Toddlers thrive when they can run around outdoors and play. According to KidsHealth.org, toddlers between the ages of 12 and 36 months need a minimum of 30 minutes of structured physical activity and a minimum of 60 minutes of free play each day. When cold weather strikes, you'll need to become a little more resourceful and create a few indoor activities to keep your toddlers active for this length of time.
Grab your toddler's favorite CD and have a dance-off. Try getting your toddler to copy your dance moves and then turn the tables so that you copy your toddler's dance steps. Disney produces several music CDs for toddlers, as do children's groups like The Wiggles or the Doodlebops. Use the Wii to dance with your toddlers. Just Dance has a Disney version for kids that is fun for both parents and toddlers. There is no need to make up your own dance moves, as you simply follow the moves displayed on the screen.
Toddlers love to create forts. Even if you don't have a pop-up tent for your toddler, you can easily make one by draping blankets over the dining room table. Ask your toddler to pretend this is a home for a family. Have her shout out things a family would need in a home. She can get pretend items to bring into the playhouse, such as stuffed animals to represent family members, fake food for meals and doll clothes. Another option for creating a playhouse is to use a giant box. Parents will need to cut out a door and perhaps a window or two, but toddlers can easily color or paint the playhouse to decorate it to their liking.
Get your toddler involved in making his own snack. Keep in mind that toddlers are too young to use a stove or oven. Instead, create a fruit pizza out of an English muffin. Help your toddler toast the muffin in a toaster. Give him some spreadable cream cheese and a plastic knife to cover the top of the muffin with cream cheese. Finally, allow him to top the cream cheese with his favorite pieces of fruit. Another great snack for toddler to make is a frozen banana. Guide your toddler through dunking half a banana at a time in some yogurt and then coating it with crushed graham crackers. Help your toddler place the banana pieces in the freezer for 30 to 45 minutes before eating.
Parents can transform their living room into a fun obstacle course for toddlers. Place a hula hoop on the floor for toddlers to jump in and out of, set a teddy bear in the middle of the room to pick up and twirl around with and lay an egg in a basket that must be carried across the finish line. Just remember to keep the obstacle course simple with no more than three parts. You don't want to frustrate your toddler by trying to have her remember too many steps. Don't forget to go through the obstacle course first so that your toddler can visually see how to do it. Create a course that has your child channeling his inner animal. Place a picture of an animal every 12 inches across your living room. Tell your child to run to the picture and then pretend to be the animal in the picture. Once she does this, have her run to the next picture. Repeat until she has gone through all of the pictures. You can do this activity many times by using different animal pictures each time.
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