Playtime Pinspiration: Bringing Winter Indoors

I get incredibly restless at this time of year, waiting impatiently for the change of season.

Just as I was thinking it was looking hopeful, the sudden deluge of hail today literally poured (frozen) cold water on my dreams of spring, reminding me not to get too ahead of myself. Luckily, there is a lot of fun to be had in the winter with a toddler – and, even better, you don’t even have to go outside to take advantage of it.

Playtime Pinspiration - Bringing winter indoors

This was the idea behind my Playtime Pinspiration this week. Motherhood and Other Adventures had the brilliant idea of creating a winter wonderland for her little boy in the comfort of their living room. They had all sorts of fun cutting out snowflakes and doing a snowflake walk and dance, having a snowball fight with balled up socks and, of course, sledging.

While the weather outside is still frightful, I decided it was time to bring winter indoors for ToddlerGirl.

First, the scene setting… An old white, textured bedspread made a perfect snowy backdrop laid out on the living room floor and I put out a few of ToddlerGirl’s winter themed books, opened to show the snowy scenes. I also draped a duvet without its cover over our cardboard box den to create a snow fort, laying ToddlerGirl’s woolly pram blanket with its white, snowball-like bobbles inside. She particularly liked this ‘dressing up’ of her den and immediately crawled in, examining the blanket before piling all her soft toys inside.

Having set the scene, we were ready to play. What better way to start our afternoon of winter fun than with a snowball fight? We used two long pieces of paper that had come inside an Amazon delivery box the day before to make our snowballs. Unfortunately, the paper was brown… so our snow looked a little dirty but was very eco-friendly! ToddlerGirl joined in with me ripping the paper into pieces, scrunching it into balls and throwing these into the delivery box, which was a great activity in itself. The snowball fight didn’t really happen, probably because she actually has never had a snowball fight before and didn’t know what I was up to when I was lobbing scrunched up pieces of paper around! But she loved climbing into the box, having all the balls piled around her and then scooping them up and dumping them out of the box. This occupied her for quite a while.

We then turned the box into a sledge. ToddlerGirl and a favoured selection of her toys climbed in and I dragged the sledge around the living and dining rooms. This worked especially well in our dining room which has a laminate floor. After a few circuits, I tried to encourage her to pull her toys around but she was enjoying sledging too much herself! So we carried on for a few more laps before I decided it was time to move onto our next activity and give Mummy’s back a rest.

I brought in a selection of hats and scarves for some winter dressing up. ToddlerGirl is obsessed with dressing and undressing herself at the moment, so this game absorbed her for a nice long time and gave me a chance to recover from the sledging. I found some circles of iridescent gauzy fabric which we threw up in the air and watched as they floated softly to the ground, like oversized snowflakes. I also laid out some sparkly fabric that we haven’t looked at for a while. ToddlerGirl examined the sparkles closely and we played peekaboo, always a favourite game.

For our next activity, I had prepared a ‘lucky dip’ style plastic bucket with some shredded white tissue paper and a few of ToddlerGirl’s small toys. She loved digging around finding what was buried inside – but not as much as pulling all the shredded paper out of the bucket, dumping it into the sledge box and climbing in! She really enjoyed the swishy sound and feel of the shredded paper and we had fun putting it onto our heads to create silly ‘hairstyles’. Of course, ToddlerGirl can’t go too long without trying to chew something and was soon having a taste of the paper, so that signaled the end of that activity! We gathered as much of the paper as possible and put it back in the bucket – luckily ToddlerGirl is in a helpful phase at the moment.

To finish our afternoon’s fun and games, we got the tablet out and watched a couple of wintery-themed videos on YouTube. We started with The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies from Fantasia, which shows the fairies ‘frosting’ the leaves and flowers around them, and then watched the Waltz of the Flowers; this begins with autumn leaves falling but ends with snowflakes and is just a beautiful piece of music. I have only recently rediscovered Fantasia but it really is fantastic. ToddlerGirl was glued to the screen and the music is wonderfully relaxing. Of course, it wasn’t all highbrow classical stuff – we had to end with a few plays of the Cbeebies Winter Song, which ToddlerGirl absolutely loves and I now have stuck in my head!

I may be over winter in real life but this was such a fun afternoon for the two of us. The winter themed games kept ToddlerGirl happily occupied for a good few hours. They were so successful that we didn’t get round to the other activities I had planned: playing with our snowdough; colouring/painting on some snowflake paper plates that I have leftover from a Christmas party; reading our winter books; and doing a bit more with our snow fort. So we’ll definitely be bringing winter indoors again. Thank you Motherhood and Other Adventures for my Playtime Pinspiration!

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