Indoor activities to the rescue!
What to do with your toddler climbing furniture and bouncing off the wall energy? These activities not only create calming effects, but help organize your child’s growing mind and are great alternatives to screen time. Activities that incorporate the vestibular (balance) or proprioceptive (muscle and joint input) can give you much more bang for your buck in calming cabin fevered children.
Vestibular Sense Activities: Develop language, music, handwriting, social interaction, and attention.
Swinging child around in a laundry basket
Dancing-lots of spontaneous dance parties over here lately!
Hanging upside down
Swinging-can create a blanket swing with two adults or swing child around in a laundry basket (see above!)
Row, Row, Row your boat with a rocking chair or on the floor with two people interlocked in hands and touching feet
Spinning in chair or by themselves (not too much!)
Standing upside down with feet on the wall
Proprioceptive input or “Heavy jobs” develop stability for coordination and promote attention, focus, and calmness.
Examples of proprioceptive (deep pressure/muscle) activities
Crawling through tunnels
Animal walks (crab, bear, etc) Can create game where you play music and then "Freeze! and turn you into a....snake!
Wheelbarrow walks (hold their feet and have them walk)
Cocooning in blankets-
Making a "Joey Sandwich" with couch cushions as the bread
Pushing or pulling heavy boxes (can push or pull groceries and help put them away!)
We talk more about these in our Parenting Through the Toddler Years series!
There are also more great examples here.
For older children, plan a good old fashioned treasure hunt with clues hidden around the house or a treasure map.
Tactile Sensory Activities
Children need lots of tactile experiences to organize their brain, feel centered, calm and entertained!
Shaving Cream and Block Building: Put some small blocks on the table along with some craft sticks and a can or two of shaving cream. See what happens! Our children built and built for days! *Can use whip cream if worried about children eating it!
Scribble Cookies: Gather all your broken crayons. Put them in a muffin tin. Can also pour into metal "Halloween" cookie cutters! Melt on low heat (150°) for about 15 minutes! Once melted, turn the oven off and let the crayons cool IN the oven before popping them out and using them! Hint: non-stick coated tins will work best! Did they stick? Pop them in the freezer for a few minutes! They will pop right out!
Pumpkin Spice Playdough: (Promise your kids will play twice as long with homemade playdough!!) Combine in a bowl: 3 cups flour, 1 1⁄2 cups salt, 6 tsp cream of tartar, 6 TBS oil, 3 Cups water, orange food coloring(color optional). Add cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger or pumpkin pie spice! Mix together. Cook over low heat until a ball forms. Cool. Knead. Store in Ziploc bag.
Knox Gelatin Mold: The ratio is 3/4 cup water to 1 packet of Knox. You probably want at least 3 packets. In a saucepan, heat the water over low heat, add the packets of gelatin. After it dissolves pour it into your container. Let set over night. **BE SURE TO SPRAY YOUR CONTAINER WITH PAM FIRST! Allow the children to inject the knox mold with pipettes and eyedroppers filled with colored water! Or for younger toddlers just let them slice with a butter knife, squeeze in their hands and squish it all to pieces. Totally edible!
The above tactile sensory ideas are in part from Ooey Gooey Inc., Lisa Murphy Rochester NY – For more ideas visit http://www.ooeygooey.com