Skip to main content

8 Winter Boredom Busters for 1-year-olds

Update Jan. 2016 -- This post was written before we really started on our Montessori journey. If you are a Montessori family, many of these same ideas will still work! I wouldn't recommend, however, introducing letters to such a young child. 

8 activities to keep toddlers busy indoors during the winter. These easy ideas are perfect for sensory play.

Here in Minnesota, it's the middle of the winter. Most days, it's too cold to go outside, too snowy, too icy, or just plain wet. Plus, I hate being cold so even on days where Henry could tolerate it, I tend to stay inside. So, we need to stay busy. Here are some things I do to avoid seeing that face above and some links for more information or additional activities.


Sensory Bins: I've talked a lot about sensory bins and some tips on successful sensory play. Sensory bins can really be anything you want them to be. We sometimes do themed bins, but a lot of the time, the bins don't need to be something elaborate or special. Just putting a bunch of related materials in a bin together seems to open up a whole new world for toddlers. A bin could be all one color, a group of different textures, natural materials, or kitchen tools. 



Mess Free Painting -- This is a great activity especially for younger toddlers. And you can make some pretty cute projects this way. Best part -- it really is no mess!


Glow Sticks --Toddlers love these! Go to a dark room, crack a few of these and have fun. Henry likes to play hide-and-seek, name the colors, or just whip them around. These are also perfect for that hour between dinner time and bedtime -- minimal mess, minimal cost.



Baby Doll Bath -- Get out the tiny baby bath tub from your storage room and give a baby doll a bath. I put some warm water, bubble bath, and a washcloth in and let Henry do his thing. I also had a towel, baby bottle, comb and blanket waiting for after they were done. Henry loved scrubbing that baby, drying him off, and starting over.



Rainbow Rice -- Not only is rainbow rice easy to make, toddlers love it. You can use it in a sensory bin, or on its own. Its perfect for colorful music shakers, for pouring, scooping, or just making a mess with. For older toddlers, it would be a great thing for them to help you make...it's really that easy. 


Water Beads -- These little gel beads start out small but after a few hours in water they are perfect for toddler play. They are kinda wet, but not water filled...smaller, but not tiny. The texture is so cool, I could sit and play with them for hours. They store for several days and are pretty cheap. 


Bathtub Painting -- Put some dabs of finger paint all over your bathtub. Let your toddler loose. They can paint all over the place. And the paint becomes perfect for drawings. When the fun is over, just turn on the bath and the toddler and the tub get all clean. 


Scooping and Transferring: This is another activity where you really have total freedom. Henry loves to just transfer objects from one container to another. You get to decide the object to transfer and the containers. We've done the glass jars and buttons.

But the objects can be anything like beads, coins, beans, water, baby food lids. Or for younger toddlers, ball pit balls. The containers can be be big with small openings, big with big openings, glass, plastic, metal...pretty much anything. To add a little more challenge add a spoon, dropper, or tongs for the toddler to use while transferring. 

Hopefully these can keep you busy until the weather warms up! How do you keep a toddler busy in the winter?



And don't miss my Young Toddler Pinterest Board for a lot of great ideas for keeping little guys busy!

This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.

signature

Comments

Amy said…
Love your ideas! I like the paint idea, and keep telling myself that I am going to do this one day! You can also use shaving cream the same way, although you probably already know that - and if you are in for a little bit of a mess, you can put the shaving cream straight on to the table. or use it in the tub the same way as the paint. My childre also love to 'play grocery shopping' with real food from the pantry, although we have adapted this to a school game, where they have to use magnetic money (bought at the Dollar Tree) to pay for their food. :)
Unknown said…
I'd be worried my daughter would eat/choke on the water beads. Obviously I'd be there to supervise, but do you end up saying "no" and redirecting more than they get to play with them?
Anonymous said…
I feel the same way. I have twins & I feel like I never try new things but it's a battle sometimes.

Popular Posts

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List -- Birth to Five -- UPDATED 2019

When you are interested in Montessori, it can be difficult to know exactly what types of products you should get for your home. Or which types of "Montessori" materials are really worth the price. There are no rules about types of products can use the name Montessori which can add to the confusion. Not to mention, every toy manufacturer slaps the word "educational" on the package for good measure!

2019 UPDATE: This post has been updated to include a variety of brands and new product finds! Just a reminder that no one child will be interested in all of this or needs all of this. These toys are just here to spark ideas and give you a feeling for some Montessori-friendly options available! 


So, with this post, I'm going to try to help with this confusion! Here's a list of Montessori-friendly toys and materials for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. 


First, let's clarify that there is no such thing as a "Montessori toy." Montessori never created to…

Which Open-Ended Toys are "Worth it?"

As a Montessori parent, I try to provide a mix of materials in our home to engage my kids! That work that will spark joy, concentration, and repetition. It's not always an easy task, as Maria Montessori said, "Life is mysterious...only the choice of life can choose the work that the child truly needs. Therefore, the teacher respects this mysterious process and knows to wait with faith." So, there does sometimes feel like there is a bit of trial and error when it comes to choosing materials that your children need. 

For us, the right balance is easier to find when I spend time deeply observing my children. Watching their interests, sitting on my hands if I have to, letting them struggle a little with things, and letting them get bored. And what I have personally found is that here at home, a combination of open ended materials and more structured work have been the right balance. Open ended toys wouldn't necessarily be found in a Montessori classroom, but they are perf…

A Montessori Approach to Purging Your Toys

Becoming a Montessori family has been life changing in so many ways, most obviously with the amount and type of materials we use in our home. Once you see why having so many toys is a problem, or when you make the decision to move towards Montessori, it can be completely overwhelming. But, taking a Montessori approach to purging your toys is possible! And, it doesn't exactly mean that you have to throw away everything you have and start over with only expensive wooden toys. It will mean taking a hard look at what you have and whether it really fits with Montessori.


One note, however, Montessori is at its core about following your child's own path and respecting your child as a whole person. So, if your child has a toy, lovey, book, or whatever that your child super loves or is super attached to, but it doesn't fit Montessori ideals, don't take it away. Follow your child, that is more Montessori than whether or not you own some specific consumer product. 
How to Purge You…