Though we have been spoiled with a pretty fantastic fall this year there’s no way around it, winter is coming. I really try and get my kids out of the house each day, even just for half an hour, but most of our time is sadly spent inside during the cold season. But don’t fret mama’s I have a couple of ideas that you can do to occupy your little ones. The items needed for these activities you may have lying around in your home already and each activity is pretty simple to put together.
The first activity I want to talk about is Dyed Pasta
– 2 boxes of Rigatoni
– food coloring
– rubbing alcohol
– gallon ziploc bags
– stiff string (works best for little toddlers so they can string the pasta easily)
1. Add approx. 1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol to each color of food coloring you are using. The amount of food coloring is more trial and error, I used the gel food coloring and ended up using quite a bit because I wanted my pasta to be as vibrant as possible.
2. Make sure the rubbing alcohol and food coloring is thoroughly mixed together and set aside.
3. Divide half a box of pasta into a gallon ziploc bag, which allows the pasta to not be overcrowded in each bag.
4. Pour each food coloring and rubbing alcohol mixture into one of the ziploc bags, seal it up and shake and spread mixture throughout pasta in bag. This could be a great task for maybe a 3 year old? Not something I had my 2 year old do however. If you have your little one help, double bag!! Continue doing step #2 with however many colors you are doing, I did four.
5. Set the bags of pasta onto baking sheets, spreading pasta out in one layer. Let it set in the bag for an hour so the pasta can really absorb the color.
6. Line baking pans with parchment paper or tin foil and pour pasta out of the bags and spread out. The pasta should be dry in 1 to 2 hours. I set mine out overnight.
7. Cut long pieces of stiff string and let your toddler create the cutest pasta necklaces you will see! (*tip, tie a pasta at one end so when they string the pasta it doesn’t fall off the other end)
*** the alcohol seals the color in the pasta and avoids any concern of the color getting on their little hands, furniture, clothes, etc.***
These colored pasta are fun to use to make necklaces and bracelets, sorting colors, counting and gluing on paper to make fun art work.
For this activity I got some pipe cleaners and Nola and I stuck them in random places into a colander. It’s also a lot of fun for them to pull the pipe cleaners out. This is another activity that works their motor skills! I have to also mention that pipe cleaners are a fun thing to just have in the house, one day we made Nola glasses out of them and she wore those fake glasses around the house for a surprisingly long time.
If you can look past my girl’s crazy hair in this picture, now I want to talk about moon sand. To make it all you need 1/4 cup of baby oil with 4 cups of flour. It’s pretty neat, if you compress the mixture it allows you to form and mold it. This is a great sensory play experience. I recommend gathering some hot wheels and cookie cutters for them to play with in the moon sand!
In our house boxes are like gold and my husband knows to never throw them away! I know you heard this before, but it’s so true, boxes are the BEST form of entertainment for kiddos and foster so much imagination. In the photo you see here, we plopped Nola in the box and had her color away. She is much older now and just recently we had made a fort out of a box which both she and her little brother loved. But you can make playhouses, tunnels, pretend food, ANYTHING!!
Felt Pom Poms
This activity was really successful as an activity for Nola when she was 2 and still is a year later! I got a bag of different sized felt pom poms at JoAnn’s. Then I cut different sized holes in a plastic lid of a container to accommodate the different sized balls. Nola loves transferring the balls from one container to another and pushing them in the holes. But the thing she loves the most is when we pour the balls on her!
Just like toys, if you have these activities lying around daily they won’t be as exciting, but if they are in rotation, like many of you may do with your kid’s toys already, it can be a new fun activity for your little ones! Hope this gives you some ideas for this winter!!