When we’re stuck indoors, we tend to stress a bit more. When will the stir craziness set in? Will I lose my patience with the kids? How many times in a 12-hour period can they say the word “bored” before my head explodes? What if we reframe the situation and think about the opportunity we have to make sweet memories and bond as a family?
These 12 indoor activities for kids are our most creative ideas for how to keep your kids busy and not bored when you’re stuck inside. There’s an idea for every age, but don’t judge an activity before trying it. You never know what little kid activity your big kid might enjoy.
1. Puppet Show
We’re doing it old school style here. Go through the sock drawer and remove any matchless white socks. Have your kids create faces on the socks using markers, glue, scraps of fabric, pipe cleaners, and any other craft materials you can find. Push the couch off the wall, and voilà! You have the perfect stage for a puppet show. For the storyline, have your kids put on their puppet personas and act out a favorite memory or an embarrassing moment. It’s certain to garner some laughs again, especially if their siblings are involved.
2. How Cold Is It?
This is a fun way for your kids to envision life in other places. First, ask them to think of the coldest place in the world. Then, go to weather.com and type in their answers, one by one in the search bar to find out the current temperature. See who can come up with the coldest location. Then, warm things up by having them think of the hottest place in the world.
3. Get Dressed Fast
This is a fun game you can play relay-style with teams or you can play it with just one child. The goal is to put on an assortment of items as quickly as you can. So, for one child, set the items in front of them: gloves, a hat, a belt, you get the idea. Then, say go! See how long it takes them to get dressed. Let them try it again to better their time. For teams, have each player put on the clothes, take off the clothes and pass them to the next team member. The first team to finish wins!
4. Fort Film Fest
Build a fort surrounding your family’s TV using tablecloths, blankets or your camping tent. Make sure all of the blinds are closed and the lights are off. Find a trilogy you’ve been wanting to watch. Spread out blankets and sleeping bags, pop loads of popcorn and enjoy a dark, quiet house in the middle of the day!
5. Roller Derby
This was my absolute favorite rainy day activity growing up. Remove anything from the kitchen that’s not nailed to the floor. Let the kids don their roller blades or skates and explore the kitchen on wheels. Don’t worry! your kitchen does not have to be big for them to think this is the best idea you’ve ever had!
6. Tie-dye Party
You’ll need a couple of boxes of different colored dye kits, some kitchen gloves, and some old white t-shirts. Follow the directions for making the dye. Meanwhile, have the kids grab some old white t-shirts (tip: it’s OK if the tee has a graphic on it, as long as the base of the shirt is white) and bind them in different spots with rubber bands. Have them dip sections of the t-shirts into the dye. Ring them out, wash them (make sure you don’t have anything else in your washer), unbind them, and hang them out to dry.
7. Talent Show
Make it quirky, like having your children balance spoons on their noses, or make it real, like showing off what they’ve learned at piano lessons. For the full effect, create a stage by pulling a box spring out from under a mattress.
8. Video Game Tournament
Pick a game everyone can play, set your parameters and then let the best man (or mom!) win. If your kids normally play video games on their own while you get other work done, they’ll get a kick out of you playing with them. Bragging rights is the only prize they’ll want.
Create a circle by having each family member lay their head on another member’s belly, and so on until everyone is lying on someone else’s belly. One at a time let out a “HA!” from the depths of your belly. Go around the circle once saying, “Ha.” The second go-around, let out two “Ha’s,” the third round let out three. You’re out if your one or two “ha’s” turn into uncontrollable “ha’s” (laughing). The last one left on the floor is the winner.
10. Scavenger Hunt
Send each child off with a list of items to scavenge from around the house. They either can make a picture of the items or actually collect them. Use riddles whenever possible, especially for the older ones. Example: It gives and takes away light. Their answer could be blinds, a light switch, or a lamp. There’s no wrong answer for these riddles, as long as it keeps them guessing—and busy!
11. One Word at a Time
Create a story with your kids by each of you contributing just one word at a time. You’ll never create the same story twice.
12. Treasure Hunt
Start saving up for a rainy day—toys, that is. Scour your favorite superstore or dollar store for low (like under $3) priced items. Keep them from the clingy hands of your kiddos and stash them in a makeshift treasure box. When the rainy day arrives, hide the box and create clues and maps that will take them on a fun (and hopefully long) adventure.
What other indoor activities for kids can you add?