With two little kids in the house, there will inevitably be times when we can't leave the house because one or both are sick. This past week was one of those times! My three year old had just recovered from coxsackie, and sure enough, my six-month-old daughter caught it shortly after. Lovely.
Keeping a three-year-old boy preoccupied without leaving the house is no small feat, especially when you have a sick infant. Just imagine your hands tied with the Tasmanian Devil in your home. Fortunately, I was able to come up with a list of fun things to do, with a little help from Macaroni Kid.
- Fun with fingerpaint. It's a perfect backyard art activity. Just throw on one of your hubby's old shirts and use ready-made fingerpaint. Better yet, you can make your own. We used old pizza boxes waiting to be recycled as our "canvas" since we love to mix and layer our paints.
- Kitchen helper. To keep him occupied while I prepare meals, I put Cole to work. He loves helping me mix pancake ingredients in a bowl or squeezing oranges to make himself some fresh orange juice.
- Creations with Playdoh or moon dough. I do not keep Playdoh in the house because it makes such a mess, but it is perfect for a morning activity in the backyard. I bought plastic molds of letters, numbers, shapes and animals and a set of plastic tools (rolling pin, pizza cutter, knives) to add to the fun. We had a blast creating dolphins, trains, cars and even a treasure chest filled with coins. You can buy Playdoh almost anywhere, but if you have extra flour, a large plastic tub and baby oil lying around, you can make your own moon dough.
- Have a Dance Party. Every night after dinner, we have been having a "dance party" in our room to get the sillies out before bedtime. Just turn on some music (our favorite is MC Hammer's "Can't Touch This") and shake what your mama gave you.
- Make Your Own Adventure. Cole loves watching Jake and the Never Land Pirates and Octonauts on TV. Instead of watching the shows all day (on repeat!!!), we pretend to be characters in the shows and either re-enact an episode or create our own adventures throughout the house.
- Plan a Picnic. The weather has been just right to have meals outside. We lay out a blanket and "pack" sandwiches, fruit and drinks for a picnic in the backyard. It's an easy way to get fresh air, plus no messy floors to clean up afterwards.
- Story Time. We usually read books at night, but lately we've been having special story times throughout the day. Cole "goes to the library" (aka his room) and picks out books he wants to read in the living room. We take turns reading the books to make it more interesting. I am always amazed at how much a three year old can remember!
- Crafts Time. Lately we have been obsessed with butterflies. Here's a simple craft to make beautiful butterflies from pipe cleaners. To make it a teaching moment, we read Eric Carle's classic book The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
What are other ideas that keep your kiddies busy when they can't leave the house?