Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Winter Games

The short days and cold temps have us spending much more time indoors these days.  I've found that if I don't give a little structure to our indoor play, it quickly degenerates into wild bed-jumping, tussles over toys and pleas for TV.  So, I've revived some old favorites, borrowed a few ideas from other moms and parenting magazines, tweaked them a bit to fit our supplies and the boys' ages, and enjoyed giving these games a whirl at home.
Roasting pans of dry beans and rice, with a few scooping and vrooming toys thrown in, were a really fun way to an occupy an hour or so.
Very little good indoor play is without peril, and this one is no exception.  As you'll notice, Buddy Boy thought it was a really great idea to rain rice on the floor.  So, this activity was immediately followed by a family vacuuming adventure.  But that was fine, too.  The boys moved the furniture out of the way, pulled the vacuum out of the closet, and took turns pushing it across the floor.  It's noisily rewarding to vacuum up a bunch of dry rice and beans, so they had a great time.  All the surviving rice and beans went into a baggie to be used next time. 
We've long had a love affair with colorful pompoms, so when my aunt sent me a link that suggested pushing them through a slit in a tupperware top, I knew it would be a hit.  I just used some washed-out deli meat containers, and cut a T with a steak knife.  I cut Buddy Boy's T s a little larger to facilitate success, but Little Guy enjoyed the challenge of a smaller T.  We've played this several times, and it remains popular.
When the boys get tired of pushing pompoms through, we switch to dried noodles.
 And then, we flip the containers over and play drums.  The louder, the better!
Little Guy likes arranging shapes out of the pompoms, and both the boys enjoy trying to stack two or three.
A few of our other winter games:
~sink play: This is a year-round favorite.  I put the faucet on a cold trickle and give them a few cups, spoons, sponges, or funnels.
~boxes: Any package we receive is much heralded for the box it comes in.  We color them, sit in them, drum on them, and make them into tunnels or race tracks for toy cars.
~pipe cleaners: Pipe cleaners are pushed through the holes of an upside down colander or used to string dried noodles.
~recreational bathing: Bath time is frequent and long in the winter.  When we're really making a go of recreational bathing, we bring in toys not usually allowed in the tub, like Legos, or pull out the bath paints and have a nice, long soak.
~home videos: I record the boys playing and talking, and let them watch themselves over and over.
They're fascinated!
~laundry: Another year-rounder, by necessity.  The boys haul the laundry in, dump it all out on the floor (which they find to be thrilling, as it just seems like something that would be against the rules), and help me sort it.  Then, I check it for stains and spray it, before tossing it to them.  Standing on stools in front of the washing machine, they make a game of throwing the laundry into the washer.  Wet, clean laundry is also thrown into the dryer.  There is much cheering and jubilation.  It's a homemaker's version of basketball.

Please share your winter games in the comments!!!  I'd love to try out some new ones.


Leslie said...

Haha...laundry game! I read somewhere about a lady whose mother used to tell her that they were playing the color game when sorting laundry. Sounds like a good trick!

Ole Miss Mom said...

Lucky down here even in winter I still bundle them up and make Em play outside! At the beginning of the time change I made robert install flood lights to the outside and driveway area. I don't know what I would do I. Your shoes. Sounds Ike you have lots of great ideas!!

The Moore Family said...

Another thing you can do is let them glue noodles, rice, cheerios & other food items onto a piece of paper or for example you could draw a beach and have them glue sea shell noodles to the sand.Another is create your own paint by #. Draw a rainbow with a black marker and put different #'s in each arch and then tell them everywhere there is a 1 they paint red. I keep a 2 year old along with my kids so 3 kids 3,2,&1 is tough to entertain since they arent all capable of the same activities. You have some great ideas though. I'll have to give them a try!

Katherine said...

These are so, so creative! I love it!

Malacy said...

Great ideas! So hard to find activities that both ages can enjoy in a small space (and the little one doesn't destroy).