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With the recent wildfires in Colorado, the smoke has made many families need to stay inside.  More indoor time got me to thinking about getting through a winter with children during Coronavirus.  Here is a list of ideas to prepare for fall and winter, indoors and out.  Remember, sometimes drastic times call for drastic measures!

Prepare your outdoor space

Make a balance beam from cinder blocks and a board.  Start with a 2 X 10 and work your way down to a narrower 2 X 4.  Start with a height of one cinder block and progress to two or three blocks in height.

Fall is the perfect time to create a fun outdoor obstacle course!  Grab some hay bales and jump from one to the next.  Children will love getting creative with ways to avoid a raging river, hot lava, or quicksand.  Incorporate old pallets, a swing, ropes, and ladders.

Trampolines (we encourage using a safety net) are fun for all ages. Children love jumping regardless of the temperature.

Create a fairy garden/gnome home that can change with the seasons.  These can be made with simple found objects such as rocks, sticks, and leaves or store-bought objects found at craft, garden, and dollar stores.

Plant a fall garden now to have fresh produce later.  Lettuce, spinach, and chard grow quite well in the Colorado fall!

Go for a Simon Says walk (Simon says to skip to the tree, Simon says to walk backwards ten steps, etc) or a 5 senses walk.  Try this Springtime Five Senses Walk that can be easily adapted for any season.

Prepare your indoor space

Create a Cozy Corner with a tent or some blankets.  Add pillows and a soft blanket, and maybe a heated rice bag if it is a cold day.  Here they can play quietly with dolls or stuffed animals, enjoy a book, or do some drawing.  

Transform a room into an active indoor play area. Garages and basements work great for this.  Create an indoor gym for kids with a tumbling mat, mini trampoline, and a climbing structure of some sort.  Turn that toddler pool into a ball pit. Make a balance beam with cinder blocks and a board.  Build a rock climbing wall.  If you are handy, there are all sorts of ideas online for rope ladders, swings, and slides. 

Bring an outdoor playhouse indoors.  Sometimes just moving the location of something will renew a child’s interest in the toy. 

Have a closet under the stairs?  Similar to a Cozy Corner, this small space can be made into a fort or special kid area for reading, down time, and hiding out.  Fill it with pillows, blankets, and bean bag chairs.  This is a great place to let the kids draw on the walls!

Turn your kitchen table into a ping-pong table.  Grab an inexpensive conversion kit online that includes a retractable net, paddles, and balls.   

A special shout-out for school-aged children.  Yoga balls make great chairs for when children are in a remote learning environment and balance boards help them get the wiggles out during breaks!

Hopefully you will find an idea or two here that inspire you to be creative when moving into the cooler months to come!