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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Toddler Indoor Activities in Winter

SJ at DMC had a post that nudged me to write about the little things Ana (2½ year old) enjoys indoors by way of physical activity and expending energy.

Weekdays are somehow manageable as they tire her out in daycare; and weekday evenings somehow are only a few hours long between reaching home and hitting the sack for the night... however, the weekends are still a challenge especially in Winter when I can't take Ana to outdoor parks and activities as much as I'd like...

  1. Of course, Daddy's role cannot be ruled out - he does the more physical rough-and-tumble games with her which I wouldn't dream of doing - especially since Ana is close to 28 lbs and too heavy for me to handle like a rag doll. Somersaults, Airplane and Upside-Down-Hand-Walking are all great ways to get Ana to expend her immense stores of energy. And, if D is available, he takes care of that :)

  2. However, since he is not always available, we set up a little area by the sofa in the living room, and part of the nook by the kitchen in our house for Ana's indoor play. Basically, just area rugs to cushion her fall and no sharp-edged things around - nothing fancy.

    Now, she is at the beginnings of imaginative play. So, we just gave her a few cheap, fairly safe, dispensable paraphernalia - viz., a couple of little kitty tents, a laundry hamper (one of those framed one that fold down to a compact size - check the wires/frames before giving it to kids), hopping ball horsey

  3. I also try to do a small 10-15 minute session of dancing with Ana. She can either shake and jump as she likes, or try to follow my steps and ape me. I play some upbeat music and try to do some foot work and motion while counting and showing her the steps either from bharathnatyam or ball room dancing - like 1-2-cha-cha-cha, or the 1-2-345 (thai-thai-dhi-dhi-thai) steps.

    She is too little to dance in any coordinated way, but the counting and trying to imitate me seems to motivate her to move and bounce. Mostly she just jumps her gawkish monkey jumps, squealing and giggling, going round and round on the area rug.

  4. And, although this could lead to possible owwies and needs close supervision, setting up a few dining chairs, cardboard boxes open at both ends (like a tunnel), a few pillows and such as a simple obstacle course works sometimes. I must admit, due to my own laziness, I don't do this often. However, she gets under the dining table and weaves her way around the dining chairs on hands and knees and seems to have fun without any fancy obstacle-course set-up...

  5. Indoor basketball and soccer: Ana has this basketball hoop which is portable yet sturdy. It sits out in the yard over Summer, but, since I am not finicky about keeping my house hoity-toity like a museum - all artsy and adult-friendly - we brought it in for the winter. So, we play basketball for a while: she runs around picks up the ball, gets close to the hoop and shoves it into the basket. I like it better than tossing the ball from a distance as we are playing indoors and I'd rather not have to clean up broken pieces around the house :)

    She is not coordinated enough to kick properly, but, she pushes the soccer ball around on the floor with her legs - mostly trips over the ball, giggles wildly and gets up to try it again. Not sure how long this enthusiasm will last...

  6. Helping with laundry and dishes: since laundry is downstairs, I let her climb up and down the stairs a few times, with supervision, and help me put things into the washer - she sits on the adjacent dryer and drops each item into the washer.

    She likes to help put the clean dishes away from the dishwasher most of the time, which does not seem all that strenuous, but, I think it helps her coordination and focus (at least, it helps me get the boring chore done)

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