We all know play is important. But in New England it’s not always easy to get out. Like right now. There’s a snow storm rolling in and I think it’s around -not going to get them dressed to be outside for 5 min degrees. So over there past year or so I’ve gathered a few things I consider to be staples for indoor play.
If you have a finished basement you are already ahead of the game. But if you’re like us and are confined to a living room size area here are some tips to help you out.
I would suggest “investing” in some old furniture. Check out places like freecycle.org or Craigslist. We have a hand me down couch from one of my amazing aunts. She got some space in her garage and we got a trampoline. Since the couch isn’t new and has already been kid tested, I’m ok with the Bears jumping on it.
I would also encourage you to buy a few gymnastic toys. There are the indoor swing sets you can buy. But for the same price or less you can buy some ramps, blocks and tunnels. Or you could go all out and buy a full set. I like these better because the Bears can move them around and into different rooms. They also learn how to use them in different ways. Creativity is key to successful surviving these types of days. Plus a swing indoors sort of scares me. Ramps can be used as ramps (duh), bridges, help build forts, sleds and other “death defying” instruments.
Tunnels are not as universal but for some reason I’ve never meet a kid who didn’t enjoy these things. They also all stack away nicely!
This one is a bit harder. Be ok with them playing in the “danger zone”. In today’s society we are quick to baby proof everything. Now I’m not saying they should play with knives or fire. But encourage climbing up and down things. Sadly most kids are lacking in coordination these days. Let them try climbing (under supervision of course). It will help build their core strength.
Other things to consider for your play area are things like masks or dress up clothes. Best place I’ve found is the dollar store in October. Try keeping everything in one travel size bin that you can take out on rainy days. Make it special and it will keep their interest a lot longer.
We got some exercise dice for Christmas. Big bear has been pulling them out on his own. They seem to be something that we can leave out and he’s just drawn to them.
If you’re looking for a quick don’t have to wait for Amazon cure for a “I’m board” can’t go outside day, try animal movements. Start by asking your bear what their favorite animal is. Then try to recreate how that animal moves. Most are easy. Bear crawls are big here. But how about moving like a cat trying to sneak up on something. Or how would a frog jump from place to place? Maybe cut out some lily pads and make a path on the carpet.
Bonus points to letting them completely destroy your home is that it’s a great time to teach older kids how to help clean up. Big bear knows it’s part of the deal. He’s old enough to do some of the easier stuff like picking up the toys and putting them in the “dump it bucket“. It’s our bucket of things we don’t know where they go or are too high for us to reach. And amazingly every toy he picks up falls into one of those categories.
Once you start you’ll find a grove. I guess the most important thing is to let them just play.
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