Entertaining a toddler when you just can’t go outside

I am definitely not one to complain about the warm summer weather we’ve been having; I MUCH prefer the heat to the cold (especially after the winter that wouldn’t end).  But sometimes it does get to be just TOO HOT to be running around outside for hours on end with your kiddo.  And sometimes there’s a thunderstorm which, despite all your wishes and deisres, keeps you inside for a few hours.  So what is a parent to do when stuck indoors with a little one that is just itching to run and play?  Here’s my list of things to do inside and places to go to beat the summer heat (or rain) without breaking the bank.

To Do Inside Without Leaving the House
1) Have a Nerf Gun fight
My husband and I impulsively bought 2 mini nerf guns at the store ($5 for the set- what a deal!).  Our thought was that since they were little, Ian would be able to use them and we could play together.  Well… even though they are small, the pull-back strength and trigger pull are so heavy that there is no way that Ian could manage it.  We opted for shooting each other instead, and I have to say, it was SO MUCH FUN.  We had just the 6 darts between us, but we were running through the house, hiding behind walls, jumping over pets, shooting wildly and laughing hysterically.  Meanwhile, Ian was shrieking with delight and gathering up all the ammo (and, conveniently, returning it to ME, not my husband).  If you haven’t had a nerf gun fight recently, this is a MUST do!  And as my experience proves, your little one can get involved even if he can’t manage the gun.


Best toys ever!


2) Dig out the sensory bins
These things are ridiculously awesome.  And they keep a kid entertained forever.  If you need some suggestions, Pinterest is inundated with these things.  Trust me.  I have a whole board dedicated to them.

3) Indoor finger painting
I originally saw this on Pinterest, and I was smitten.  Finger painting is fun but is so incredibly messy, so it’s typically better as an outside activity.  But this allows your little one to squelch and squish that paint without the accompanying mess!  That’s definitely a win-win!


Put paint in bags and tape to the table- genius!!


4) Bathtub painting
I also saw this on Pinterest (pinned from http://www.theidearoom.net), and it’s genius (and has the side benefit of ending up with a sparkly clean tub afterwards).  I can’t wait to try this with Ian the next time it’s really pouring outside and we need something fun to do.

Things To Do Out of the House
1) Go to the library
You’d be surprised what types of things are available (for FREE) for you to do at your local library.  Ours does story times, puppet shows, crafts, and more.  And after the “event” is over, you can spend some time browsing through the books and discovering something new to read together.

2) Go to a bookstore
Similar to the library, a lot of bookstores have story times for kids (and they’re usually free!).  If they don’t have a story time, they probably have a kid’s area that has not only a mountain of children’s books but also a play area.  Our local Barnes and Noble has a train table.  That’s enough to keep Ian happy for hours.

3) Go to a park with a splash pad
We are extremely fortunate that the parks in our area are fantastic.  The playgrounds are terrific and the parks are very well maintained.  We’re also lucky that a few of our parks also happen to have splash pad areas.  If it’s really stinking hot, a splash pad is a great way to cool down if you don’t have easy access to a pool.

What do you like to do to keep your littles entertained when it’s super hot and sticky outside (or when it’s raining a flood)?

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