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 2020

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! 2020 UPDATE: This list is updated for another year! Enjoy a variety of Montessori friendly finds from both major retailers and smaller shops!  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 toys, but only works for classroom settings. While there are many works that I recommend for home school use, you won't find these

Sensitive Periods from Birth to 6 - A Chart and Guide

Dr. Maria Montessori spent her life observing, studying, and writing about children. During her lifetime of work she discovered that young children move through a series of special times when they are particularly attracted to specific developmental needs and interests. She called these times, sensitive periods. During the sensitive period, children learn skills related to the sensitive period with ease. They don't tire of that work, but seek it, crave it and need it. When the sensitive period passes, this intense desire is gone, never to return.  That doesn't mean the skill is lost forever once the sensitive period is over. Instead, it just means that it will take a more conscious effort to learn. As Dr. Montessori explains,  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. "A child learns to adjust himself and make acquisitions in his sensitive periods. These are like a beam that lights interiorly a battery that furnishes energy. It is this sensibility which enables

Working from Home with Kids - A Montessori Schedule

One part of my life that I haven't talked a ton about here on The Kavanaugh Report is how I'm a work-from-home parent. Eight years ago I started to work at home while parenting full time. For the first several years, I worked as a legal writer while maintaining this space on the side. When Gus was born, I moved into working on sharing our Montessori life full time. It has blossomed into a full time career sharing content here, teaching courses, and now the podcast! Through it all, my kids have been home with me.  This all seems more relevant to so many of us now that Covid-19 has closed schools and forced parents to stay at home and work while caring for children. I'm not going to lie - it's tough. It's hard to balance work and kids, especially when children are used to a completely different routine. But, it's not impossible! And, it can even be enjoyable.  As I talk about in my podcast Shelf Help , we block our days into 3 hours groups. It helps