Simple Indoor Toddler Projects

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Winter in the Pacific Northwest can be dark and dreary. Add to that a toddler’s restless energy and the days can seem endless. Resist the siren call of screen time, here’s help! Three simple activities guaranteed to bump up the curiosity and keep your child engaged.

It’s All a Hill of Beans
What you will need:
Dried beans—you will need a lot
Big bowl and/or a large shallow plastic bin
Muffin tin
Bed sheet
Spoons, ladles, small cups and bowls, toy cars

Lay the sheet down on the floor. Put all the beans in the big bowl or bin and place it in the middle of the sheet. Kids can run their hands through them (my toddlers adored the feel and sound of this), or sort the beans into piles and the muffin tin. This self-generated play at it’s best!

Bird Feed Stomp and Squeeze

What you will need:
Unsweetened breakfast cereal
2-gallon zipper type plastic bag
Place the cereal in the plastic bag, push out most of the air and zip securely closed. Have your child crunch, mash, dance, and stomp on the bag of cereal. Then go outside and scatter the crumbs to feed the birds.

Marshmallow ConstructsP1030548

This is one of my family’s favorite projects that has gotten me through the times when I simply needed the children occupied. Older kids may want to experiment with three-dimensional structures, while the younger ones are often content creating such things as “spiders” (one marshmallow with 14 toothpicks stuck into it). Don’t fret about them eating too many marshmallows to start. If you relax, they will soon become absorbed with using them creatively!

What you will need:
1 large package marshmallows (the smaller sized marshmallow)
Toothpicks (colored are nice)

For a structure that will hold its shape indefinitely, you can dry the marshmallows out by pouring them into a paper bag and letting them set in a cool dry place for several days. This will make the marshmallows firmer and easier to work with than fresh ones, but if you can’t wait, open the bag, pour into a bowl alongside the toothpicks and let those imaginations go!

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