Cabin Fever is a term my husband uses to dramatically announce that he is delirious from being trapped our apartment for too long. With the winter temperatures and all that white stuff on the ground, it’s been used quite frequently as of late. On one hand, I miss being able to lounge around and watch movies and drink wine on the couch on snowy Saturdays, but having a little one in the family means dusting off the ol’ imagination and getting active and creative- even if that means doing so at home. For a little help and magic dust in this department, I turn to the experts in creating fun – The Manhattan Toy Company. Kids and parents alike love the ideas and activities that come wrapped up in little boxes. Here are some of our favorites which will take us on a ride all the way into better weather.
The imagine i CAN series encourages make-believe and wonderment, and for a variety of ages, provides a springboard for adventures and story-telling. The imagine i CAN Enchanted Fairy Kit comes in cute metal lunchbox (perfect for toting to grandma’s house) and includes a pair of wings ready to add flight to a little girl’s back, transforming her into a pastel flurry of motion. As every good fairy knows, the fairy dust bottle is indispensable, and I can’t help smiling as my newly transformed fairy sprinkles imaginary glitter all over the living room. When it came time for Miss Fairy to sprinkle flower seeds, I asked what she was trying to grow, and the answer was, “cheese!” I guess we know who will grow up to be a Dairy Queen. The magical kit also includes an adorable felt flower crown and sweet felt flower cut outs plus a magic wand, all the must-haves for a fantastical time. Beware, the fairy transformation can result in infinite twirling, as it did in our case. Voila! Cabin fever has disappeared like fairy dust!
I love reliving my kid days and having permission to act silly and crazy! There’s nothing like getting messy and pouring out all that creative energy that is sadly hardly ever needed in the adult world. MT’s Finger Paint Fun Kit makes for the perfect afternoon for the young set (and ahem, slightly older ones too), creating laughs and memories along with colorful masterpieces (the next Jackson Pollock?) worthy of framing. Like the fairy kit, a brightly colored metal “lunchbox” holds everything that little hands need: brushes which are easy to grasp and four vibrant paint colors that are washable, of course! Three plastic stampers in cool patterns and shapes and three plastic scrappers create endless possibilities; think squiggles, wiggles, and zigzags. Our first painting was a version of a night sky which made use of the star stamp quite aggressively, with what I perceived as some kind of nebula explosion in the middle. Not only is finger painting a blast, but motor skills large and small are honed alongside creative development. It’s no wonder that this kit was a winner of the prestigious Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Best Toy Award Gold Seal and the SNAP Award (Special Needs Adaptable Product) in 2013.
It never ceases to amaze me that kids can be so passionate and artistic at a tender age. It’s a great reminder of what we’re all born with and just need opportunities to cultivate (and tolerance for some messes!). I love watching my daughter take a paint scraper and dip slowly into the colors, mixing them together, then seeing the delight on her face when a new color is formed. It’s truly like discovering life’s simple wonders all over again. We had a whole finger paint party on a recent snowy afternoon with a few little hands creating one big mural. There were plenty of painting instruments to go around, which were thoughtfully designed and sized for grabbing and painting. Adding to the glee, a couple eager ones were using their fingers as painting tools. With a plastic tablecloth, some old clothes, and a ton of imagination- artists are born.We are what I call a nomad family because we love traveling and can’t seem to sit in one place for long! It’s always a challenge to keep little minds occupied on trains, planes, and automobiles, so portable entertainment (preferable not of the iPad variety) is a must. The Imagine I Can line is two steps ahead of me with travel games, packaged into an altoid-sized tin to tuck into the diaper bag! The Cheese Chase has four adorable wooden mice (which of course have to be duly named), cheese, and dice. Though it comes with instructions, I find that the mice take on their own personalities, and are on their way to becoming characters in stories made up on the fly. The mice are so loved, I had to laugh when I realized the clunking in the dryer was from a mouse, freshly washed, which had been carried around like a pet in someone’s coat pocket!