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15 Creative Indoor Activities for Toddlers for Cold or Rainy Days

For moms of toddlers, the cold, winter months can be cause for dread each year. It can be so hard to entertain your kids when you're confined to the house. Keep them from climbing the walls — and maintain your sanity — with these indoor activities for toddlers.

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Get your groove on

Throw a dance party in your living room. It’s perfect way to burn all that extra energy that comes with being cooped up, according to Jeanne S., mom of one. Watch your favorite music videos on YouTube or play a kid-friendly Pandora station like Raffi.

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Build a fort

Gather all the blankets in your house and create a fort for all day play. Shannon C., mom of five, takes her fort to the next level by transforming an entire room into a hideaway, complete with books, board games, and movies.

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Make ’em sweat

If you’ve ever had to turn to YouTube because you can’t to the gym, you know this social media network is crammed full of fun and wacky exercise videos for all ages, including indoor activities for toddlers. If your kids are bouncing off the walls, try some interactive screen time like Fit Factor Kids Exercize or Cosmic Kids Yoga.

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Get in the kitchen

Nothing says warm and cozy quite like some freshly baked treats. Don’t wait until nap time to tie on your apron, involve your kids for a fun, albeit messy, cold weather activity. Bread-in-a-bag is always a hit and requires minimal cleanup.

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May the best toddler win

Add a little extra fun to their favorite activities by turning it into a competition. Shannon, mom of 5, gave her kids 30 minutes to build a Lego structure and then declares a winner when it was all said and done. You can give out awards for “tallest structure” or “most creative building” depending on the age of your kids.

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Play with your food

An afternoon of fun might be hiding in your pantry. Make necklaces and bracelets using macaroni noodles, cheerios, and any other creative materials you have on hand. Or mix up some “Magic Paint” with baking soda.

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Bring the movie theater to your home

Turn an evening in into a movie night. Rearrange furniture to create a theater in your home, pop some popcorn and turn on a new film. Here are 16 family movies the whole family will enjoy.

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Make an indoor picnic

Make a finger food lunch and imagine you’re outdoors. “We put on crazy hats and socks and have a picnic lunch on our beach towels,” shared Amber W., mom of two. “We were pretend we were on a warm beach.”

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Create an at-home toy store

Pack away half of your kids’ toys for a few days or a few weeks. When they start to complain of being bored, pull toys out of storage and trade them out with the toys they are bored with.

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iStock/Rawpixel Ltd

Start a reading challenge

Of course, books are a great way to occupy indoor time. Add a little fun by creating a reading challenge, reading all the books by a favorite author or books with titles starting with a specific letter. Check out these ways to turn even the youngest kid into a book lover.

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iStock/Jodi Jacobson

Bring outdoor fun inside

If you have an empty room or an unfinished basement, set up outdoor games for toddlers or drag outdoor toys like a basketball goal, balls, or even a trike inside to give your kids another way to get some much needed exercise and play indoor games for kids.

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Build a spaceship

Collect empty boxes and save them for a cold or snowy day. Build a spaceship or a playhouse with your kids out of the boxes and then give them markers or crayons to go crazy decorating their new creation.

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iStock/Eric Cote

Learn a new skill

Some toddlers and preschool aged children just might have the patience to pick up a new school like finger knitting or beaded bracelets. Take a trip to the craft store at the start of winter to pick up supplies to keep on hand for indoor activities for toddlers.

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Write and produce a play

Devote an entire day to getting a little dramatic. Breakout some crayons and help your kiddos draft a rough storyline for a short play. Dress up in silly costumes, create a stage out of blankets, and invite their favorite stuffed animals to play the audience.

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Go outside

Author Ralph Fiennes once said, “There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.” If you are feeling cooped up, there is no reason not to brave the great outdoors during the winter season. The thrift store is the perfect way to stock up on winter gear on a budget. Bundle up and make a snow man, go sledding, or simply trapse around outside.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest