Everything I Know About Kids I Learned From Dogs

Being trapped indoors with two feisty toddlers is about as much fun as a pap smear.

Western Pennsylvania weather is constantly kicking us in the crotch with blankets of snow in the winter, gallons of rain in the spring, and drastic temperature changes from day to day regardless of the season. I actually have a picture of my kids in t-shirts and sunglasses standing in still-melting-snow. WTF, Mother Nature?!

Because of this atmospheric assault, I’ve had a lot of practice entertaining my offspring in inclement weather. My infinite wisdom (lie) and I are going to let you in on a little secret. Come closer. Closer…

Little kids are pretty much like dogs; they want to run like maniacs, stuff their faces, and subsequently pass out on the floor.

Easy to accomplish outdoors, but when the winds are topping out at 50 MPH or there’s a frostbite warning, we’re inevitably stuck in the house because I can’t go to the indoor germ infested playground where I inevitably eat my weight in Auntie Anne’s pretzels every day. So here for your parental pleasure (and maybe benefit?), I’m sharing a list of indoor activities because if you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change.

Sorry, Michael Jackson flashback.

Indoor Activities
1. If your children are ages can-sit-on-their-own to approximately 5, they will chase the light beam from a laser pointer or flashlight, as well as bubbles.  You sit, they go crazy, you’re all entertained. P.S. They should wear helmets for this event.


2. Make the mundane mah-velous. Lunch time is turned on its head by having a full-blown picnic on the living room floor. Pack a basket or a cooler, break out the checkered blanket, and put something outdoorsy on TV. “Kids, did you see that alligator attack the unsuspecting antelope?!” Okay…maybe not that outdoorsy.


3. Two words: movie marathon. I don’t know how to talk to you if you don’t use the television as a babysitter for at least 5 minutes each day to take a poo in private. The movie can be educational, okay? Geez…


4. Create an obstacle course with pillows, boxes, and other stuff you know you have crammed in your closets. Kids are running and jumping and then hopefully napping. And then you can Pin more outfits that don’t fit your birthing hips on Pinterest.

5. Don’t hate me for saying this, but CRAFTS. Play-Doh sucks, but kids love it. Man up and make stuff. Little painting projects, stickers, homemade cards for family birthdays, and other artistic endeavors that you can pawn off on lovingly bestow upon the grandparents are clutch.

6. This is a little known fact about toddlers, but they love cleaning as long as you don’t call it cleaning. Give them a dust rag or a hand broom and watch the magic unfold.

7.  Hide-and-Go-Seek is 100% hilarious when played with toddlers. Please anticipate the children hiding behind you, like, literally right behind you, and then announcing their hiding spot. Now laugh because it’s awesome.

8. Read a book or surf the web for kid-friendly jokes. You know you’re sick of hearing the same unsuccessful knock-knock jokes, so take the bull by the horns and teach the kiddos some new funny ha-ha’s. They’re adorably proud of themselves when they deliver the punchline.

9. Snuggle. Really, just snuggle.

10. “You can do it, put your back into it.” When Ice Cube raps that line, he’s referring to acting out your kids’ favorite book. Use varying voices for the characters, dress the part, stand in the middle of the room and get your drama on. Unlike the drama on Facebook, these antics will be well-received and leave you feeling satisfied instead of stressed.

11. Teach your kids something new. Write your names, memorize a poem, or my husband’s favorite: subtraction. We’re a rowdy bunch, try to keep up.

12. If you were irked by my craft suggestion, then you’re going to throw shoes at me for this one: bake cookies together. Listen, I’m not going to lie: it’s a bit difficult managing dough and kids and the mess. But the end result, warm cookies and happy kids, is worth it.

13. Fill up the bathtub and play the Sink or Float game. Will that Matchbox car sink or float? What about dad’s toothbrush? Possibilities–endless.

14. Throughout the year, write down random indoor activities and put them in a jar. On days where the weather prohibits you from enjoying nature’s splendor (sarcasm unless you’re at the beach), let the kids pull out a slip of paper and decide your course of action. When they start fighting over who gets to choose the slip of paper or whose activity will come first, it’s nap time.


Mamas and Papas, add to the list; what do you and your little ones do to pass the time indoors? 


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  1. Love it! My child can sit in her Bumbo chair (yes she’s 2 1/2 and still sits in a Bumbo for all meals, turn me into DSS) and color with markers for a good 30 minutes. It’s a great rainy day, tired day, lazy day, or I need to write my blog post activity!

  2. Great ideas! Totally pinned…I’ve got a couple of must adds:
    Make a tent/fort out of blankets and pillows then cuddle in with some books and a flashlight. P.S. they may even fall asleep!

    Have a dance party. P.S. afterwards they may even fall asleep!

    • How could I forget the dance parties?! We have one every night! And blanket forts?!! Brilliant ;) And I like where you’re going with this: they. fall. asleep.

  3. Great ideas! I’m just past this age with my kiddos, but I remember the days so well. Now we’ve got netflix and ipods and the wii and all sorts of digital mind numbing devices that will suffice!

    • I will say: the iPad (or Eyed-Pad as my daughter calls it) has come in handy lately. Bless Apple. P.S. Your virgin post KILLED me!!!!!

  4. Perfect. Laughing. Enjoying. Commiserating. Tweeting…

  5. Where WERE you when my kids were little??? I could have used this list. Might still come in handy for the granddaughter, though. Awesome post, Stephanie. You always make me laugh!

  6. Steph, this list was FANTASTIC! We definitely have an indoor picnic often. My kids love eating on the floor in a makeshift tent. Recently, they decided to build a bowling alley using duck tape and an old sheet. We used water bottles as pins, busted out the strobe light, blared some music, and voila! We had our very own bowling night!

    Exhausting but fun! :)

  7. These are great for my 3 year old, though I’m already tired from reading them!

    My almost 10 year old is always content with a video game or his bike, thank goodness!

    • I have a 2 and almost 4-year-old, so I’m not sure how much longer I’ll get away with some of these. Especially because my daughter (2 y/o) always wants the “eyed pad!” :) :) Thanks for reading and commenting, Anita!!

  8. Hey Steph! I started reading the books with dramatic flair when the first one was just a wee thing…this has proved to be both winning and losing for me. The kids all love hearing mommy read (act foolish, talk in different voices) books and request more and more and more. On the flip side don’t try to read a book in a mundane voice with little effort. I have to pull out an Oscar winning performance EVERY night (exhausting)!!! Keep doing it though! It’s totally worth it now as they have become readers and use a lot of flair themselves!

  9. Great list! We’ve built forts, had many a dance party, and filled the tub with dollar store glow sticks for tons of fun! The one Pinterest activity I was really good at and actually turned out just like they promised!

  10. When my kids were little they LOVED Richard Simmons “Dancing To The Oldies” . I am not kidding. Sometimes I participated with them, sometimes I folded laundry, but they always did the whole workout with him and often times wanted to do it again. (Please do not confuse this with Gene Simmons “Dancing on the Oldies” – totally inappropriate viewing) ;)

  11. Comic genius! I don’t even know where to begin. I may have to read this over and over again, both for the inspiration and the laughs. So funny, and yet, actually helpful! You rock!

  12. Oh yes – mucho marvellous fun has been had with a laser pen. Try it when sat by the bar on holiday and you can gather a entire herd of small bodies, all relentlessly chasing the magic light. Much more fun if you aim it at one child’s T-shirt and then watch the rugby scrum as the others all dive in to try and find it!

  13. This was SO funny and cute. We have built many a fort in our day and I used to give each kid a cookie sheet with some shaving cream. Depending on age, they could “draw”, write their names, do math problems, whatever. We also made “race tracks” with blankets for the boys.

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