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Surviving Winter

Our rowhomes can seem smaller in cold weather, especially after several days indoors. We are blessed to live in a city that has so much to do, but there are also days where we can’t leave the house for one reason or another. For those indoor days, here are some fun things to do with your little ones to break up the monotony. I’ll admit that most of these involve a little bit of clean-up, but nothing too crazy.

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.

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Knock it Down: My kids are demolition junkies, so one of their favorite activities is knocking down things that I’ve built. Some days I just get old boxes from the recycling bin and stack them up over and over again just to see the smiles when they knock stuff over. On occasion, I can get my oldest to build things for my youngest, but mostly I am the builder and they are the demolition experts.

Let’s Get Cooking: Have your little one help you make something in the kitchen! My favorite recipe is the banana bread from Simply Recipes, because it’s so easy and only dirties one bowl. My kids love it because they get to squish bananas and then they also have a yummy breakfast treat! I’m trying to avoid cane sugar right now, so I’ve been making this with ½ cup of coconut sugar (It has a lower glycemic index) and the kids haven’t noticed the difference!

Fort Time: Have your kids grab all the pillows in the house, get a sheet or two out of the closet and build a fort! This can also be as easy as draping a sheet over the kitchen table, or you can get elaborate using the cushions from your couch, empty boxes, basically anything that you have lying around to expand your little one’s secret hideout. I recently found this Sofa Fort to make using your couch and my kids love it!

Undivided Attention: All of these projects are meant to provide your little one with fun indoors, but sometimes the only thing your kids need is you! Life gets busy, especially during motherhood, but occasionally stopping whatever you’re doing and giving your kid ten minutes of undivided attention will make them happy for hours. Letting your child pick the activity adds a special element to the play, letting them feel in control.Have fun and stay warm!

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Meet Morgan! She's our first Mom of the Month from our Body Back classes, though she also attended Stroller Strides while on maternity leave. Even though this interview was our initial meeting, she impressed me with her calm and poise. It was also pretty fun to do an interview with someone in non-workout clothes at a bar! We met at 1157 Bar and Kitchen for a drink and enjoyable mommy conversation!

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