February feels like a LONG month, spent mostly indoors for us. Between the inevitable ice and snow days and the (too many) days off school for holidays and conferences, we spend a lot of time inside the walls or our house trying not to lose our voices from yelling at each other. We do try to get out when we can, but sometimes when it’s cold and gross out–or I’m feeling especially paranoid about picking up germs–we decide to stay in instead. Hours of Paw Patrol would be my 3-year-old’s preference for how to spend the hours of her day, but we all suffer with crankiness from too much time in front of the TV, so we try to limit it unless we’re sick. Here are my 5 MVPs of indoor play at the moment. All of these require very little work on my part and keep my kids decently entertained, long enough for me to sit down and do things like write this blog post.
- Magnatiles– I feel like most parents know how amazing these are, but if you don’t, add them to the next birthday or holiday wish list! Starting around age 3, my kids have been able to build all kinds of structures on their own. We have a couple of large basic sets and later we added a doors and windows set, a house set with stairs, and a couple of car bases. There aren’t
many things my 3 and 7-year-old both enjoy playing together, but these are at the top of the short list.
- The Nugget Comfort– This is the new hotness in our house! I managed to score one in time for Christmas, and it is now used daily by my kids. Their favorite set up is a slide on our stairs but they also use the pieces for an obstacle course, fort building, crash pads, and whatever weird make believe game they are playing. If we had a bigger house or a dedicated playroom, I’d probably get a second one.
- Sensory bins– I was a late adopter of the sensory bin trend, but now I love them. They do not need to be elaborate. My current bin is a bunch of fake rose petals, some heart shaped gems, and then stuff to scoop them with. A valentine-ish sensory bin thanks to Bullseyes Playground at Target! If I’m feeling real crazy, I’ll bring out the messy stuff like kinetic sand or rice or water beads. I typically regret this decision but the kids love it.
- Art supplies– My second grader’s current favorite thing is to make a bunch of identical signs and then tape them all over my house. Right now they all say “Happy Valentine’s Day,” but recently she made some reward signs for a missing sticker. Honestly, a ream of white paper and some markers are usually enough for my kids but if you wanna get real crazy, bring out the paint, stickers, glue, etc. Just not glitter, don’t do that to yourself.
- Whatever toy has been out of rotation for a while– We keep a lot of toys in our basement and my kids love going down there to pick out something to play with. What’s old is new again and can bring hours of entertainment. We make them swap, so that keeps the number of toys in our main living areas more manageable.
At the end of the day, my house is typically a wreck (see picture) BUT it’s worth it, if it keeps the kids from whining and fighting all day! I’m able to get some things done, they have fun, and I didn’t have to expose them to germs or spend any money!