If you live in the Santa Barbara area, you know we have had A LOT of rain lately. It’s lovely, I am grateful for it and my plants are in heaven. That being said, we Central Coasters are not used to spending so much time indoors. It is especially interesting when trying to keep a 4-year-old busy and entertained.
While we did spend quite a bit of time jumping in puddles and making dams for water play in the yard, I wanted to share some of the creative things we did to stave off cabin fever during the indoor time. We did do a lot of the obvious rainy weather activities and I believe I now have a Ph.D. in fort-building. But there are only so many forts one mom can build. As we are all in this together (and more rain is in the forecast), I wanted to share our top three activities that should get you at least a few hours of dedicated play time for each one.
- Cloud Dough. This was easy, messy and fun. I put a sheet down on the kitchen floor and tried not to freak out about the mess (not easy with my Type A personality). The recipe calls for 8 cups of flour and 1 cup of oil. I halved the recipe as I did not have enough flour on hand. It was more than enough. I think you can probably use any type of cooking oil but I used grapeseed oil because, well, Costco bulk buy. I let my daughter do the measuring and mixing (just a spoon, no mixer needed). Then we used measuring cups and silicone bowls and had a blast. The texture is similar to kinetic sand but the materials are completely safe. She loved it and, truth be told, so did I. Fun sensory play.
- Indoor Obstacle Course. Tape a line on the floor in different ways(zig zag, curvy or straight) and have a toddler walk along it, trying to balance their best. Can they do it forward, how about walking backward? Another fantastic gross motor activity that can be done indoors. We also used the activity to practice simple math and counting.
- Shaving Cream. Shaving Cream (the foamy kind) is a wonderful indoor sensory activity that kids love. Squirt some on a pan and just let them have fun. You can add food coloring if you like. It can be a great way to learn about the color wheel and color mixing. You might want to put them in an old shirt and maybe put a towel down, too. It does get messy. Pro tip - I put my daughter in our big bath tub (empty – no water) with huge bowls full of shaving cream, paint brushes, plastic dinosaurs, etc. and let her go to town. She was in there playing happily for a few hours. The best part is the mess is contained and clean up is easy – just start a bath right after.
Good luck, stay dry and have fun!
Carey Bradshaw, Author (& Nursing Aficionado)
Carey Bradshaw is a working mom just trying to balance it all. She runs Hooter Holster by Carey Bradshaw and Creative Butter. In her (scant) free time, besides perfecting her hands-free pumping bras, she loves yoga, reading, volunteering with Therapy Dogs of Santa Barbara, and just being outside in the sunshine. Carey lives in Santa Barbara with her husband and business partner, George, their volunteer therapy dog, Buttercup, and their rambunctious and lovable toddler.