Toddler Activities for Bad Weather Days

Today marked day three of school and business closures thanks to fickle Texas weather.  Another lovely blanket of snow (yes, real snow!) covered our lawns and streets.  Prior to that, we had an ice storm and several dreary, rainy days that kept us inside.  Ironically, after a few of these days I experience feelings of cabin fever (I’m sure those of you in cold climates are laughing, it’s ok).  I can’t stand it!!!  Since the arrival of the quads venturing out is a rarity, but when I feel as though weather traps us, I feel irritated.  We play outside every single day even if we stay home and we crave the sunshine here. The kids pick up on my feelings, and  their behavior deteriorates quickly.  Everyone gets cranky and demanding, which exacerbates cabin fever for me.  To keep my cabin fever at bay and behavior in line, I tried a few new activities to keep us occupied.  All are worth a repeat!

Indoor activites for toddlers when the weather keeps you inside.

1. Salt TraysMy Nearest & Dearest inspired this one (stop by her page for a few other ideas we are yet to try).  I sprinkled a thin layer of salt into Brookstone sand trays (a cookie sheet with sides or a lunch tray would work).  The quads used their fingers to create designs and also ran cars through the salt to create tracks.  It was a rather “Zen” activity that relaxed all of us.  I played yoga tracks from Pandora, which helped set the mood.

Pour a little salt onto trays and let kids trace designs or make tracks in it

2. Colander Game– Borrowing from Learning and Exploring Through Play, I used wooden skewers to create a maze through a colander then the quads took turns dropping pom poms through the maze.  They worked on turn taking and recognizing attributes (e.g. color, size, texture) for this one.  It involved maybe a minute to prep and clean up, and they were entertained about 15-20 minutes.

Colander/ Pom Pom Game

3. Tea Party- We hosted several tea parties when the quads had a cold this winter and it’s always a nice distraction.  It’s also the opportune time to practice table manners and drinking from open cups.

Tea Parties are great for practicing manners and when the weather keeps toddlers inside

4. Bring the Snow Inside– Typically I’m in favor of bundling the kids to play in cold weather, especially if they’ll have an opportunity to play in snow.  However, I didn’t feel up to the challenge again.  Instead, I brought the snow inside.  Scooping, shaping, and coloring the snow kept all four occupied for a solid 45 minutes!

If you don't want to bundle up to enjoy the snow, bring a tub inside for sensory play.

bring snow inside for a sensory experience

5. Window Clings– I periodically snatch gel window clings from the Dollar Tree or Target’s One Spot and now we have a decent collection for each season.  I pulled the den blinds up and let the quads loose with sheets of them.  I was surprised at how they independently sorted them by attributes and reassembled several of the designs including a snowman, Santa, and penguins. It involved zero prep on my part and took less than five minutes to clean up.  They played happily for about 30-40 minutes!

Window clings are fun for toddlers to arrange.

What are some of your favorite indoor activities for bad weather days?



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High Tea

The past week was drizzly cold one and we had four sick toddlers held hostage in the house.  Whining reached epic proportions (not just the kids…parents included).  Desperate to change the pace without actually leaving, I set up high tea for lunch one day.  The quads received a lovely ceramic tea set from Aunt CiC this Christmas and this was just the occassion.  She scored the set at a local Asian market for $1 per piece, which was a brilliant idea because I know it’s food safe and we can add pieces later if needed.

While the quads watched an episode of Sesame Street, I prepped a meal fit for tea.  I created a spread of peanut butter and honey sandwiches, sliced strawberries, and veggie straws.  I also made a small kettle of lemon honey decaf tea (the best stuff for scratchy, sore throats!).  For new scenery, I set the kid-sized table in the playroom with all the needed accoutrements for tea.  Although the tea set was inexpensive, I was admittedly nervous someone might decide to chuck a dish or two; eating at the kid table would mean a shorter distance to the floor.

toddler tea party: lemon honey decaf tea, pb & j sandwiches, strawberries, veggie straws

When the kids are sick, throw a tea party for lunch and be sure to serve lemon honey tea!

Once Sesame Street wrapped up, I invited the quads to join me for high tea.  I explained that we were using our special tea set from Aunt CiCi and it could break if anyone did not respect it.  I emphasized that all dishes were to stay on the table and needed delicate care.   Eight doe brown eyes stared into mine as they nodded in agreement.  I still wasn’t sure how this would go.

Teatime proved magical!  All four cheerily noshed on their meal while politely sipping tea.  Not an hour before they were wallowing in misery, tears, and snot.  Teatime also turned into a great opportunity to practice manners.  Since I poured only a sip or two worth of tea into the cups so they had to request more by saying, “more tea please”.

toddler tea party

My low appetite kids managed to scarf three peanut butter sandwiches, a pint of berries, and several handfuls of veggie straws, all washed down with four cups of tea.   Getting sick kids to eat is a win in it’s own right!  Our impromptu tea party went so swimmingly that we held another today, and it went equally well.  I think tea parties may become part of our TLC routine when everyone is sick.  It certainly brightened everyone’s glum spirits.

toddler tea party

toddler tea party

toddler tea party

As an added bonus, tea cups were great open cup practice.  Everyone did very well sipping, and not one drop of tea touched the floor.  Only two of the four dribbled onto their clothing, but it was minimal.

toddler tea party

What is your favorite way to nurse a cold?  I used to love it when my mom made buttery baked potatoes with iced Sprite.



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