4 Toddler-friendly activities for chilly days

When your kids are climbing up the walls and about to drive you nuts, corraling them for a walk or a trip to the park is a great way to decompress--and tire them out--but what's a mom to do when the temperatures are near freezing and the great outdoors is no longer so appealing? Well, you can hide in a corner until bedtime, or you can come up with a few fun ways to kill all that time spent indoors. Here are some of my favorites to get you started:

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1. Crafting. Crafting in and of itself is not necessarily unique, but tons of new and fresh ideas for kids of any age can be found online. So skip the macaroni necklaces and hand-print animals and try diy flubber and mixed-media collages. It might get messy, but it'll engage all of your little one's senses, and when you're all done, you can have him help you clean up -- another lesson learned.

2. Karaoke. No need for a fancy Karaoke machine -- an MP3, laptop, or even the music channels on your TV (along with a hairbrush) will do the trick. Play kids' tunes or introduce your child to some of your all-time favorite songs. And don't forget to mix in some dance moves -- depending on your child's age, you may even be able to come up with some choreography. 

3. Get gourmet. Again, this could get messy, but it'll be loads of fun for your toddlers. Whether it's grilled cheese for lunch or cookies for an afternoon snack, let your child be a part of the process from start to finish. He or she can help decide on ingredients, gather everything from the pantry, take part in the mixing and assembling and even help you man the timer. This is a really great sensory experience for kids of all ages -- even a one-year old can help mix dry ingredients--and chances are, they'll be more likely to eat well when they've helped prepare the food. 

4. Go camping. Indoors, of course. Gather up some blankets and pillows and build a family-size fort, lower the lights, throw some hot dogs on the griddle and soup on the stove, make a batch of s'mores in the oven. Play simple card games, read or make up stories and spend lots of time cuddling--it'll keep you all nice and warm.

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Topics: child rearing  cooking with kids  family fun  on parenting  parents and children  tips for kids  toddler