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Indoor Activity Ideas for a Preschooler

Whether the weather is uninviting, someone feels out of sorts, or it’s an inside play day, mommies sometimes need a “go-to” for an activity. I’m creating a jar of activity sticks, and they’ll be simple: craft sticks with a different activity handwritten on each stick.

Here is my list, a work in progress, that is primarily geared towards preschoolers. What would you add to it?

Activity Sticks Ideas:

  • ABC Mouse (online subscription)
  • Bake together
  • Bath time / Water play
  • Bean bag toss
  • Beans box
  • Blocks
  • Build a fort
  • Candy Land
  • Color Wonder
  • Connect Four
  • Crayons
  • Dance
  • Dolls
  • Dominoes
  • Hopping
  • Hopscotch (on porch or painter’s tape on the kitchen floor)
  • I Spy – books, pictures, in the house
  • Jumping jacks
  • Letter craft
  • Memory game
  • Movie and popcorn
  • Musical instruments bag
  • Nursery rhymes
  • Ornaments
  • Painting, watercolors
  • Paper hats
  • Piano time
  • Picnic inside
  • Play store (cash register, make play money)
  • Play-doh
  • Puppets, paper bag
  • Puzzles
  • Read stories
  • Sing silly songs
  • Stickers
  • Sun catchers
  • Tape, double-stick (art collage, etc)
  • Tape, masking
  • “Tinker” box (random collection of stuff)
  • Treasure hunt
  • You Tube (songs, nursery rhymes, animals)

I have a  Pinterest board with many indoor activities. Please share what activities your little ones enjoy! 🙂

Favorite Cookbooks

I love to read.

I like to cook . . . . well, most of the time.

Really, I would like to snap my fingers and have dinner present itself. Since that is not in my near future (magic housekeeper or sometimes cloning myself, anyone?), I read cookbooks for ideas and tips, search online (hello, Pinterest), ask others, go back to my stand-bys, and generally make up stuff.

I am a huge fan of my slow cooker, one pot dishes that are yummy and don’t require a cream of ___ can or Velveeta, and meals that are actually ready from start to finish in less than 30 minutes without a sous chef. (Rachael Ray, I’m talking to you.) A dear friend also reminded me to cook larger amounts to freeze for later. That is so simple, and I have remembered it a few times this month. 😉

I have a binder full of recipes I have put together and a collection of cookbooks. Here are some of them and a few that have been recommended to me.

Some that I own:

Joy of Cooking is a go-to for how to prepare almost everything with classic recipes throughout the 1000+ pages.

Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, Sixteenth Edition (Better Homes and Gardens Plaid) is one my mom used for apple pie. I consider it a staple in anyone’s kitchen with all of the information included.

Betty Crocker Cooking Basics: Recipes and Tips to Cook with Confidence is one Mom gave me when I graduated college and was on my own. It has good photographs and descriptions of preparation without being intimidating. A novice cook can succeed with the recipes in this book.

Out of the Sugar Rut
provides recipes that use honey and whole wheat flour instead of heavily refined ingredients. Real food is what you will find in this cookbook.

Fix-It and Forget-It Revised and Updated: 700 Great Slow Cooker Recipes (Fix-It and Forget-It Series) is the first book I used for slow cooker recipes, and it has a little bit of everything.

Recently recommended to me:

For cooking anything Italian, cookbooks by Lidia Bastianich

Cookbooks by Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman

100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love by Lisa Leake

Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Paleo Recipes to Make Anytime by Danielle Walker

Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats by Sally Fallon

Cookbooks by local Junior League groups

Which ones would you add to the list?

Sewing

The little man and I went to our local craft store to buy some fleece fabric so he would have a new blanket that’s actually long enough for him. He has plenty of blankets, but the two I made for him when he was younger are his favorites. Each has a “perfect” corner or two from the hem I created.  We chose fabric (green with bugs on it), and after washing, trimming, and pinning the material, I went to work sewing the hem. As I sat there using my Mom’s sewing machine, I felt grateful. First, I am grateful that I have a clue about what I’m doing with fabric. Second, I have her sewing machine. Third, she took the time to teach me how to sew. I have no desire to create anything fancy, but I can use a sewing machine for basics. Yes, I am grateful. I miss Mom every day, but experiences like this bring sweet memories.

Now there is a newly-hemmed fleece blanket awaiting the kiddo in the morning. I hope he’ll find a corner or two to be a favorite or at least curl up under it while snuggling the favorite ones. 😉

Two Great Toys

Toys. We love them, and we hate them.  (Stepping on a race car or lego is not a fun time!)

There are so many choices, and advertisers make lots of money trying to convince us (and our children) that their toys are the best.  Well, I have a couple of tried-and-true recommendations for you that are suitable for babies through preschoolers.  They are open-ended, easily cleaned, and you may want to buy more than one of each.

Drum roll, please . . .

1-  Soft blocks

B. One Two Squeeze Blocks

 

 

 

 

 

 

2- Nesting plastic cups (These aren’t the exact ones we own, since I found ours at Dollar General for about $5.00)

 

 

 

 

Yes, I’m serious.  It’s that easy.  The blocks can be stacked, rolled, put in bowls, dumped out, squished a bit, and they don’t hurt nearly as much as wooden blocks.  The plastic cups can be stacked or nested, used in the bath, outside, and for other imaginative play.

We have had both toys for a while now, and our 2.5 year old plays with them often.  They may be my go-to baby gift and recommendation from now on. 🙂

Stickers

I’ve seen the “busy bag” concept many times and have pinned quite a few ideas on Pinterest; however, I haven’t actually brought one with us to use out and about until today. There are always toys and books in our car and something in my mommy bag purse, but today I considered having a quiet, hands-on activity with us.

Enter stickers.  I loved stickers as a child, and Kiddo has shown a recent interest in them, so I quickly put a “busy bag” together to help occupy him today at a restaurant.  It worked!

This one was very simple, and everything came from Dollar General.

  • Pencil bag with 2 zippered pockets
  • A small spiral notebook
  • 3 sheets of different stickers (smiley faces, Cars, and wild animals)
  • A few crayons if he wanted to draw

As you can see, he was happily occupied, and he even put a couple of stickers on his daddy’s shirt.

busy bag stickers_web

 

 

 

 

What busy bags or activities do you use for quiet time or out and about?  Let’s share!