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

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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.


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!)


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.


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!


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!)


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. 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.

  2. 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!”

  3. 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 ! :)

  4. bridget

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

  5. 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!

  6. 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…

  7. Anne

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

  8. Jessica

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

  9. 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 :)

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

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. Becky H.

    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!

  15. 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!

  16. 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

  17. 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!

  18. 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.

  19. Sara V

    What a great idea!!! Trying this soon!

  20. 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!