Lots of you have been asking for indoor screen free activity ideas of late. I get it. This can be such a challenging time of year. My kids spend a lot of time outside - skiing, sledding, building forts, visiting the animals. But on days like yesterday, when the temperatures are so low, and the wind chill so high, a half an hour was the most I saw anyone outside. And that leaves a whole lot of day inside! There are the normal everyday things that keep everyone occupied - making music, reading books, drawing, playing with the farmhouse, playing dolls, building blocks, cooking, helping with chores, and on and on. But this time of year, some of that - even our most beloved activities - can feel monotonous and tiresome day after day if there's nothing else. This is the time of year I start to dig deep - for all of us. I'm digging deep for the furniture rearranging that gives us a fresh perspective on things. I'm digging deep for a soup recipe that doesn't include potatoes or squash. I'm digging deep for a colorful project to keep my hands busy and my spirit bright. And I'm digging deep for things that will keep the kids actively engaged, happy, and the house as peaceful as it can be this time of year.
A comprehensive list feels intimidating to try and come up with - so how about one day? Above and beyond our favorite toys and standby activities....these are the things that yesterday, kept us all in good spirits. (With just the two littles at the house, mind you, as the others are off on an epic ski adventure of their own).
The recycling bin. So classic. The kids hit up the recycling bin (or rather, corner of the barn) looking for something good, and therein found a large box (hello new luggage for Mama's trip to Bali!). Oh, what a child can do with a box! It's wild, isn't it? And so fun. They made a house, a cave, a trap, and the perfect nesting spot for snuggling down into while Mama read a story. Good fun.
Modeling beeswax (like this or this). We always have a bowl of this in the library, of pieces that we've used over and over. But there's nothing like a fresh new box, and thankfully, I tucked one away several months ago for just such a day as this. Warming up the pieces in our hands calmed a chaotic moment, brought us all together, and resulted in a lot of great making (and experimenting, from Ani). If you've never worked with beeswax before, take a peek at Sarah's video for some great suggestions on getting started with little ones.
Audiobooks. After all the energy had settled and we nestled into the work of the beeswax, I put on an audiobook. I use Audible on my phone, and just plug it into a dock with speakers. Right now we're listening to Children of Noisy Village, though there was a request made for Wizard of Oz (narrated by Anne Hathaway), one of our family favorite audiobooks that we've listened to over and over (and quote over and over).
Sequence! Our game cabinet is a big and deep one, with so many great games. And the rotation of them from the cabinet to table is constant. But sometimes, a game gets buried in there for a long time - a favorite game, even. And that's the case with Sequence. In a desperate moment of everyone nearly pulling each other's hair out last week, I dug deep into the cabinet and spied it. Sequence hasn't been played in a very long time, and lo and behold, everyone just needed a reminder of it. It's been out non stop since then, and we've picked up a new player in Harper, who loves this one.
And of course, fiber. While Mama knits and Ani makes mermaid tails, Harper has recently discovered the knitting tower. We bought one for a young friend recently, and I picked up another for Harper (because Adelaide is a bit protective of hers). (I got mine locally at Circa Home and Vintage, though I know that Nova Natural carries them) It took just a minute to get him started and he's been having a blast making necklaces for everyone he knows. So great.
And that was yesterday! Today it's a whopping 10 degrees (above!), so I hope we'll be able to get out there for some cross country skiing (pulling Ani in the sled will be my workout for the day). It probably won't be for terribly long though, and so we'll come back in and see what kind of fun we can find for today. Surely it will be some of the above, and something new....