Indoor Entertainment from the Experts

It is snowing outside, and it feels too cold to venture out for long. However, the cabin fever we begin to feel as we head into January and lumber through February can be difficult to manage–especially if we have active and energetic toddlers!

The parents in the Hopkins Early Childhood / Family Education program have shared so many ideas about how to keep entertained and be entertaining during the winter months. Because the parents in our program hail from so many different cities, have such eclectic interests and are willing to share so generously with each other, the ideas of places to go and things to do is often long and inviting.

We thought we would share the list of ideas generated from our families. The families in the Hopkins ECFE program are a community who support one another and actively engage with each other.  Through this list we are happy to share that sense of community with you!

Don’t forget that Harley Family Center provides great opportunities for indoor play! Here are some events you are likely to want to get involved in:

Saturday Open Gym

Stay and Play Classes on Thursdays or Fridays

Science in Action Classes for Preschoolers

Frosty Fun

Hang the following list up on your fridge, and when things start to feel slow, choose something or somewhere you haven’t yet experienced and head off to a winter adventure.

Indoor Ideas:

  • Put on a music CD and have a dance party
  • Bring snow inside and play in the sink or in a dishpan
  • Fill a dishpan with cornmeal or rice and some cups and spoons for pouring in the pan
  • Take an extra bath—water is always fun
  • Build a pillow fort or a pillow pile to climb on
  • Build a fort with blankets
  • Draw paper rockets or make them out of paper and run through the house “flying” them
  • Cut open grocery bags, tape them together, tape them to the floor and let your children color all over them
  • Bake—cookies or breads. Also, look up homemade bird seed / feeder recipes and make food for the birds
  • Pull out stickers and pieces of paper, let your children create a sticker collage
  • Sit in the high chair and finger paint on the tray
  • Put books in different parts of the house, different rooms equal a different book to read
  • Map out a roadway with masking tape and drive cars on the roadway around the house. Don’t leave the tape on too long—it will leave a mark
  • Rotate toys in and out of view over the winter. “New” toys that haven’t been seen in a week or two have a great appeal
  • Do simple art projects. One great idea is to use “Magic Nuudles”, found in art supply stores. They glue with water to create sculptures

Outside in the Yard:

  • Use your best judgment about how long to stay outside with little ones. They won’t often tell you they are too cold. Have them protected in good quality outer-wear or limit the amount of time they are able to be out.
  • A full body zipped up body suit is a good idea for littler children.
  • Purchase mittens that go further up the arm, to keep them from falling off
  • Remember you likely won’t be outside for long, but it is great to do most days
  • Gentle sledding—pulled on a sled or slight hills
  • Grab some kid sized shovels and let them “help” shovel the snow
  • Sand buckets from the summer can be used to build snow bricks for forts—or purchase a snow brick maker
  • Spray bottles with water and food coloring to paint the snow
  • Make a person or a whole family out of snow
  • Fill Tupperware with snow and make different shapes or a whole city out of the packed snow
  • Take a walk around the neighborhood and count the different animals you see, or the number of cars, or the sounds you hear. Enjoy the walk together—and the hot chocolate you can have when you come back inside

Neighborhood Activities:

  • Ice rinks and sledding hills, you can find them listed on your city’s website
  • Library story-times or play areas: Hopkins and Linden Hills have great libraries for kids
  • Community Centers and Rec. centers have open gyms. For details see the blog entry  hopkinsparent.com: Indoor Fun
  • Nature centers have indoor and outdoor activities: Westwood, WoodLake and the Lowry Nature Center are three ideas
  • Mall Play Areas—early in the morning is best with toddlers. Just walking around the mall with a baby in the stroller is also a good time.
  • Wild Rumpus Book Store—the whole neighborhood has different stores to explore
  • Sovereign Grounds Coffee Shop in the early morning
  • Stages Theatre has plays for very young children during the day
  • Williston Fitness Center has toddler-centered activities

Day Trips:

  • Children’s Museum on Tuesdays is group-free
  • Edinborough in Edina
  • Eagles Nest in New Brighton
  • Maple Grove Indoor Pool
  • Arboretum
  • Mall of America—Toddler Tuesdays and Underwater World
  • Midtown Global Market has kids’ entertainment on Wednesdays
  • Choo Choo Bobs
  • Minneapolis Institute of Arts and Walker Arts Center both have family days
  • Three Rivers Parks District has great offerings at their parks—see their website for details
  • Go Bowling: Memory Lanes or Pinstripes or Tuttles are three ideas
  • MN Zoo or Como Zoo

Looking to find families with children your age? Eager to share the joys of parenting and discuss the challenges that arise?  Our ECFE program is beginning second semester on January 22nd. We would love to have you join us!

 

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