I’ve recently been inspired by a few blogs in terms of creating some fun indoor activities for my kids. I’m not terribly crafty but I’ve even been inspired to try my hand at sewing some simple toys! I spent the week experimenting with the ideas, and then ended the week by reading 9 ways to encourage your kids to live simply by Simple Mom, which completely validated my efforts. So I thought I’d share my successes with you. Because happy kids make for happy moms, right? And they are all so super easy, really, little effort is required.
First, Code Name Mama shared an idea on her blog about room weaving. You take a roll of yarn or string, tie one end onto a piece of furniture or door knob and then walk around the room looping the yarn around other pieces of furniture until you have a crazy criss-crossed web of string. This is fantastic for imagination play and my 5 year old daughter gained some confidence doing it on her own too. The yarn was a spider web, laser beams, and a roof for an indoor fort. We set up and took this down three times this week. The daycare kids had a blast with it too! Just make sure you supervise carefully if young ones are playing as it can be easy to get tangled up in the string.
Next, No Time For Flash Cards encouraged me to make a simple Valentine’s Day-themed sensory play tub. First, I poured a bag of dried red kidney beans and a bag of white navy beans into a small rubbermaid box. Then, I added cut up foam hearts and some measuring cups, spoons, bowls and a muffin tin. Not only does it feel great to sift these through your hands, but add some measuring cups and spoons and suddenly you’re doing math! Funny how it takes more scoops to fill a bowl with a 1/4 cup than a full 1 cup. I don’t usually like to incorporate food into craft time. Wasting food is hard for me to do. But since I have to wash and rinse these beans before I cook them anyway, I feel like this is one food activity I make an exception for.
**IMPORTANT** – Just noted that NTFFC has posted a safety update: It appears dried kidney beans are toxic and as few as 4-5 ingested beans can cause stomach upset. It might be a good idea to replace the red beans with red lentils. However, always watch your children during activities like these. Older children like to put things in their mouths sometimes too, and even if something isn’t toxic, very small objects like these can be a choking risk.
No Time For Flash Cards inspired me again with this recycling center activity: Take a large piece of blank newsprint. (For cheap, you can buy a small roll from your local newspaper that will last forever.) Tape it onto your kitchen table or other play surface. Draw a conveyor belt (or road) and different coloured boxes for sorting your “recyclables.” Then find yourself a truck and a bucket of duplos or wooden blocks and set out to sorting them by colour in your recycling center. This activity lasted two days until the paper on our kitchen table finally wore out. If you made the paper area bigger you could also try sorting REAL recyclables, by material instead of colour, or you could play laundromat and sort clothes, by writing the names or drawing pictures of where socks, shirts, pants, etc. go. The sorting ideas are endless.
I’m not much of a seamstress, but I can hand-stitch, so I’m really excited to give this craft from Pink and Green Mama a try. Homemade felt cookies! She makes it look so easy and my girls adore playing with pretend sweets. Perhaps I’ll give these a go for Valentines Day.
Do you like reading about what other moms are doing with their kids? Do you ever incorporate their ideas into your child’s play activities? What simple activities for kids have you tried? Please share! I’m on a roll here!