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Perhaps some of my favorite days are those when I know we will be home all day. Favorite, because they usually end up being very memorable, fun filled days. Yet, sometimes daunting for those moments upon wakening when I realize I need to quickly think of fun stay-at-home things to do.
We generally have early mornings that find us out of the house by 8, or 9 am at the latest. So, on home days we really soak up the time to stay in bed (I’m consciously trying to instill the desire for relaxation in my two year old). I usually prop up some pillows and make us breakfast to eat in bed while watching a cartoon. By the time we’ve finished eating, the cartoon has ended and my little guy is ready to play. We waste no time building forts on the bed and making covert missions hiding between the bedding. My son loves this game. This is fun for days of rain or shine, and just a nice way to wake up slowly while spending quality time with your children.
Crafts! I love crafts. I frequently look for different craft ideas online that utilize simple ingredients that we have at home. In my son’s room we’ve set up a shelf full of craft supplies, so, on home days, I usually set aside a chunk of time after lunch to sit down and create. My favorite recipe for playdough, something we make and create with often, can be found here: Playdough Recipe
The recipe is simple:
1 cup white flour
½ cup salt
1 cup water
1 tablespoon oil
2 tablespoons cream of tartar (in the spice section)
food coloring (optional)
As recommended on the website, mix all 4 ingredients in a pan. I add the water and mix into a thick paste. Cooking over a medium heat, I stir constantly for approximately three minutes until the dough clumps in one large ball. I remove from heat and knead the dough for about five minutes on the counter. This is when we add food coloring. If you want the dough to be less drying on your hands, you can add a little more oil. We’ve had this dough last up to two weeks by keeping it in an airtight plastic container.
Last holiday season my son received a baking set complete with a rolling pin, cookie cutters, and cake pans. This set has been a welcome addition to our playdough time and any home baking “tools” like cookie cutters and rolling pins can be used (just make sure to flour that rolling pin first).
We’ve also made cornstarch monster goo, homemade paints, and crayon art. All can easily be found on google or pinterest.
Building toys. Lego has to be our favorite toy. I personally love building toys like lego because of the imagination and creativity they encourage in my child. Not to mention the time we spend building, creating, playing; minutes often turn to hours, and small structures transform into intricate villages and buildings.
Along with Lego, we like Wedgits, and marble runs. Building these simple pieces into different shapes and structures brings great satisfaction to my little one.
Cooking and baking. When we have home days I often plan a nice meal or baking project that my son and I can prepare together. This isn’t always possible and doesn’t always work out as planned, but the sentiment is there. My current go-to recipes include peanut butter stir-fry, homemade mushroom soup, and yogurt carrot muffins. These recipes allow my son to stir many ingredients together in one large bowl, which keeps things relatively tidy.
Forts and Jam sessions. That right there says enough, doesn’t it? We love building forts and bringing out our little drums, guitars, and toy xylophones and saxophones for major jam sessions. Music can easily be played on things found around the house as well if instruments aren’t easily accessible. Yogurt containers and wooden spoons can be used for drums, different levels of water in glasses can also create a neat sound when tapping the glass with a spoon, and little maracas can be made by putting dried beans in tupper wear containers, then taped to popsicle sticks. Here is a fun site for those who have some extra time to create: The Crafty Crow
Our home activities don’t stop inside. When outside we love gardening. We’ve found well-loved tractors and trucks at local thrift stores and garage sales that make for perfect and inexpensive garden toys. In the summer months we fill up our sandbox with sand from the local garden store (5-8$ per bag, depending where you shop,) and we set up a small inflatable pool. I have found that these simple additions to our yard keep my son entertained and happily playing for hours.
Another favorite for indoor and outdoor play is chalk! Inside we have a few different surfaces painted with chalkboard paint (found at Michaels and Canadian Tire) for easy coloring, and outside we have a bin of sidewalk chalk for easy use on the front walkway.
There are a lot of home activities that are fun and engaging for children and adults, whether indoor or outdoor. It’s important to cater to your child’s interests while designing activities that encourage their creativity and imagination. Our activities have been designed around what my son loves to do and what has helped him thrive and grow. Keep it fresh and creative, and when a plan goes array, run an impromptu bubble bath, climb those bubble mountains, and paint on the fluffiest bubble beards you can!
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