their creations, the kids will be using descriptive words, helping to develop their vocabulary.
2) Get creative!
A dreary afternoon is the perfect time to get your creative juices flowing. Art projects are versatile – you can use whatever raw materials you have in your home.
When doing these activities, though, don’t be so concerned about the final product – emphasize trying something new. Paint with your feet, blindfolded, or even with the opposite hand! By moving away from the normal you and your children will start to learn new skills and boost your creativity. Whatever craft or activity, not just messy ones, will help your child become a more creative and also develop fine motor skills from holding paint brushes, crayons, and glue sticks. And who knows, maybe you have the next Van Gogh living with you.
3) Indoor bowling
Believe it or not, there is a way to go bowling inside and not destroy the whole house! Although it isn’t the typical 10 pin bowling, plastic cup bowling can be a great way to get the kids up and active when inside.
Grab a bunch of plastic cups and stack them up, then grab some tape and make your bowling lane. Using a tennis ball, foam ball, or whatever you can find, role it down the lane and see how many cups you can knock down. For an extra challenge, stack the cups differently every time, or even add an obstacle that you have to bowl past in order to reach the cups! No matter how you play, your child will be building their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
4) Obstacle course
Yup! These aren’t just for outside! Grab some tape, hula hoops, bean bags and whatever else you want to make your course. You can make it a race or just play for fun! Place some tape on the floor with arrows so you can follow the track, write any rules and instructions on chart paper, then build your course! Over the pillows, under the blanket-bridge, passed the kitchen, toss the bean bags.
The obstacle course is sure to get the kids up and active, even when they can’t get outside. While your kids crawl, skip and slide their way through the course, they’ll be busy building their ability to memorize instructions, recognize directive language and motor skills.
Until next time!