above all, plan for your regular, healthy rhythm of snacks, naps, meals, indoor outdoor and bedtime.
Activities within that rhythm:
Bake something (or cook something)
covers two bases—activity and snack!
Simple whole wheat rolls(recipe at the end) that can me kneaded, rolled into balls, snails, snow-people, etc... if you have a young toddler, you may need to do the bulk of this with them helping or playing with spoons and containers near-by. Also, you can cut veggies for a soup-- give your toddler a cutting board and butter knife to help cut soft things.
craft craft craft. Here are two ideas from Carol Petrash's book Earthways:
- Try an orange and clove 'pompador' – putting cloves into an orange then hanging it with ribbon—it will dry and smell wonderfully! --you need to make starter wholes for the cloves with a nail, a bamboo kabob stick or something you might discover works well.
- Make bird feeders-- slather pine cones with peanut or soy nut butter, then roll in birdseed, sunflower seeds … hang on a tree outside.
Seriously—you and I may know cleaning is a chore, but they dont yet—lets not spoil it for them! Washing dishes is warm, bubbly, watery, and feeds the senses! Either turn a chair so the back is to the sink so they can stand up with you and help wash, or put a few towels on the kitchen floor with dish tubs and sihes for the to wash while you are at the sink.
Try putting socks on their hands to dust the base molding—or table legs
polish wooden bowls and cutting boards with a beeswax polish, or oil them with mineral oil.
Leave them alone
As long as you're toddler proofed and not too far away, give the some space/time for free play. This usually only works if we adults decide to do some 'real work' (not talking on the phone or working on the computer) like cooking folding laundry, sewing, making something, repairing a broken piece of furniture....you get the idea.
Suit them up – and yourself too and go out into the winter wonderland! Hang your bird feeder, take a snow walk (you may not get far as there may be so much to see and do). Make snow angels, if there is enough snow, roll some balls and create something. Shovel /sweep snow off of a sidewalk or your car—give your toddler a tool with which to help. Catch snow flakes on your tongue...... get rosy cheeked and tired, then come back in for warm soup.....
Turn off screens, Slow down, be present, breathe.....
Recipe for whole wheat rolls:
1-2 Tablespoons dry yeast
1 teaspoon honey
2 cups warm water
2 cups whole spelt flour (or whole wheat)
1/2 c. honey
1/2 c. olive oil
4-6 cups combined white and whole spelt (or wheat)
1 teaspoon salt added with this flour.
1 Mix together the first 3 ingredients and let stand until bubbly. Mix in the 2 cups flour and let that get spongy.
2 Mix in the oil, honey and remaining flour (with the salt) one cup at a time until the dough is stiff enough to turn onto your work surface. (flour on work surface) Knead in some more flour until it’s not sticky then cut small pieces to shape into balls. put on baking sheet. Cover with a dish towel and let rise. While rolls are rising, preheat oven to 350. When they have doubled, bake for 15-20 minutes.