You made it! It’s the end of 2020 and now all you have to do is keep your young children entertained – alone and inside – all winter! Okay, so you almost made it!
How can you keep the winter days special, interesting and fun? We know how quickly young children will tire of their new toys and eventually (hopefully) get bored of watching Trolls: World Tour – so then what? It’s time for my favorite old standby – imagination!
My favorite part of being an early childhood educator is using children’s imaginations to help illustrate a point, cement a concept, inspire new questions, and get those little wheels turning in their little heads. Imagination can be used and encouraged at home as well. In the following tips below we’ll utilize imagination, surprise, and creativity to keep those long, cold, indoor winter days new and fun.
- Nap Time
Nap time is the best time to create a little magic and intrigue around your house. While your little one is asleep, hide a few of their favorite toys around the house. Turn it into a scavenger hunt! If they are reading you can even leave a simple note letting them know their toys are playing hide and seek and it’s up to them to find them. This will also help create new interest in a toy your little one may feel bored with.
There’s lot of other things you can do during nap time. Set up a board game ready for them to play, rearrange their space, or set up an easel and paints for them to wake up to. Everyone likes a fun surprise every now and then – nap time has never been so fun!
- Crafting Games
Keep a supply of construction paper, masking tape, pipe cleaners and washable markers on hand. These are no-mess supplies that your little one can use on her own or with supervision to create your own board games, puppets, and anything else they can imagine. Let your little one be your guide. Maybe they have a favorite story – I constantly use Pinterest for inspiration on fun crafts based on children’s book characters. Your little one will love recreating their favorite characters on their own.
- YouTube Yoga
Did you know there’s tons of free yoga classes online? Head over to YouTube and take a look around at all of the at home yoga videos. There’s videos for you after the kids go to bed but there’s also lots of options for kids and families. All of the different animal names for poses will resonate with your kids and they’ll love stretching with you. There’s lots of partner poses you can do with your little one. Check out my two favorite yoga channels – Yoga With Adriene and Cosmic Kids Yoga.
- Write a Story
Help your little one write their very own story. Staple a few pieces of paper together and ask your child some questions to get the story going. Help them write it out on the different pages and then have them illustrate it. They’ll feel so proud of their work and you’ll be able to read the story at bedtime! It’ll also be a nice keepsake you can look back on years later.
- Cardboard Boxes
It’s been hiding in plain sight all year. My number one tip. All of those boxes you’ve been receiving and then breaking down and recycling are the ultimate toy for your little one. You can build a castle, a rocket ship, a pirate ship, a store, a fort, a train – anything! Use masking tape to outline your creation and then let your little one go wild with paint, markers, and anything else you have around the house. Time will fly working on your project and your child will have constructed their very own toy that they won’t tire of. You can also always let them just paint a box and let their imaginations go wild.
Children feel so much pride and ownership after making their own creations they can use and play with. Let them be your guide! Giving kids a platform and an outlet to use their creativity will just spawn more creativity! You’ll be amazed with what they can do with a little paint and glue.
Photo Credits: Katie Emslie on Unsplash, Sigmund on Unsplash, Yogesh Rahamatkar on Unsplash, Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash