Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Updated: Stir-crazy? Yea, me too.

I, Mama J, figured I would add to Mama Q's list, rather than starting a new post! See my suggestions/activities listed in purple...

As you have probably noticed, there's been a good deal of snow this year. Add in the days with subzero temperatures, and you've got a recipe for Cabin Fever. Before having Baby, I was a classroom teacher and I somehow managed to keep 20 kids busy for 6-7 hours a day. Yet, after a few hours inside with one tot, I'm counting down the minutes to Curious George's debut on PBS. So, for readers' sake (and my own sanity), let's make a list of things to do to keep from going stir-crazy. Add on ANYTHING you can think of that will keep the under 2 crowd busy for 10 minutes or more.

1. Water play: fill a Rubbermaid bin or similar container with water, add in bath toys & cups, spread towels around
2. Finger paint: Slide a piece of white paper into a large ziplock bag, squirt temper paint into the bag, seal and give to baby to squish/squeeze
3. Shakers: Fill [hard to open] containers with dry rice, pasta, salt, flour, water, etc. and let baby shake to see how the sounds differ. Trying to get these open will also keep baby busy
4. Sponge paint: Give baby wet sponges to use on colored construction paper (no paint needed). If Baby eats paper (as mine does), tape it to the fridge
5. Video chat: Call your partner, parent, grandparent, or friend at work/home and chat for 10 minutes. Baby (and you) will be excited to see a new face.
6. Play in the cabinets: Open up the lower cabinets and have pots, pans, tupperwares, etc that Baby can play with safely
7. Walk around the block: Bundle up and walk around your block. Use the ergo/bjorn if the sidewalks aren't shoveled. Even 5 minutes of fresh air can make a difference. And you'll kill 30 min with all the time it takes to bundle Baby up.
8. Play with boxes: If you live in the city, you probably get stuff delivered. Diapers.com boxes are great for painting, coloring, tearing, building, or filling with balls ($10-$15 at Target) and putting Baby inside.
9. Dance party: Start a new Pandora station with the band "Bon Jovi" and dance through at least 3 songs. You'll kill time, burn calories, and if you dance like I do, your kid will get some good laughs
10. Play date: Chances are your friends and neighbors are itching for some contact with the outside world too, so give someone a call. Being bored together is much more fun than being bored alone.
11. Play with food: Put a squirt or spoonful of baby food onto your child's high chair table and let them finger paint withit
12. Empty Mama's Purse/Wallet: I let Marlo sit with my diaper bag/purse/wallet and empty everything onto the floor. Always something fun in there that keeps her attention for a while. 
13. Bother the Pooch: When we are really desperate we walk over to Ellie, our dog, and pet her or rub her belly. Doesn't kill much, time but it is something to do!
14. Play with DVD boxes: I have our dvds all lined up in a cabinet that is within her reach, so I let her pull them off the shelf and play with them on the floor. For some reason she loves doing this. 
15. Tissue Paper Collage: Buy some contact paper (the one that says it is very sticky, not the one for covering books that you can remove) and some tissue paper in assorted colors. Tape a piece of the contact paper, sticky side out, to the wall, or a table and let your kid stick pieces of the tissue to the sticky paper (also works with magazines)
16. Tear up magazines: For some reason my dog and my daughter love to tear up anything made of paper (tissues, mail, receipts, etc.). Since I get so many magazines I will let her sit there and tear them up, and listen to her squeal with joy as she does it. 
17. Parachute Duvet: We have a big fluffy duvet on our bed, so we sit at one end and pretend it is a parachute like we use in class and sing songs (well, I sing) and lift it up and down. This is a big favorite. 
18. Take a bath: Most days we are stuck inside I fill up my big tub in my bathroom and put body wash in it so it bubbles up and I get in with her and play with the bubbles. 
19. Play on Mama's iPad: download some kid friendly apps to your phone/ipad and let them enjoy! (see previous posts about favorite applications for kids)
20. Build a tent: just like you did when you were a kid...get a blanket, some chairs or a table and build your best tent. Bring toys under it and have good times!!

What have you been doing to keep busy? Help us build this list, there's another foot of snow on the way...


  1. We usually spend five minutes playing "push baby around the sofa" in either a box, his toy wagon, or on his toy bike. The faster we go the more fun for him and the more of a work out for me.

  2. "Snow play:" see #1, but replace water with freshly fallen snow (not hard to come by these days).
    Like the PP, we do "choo-choo rides" in the laundry basket. Loop a scarf around the handle to pull baby around. My engineer husband went so far as to put stick on felt on the bottom of the laundry basket so it slides over the wood floors better!

  3. "Snow play" was a big hit- thanks! We may be doing that again today.

  4. While I truthfully appreciate reading the entertainment ideas and found some I really like - I disagree with a few of them - while I have TWO children one is almost 2 and the other 4 - and I'm guessing that the person that posted this only has one so far.... I know that certain ones are inappropriate to teach your child that it's okay to do because as the children get older (such as my 4 year old) they will think - "It's okay to dump mama's purse out" and chances are it will be at the most inopportune of moments and "Play with my food" which most of us PRIDE ourselves to teach our children NOT to do.

    Also, what is with people allowing their babies and young toddlers to play with their EXPENSIVE electronic devices?!?!! Once they are old enough to realize how to be careful with it is one thing but come on people?? What is wrong with society - teaching a child that they have access to all of our(adults- MOM & DADS) possessions at such a young age is going to teach them as they grow up to feel ENTITLED to it. Once they think they are able to use it they always will. People may not realize some of these mistakes yet but I promise some day some of these will bite you in the butt. You are their parent - teach them what is appropriate. I understand boredom - however their are craft stores galore, games to be played and mountains of toys in their toy boxes. Plus, i don't know about you, but children that can learn to play through boredom have IMAGINATIONS. Parents seem to be forgetting that this is an important part of their growing up and try to entertain their children ALL the time. Sorry if this sounds harsh - it's not meant to be - I just personally know TOO many moms that do these things and I personally see some of the affects already. Thank you for reading and I'm sorry if I have offended anybody.

  5. I think the notion that playing with electronics makes for an unimaginative child is for lack of a better term, whack-a-doo.

    Touch phones and Ipads, and the like are interactive devices. The child touches something, and something happens. It's a musical toy that has an added bonus of visual stimulus and is way less annoying to Mama. Also I doubt anyone just hands over their Ipad to a kid and walks out of the room or goes and reads a book. When we play with the Ipad we sit together and play together. We touch animals and they make sounds. We make the sounds. We play various musical instruments, his favorite is the piano, we play music videos on youtube and dance, and we make drawings in his room without making a mess. It's just another infinite source of things to do.

    Also what small child doesn't feel entitled to the world? You are their world! What is yours is theirs. You are there to provide full entertainment for every moment that they are not sleeping. And if you're not providing that, then you are likely paying someone else to do it for you.

    I think things like television, computers, and small electronics in general are wonderful things and will forever be a permanent part of our society. It is a parent's job to choose how they plan to incorporate these things into their child's day and set limits when necessary.

    Just my 2 cents...