Sensory Bins with Hidden Objects: Grab a plastic storage container and fill it with something you have around your house. We’ve used snow (see above!), rice, pasta, cotton balls, shaving cream, even just water. Put in some plastic animals or vehicles and tell your kids to find all the hidden objects. Usually after finding them, they’ll ask for them to be hidden again and again or you can encourage your little one to embark on some cool imaginative play.
Salt Tray: Grab a rimmed baking sheet, pour in enough salt to cover the bottom completely. Let your kid use his or her finger to make letters, numbers, and tracks for trains or cars. My four year old made all his sight words for class and then grabbed some vehicles out of his toy box to play for TWO WHOLE HOURS in the salt! Yes! You read that correctly. I will gladly sweep up some salt for two hours where he’s not asking me to watch TV.
Dance Party: Everyone in my family gets in on this! We throw on music and shake our tailfeathers to burn off lots of wiggly energy. Its also great if I get to sweat a little bit too! We are not huge fans of most kid music (the finger family song makes me want to throw something), but recently my husband sent me this great article about introducing your kids to the music that you love. How A.V. Club staffers got their offspring to just say no to kids’ music It came with a pretty great playlist for Spotify users and we’ve already listened to it several times. Also, I just love the A.V. Club’s guide to parenting! Check it out if you have a chance!
Finger Painting: Okay, this one might be incredibly messy, but I have found a solution! I strip my little ones down, put them in the bathtub with some small bowls of finger paint and paper and let them go to town. Sometimes they paint the paper, sometimes they paint each other, sometimes they just paint the bathtub. Plus, both of my kids love being naked. When they’re all done, I turn on the faucet and give them both a much needed bath. Side note: Our bathroom is in the back of the house and tends to get a little colder than the rest of the house, so I usually run a space heater in the room for a few minutes before getting my kids undressed.