The shift in cold weather signifies more than just the change in seasons when you’re a parent to little ones. As December ends, and January begins, I completely feel the need to scramble and figure out how to keep my busy little bee occupied during those days & times when we can’t be outside playing. (Yes, I’m talking about snowstorms and freezing cold temps – we all know they’re coming).

For us, our biggest challenge is the time between her nap and dinner. During the spring, summer, and early fall, it’s literally the best time to be outside burning up that pre-dinner energy. However, when the time changes, we lose the “golden hour”, perhaps now even harder to lose as a mom to a toddler. Below are some of the things, I try to do to prevent that little request to “watch Minnie show”.

Create an Art Area:
As my daughter approached two, I noticed her interests started to shift a bit. At this age, it sometimes takes more than just her toys to distract her. At her preschool, they do a lot of projects and when I drop her off, she runs to the easel first. So for Christmas this year, we purchased this relatively inexpensive easel from Costco and this table off Amazon.

She received art supplies for her birthday (thank goodness they’re all washable) and spends a ton of time creating in this space. I love that the table has a lot of purposes – we can read there and use it for snack time so she can be coloring while she eats.

Find a spot to set up a Reading Teepee:
This is the most versatile toy ever and I see us getting a lot of use out of it for years to come. Not only is it great for reading, but also good for playing. Isabelle drags dolls and other toys in there and just runs in and out of it. When we switch her to a toddler bed, I’m planning to move it up to her room for any of those afternoons when she’s all “no nap”.

Get a Museum Membership or Join a Class:
A membership to EverWonder Children’s Museum is affordable and makes a great gift. We received one for Christmas and it has already started to show its value. In addition to the exhibits and discounts on events, the museum has an great play area for kids. It’s perfect for those times when you need to fill a few hours and of course a great place to meet other families. And a membership gets you discounts to museums throughout the country, including Stepping Stones in Norwalk.

Suzuki Music School and Music Together of Monroe/Newtown offer classes for kids of all ages. When we first moved here, we did Music Together and Izzy & I met some wonderful moms & tots through our weekly class. Now that Isabelle’s in school two days a week, she has a Suzuki class once a month. Besides going into her school, Suzuki offers music programs for kids of all ages. You can read more about MTMN here and Suzuki here.

One of the things, we haven’t had a chance to check out yet is a Gymnastics class. There are several places in our area offering programs for toddlers & preschoolers. And based on everything I’ve heard and read, I don’t think you can go wrong with any of the places. Vasi’s Gymnastics, here in Newtown has parent & child classes beginning at 18 months and independent classes for preschoolers for 3 – 5 year olds. In Danbury, Gymnastics Spectrum offers classes beginning at 18 months and Gymnastics Revolution starts classes for ages 3+.

Head to the Library:
Our area libraries offer a range of programs for kids. Since we live in Newtown, we use the C.H. Booth Library weekly. (FACT one of the things I’m trying to do in 2019 is buy less books and borrow from the library more). The play space at the library is a great way to switch up your routine for a bit and play with some new toys, puzzles & books.

Spend Time at an Indoor Play Place:
There are many options for indoor play spaces in our area and lucky for the kids in our community, they all offer slightly different experiences. In our house, we love Tot Town for its imaginative play area. The grocery store and ice cream truck are Isabelle’s personal favorites and I love that we can visit for a few hours, since it’s pretty impractical to have all of this in our home. Main Street Adventures is brand new to Newtown, with a perfect location right on Rt. 25. It’s essentially an indoor playground with an area for babies/toddlers plus a HUGE playscape.

Bounce in Danbury and SkyZone Bethel offer little and big kids the opportunity to JUMP. Both spaces are fun and great ways to burn off energy. Toddler Times are available at both spots.

What do you do to keep your kids (both little and big) occupied during the winter? Please feel free to share any ideas!

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