Do you have a book of ideas or something that you use to think creatively? I'm always trying to think of things outside the pool, park, bubbles, playdoh, reading time etc.
No. Not really. But, a long time ago (pre-kids) I asked every mother I knew to make a list of their favorite activities. Things they really did - specifics. I compiled it and sorted it by age group and inside/outside activities.
So, putting food coloring in a spray bottle and decorating the snow was perfect - at the time. But now I'm in California and the snow thing isn't really helpful. So I need to compile a new one (and you can to -- wherever you are). It was really fun to see what different people wrote ie...
- giving all junk mail to the kids to play post office
- playing "restaurant" and writing your kids order down for lunch
- recording your voice (or Grandma's voice from far away) reading a story and letting them play it over and over
- letting them use teaspoons to measure water and put it in a bigger bowl
- drawing with glue and adding sand
- doing pictures by tearing paper only
There are also some good books - I usually just read them when I'm at the book store and store away an idea or two. But The Toddler's Busy Book and others by Trish Kuffner I like. They just seem more doable, I mean who really turns a potato into a clock?!
Oh, and I love the Rainy Day Activity Jar I read about on the Stitching Barn - but you could just use it always!
Painting: The Blind Girl by Sir John Everett Millais