This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links. As an Amazon Associate, Simply Mama Bird receives a small commission from qualifying purchases. Thank You!
It’s been a long, hot, and rainy summer in sunny Florida. We’ve been spending a lot more time inside in the air conditioning than I’d like to admit. Luckily, my kids don’t seem to mind too much. As I wrote about in my last post, I sometimes have a hard time remaining present with my kiddos. I also really enjoy and try to prioritize having playtime with my children. Given this, I’ve had to find activities that both my kids and I enjoy so that I can remain present with them. It’s taken some time and experimentation to figure out what these are – and they definitely change from time to time.
Right now, we’re keeping our playtime pretty basic. We’ve tried a lot of different activities and have bought and been gifted many different toys. The activities that I’ve listed are ones that we keep coming back to. Plus, they’re ones that I don’t get bored of too easily- which makes a big deal! As the seasons change in our hometowns up north, I know many of you will be looking for good indoor activities in those cold winter months. Hopefully some of these will also be basic, but fun activities that both you and your kids will love.
Reading is one of our favorite pastimes in the Bird household. Both my husband and I are big readers, and it’s something that we want to pass onto our children. Luckily they seem to have caught the reading bug! Because reading is something both the kiddos and I enjoy, it’s an easy redirect from any activity that I keep looking at my phone during. I like to let my toddler pick out which books she wants to read and then huddle up on the couch for awhile. My 11mo will beebop around the room while we read, or sometimes he’ll hunker down with us for a chunk of time. He’s just getting to the point that he’ll also sit down to several good board books as well. Some of the ones that have been keeping his attention lately are:
Read More: Fostering a Love of Books from an Early On
My toddler never says no to painting. While this is an activity that requires a little more work on my part, I also find that I really enjoy crafting and, therefore, stay more present during this type of activity. I’m not really a Pinterest mom and haven’t pulled any special looking crafts off yet. Instead, I just set her up with a “palette” of paint, some paper, a cup of water, and a variety of paintbrushes, and she goes to town. I keep it easy on me and fun for her. I haven’t attempted any painting with my 11mo but I might try out this edible paints recipe soon! With my toddler, I’m a big fan of the washable paints linked below (they come out of her clothes when she inevitably gets some on them). We usually will just use pages out of coloring books or some printer paper we have laying around to keep it really easy. Some of her works of art we save and send to family and others go straight to the recycling bin when they dry!
Play-Doh is another activity that my toddler enjoys that I also enjoy. This is also a really good activity when I need to do some things around the house! I enjoy playing with it too, so I end up joining in at some point. She received some Play-Doh tools and cutters as a gift last Christmas, and we’ve been putting them to good use recently. At some point, a bunch of small dinosaurs from the Dollar Store also ended up with the Play-Doh, and now it’s a joint activity with them being her main characters. We can spend a good chunk of time making different animals, creating a scene, or just rolling it creating “green beans.” Awhile back, I made this edible playdough recipe that I need to make some more of soon so that Charlie can start playing with us too!
4) Kitchen Pretend Play
I enjoy doing pretend play when it’s more modeled after real life. My husband is much better at creating crazy scenes and playing them out with the kids, but I’m just not there yet. Instead, I like to do real life pretend things like cooking in their play kitchen and having a picnic with their picnic things. For awhile, my toddler was doing cupcake parties for all of her stuffed animals and it was so sweet. I just had to sit back and “eat” cupcakes while she did all of the work- my favorite kind of play! My 11mo also is very into our toy kitchen, though it’s mostly to just pull things out of it and slam the doors. Either way, it’s been a really good addition to our play and an activity that both the kids and I enjoy. It looks like the set of food we got isn’t available anymore, but I really like the quality of the Learning Resources Brand listed below. I’ve also added a bunch of old utensils and dishes from our kitchen that we weren’t using anymore!
5) Musical Instruments
Some days I curse myself for getting musical instruments for the kids and some days I thank myself. Lately, it’s been more of the latter. My youngest is really into music, so it’s been really fun to watch him experiment with making different sounds with the shakers or to try to hit the hammer on the xylophone. He also is very into singing “Ah” into containers, so we’ve included some random ones in our musical instrument bin. My toddler also loves them and will hand one out to everyone in the family (plus some stuffed animal friends) to play a song together- usually the ABC’s of which she sings. Other times, we’ll turn on some music and play along with it. It’s a really fun activity to watch and be a part of with my kiddos.
6) Practicing New Motor Skills
This is one of my biggest go to’s right now, as my little guy is riiiiight on the edge of walking. We’ve been having a lot of fun coaxing him to walk toward us. I’m a big fan of the milestones, so if we’re on the edge of one, I’m way better at remaining present and wanting to catch every movement. It’s also a fun thing to get my toddler to be a part of. She has been saying “Come Here, Charlie” whenever we want him to crawl back to us (especially when he’s running away during a diaper change). Now, she’s learned to say that when I’m trying to get him to walk off the couch to me. She’s very excited for him to start walking so that they can play more together! We’ve done this at every stage- including the toddler’s jumping and spinning which she’s a big fan of now!
My toddler had a span where she was very very into puzzles. I think we overdid the ones we had, so she’s been out of them for a little bit. I’m thinking about rotating some back in this week though! Puzzles are definitely an activity that I can get behind, as I love to do them myself. Sometimes, it can be frustrating to not be able to hop right in and help her. Or she gets sick of it halfway through, and pieces get scattered everywhere. Even so, I love to watch her little brain work as she figures out how the pieces fit together. We also have a Melissa and Doug knob puzzle that my little guy likes to pull all of the pieces out of, and, if I’m lucky, the toddler will put them back in!
Blocks have been a great activity for both my little guy and my toddler lately. Both of them LOVE to knock over towers. My toddler will sometimes spend a good chunk of time building a tower and then knock it over either herself or with her Godzilla stuffed toy her daddy got her. My son will make a beeline for any tower he sees as he is all about destruction right now. I enjoy making semi-elaborate towers- if I get a chance to get them high enough- so it’s a fun activity for both the kids and I. We’ve been really into our wood blocks recently (the same ones I had as a kid!), but we’ve also had spans of time that my toddler has enjoyed playing with the Mega Blocks (or color blocks as she calls them). I’m thinking about looking into either Duplos or Magnatiles for our toddler’s Christmas present this year to add to our building supplies!
These are just some of the activities that both the kids and I are enjoying right now. There are obviously so many more that I could list! As they change developmentally, the activities and toys that they are interested keep changing, but these are the basic ones that we keep coming back to again and again. I’d love to hear about any activities that both you and your kids enjoy! Comment below or chat with us on Facebook or Instagram!
Read More: Yes Spaces- Why are they important?