I am actually collaborating on a better post about indoor activity suggestions with a more knowledgeable friend (can’t wait to share) but for now, I thought I’d share what we’ve been up to in the last month as part of this month’s Maggie Monthly post.
If you read my last post, I believe I mentioned that we may not *have* a post every month now since Maggie is over a year. She is still growing and changing everyday, but the “big ticket” milestones are more spread out now I find. So, if we don’t have much change to report on I’ll try and share any activities we get up to that M really enjoyed because I know other people are always looking for suggestions (I am as well – so if you have 1 year old activity suggestions, shoot them my way on IG and Twitter @EITWblog!).
In terms of Maggie’s growth and development this month…
She has been really into climbing things – I really want to get a play couch, because I know she’d love it, but it’s just not financially reasonable for us *at this exact moment*. I’m hoping in the coming months it is something I can grab for her. I thought about a Pikler – but we just don’t have the indoor space for one right now. Maybe in future!
She also has been a total chatterbox! Talking so much more – no new, clear words yet, but she is definitely working on something. I noticed her talking has increased a lot in the past week or so, and her sleep has been disrupted and for her, that’s usually a sign of an oncoming milestone so maybe next month I’ll have more updates!
Her ASL skills are also expanding – she signs well for sleep now at nap and bed time. We are working through other signs from her sign language book too, and she practices signing at daycare as well.
So what have we been up to?
We are still on stay-at-home orders here in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and it is pretty cold (though I am reminded – not as cold as it is in Alberta for some of my friends!!) so most of our activities have been confined to the indoors. We of course still do walks on the weekend and M goes at daycare, and has also been sledding a few times! Gotta get that Vitamin D in somehow, right?
Some of the indoor activities we have tried over the past month include:
Rainbow Spaghetti (Sensory)
This was really fun and super easy to do – Maggie is loving the sensory experiences lately. She has always been a fan of the Touch and Feel books so I knew she would be a babe who loved sensory, and I’m glad we are able to explore more things now that she is a bit older. Still – she puts everything in her mouth (though this has definitely been less frequent now), so I try to do activities that are mouth-safe/edible when possible.
All you need is some spaghetti (or really any pasta but I think spaghetti is the most fun for this activity in particular) and some food dye! I cooked the pasta, drained it and then put it in ziplock bags (two separate – one for each colour, or you would do more if you had more colours!) and put a few drops of dye in. Use your discretion and judgment re: amount of dye. I put some water in too and mixed the pasta around in the bag then let it sit for about an hour with the dye. The longer it sits = the more colourful the pasta will be!
Make sure before use you rinse the pasta off. I put the pasta in a colander and rinsed it – otherwise your babe will have dyed hands and possibly – dyed everything!
Then it is already for play! I put it in a clear bin container and sat her in the highchair. If it were the summer I probably would have sat her outside to let her do this more freely but… this was not the case for us this time around. Maggie really enjoyed this and she definitely had a few bites of the pasta too!
I got our food dye at the dollar store and same with the container!
Muffin Tray – Selection of Toys
You can do so much with a muffin tray! This is probably the simplest of possible options because it doesn’t involve having to buy anything separate (unless you want to) and involves pretty much no preparation.
I took a selection of toys Maggie has that were small and put them in the muffin tray. I spread them out and left a few sections empty so she could move stuff from one spot to another. I also gave her extra stuff so she could put it into the tray too – as pictured above! I added in some pom-poms and foam letters because I had bought them for another activity in the past and wanted to reuse them. So you can throw in whatever you’d like – just make sure it is safe for baby and if you have a teether/eater, then safe for that too.
And that’s it. Give babe the muffin tray to explore! You can also do this with a container like I used for the spaghetti, just for “exploration”. SO EASY but I kid you not – M loved this! It kept her entertained for awhile at a time and I left it out for her for a few days and she’d go back to it and explore more.
So simple and so easy to do – you probably have a muffin tray, but if you don’t just grab one from a dollar store! The toys can be whatever you have on hand – or grab a few supplies from a dollar store as well, that are baby/toddler safe.
Valentine’s Day Sensory Bin
I didn’t take any pictures of my actual bin – but it was very simple. I grabbed a few V-day themed items from – you guessed it – the dollar store, and threw them into a bin for M to explore. I got some foam hearts, pom-poms (she loves those), X’s and O’s (bigger size so they were baby safe) and some other heart/baby-safe decor pieces. I also grabbed a garland and heart “wreath” for photos – but M enjoyed playing with these too!
Activities don’t have to be incredibly complicated for kids to enjoy them – sometimes just giving Maggie something new to look at and touch can entertain her for quite awhile! I also keep sensory bins “active” for a few days and bring them in and out of play, to keep her interested and stimulated.
We also did Valentine’s day cards for Maggie’s grandparents – just involved colouring for her. I used construction paper, some of the foam hearts from the bin, and crayons/markers for M to draw with. I *definitely* helped – but it was still a small activity for her to do!
One thing we did purchase: Mess-Free Finger Painting (and a DIY option!)
I think I did talk about this in one my previous posts, but this has been a really easy activity for us to whip out on the weekends for some quick play. I’ll link the Crayola product again here – keep in mind there are many similar products available on Amazon if you want to browse because I actually don’t think that one specifically is available anymore online (I believe you can get it at Toys R Us).
I like this because it’s mess free so no clean up after. Put your paper in, the paint blobs and colours you want and put the screen down – ta-da! Baby can “finger paint” and it’s pretty easy to do. We’ve had some nice little pieces of art come out of this, of course some also had mom and dad as contributors… but still fun!
You can also DIY this yourself – we did this in the past. I can’t remember if I shared this before on here, but I believe it is on my Instagram page:
We bought some dollar store canvases, some non-toxic paint and used the saran wrap we had at home to do this! Just put your paint blobs on (same idea as the Crayola one) and wrap the canvas (tape down to secure and I suggest doing this somewhere that – if any leaks out – it can be easily cleaned, so maybe on a mat) and let baby have at it! Maggie was really little when we did this so she needed a lot of help, but at this age she would probably love it!
What I’m brainstorming for this month:
- I’ve been obsessively saving toilet paper and paper towel rolls for a pom-pom activity that I saw on Pinterest – will share next month!
- Orbeez – we got some from our daycare provider and still haven’t played with them yet – keep in mind these are high supervision!
- St Patrick’s Day sensory – I’m really into the themed sensory stuff now. I am saving materials that stay intact too for future crafts and working on a craft bin with different stuff for when M is a bit older!
- And more – I’m going to be collaborating with a friend on a great post with suggestions so we will likely be trying most if not all of them out in the coming months! Can’t wait!