Indoor Play Ideas for Rainy Winter Days

Indoor Activity Ideas for Rainy Days

With Winter weather already setting in, and South Africa still in between lock-down levels, we as caregivers, need to find creative ways to keep our little ones entertained and stimulated indoors. So, instead of wrecking our brains for all sorts of elaborate activities with the hopes that they will benefit our kids, here is a simple guide filled with easy and affordable activities that can keep our little people engaged and developmentally growing too!

I’ve designed this guide in such a way that each activity can be reused in more than one way 🙂

 

1. Taping Balls

indoor play ideas for toddlers and babies

You’ll Need:

  • Buff Tape
  • Plastic / lightweight balls
  • Containers / Unused Delivery Boxes

Invitation to Play:

Get your little one involved in sticking the balls on the tape

Once all the balls are stuck on – get them to run to the tape, grab a ball and and match them to the correct colour box.

Variations:

  • Get the older kids more involved by allowing them to stand at a starting point and aim to throw the balls in the box from a distance (the further the distance, the more it becomes a fun challenge)
  • Work on following audible instructions and memory building by calling out a sequence of colours (Red, Blue, Green,Purple) and getting your child to match the balls in the correct sequence.
  • For the younger toddlers, I got my little one to see ‘how low ‘he could go (under the tape) without touching the balls and he loved it.
  • We then turned it into a clean up game and used an old earbud container (or paper cup) to pick up the balls – he didn’t even realize he was cleaning it up!

Developmental Benefits:

  • Hand- Eye Coordination
  • Following Instructions
  • Basic Concepts: Colour Matching
  • Gross Motor Skills

 

2. Tape Shapes

Indoor play ideas for toddlers

You’ll Need: 

  • Eye-catching tape or you could use a strong paper ribbon as I did (I totally could not find any colour tape lol)

Invitation to Play:

Set your floor course as you’d like, by creating tape tracks, shapes, zigzags, and a starting point.

Demonstrate how to follow the tape course (for example, balance on the straight line, run on the zig-zag, jump into the shapes – keep it simple with the little ones -I let my 2 year old jump all the way and he loved it – he recognized the shapes and the created his own variation below)

Variation:

  • Turn the Tape Course into a Racing Course – and let them follow the tape lines with their cars, or trucks, etc.

Indoor play ideas for toddlers

Developmental Benefits 

  • Following Instructions
  • Balance and Coordination
  • Basic Concept: Shape Recognition
  • When turning the course into a race course, you’re feeding into arm and wrist movement that is usually needed for writing and pencil grasp.

 

 

3. Playdough

Indoor play ideas for toddlers

You’ll Need:

  • Playdough: See this Post for A discount Code on some amazing natural sensory playdough
  • Play Tongs
  • Colourful bits and bobs (we used colourful mini sticks, foam smileys, large beads, etc)

Invitation to Play:

Spice up your kid’s playdough sessions by adding bits of treasures to the dough that can be removed with play tongs. This can literally keep them engaged for quite some time!!

Variations:

Other easy ways to make playdough interesting:

  • Create Playdough Mazes and tracks
  • Pick a theme and add elements in line with this theme
  • Mix nature bits with your playdough
  • Work on emotional intelligence – See this post to find out how

Developmental Benefits

  • Check out my last post on hidden benefits of playdough here

 

4. Foam Name

indoor play ideas for toddlers and babies

 

You’ll Need:

  • Styrofoam pieces from unused delivery boxes
  • Poster Paints or Crayons
  • Mini Colour sticks

Invitation to Play:

Use your poster paints/crayons to write your little one’s name on the foam piece – each letter in a different colour.

Get your little one to stick the mini colour sticks into the foam – matching the colour stick to the colour letter as shown above.

Variations:

  • Once my little M got all the sticks in, he wanted to take them all out again – double the stimulation and lots of fine motor skills being worked on.
  • You can also work on different sight words with this one too

Developmental Benefits:

  • Fine motor grasp and strength
  • Colour matching
  • Name recognition, letter recognition
  • Hand -eye coordination
  • Concentration and Attention

 

5. Stamp Painting

indoor activities for rainy days toddlers

You’ll Need:

  • You an use anything from potatoe halves, to old toothbrushes, toilet roll tubes, bubble-wrap, or cotton stuck to a peg, etc.
  • Paint and paint pots
  • Poster Paper

Invitation to Play:

Set up Poster Paper on the floor or the wall (vertical surface is great for working on shoulder strength).

Prepare the Paint and brushes (or cut the potatoes in halves)

Get stamping. you can either make your own taste safe paint or use poster paint.

Variations:

  • Use play dough cutters to make various shapes on the potatoe to use as stamps.

Developmental Benefits:

  • Hand – eye Coordination
  • Fine motor grasp and strength
  • Provides proprioceptive input to the hands
  • Fosters Creativity and a sense of achievement

 

6. Sensory Bin

Pop corn sensory box

This one’s a big win for indoor fun!!

You’ll Need:

  • A box (preferably one with a lid)
  • Sensory goods (this can be dry ingredients or messy play fun – see variations below)

Invitation to Play:

Set up the ingredients in the box

Place the sensory box either on a mess mat or at a table to allow free movement

Choose a theme of interest and add these items to the box for your child to explore and find

Watch your child discover and see what ideas they come up with – M’s personal favourites are the dry ingredient sensory bins – he loves scooping and pouring for ages at a time.

Indoor Play Ideas for Rainy Winter Days

Just a few Theme Ideas:

  • Dino’s
  • Basic concepts (shapes, colours, size, numbers, letters, etc)
  • Transport
  • Weather / seasons
  • Animals – land and water
  • Under the sea
  • Jungle animals / farm animals/ zoo animals
  • Swamp creatures
  • Bible stories
  • The Big five
  • Special Holidays

Variations:

Dry Ingredients:

  • Colour Rice
  • Cocoa – Taste Safe Dirt
  • Salt / bicarb
  • Straw
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Flour
  • Dry pasta
  • Shredded paper
  • Blended cereal or baby cereal
  • Feathers

High Mess Ingredients: 

  • Slime
  • Colour spaghetti
  • Jelly
  • Bicarb and vinegar
  • Cornflower, water and food colouring
  • Colour water
  • Whipped bubble foam
  • Colour yoghurt

Developmental Benefits:

  • Develops sensory processing, self-regulation centers in the brain and self awareness
  • Great for building on creativity, attention and concentration
  • Language opportunities
  • Depending on the type of sensory box – you could even work on fundamental math skills, scooping, pouring and measuring, etc.

No time to make your own sensory box?

No problem – I also have a discount code for ready made full sensory kits from @onetwoplay, including dinosaur sensory kits and saving the ocean animals.

Overall Tips

  • Do not overwhelm yourself by trying all these activities at once.
  • Stick to a time block each day to have this kind of play – eventually it will encourage routine and independent play.
  • Don’t forget to take into account your little one’s preferences, their developmental stage, and the ‘just right’ challenge for them – this means if the task is too hard they’ll lose interest fairly easily – it’s all trial and error, but most importantly don’t forget to have fun!
If you enjoyed this guide, drop some love below! <3

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