Tuesday Tutorial~~ April Showers, and what to do with your toddlers when it rains!

April showers bring May flowers, but they also cause cabin fever when stuck in the house with active little ones! Here are a few ideas for indoor activities that will get you through a rainy day, maybe even with your sanity intact!

Build a fort. Where? How? It can be as easy as throwing a sheet or two over the dining room table. Give your child a flashlight to use for their new "house" and it adds to the adventure. If the table is large enough you can even put an empty laundry basket down there for the "bed". Don't forget pillows.
** Mama hint: Take the sheets off the beds for this activity, and while they are busy, put clean sheets on the bed you stripped. If you finish before the magic wears off, sit with your feet up and have a cuppa java, or tea, or your  beverage of choice. You have to remember to take care of yourself for a few minutes each day.
The above activity is good for anywhere from 10 minutes to an all day project.

Send them on a treasure hunt.  Got a bunch of annoying plastic Easter eggs leftover? How about a sea shell collection? Amy men? Barbie accessories? Okay, then pennies or change, you surely have that! Whatever you decide, just take a walk through the house and hide them in strategic locations. Be sure to count how many items you have hidden so you can let them know when the game is done. If you have multiple little people doing this you can give awards to the winner(s) Better have more than one winner unless you like tears and tantrums. How about 1. Most found. 2. Trickiest hiding place finder 3. Happiest hunter.  That should cover the bases. The reward? Hmm. How about the winners get to take turns hiding the objects and letting the others find them. This can possibly turn into a "for next loop" type of game to Mom's advantage.
**Mama hint: Did you have your tea? Coffee? Take another break and do the crossword puzzle, or read the funnies. Extra points if you can listen to Mom music too. (No Raffi, this is your time!)
This activity is good for maybe only five minutes, but a savvy Mom can work it and make it last up to 45 minutes or more.

Get them moving. Okay, don't shoot me, but this one involves exercise, even for them Mom. Dust off one of those exercise DVD's your Mom gave you, or that you bought, or just find an exercise on demand station on the telly. Everyone get in their comfy clothes and plop down and do the exercise routine together. Your best bet is to pretend like they are at a real exercise class to get in the mood. Chances are, they won't do an entire DVD with you, but if they do 10-15 minutes, that's pretty good. The best part is that you can all feel like you did something positive for your bodies. This activity is good for about 10-20 minutes tops, unless you are somehow related to Richard Simmons.
**Mama hint: Make everyone, including yourself fruit smoothies for a reward after this activity.

Pretend Chef's Day. Got a play kitchen? If so, take all the play food and pretend gadgets and replace them with the real deal. No, not your blender or butcher knives, but look around, you have plenty of safe cool kitchen items that you can put in. How about the whisk, or real measuring cups, plastic of course. Wooden spoons, plastic mixing bowls and muffin tins round out the mix. Be sure to add some of those paper muffin tin liners for them too. That's a time killer when they start trying to put them in the muffin tins for you. The really cool things come from the pantry though. Hear me out.. give them dried beans, or pasta, and even rice.Of course use your best judgment when it comes to age appropriate items.  If you have any lunch sized paper bags you can even make chefs hats by rolling up the bottom and putting them on their heads. Add one of your aprons and they are transformed. Never mind about a bit of a mess, it will all tidy up later, and it will be more than worth it when they come to you with a new "recipe" for you to try.. watch their faces as you crunch down on dried pasta while saying "mmmm, yum"  Oh, and if you don't have a play kitchen, draw a "burner" on a piece of cardboard, or paper, tape it to a flat surface and you have a stove. Trust me, they will imagine the rest of the kitchen.

This activity could last for weeks and weeks. An unintended side affect may be that they love having real kitchen stuff so much, that next time you need that whisk, you will have to borrow it from your child.
**Mama hint: If you are a truly no holds barred Mom feel free to give them water to put in a pitcher to mix their concoctions. While they are "cooking" for you, take this time to make a real honest to goodness yummy lunch for yourself. Don't eat too much though, remember you have some dried rice to chew on later.. 

Well, that's all for today, I think I hear the dog chewing on some dried bow tie pasta.  Gotta go.

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