As the temperatures drop in Ottawa, you may be looking for festive activities to do indoors with your little ones.  Here are some of my favourites, which also make for fun AND festive photos of your children playing, exploring, and creating.

boy painting for her second birthday photos

Red, green and white.  When my boys were little I would strap them into their high chair or booster seat, tape paper onto the tray or table, and then give them small amounts of paint to experiment with.  If you can pull the chair or high chair close to the window so you have lots of natural light, you also have the chance for fun photos of them with festive paint all over their hands and face.  If the thought of the mess causes too much stress, try creating a paint bag for your toddler to explore.  

small baby foot

Hands and toes.  There are dozens of ideas on Pinterest for handprint and footprint Holiday crafts.  I often use these hand, foot, or fingerprint creations on cards or to frame for family members.  If you have a baby or toddler, having another grown up on hand to help you navigate their hand or foot close to the paper is a great idea.  I would also recommend testing the paint with your own hand: I’ve found that certain brands of paint are too watery and dull to get good results and there’s nothing more disappointing than getting the perfect handprint only to realize it dries to be almost invisible on the paper.  This is also a great play date activity as you can help each other with the craft as well as take photos of your little ones as they paint and explore.  

sensory items

Sensory bins.  One of my favourite activities for the Winter months is sensory bins.  Filling shallow plastic containers with different materials (e.g., sand, pasta, rice), is a great way to introduce themed play but also an opportunity for your little one to explore different textures and work on their fine motor skills.  During the holiday season you can use dyed rice in your bins and add a variety of holiday themed toys. Positioning the bin near a patio door, is a great opportunity for photos of your toddler playing AND sitting still at the same time. Remember to supervise your child when they’re using the sensory bin to ensure they aren’t eating any of the items or spreading them all over your floor!

baking supplies

Baking.  Babies and children of all ages love to bake!  Even if your child isn’t old enough to help or play with the materials, they will still be fascinated sitting in a high chair and watching you work in the kitchen.  If your child is old enough to play with some of the supplies, you can set them up with measuring spoons and cups as well as a small amount of flour or sugar to play with.  Measuring out your ingredients before your child joins you in the kitchen is a great way to make sure your own recipe turns out and that you don’t end up missing something because you’re distracted.  

When the weather turns chilly it’s a great time to look indoors for new activities you can share with your babies and children.

What are your family’s favourite indoor activities?