5 inside activities we did during the polar vortex this last week.

popsiclesmade

1. we made popsicles while dreamin’ of warmer days.  since we made juice with our juicer several times last week, we made a lot of popsicles, too.  i have mentioned it before, but juicing is one of the best ways we get all those extra greens into our kids each week.  we stick extra kale and spinach and carrots into all our juices and i feel like the trickiest mama out there when i’m like, “do you love it?” and they’re like, “yes! more more!” it’s just ironic because if i served up spinach or kale on it’s own at dinnertime, neither of these two will touch it. anyway, back to the popsicles.  i like to put the kids in charge of peeling the oranges or washing and scrubbing the vegetables and it keeps them occupied during the entire process! afterwards, we freeze some of the juice into popsicle molds. we don’t really follow exact recipes or measurements so each juice is different, but eleanor and samson especially seem to love the popsicles full of oranges, carrots and kale.  (we also did just grapefruit and kale last week and it was crazy bitter but samson devoured them! so you never know!) ps. we use this omega juicer that i got on sale online.

bath

2. mama pulled out new surprises! (bathtub crayons!) my kids are already pretty fond of bath time and would sleep in the bathtub if we let them, but i found these bath tub crayons online and knew i had to save them for a day of desperation. haha. i brought them out one afternoon last week and we ended up hanging out and coloring in the tub all afternoon! it was kind of nice because this was at a point in our day where we were all a little bit tired of each other but it was pouring rain outside so we were stuck together in the apartment with no way around it. a new bath time toy or activity kept them entertained and happy and also confined to just the tub! (win, win, win!) and mama was able to have some sort of a break by being able to sit on the bathroom floor and totally zone out on my pinterest app for far too long! (ps. the bathtub crayons come off with just soap and water but i found a magic eraser does the trick twice as fast!)

fort1fort

3. we built a lot of forts! these photos don’t do our blanket fort much justice because samson thought it was more fun to tear down the fort every time E and i tried to build it up.  but we hung out inside a half-fort for part of the day and read stories and watched some dora inside it! it was a lot of fun. we built it out of sheets.

babyyoga

4. we got our yoga on.  as part of my new years resolution to get up  3x a week before my littles do, we have been trying to exercise  together in the mornings 3x a week, too! i will be totally honest with you and tell you now that i’ve only gotten up twice before they are up so far this year (i knowwww. i know. i basically failed.) BUT, we have kept to our routine of exercising together. i pull out my yoga mat and we do stretches, a little bit of pilates and a little bit of yoga, too.  a lot of the time, it’s pretty much just me trying to go through my routines while ignoring the fact that i have a toddler hanging on my back and another one poking my side (i didn’t say it was relaxing. haha!) but then there are moments where they totally impress me and pick up on exactly what i am doing and do it, too! i want them to develop habits earlier on in life to take care of their bodies and exercise, so hopefully we can keep this up in their morning routine over the years!

crayons2

5. we made new crayons out of all our broken ones!  samson has this terrible habit of throwing crayons and so most of ours are always broken. i was ordering new crayons last week and decided we should try to recycle the old batch.  we peeled all the wrapping off the broken bits and baked them in a silicone star shaped baking sheet thing at 250 degrees until they were melted (for about 25 minutes?).  now the kiddos have new multi-colored star shaped crayons and we had a lot of fun making them! i’m not very crafty or good with this pre-preschool-age-activity-business, but i hope to do more little crafty projects like this with eleanor this year because she had so much fun (and big surprise – i did, too!)

holdingcrayonscrayons1

well, there you have it. 5 of the things we did inside this last week to beat the crazy cold polar vortex we experienced in nyc.  it was fun, but cross your fingers we are able to add a few playgrounds and time outside into our schedule this week so we still like each other by february! also, if you have any tips or things you do with your own littles indoors during the colder months, please do share! i’d love some ideas.

  1. Vanessa

    Check out interest under Pre-school crafts/activities….tons of things to do. Also lots of fun stuff on http://www.mrprintables.com – honest check it out. Lots for pre-schoolers.

  2. Lonka

    E is so beautiful!

  3. Awh yay, happy to see you guys were able to find the good in a yucky experience. Stay sane over there!

  4. Anelieze

    Hi Naomi!

    I started doing a daily mini-activity with my 21 month old boy last week ( I call it Toddler Time) and we have both have loved it so far!

    Basically we have a different activity every day, like stickers, painting with watercolors, watching Baby Signing Time together (thanks SO much for mentioning this series–we love it!), doing scavenger hunts, making noodle necklaces, car washes, reading books, practicing the alphabet & numbers, having dance parties…pinterest is a huge help.

    I’ll be using a few of your ideas too, so thanks! Good luck!

    -Anelieze

  5. nanette

    you gave me some ideas! i’m going to look for those bathtub crayons! my daughter loves baths too. we watch some barney while we color and paint sometimes. that keeps her pretty occupied. also i love baking and so does she, so we bake some cookies and she is in love with the rolling pin. win win for me :)

  6. make tortilla pizzas! it could be fun, simple, and cheap, and your kiddos could toss on ingredients however they want to. maybe you could teach them by making a stick-figure person out of pepperoni circles and julienned green peppers! Or make a simple smiley face….

  7. karen

    Love the crayons idea! I will definitely have to try it out.

  8. Oh wow! I wanted to do all of these activities and I am 32!!! You are such an awesome mom!

  9. Rayani

    I love the tip number 5! =]

    Lovely pictures, as always!

  10. Kaylan

    Letting them get involved in the kitchen! I know you are already good about that but I take my time baking a batch of cookies or bread and let my little guy ‘help’. If I am ok with the mess (which it’s often just easier to clean up afterwards than try to do it without him helping) it’s so much fun!

  11. ahh! those crayons are seriously so cute, i’m dying! love your little fam!

    Xxx

    kendra

  12. Leith

    What great ideas! Those are some lucky kids. I have such fond memories of just playing in forts with my siblings for hours. I think I might have to apply some of these games to my daily life. Is it weird that I’m 28, not a toddler? – Leith

    http://outsidelanddiaries.blogspot.com

  13. csilla

    Get some old magnets or just pick up some in a store or online – cover it totally with double sided tape – get the kids to stick some pasta on it! Different shapes, colours work so well and they love it! You could even use stuff like lentils or beans… This always keeps my nieces occupied for ages and they love that they can also display them on the fridge!

  14. Rosie

    Ah – melting crayons is such a great idea!!! Looks like you kept everyone super entertained – hope you’ve managed to get out a bit this week,.

    Rosie xx

  15. I used to do that with my broken crayons too! They were like magic with all of the colors swirled together! Looks like you all know how to have fun even if the weather is terrible outside :) Very cute photos of some very precious memories you all will have down the road!

    xo!

  16. Shaving Cream (the good cheap kind that is white and extra foamy) and a cleaned off table.
    Or if you are worried about them eating it, cool whip or make whipped cream and do the same thing.

  17. maggie

    All of these ideas are so adorable! Although I am in sunny LA, it has been getting a little chillier here (relatively speaking) and I have been using my snuggle time to get a lot more reading and writing done.

  18. cheyenne

    those are some awesome ideas! i still remember bathtub crayons from my own childhood! looks like you all had fun :)
    xo, cheyenne

  19. kat

    thanks for the great suggestions! We’ve been watching way too much Dora too! I always feel guilty about it, but my E was sick over Christmas, and it was too cold to go out. I let him do finger paints and then take a very long bath if he gets really bored. Favorite game lately is flop and roll on our bed, and playing with Daddy’s flashlight collection.

  20. So nice ideias for the kids! :)

    Kisses from Portugal!

  21. Amie

    Superb! Such fun ideas. Can’t wait to be able to do some of these things with my own little!

  22. Even though I don’t have kids, I loved this post! How cool is the crayon-stars? I don’t hope it would be weird, if I did this for myself. Haha. Love the idea!

  23. I absolutely love reading your blog posts. You seem like a close and content family and it’s just magical to read about. You seem like a fantastic Mum, you always have something planned for your little ones to occupy themselves with. You’re a fantastic role model. I hope to grow up to be a Mum just like you one day!

    Beth xo.

    From: http://www.bethnorton.co.uk

  24. Faith

    You are the best Momma!! I love this sweet and very creative post, especially that you do yoga/pilates with them.

    Hope you’ve been able to get out and about a little this week with the warmer weather!

    xx
    Faith

  25. darlene

    how about making play doh from scratch? !

  26. sophie

    You are such a good mother. Honestly, what an inspiration.

    I read this article the other day, which you may find interesting. It’s from The Telegraph (I live in London) about a British woman who rebelled against consumerism and took an oath to not spend a penny on unnecessary products for her child for one year. She went the whole hog and used cloth nappies (extreme!)

    Considering your children are already away with the imaginative games you may not need it, but if you’re interested…

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/mother-tongue/familyadvice/9800529/Why-I-wont-be-spending-a-penny-on-my-son-in-2013.html

    Sophie x
    your girl is lovely

  27. Bridget

    When my kids were little scavenger hunts were a big, big favorite. I would draw pictures of things around the house (an umbrella, a pair of shoes, a teddy bear). You hand them the first clue (say an umbrella) and then hide the next clue (pair of shoes) where the umbrella is. I would try and save them and over time I must have had 40 different bits of paper and could mix and match. We graduated to words once they could read but the picture version was really the best! At the end the prize would usually be a kiss from me or a shiny penny! :)

  28. Amber

    Juicing is a pain in the butt to clean up after! It’s soooo good though!

    Over the summer, I met a lady who told me to have “snowball fights” with my son when we were stuck inside the house. Get some socks and clear an area of any breakables and just have at it. You can always make an adaption like basketball or so… : )

  29. Angela

    Love your beautiful pictures and love the bathtub crayon idea! I do yoga with my little ones too so I can relate to how fun it can be. Glad to have stumbled onto your blog. Great to meet you!

    http://loveangelissa.blogspot.com

  30. Grace

    nasty weather here in chicago too! as a full-time nanny its been pretty hard to keep two toddlers (BOYS!!) occupied! some things ive been doing:

    setting up a painters tape-hopscotch (also works with tracks for cars and running races),baking, washing dishes/toys (soapy sink full of water), making slime/playdough, trip to library (ours has toys to check out!), finger paint, and resorting to a game of chase every now and then!

    good luck facing the rest of this gross winter weather!

  31. bridget

    great pictures. and dammit those bath crayons can be so hard to get off! i was glad to have learned of the magic eraser trick at some point as well…

    we have a big train table and massachusetts has been rainy all day so i poured a bunch of rice and beans (dry!) on it and let parker drive his construction trucks and such through it. got me at least thirty minutes of quiet which, as you know, is a success.

  32. Heather

    Love the star shaped crayons!
    How about making baby safe finger paints with them then rolling out a big sheet of paper and just let them roll around and have fun?
    Yeah it’ll be a big mess but easy to clean up. :)

    http://www.seashellsandeggshells.blogspot.com

  33. trisha

    Hi Taza,
    Freeze dance is one of my favorites to play with little ones (and it’s winter appropriate;) Also blowing up a balloon and trying to not let it hit the floor is fun too. I’ll also (semi) hide items throughout the house or just one room and let the kids try to find them. My FAVORITE game is to use colored construction paper and tape up different colors around the house. I shout out a color and the kids run to it, when they get there I’ll shout out another color and so on. Enjoy and thanks for sharing bits of your lovely life in NY.

  34. looks like fun – love the crayon idea!

  35. Janis

    We were hermits during the polar vortex! But, I like the crayon thingy. Did it smell too bad while it was melting/baking? :)

  36. Maj Hallwass

    You could make salt play dough for them, my mum used to make that for us and it always occupied us for ages! You can just make it from four salt and oil I think, but maybe google a recipe :)

  37. Albina

    You can also build a snowman inside. Just bring snow in a pot or something, and then build a very small snowman on a baking sheet. They can then color it with paints

  38. Thanks for this! I always love ideas for kid-friendly activities and like getting a window into how other moms entertain their little ones.

  39. Ashley

    I love the crayon idea! I forgot you could do that with the broken crayons. Genius! A cute and fun DIY project for the kids is a DIY “telephone” using the tp roll and string. Samson and E can “talk” to each other from across the apartment and will surely get a kick out of it! They can each decorate their “phone” – that’ll keep them busy for even longer. :)

    Where did you get E’s tee? I need to get one for my own little! TOO CUTE!

  40. Vicky

    Seems like you’ve got a terrific handle on things. When my husband and I ( sorry only have married stories.. No littles yet) were trying to save money, we built forts – made pizzas – and popped in our fav DVDs (one tree hill, basically). Makes for great time to spend together!

    I love the bathroom crayons & salvaging the broken ones. Very smart, mama.

  41. jess

    I started laughing so hard when reading about your exercise routine. Mine is similar… Trying to work out with a one year old climbing up my leg… Pretty sure he’s adding resistance though!
    Also.. Juice recipes? I have a juicer and would love if you shared what you put in… I’ve tried juice recipes with my Oliver and he totally rejects what I concoct!

  42. Briseidy

    star crayons!how cool! I also think it’s easier for a toddler to grab a big shaped crayon than the regular thin ones….great idea, thanks for sharing!

  43. Sarah

    The crayons turned out so cool! I also get great joy out of sneaking green veggies into my kid’s smoothie. She always thinks it’s a special treat when we have smoothies for breakfast, and I think “ha ha, there’s an extra three servings of veggies, you healthy little sucker.”

  44. Pop them in their high chairs and squirt shaving foam onto the tray tables. Kids love playing with shaving foam. They can draw in it with plastic cutlery and make little foam snowmen.

    Never underestimate the entertainment value of a good electronic bubble gun! Just make sure you do it somewhere where the floor is easily wiped.

    I’m a fan of having people over too. Get the kids to bake a batch of cookies that they can share with their friend who is coming over, then pop them into their bedroom and they will generally keep each other entertained.

    If all else fails, pop them in their cots with some books so you can have 30 minutes down time. They don’t need to be constantly entertained and should be able to play by themselves (with you close by or in the next room) for a decent length of time now.

    Sounds like you’re doing a great job!

  45. Emmy

    Love the star crayons so cute! I had some of those bathtub crayons growing up but yea I remember them causing just a big mess, glad they were able to clean up fairly easily. We survived the cold just fine as well it wasn’t cold here :)

  46. Lolly

    Mine are 24 and 21 and I STILL remember those days!!!
    I was in NYC today and it is another day of craptastic weather–rain rain unrelenting rain, so I am sure you are having another inside day. I hope when Josh gets home you bolt out the door for a break. The cabin fever used to kill me. Hang in there…all of a sudden they are 24 and 21. I swear, just like that.

  47. Sophie

    LOVE E´s Beastie Boys T-Shirt!!

  48. Grace

    one more thing!! the most important of all!!

    take a day for yourself! get a facial AND a manicure! leave the kids with a sitter all day! my mom was a stay-at-home mom and always forgot about herself or felt guilty for taking days for herself. BUT the BEST stay-at- home mamas are the ones that recognize the need for taking a break every once in a while!

  49. lauren

    your little ones are the cutest! and it looks like you did a great job entertaining everybody during the cold spell!!

  50. Kirsten

    I love the broken crayon idea! I’ll have to give it a go :)
    I love your family so much, they are just adorable!

    xx

  51. Kirsten

    I love the broken crayon idea! I’ll have to give it a go :)
    I love your family so much, they are just adorable!

    Please check out my blog The Gift of Thrift at http://www.thegiftofthrift.com I would love some feedback

    xx

  52. Melissa

    i love this post. i never write comments on blogs and just lurk your page (like a creep) and i’ve been skeptical of most blogs that only portray “happy’ moments, so its nice to see this ‘real’ side of you (not that the happy side isn’t real, but you know what i’m saying, hopefully!). hang in there, spring will be there before you know it!

    this post is super cute too and has some cute ideas. stay warm!

  53. Rachel

    Awe! High five to you, mama! You did a great job at keeping the littles occupied which is super hard to do at that age. These are great ideas! Thank you so much for sharing!

    xo
    Rachel

  54. Kirsten

    I love the broken crayon idea! I’ll have to give it a go :)
    I love your family so much, they are just adorable!

    Please check out my blog The Gift of Thrift at http://www.thegiftofthrift.net I would love some feedback

    xx

  55. Wow I love the crayon idea, such a great way to save those broken crayons lying around the house!

  56. Becky

    I feel your pain when you’re trapped indoors because of the weather and thinking of things to do!

    I know people saying to look at their blog is probably a yawn-fest for you, but mine might be of interest as it’s about stuff to do with small people (my two children are the exact same age as E and S!).

    http://www.spiritedpuddlejumper.com

    I already have the melting crayons lined up to try, can’t wait to give those a go!

  57. I’m a little bit jealous of their week – it sounds like it was great! Those crayons are brilliant.

  58. Ruby

    Funny how in summer we want winter to come and in winter we want summer to come, isn’t it!? Instead of watching just Dora you should introduce Doc McStuffins to E! She is an “animal doctor” and fixes her toys and stuffed animals. E would love it since she’s so into her doctor kit! Hang in there.

  59. Sioned

    Your apartment is probably the same size as my house (uk new build houses are TINY) so when we’re going stir crazy and I worry that Molly has watched Wreck It Ralph too many times we do a lot of painting with water colours. There isn’t too much mess because I use the block watercolours rather than poster paint. Then of course mountains of play DIY with cookie cutters. Scissor play (safety scissors) its a real treat fir her ha! And prit sticking anything. STICKER books! the ones full if shapes- she’ll sit and stick for half an hour at a time! She LOVES watching me make pancakes and stirring the mixture for me. Alphabet and number songs, nursery rhymes with dance moves. Also, I know it’s probably a nono since you’re anti television, but I’ve found a couple of apps on the iPad gives Molly something new and exciting when I need 10 minutes to make some tea. She has the cbeebies app it’s free and she loves the art section. It’s something to pull out when I’m waiting for Jamie to come home. We’ve ALL been there. Good luck!xxxx

  60. Taylor

    I love these ideas! I don’t have any littles of my own yet, but I do have a few that I babysit and it’s nice to have some fresh ideas for when I can’t take them out in this bitter cold. It also reminds me that when I DO have littles, that I’ll need to keep a stash of stand-by activities when we’re all going a little crazy during winter.

    xoxo
    Taylor

    http://www.welcomehometaylor.com

  61. Welcome Back Taza!, Glad to see that you are fine!

    Everybody has ugly days! Don´t forget, you have such wonderful followers waiting for you.

    Keep in touch,

    Kisses from México,

  62. Randi

    I tried to run out their energy early on in the day. We baked, I created an obstacle course with the toy baskets and had placed little toys she had to grab and throw in a bag on the way to the finish line and she raced a good several times as I timed her. Then I did a scavenger hunt based on how to keep warm and learning about the polar
    Vortex (think simple! My oldest is only 3 nothing crazy) and the last clue included a bowl of popcorn and a movie to watch.

  63. sarah

    eleanor looks so grown up! very adorable. Samson also looks so big! especially in the last photo. Such a cute family!

  64. I’ve been in that same funk. Cold weather is SO HARD when you have little babes. My is a little younger than Samson. I spend countless hours letting her run around the library. We take long baths too. Lots of rough housing, being tossed on the bed and chased around for hours. Hope we come out of this soon!

  65. Elle

    during the polar vortex I put out ice in a bunch of bowls and had the two little guys I nanny play with it. They had spoons, measuring cups and cups. They had so much fun dumping the ice between bowls and scooping it up. Also experimenting with how cold it is.

  66. Jean

    i don’t have kids, but was a toddler & preschool teacher in the past,

    the kids and i loved bowling! we would use plastic cups for the pins and a tennis ball for the bowling ball.

    an all time favorite was also tracing the kids’ hands and allowing them to color it.

    also, playing with whipped cream on tables for a sensory. you can also draw in the whipped cream. i would use shaving cream, but toddlers tend to explore with the hand to mouth thing and so, whipped cream is probably safer.

    writing in flour – use a tray (or baking sheet) and pour some flour. S could just explore whereas E can start to explore writing out letters or just simply draw.

    these are just a few to name and they are probably already in the home otherwise, inexpensive to purchase. =)

  67. Kelly

    These are great ideas and it sounds like you kids really loved it!

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

  68. hanna

    Your family is so cute! -Hanna Lei

  69. Lacy

    Thanks for the new post! You could add food coloring to water bottles, poke a hole in the cap and they can paint the snow

    http://Www.6monthpreview.tumblr.com

  70. Jamie

    I nanny part time during the week on the pick the kids up from school, feed them dinner and be on my way but sometimes i find it difficult to fill up those hours in between pick up and dinner time. I like to challenge my young one (3) to play by himself sometimes. I usually ask him to choose two toys from his room, and we sprawl out in the living room and he just goes at it. I try to not interfere much and just watch him because I want him to appreciate playing by himself. He always amazes me in his ability to just come up with little scenarios his figurines happen upon and I think it’s good for him to be able to entertain himself at times and be able to imagine without some loud toy (I can’t do noise toys!)

    Thanks for sharing, as always!

  71. I wish my kids were little again. You’ve reminded me of all the fun we used to have. We loved to make simple crafts together that involved a lot of glue and glitter and paint. A bird house is a fun and simple project for kids of any age with a little help from Mom or Dad. Buy a premade one and get creative! Singing into a Karaoke machine or using a video game station is something really fun for the whole family. Just don’t forget to video some of it so you don’t forget these memorable times… Putting together simple scrapbooks with photos of favourite people is also enjoyable and works as a good quiet activity book to look at during church.

    Thanks so much for being a living example of our beliefs!:)
    ~EJM <3

    onecointwosidesofmissionarylife.blogspot.ca

  72. i was enjoying reading your post while eating my pizza..love your blog so much!! your winter activities were so much fun too!! i wonder how cold is new york now? i have never being to new york before..i’m in singapore now (365 summer country)

    xo josephine
    http://www.joselovincolors.com

  73. Lynnette

    these are such sweet ideas! definitely using the crayon idea with the littles I babysit! hope new york clears up soon!

  74. sumera

    Hi Naomi, I know you love taking kids to the playground, I don’t know what’s up in New York, but in Toronto there are these indoor play spaces for kids that are great. Kids can expend some energy and not tear your apartment to shreds (trust me, I’m there). Also signing kids up for some classes might help to, gets you all out of the house and is fun and entertaining for them. Tomorrow I’m starting at this place called Kidville with my 9 month old, seems pretty good, and I’ve heard it’s from the states, plus they ran a special so I got some passes into their play gym for the winter. It’s a little pricey but I thought it was worth my sanity :) There also might be Gymboree there? I’m not sure if that’s Canadian. Also, the government runs play centres for free in Ontario. They aren’t like gyms, but more like a class room where they can meet other kids and moms. They’re free and usually have snacks and activities for the kids. I wouldn’t be surprised if New York has something similar or just check out the libraries, they sometimes have classes and story times as well. My sister in law also finds tonnes of stuff that stores run like Home Depot, Micheals and Borders and stuff which are great for kids and also free.

  75. Jennifer B.

    We enjoy making crayons, as well! Time saver: soak the crayons in hot water and the paper peels off easily. Love that you went to Juilliard–that is my 12 year old daughter’s dream. : )

  76. Awesome post! We baked cake (when I say ‘we’ I mean me…everyone else watched in anticipation). Hot Lava Cake, yumm.

    – R
    http://www.lifeplus1.me

  77. Amanda H.

    i was a nanny for 10 + years before being a mama and the cold days were what i dreaded! i would always take “my” kids out for multiple walks (three to four a day) and to the playground. or in the backyard and have nature talks/walks.

    but when we had to be inside…that’s when you get creative. lol LOVE these ideas!

    now that i am a mama (and SO love it! it has been a loooong time coming!) i have to get a bit creative with my beautiful ten month old.

    we are in snowy, cold michigan and can’t even get out to walk. it is toooo cold! and we rarely have access to a car.

    we have been crawling all over the house and have music and new things in different rooms to mix it up a bit. now that we have access to a car a few times, we have gone for walks at the mall and gone to the library. it seriously saves us from being cooped up inside all day.

  78. amy

    definitely gonna do the crayon idea. this cold weather is very lame! i am a summer girl & today is 19 degrees. when i was trapped inside for 5 days from an endless blizzard and cold snap my husband thought i might turn into jack nicholson from the shining, but i stayed sane. i mean who hasn’t called their breakfast “stupid” & cried after going outside to check the mail.

  79. Mónica

    I have really enjoyed all the ideas, especially to recycle crayons is a great idea.
    In winter I do a lot with them love finger painting lining the table with plastic bags and leave them all the freedom in the world.
    We danced and sang. We make cakes. We make a book with pictures of the places we have been in the year and decorate.
    I hope you serve these ideas. Kisses and happy last Wednesday morning Friday.

  80. all great ideas! I wish I had enough broken crayons to melt them into new ones. they are so cute that maybe I should break a whole bunch just to do it! ;)

  81. amanda

    ohhhh I love the idea of making popsicles with your juice! sounds good for big kids (aka adults) as well!

  82. all great ideas! I wish I had enough broken crayons to melt them into new ones. Maybe I should break some just to do it! ;)

  83. ryan

    We turned our family room into a movie theater. The kids decorated their own tickets and my husband made a concession stand out of a cardboard box! Made the fact that we were watching tv instead of playing outside a little more exciting :)

  84. Katrina

    We did the crayon craft this week to, and it was awesome! ( my boys are 2.5 and 13 months) We added glitter, to make them extra special :)
    Also, I totally know what you mean about doing yoga or pilates with kids – alls they see is, ‘Mama is on the floor! JUNGLE GYM!!!!’
    ( I once tried to make a movie of it, so hilarious.)

  85. Natalia

    What a cute picture with littles doing yoga:))))
    And what a cool idea with crayons!!!

  86. We love those star crayons! Super clever!

  87. Paige

    You are so not failing your New Year’s Resolution! You got up twice before two toddlers since the first! That’s pretty great. I read this once: New Year’s Resolutions are not all or nothing; they are more like if you do them 80% of the time throughout the whole year you’ve made a remarkable change.

  88. Sinead

    The star-shaped crayons are such a great idea! I’ll definitely remember that one for when I have kids of my own :-)

  89. Katriel

    I’m a wellness coach and I want to tell you that you are NOT a failure. You are a busy mama of two adorable, but apparently high energy youngsters. Celebrate the successes, learn from the upsets, and move forward. Don’t think you’re a failure at all!!! Just don’t stop trying.
    And I LOVE the crayon idea!!

  90. kelly

    that looks like the perfect coffee table! Please do tell where I can find it for my tiny place. ;)

    Looks like you put together some very creative activities– love the crayon recycling.

  91. Katie

    I teach elementary school and I hear you—it’s hard to keep it interesting and engaging all the time! Especially when they can’t go outside!!

    I would say the more hands on, the better! It doesn’t have to be elaborate or involved. Sorting toys/cars/crayons/anything! by color or size or counting (if she’s counting-great, but just you counting and using number vocabulary is awesome!).

    Scavenger hunts in the house are also fun, using vocabulary (again) of colors and shapes (find something red, then draw it!, find something that’s a circle and draw it!, etc).

    “Reading” symbols of shapes or colors on a “map” to find something could be fun too!”

  92. Kristin

    January and February are bears… I find my self in a total downer funk this time of year too. . . Any way-
    Idea for the kids !! And fun for you too… Home made play dough. Just google a recipe -‘there are so many and they are all relatively simple …most of the ingredients are basics you have on hand typically . Also … Kids that age love making necklaces out of Cheerios or dried pasta shells ! Great hand eye, and this one takes fulllll concentration. With raffi pandora in the background you’ll be able to Pinterest your heart out while they happily string noodle necklaces ! :)

  93. bridget

    spring will be here before we know it!!! (i’m convincing myself too!)

  94. Gwennie

    Although mine are now older, we had lots of fun blowing bubbles in the tub in sub zero days. Also, pick up a plastic rain gutter to balance on the couch to use for rolling cars, marbles and other balls down it. If you get two then they can race them. I kept latex balloons for batting back and forth, which is quiet. My kids loved to play with pipe cleaners, making creatures and letters. And marshmallow shooters were a huge hit, here’s a link http://themetapicture.com/marshmallow-shooters/ Oh, and rubber stamps. I miss those days!

  95. Courtney

    Your kids are so beautiful! My daughhter is 21 months. We survived the polar vortex by hosting lots of tea parties for her stuffed animals and playing dress up with some of my clothes. I try to tell myself I like experiencing four seasons, and then winter comes…

  96. Anne

    You’re such a fun mama! I wanna come to your place when it’s bitter cold out ;)

  97. Jessica

    haha it looks like you all had a blast! I love the melting crown into stars idea, so cute!

  98. Jenn

    I’m feeling your post because we did so many of the same things this last week.I actually laughed to myself because I had just done a post on my own blog about washable paints in the bathtub.The stuff we try to entertain our kids haha.
    I find the best thing to help with winter time, is finding a friend you can spend a lot of time with. Someone you can just show up to their house unannounced and sit and chat while your kids run crazy! Someone you can be around and not have awkward silence bother you.
    That’s what makes winter easier for me at least :)

  99. i am amazed at how samson is growing – he looks bigger each time you post! those star crayons are brilliant **
    xx

  100. Amanda

    You have the best ideas! Everybody looks like they are having tons of fun :o) I am totally stealing the idea for the tub crayons as a gift when I go to visit my friends with 3 year old twins next month!

  101. First of all, LOVE the melty crayons idea. I must try that! Second, I read this post at the tail end of a week spent indoors with my two babies, during a massive heatwave in Australia. So strange but quite lovely that at the extreme ends of the weather charts, toddlers are toddlers and we were doing almost the same things at the same time! You inspired me to write a similar blog post from our own lock-in.

  102. Jen

    When my son was around that age, there was one month that it rained every. Single. Day. I remember making a rice sandbox for him – get a decent-sized container, put some uncooked rice inside, and add playground toys like shovels or trucks. Hours of entertainment – and if you choose a container with a lid, you can store the whole thing for another cold (or rainy) day. Another thing we did was to bring the kiddie pool inside, set it in the kitchen on some towels, and fill it with water, then have a ‘pool party’ complete with goggles and a beach ball. If you don’t have a kiddie pool, you could probably use something like a large plastic storage container. Let the kids help you empty and fill the ‘pool’ using a bucket, and make some fruit smoothies with little paper umbrellas.

    Winter’s tough with littles. You’re doing great!

  103. Becky H.

    Oh.my.goodness!
    That crayon idea is genius!
    I was just now wondering what in the world I could do to entertain my 2 year old today… Thanks for these ideas!

  104. Jessica

    I’m a little late to this post and it’s likely you’ll never see it. But another indoor (or outdoor) activity is to make a short film with your kids. We just finished making a silent film with our 4 kids (first post on my blog) and we had a lot of fun. Plus now we have that memory on film to enjoy over and over again. I would love to see what you guys would come up!

  105. Stefani

    My daughter and I made a “song bucket” during a recent snow day. it was a fun little art project-i just wrote song titles on papers and we drew on each together (like for ‘old mcdonald’, we drew animals. for ‘you are my sunshine,’ a sun) she loves to sing, and so after the arts and crafts part we were occupied for another hour at least, picking random songs from the bucket and singing. love your crayon melting idea-totally doing that soon! xo

  106. Brigette

    I love watching your littles grow! Mine are (almost) 4 and (just turned) 2 years old, so pretty close in age to yours! I write a kids activity blog if you ever need inspiration for indoor activities. I find the hardest thing is entertaining two kids of different ages, so I try to scale my activities to be engaging for both toddler and preschool aged siblings. Stay warm!
    http://lifelessonplans.org/

  107. Amy

    Reusing crayons is genius! They also look super cute and like a fun unique way to color. I plan on trying these with my little ones. Thanks for the inspiration, it has been crazy cold and blistery outside so it is always good to find new ideas of things to make.

  108. Sara V

    What a great idea!!! Trying this soon!

  109. Beckie

    PLEASE tell me where you got Eleanor’s beastie boys tee?! my husband and i have been planning on naming our first girl Eleanor for years (not that common of a name anymore, love that you have such a cute babe doing the name justice!) and she needs to have that shirt! Thanks!

    • TAZA

      welkin nyc!