Staying Sane Inside

I'll admit it. We are incredibly lucky… We don't have too many days where we are forced to stay indoors. Southern California has some pretty remarkable weather, and even the "cold" days generally don't require much more than a sweatshirt. So, there aren't many days where we are forced to retreat indoors and stay there. Which is a blessing, considering my child isn't one for staying inside, or sitting still for any length of period.

There are times, however, when indoors is our only option: Early mornings. Evenings. When I'm prepping meals. The occasional rainy day. Those times always prove challenging when it comes to finding creative, fun and educational activities for Marcus.

When we are forced inside (ie. yesterday - thanks rain) I have a limited bag of tricks that can generally keep my little guy stimulated, entertained, and happy.

Sure, we have the toy room full of, well, toys.
But, after a few minutes the novelty of all of that stuff wears off. Plus, Marcus has access to these items all day every day.

Marcus' kitchen and toy foods have proven to be the greatest distraction for Marcus when I'm in the real kitchen. I'll be prepping a meal over the real stove while Marcus creates his own culinary masterpieces.
When we don't have a choice but to stay inside shaking things up tends to be beneficial for both of us. I'm not one for activities that create a lot of hassle and mess. I'm all for those special indoor activities that often require easy clean up, or little to no clean up.
Play-doh. Paint Dabbers. Aquadoodle. Your typical line up, and the makings of my very own Picasso. I've even learned to just let it go when it comes to the Play-doh colors getting all mashed together (oh the horror…) These activities are good for a solid 15-20 minutes, tops. Then it's on to the next thing.

We read every night before bedtime, but most days Marcus can't sit still long enough to get through a book. UNLESS it's something interactive, like High Five (Highlights for toddlers) or Hidden Picture books.
Throw in stickers for the hidden pictures and we are good to go for at least 10 minutes. Fifteen if we're lucky.

These last two we have recently started adding to our indoor rotation. And, I love them. A lot.
This site. There are not enough high praises. It's free (unless you want to pay for the full version - thanks but no thanks, free 99 for me), and chuck full of educational activities, games and songs. Yesterday, Marcus was playing a math game while I was cleaning up after lunch and I heard him say, "Ten minus seven equals three." Mind. Blown. Some of the activities are as simple as the ABCs, while others are more complex, such as multiplication and division. Obviously I don't want my child glued to a computer all day, but when there are those moments when I need him safely contained and occupied, this is the place I want him to go. Unlike TV shows where he just sits and watches, Starfall.com prompts interaction. If you haven't tried this with your little one(s) I encourage you to check it out. I don't know what it is, but this site just sucks them right in.

The Wii.
When is the last time you pulled out this gaming device? Marcus thinks the bowling is just the greatest thing since sliced bread. Naturally the read deal is my preferred way to play. But, in the evenings when it's too dark to play outside and I want to keep the little guy moving? Bowling it is. In the past week it's been crazy to see how well Marcus' eye-hand coordination with the remote has improved (it was pretty brutal to watch the first few rounds).

Now tell me, what indoor activities do you do with your little(s) to get through those days/times where you just have to stay inside? I'm always looking for new and creative ideas to keep our days full of fun.

Linking up with the lovely Stephanie {{Wife Mommy Me}} for Mom Talk Tuesday.


  1. I forgot all about Starfall! Isn't that weird. I used it before but then forgot about it. I will definitely be adding that to Emily's list soon.

    Love the kitchen pics of Marcus, so much fun. We really like the High Five magazines too!

  2. Playdoh is 24/7 at my house since Christmas!! Which play kitchen is that?? I love it!!

  3. Your house looks like so much fun! I love your "toy room" - how cute!! Also, I love the play kitchen idea, I'd love to have one for my boys. :)

  4. I recently gave in and allowed Simon to use play doh - I usually hate it because it gets everywhere! He mixes up the colors too.

  5. I love that toy closet! I was scoping out your play food too; we need to get some of that for my daughter. :) Does Marcus like those Melissa & Doug sets?

  6. Great ideas! I'm adding those Highlights books to our wish list right now! And I never thought about setting up the Wii for him. We haven't used ours in ages, but I bet Mac would also love the bowling! Awesome!

  7. This is a perfect list! I love the chalk door! I want to do something like that for Rhys when he's old enough...maybe like an easel, since we have a rental. Also, where did you get that little kitchen! I want one for Rhys, too!

  8. Love the wii suggestion! Aria and I did the dance party something or other on there months and months ago. And I did my part but Aria sat on the stool and played with the little rubbery casing on the wii control. I've been pondering giving it another go!

  9. Hannah loves the Wii as well! I know people bash video games, but I think the Wii is a nice compromise. Also, where did you get your play food? I have a bunch of play food, but I love the sliced bread. My girls love cooking in their kitchen.

  10. Great list! How old was Marcus when he started liking his play kitchen? Wondering if that might be a good gift for my almost 2 year old. Also, I'd never heard of paint dabblers before. Sounds like it would have made our Valentine's crafts a lot less messy ;)

  11. i seriously love that is into SO many things!

  12. I love the toy closet! I wish we had an extra closet to store all the toys in but instead they are alllllll over the place. I try to organize but it would be so nice to throw them in (or organize, you know, whatever lol) close the door and call it a day.

  13. Great ideas! I've never heard of Starfall, will be checking it out, thanks!

  14. I need to find those paint dabbers! they looks awesome and easy! So going to get the wii out when we move! Never ever would've thought of that! It looks like I need to check out a new app too! thanks for sharing! Great ideas!