The Winter Blues have bitten me– big time. (So bad, apparently, that I am finding alliteration a bit too fun…).  I dislike the cold, I dislike the grey skies, I dislike the sickness that tends to circle like a vulture.  Maybe I’m just grumpy today, but this season IS getting to me!

If you’re a stay-at-home parent like me, and you have little ones that need entertaining, I’m sure you may be going through many of the same feelings!

This is an activity that is a great way to blast away an afternoon.   I’m going to try to look at Winter, not as a time we’re stuck inside (when it’s too cold out), but a time when we can spend cozy afternoons of interactive fun with our little ones.  Yes, that’s my new outlook.  *cough*

Honestly, though – this activity is really great!

Homemade Carnival Toss

Needs: Cardboard Box, Scissors, Markers, Crayons, or Paint, Items for Tossing.

What to do:

1. Take your cardboard box (or use more than one – I had one for each child) and place it vertically on the floor. (The largest side of the box, standing up, should be towards you and your child).

2. Have your children draw colourful circles of different sizes in various locations on the face of the box.

Colouring circles.

3. If your kids are old enough/able, have them cut out the circles, either entirely or leave them as flaps/doors.

4. Now have your children number the circles (or if they are unable to write numbers, do it for them while engaging them in the process). These numbers will be their ‘points’. For an added challenge, ask older children (preschoolers+) to number them from biggest to smallest, giving the most points for the smallest holes and less points for the bigger ones. I don’t suggest any more than 10 holes – we used five.

5. Collect your tossing items, count them out, and distribute them fairly. We used large pom-poms and pipe cleaners bent into arrows. The pom-poms worked much better. Think of some creative objects to use for tossing and discuss how the different objects launch differently (depending on size, weight, etc.).

Vary the distance the kids are shooting from and challenge them to challenge THEMSELVES! We used a pipe cleaner to mark the starting point and moved back for successful rounds or closer if it was too difficult.



Number Recognition. As the kids toss and score points, they are constantly shouting,”I’m going for 5!” or “You got 3!”. What a fun way to encourage reading numbers, they don’t even realize they’re doing it… that’s when the real ‘clicking’ happens.

Hand-Eye Coordination. Throwing objects into a target is a good developmental skill-building tool. Concentration, accuracy, aim, hand-eye coordination… it all ties in.

Adding and Counting. Kids will naturally add up their points and the points of their siblings (or friends). Have older children record their points on a chart and give a small reward for accomplishing a goal of a set number of points if you wish.  This is great printing and penmanship practice too.

Beginning Dividing. I had Simon (5 yrs) divide up the pom-poms and evenly distribute them between himself and his siblings. He was able to quickly tell me that if there were only 2 of them playing, and 12 pom-poms, they’d each get 6. So, I asked him what would happen if his younger brother joined in, making 3 siblings in the mix? I’m asking him math questions, but he decodes them as simply a part of the game.

Fostering Healthy Competition. A little competition never hurt any one. With a loving parent involved and encouraging all the players, competition is a great leaning experience. How to be a good winner, how to cope with not winning, how to help others, how to take turns.

Hope you can have lots of fun on a cold afternoon!


Blessings to you all and STAY HEALTHY!