Whether it’s rain, hail, snow, or just cooler temperatures, taking your little one outside during the cold winter months can be a challenge. Babies aren’t as efficient as adults at regulating their body temperature, so it’s important to keep them bundled up and warm while out and about in colder months. Unpredictable weather can make neighborhood walks, park trips, and backyard play a bit of a challenge, so here are some activities to keep your little one entertained indoors this winter!
For babies 0-3 months
The good thing about newborns is that most of their day is taken up by either eating or sleeping, so it’s not very hard to keep them occupied! Take advantage of the cold winter months by snuggling up with your newborn and enjoying extra cuddles when you stay inside. Newborns love close contact with caregivers, so try baby wearing around your house while you do chores, watch a movie, or prepare a meal.
Newborns also need “tummy time” to develop their head and neck control. Even if your baby doesn’t have a fancy activity mat with lights and sounds, you can lay a blanket on the floor and let your baby explore. If your baby is apprehensive about being on the floor, try getting on the floor with her! You can also place a mirror, small toys, or an interesting object in front of your baby during tummy time.
Newborns love sensory experiences, so open a window for a few minutes and let your baby listen to the sound of rain, or sit your baby next to a bright window during the day if the sun is out.
For babies 3-9 months
Once your baby is past the newborn phase, it’s time to explore the world! Babies around 3 months of age tend to be more awake and alert during the day and begin to notice things around them. As your baby grows and matures, provide fun activities for him to explore and experience, even during the winter months when you’re often trapped inside!
Babies love mirrors. Although they won’t realize what they are looking at right away, babies of all ages are drawn to faces. A great indoor activity is to get a small mirror and place it in front of your baby during tummy time play. Your baby will love lifting her head up to see the “other baby” in the mirror looking back at her! If you have a standing mirror or mirror in the bathroom, you can hold your baby and practice making silly faces at each other. You can also show your baby what happens when you move closer or farther away from the mirror!
For babies 9-12 months
Babies at this age are most likely rolling, scooting, crawling, climbing, and even walking! It can be challenging to provide enough indoor activities to keep them entertained, but here are a few ideas!
Babies at this stage can appreciate finger painting. You can buy child-safe finger paints, or you can even let your child “paint” with pudding or yogurt! Sit your baby in a high chair and let her use her hands to explore the texture and color of paint!
Little ones at this age might also love a ball pit! You can create your own using an inflatable pool or a pack-n-play! You can buy small plastic balls online or at your local toy store. Babies love practicing grasping, throwing, and maneuvering the balls. You can also make up a color sorting game or a basketball game for your little one to play!
If it’s not too cold, you can let your 9-12 month old do some water play inside! Lay a tarp or large towel on the ground, fill a plastic tub or bin with some water, and let your baby explore! You can add some bath toys, bubbles, or measuring cups and funnels for added fun!
For toddlers 12 months and older
Toddlers love to play and explore! It can be difficult during the winter months when you spend a lot of time indoors. Your toddler might get bored quickly with his usual toys, and crave new experiences. The good news is, it’s not hard to create your own fun activities right at home!
One activity you can try is “window painting.” This activity is simple and mess-free, which is always a bonus for busy moms! Simply squeeze some paint into a plastic bag (you can use as many colors as you want!), tape the sides of the bag to a window or glass door, and let your little one “paint” by pushing the paint around with his fingers!
Another activity toddlers love is sorting pom-poms. You can create a game by cutting holes in a small plastic container, and letting your little one practice pushing the pom-poms into the container. This activity can be repeated as many times as your toddler wants! Other pom-pom activities include sorting by color or size, counting, or practice picking them up using chopsticks or tongs.
Toddlers love banging on things, so here’s another perfect activity for young ones in this stage. Get a cheap pack of golf tees (the more colorful the better), and find an old cardboard box, shoe box, or piece of styrofoam. Find a plastic toy hammer and help your little one hammer the “nails” (the golf tees) into the box! For older toddlers, you can tell them to hammer in tees of a certain color, or you can write a number or letter next to each hole and ask them to nail in a specific number or letter! There are countless opportunities for adjusting this game to suit your toddler’s preferences!
Save these activity ideas to make your next rainy day a little less gloomy!
Parenting is awesome. Sleep is overrated. Everyday is an adventure.