You might not always be in the mood to play dollies or crawl around the floor with toy cars, but you can still enjoy spending time at home with your toddler or preschooler. There are plenty of fun activities you can both enjoy to keep that cabin fever setting in.
Paint a big canvas together. Artist's canvases are available at craft and art-supply stores, but you don't need fancy artist-style paints -- any type of children's paint will work. Take a paintbrush each and let your creativity run wild. If you are feeling particularly brave, let your preschooler dip his fingers and hands in the paint and go to work. Cut out some photographs and different scraps of material for you both to stick on the artwork, and maybe add some glitter. Before you know it, you will have your own masterpiece. If you do not have a canvas, create a collage together on a big piece of paper.
2. Act Out a Story
From as early as 1 year old, your little drama queen will have started picking up some basic acting skills by imitating the actions of others. Have fun acting out one of her favorite stories or nursery rhymes together. Try making some simple costumes for your roles: a scarf can become an animal's tail, or a sleeping bag can turn her into a caterpillar. Household items can become props. A pile of cushions makes a great house for a little pig, and bed sheets can be hung over chairs and tables to create a forest.
3. Make Cookies
Treat yourselves to some cookie fun. Make or buy cookie dough and enjoy rolling it out with your toddler and cutting it into different shapes. When they are cooked and cooled, you can get sticky decorating them together with water icing and candy. Do different cookies for favorite friends and family members and decorate a paper bag or small box to present them in. Of course, don't forget to enjoy eating a few yourselves.
4. Have an Exercise Class
Devise a yoga or aerobics class that you can enjoy together. Child-development experts at PBS estimate that children can mimic others from about 9 months and will be experimenting with different ways of moving from around 1 year, so help her test these skills. Put on some music and pick stretches or jumps that she will be able to copy safely, such as touching her toes or stretching up to the ceiling. If you prefer running, try setting up a mini indoor track for you both to jog around, with simple obstacles along the way.
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