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Are you stuck indoors?
Are your kids getting antsy?
Are things getting loud and crazy since your kids are cooped up with no way to let their energy out? And I’m sure your energy is depleting by the second.
Here are some great indoor activities that will save the day! Just keep a few of these tucked up your sleeve for those rainy days and your kids will be entertained for hours!
- Build a fort.
This is a classic activity that every kid loves! All you need is something for a base (chairs, card table, couches) and blankets to cover the top. You can make an extensive and detailed fort with windows, doors, hallways, various rooms, etc. Or just a basic fort.
2. Create a maze of string.
The parent asks all the kids to hide in their room for a while. While they are away, the parent ties one end of the string to the doorknob of the child’s room. Then the parent loops and winds the string all over the house. The child has to follow the string to the end. The parent can make it a “hide and seek” game by hiding an object at the end of the string. If there are multiple kids, they can work together and follow the same string or they can each have their own string of a different color.
3. Play “Hot and Cold”
Choose an object in the house to hide. One person leaves the room while the others decide on where to hide the object. When the object is hidden, the seeker begins to look for it. Everyone else gives the seeker clues. If they are moving in the right direction towards the object, they say “hotter…” but if the seeker is going in the wrong direction away from the hidden object, they say “colder….” These clues help the seeker find the hidden object.
4. Play “Hide and Go Seek”… with a twist.
This is a classic game. Everyone hides while one person covers their eyes. The seeker counts to a designated number (usually 30). Once he is done counting, he can begin looking for the hidden people until he finds everyone! There are some twists to this game to make it fun and new!
-Once you have been found by the seeker, you can sneak away and hide again if he is not looking.
-Hidden people can change their hiding places instead of staying in one place.
-Hidden people can give clues to the seeker, like making noise.
-Once you are found, you can help the seeker find the rest of the hidden people.
-All the hidden people can hide as a group, making it more difficult to find a good hiding place.
-One person can hide while everyone else is seeking.
-For very young children, everyone can hide partially in view.
5. Have a dance party.
Everyone loves a dance party! Just turn on your favorite music and let loose! You can teach your children new dance moves, they can teach you dance moves, you can have a dance off, etc.
We love to change the genre of music we are dancing to. We tell the kids to do whatever dance they think best represents the music. We put on lots of different things, like country, hip hop, classical, kids tunes, etc. to see what dances our kids come up with!
The kids also love choosing what songs they want to dance to.
6. Go “camping” in the living room.
Indoor camping features include a tent (if you don’t have one, you can build one with blankets), a sleeping bag (or blankets folded into a sleeping bag), pillows, marshmallows and/or hot dogs, flashlights, stuffed animals, etc.
Set up your tent and other supplies in the living room, a bedroom, or the back porch.
7. Watch a movie with a twist.
Make a movie night more exciting and interactive. Everyone chooses a word, color, number, etc. to look for throughout the movie. Whoever finds the most wins!
8. Create a scavenger hunt.
Create lists of items to find. Have races to see who can find each item on their list the fastest! Topics can include: things we use every day, things we can see outside from the window, things that make noise, our favorite things, etc. There are many variations on how to play.
-To build memory skills, you can ask a child to find three items and see if they can remember all three.
-To practice writing and creative thinking, the child can write their own list for a given topic and then find the objects.
-To practice reading, the parent can write the list down and ask the child to complete the scavenger hunt without help.
9. Find something that starts with every letter of the alphabet.
This is a great game for 4-5 year olds, but kids of all ages enjoy it. Walk around the house together looking for an object that starts with the letter A. This might be an apple, an avocado, an airplane, or the alphabet. Once you have found something that starts with A, look for something that starts with B. Continue through the entire alphabet.
Image from http://wipkits.blogspot.com/2011/05/for-love-of-words.html
10. Play “The Floor is Lava”.
Begin the game by standing on the couches. The floor is “lava.” Anyone who touches the floor is out. The goal is for the group to get from point A (the couch) to point B (anywhere you want- the kitchen, a bedroom, etc.). Use household items to stand on, such as couch cushions, pieces of paper, toys, etc.- Anything to keep you from stepping on the “lava”. Try to get the whole group across the lava without touching it using only the items you have around you.
11. Teach your kids “Rhythm games”.
There are lots of rhymes and songs that accompany a rhythm that the participants make by clapping, stomping feet, or patting their legs.
Make a rhythm (Ex: Clap, clap, pat. Clap, clap, pat.) Everyone joins in and must keep the rhythm steady. Sing a song to go with the rhythm without losing the rhythm or try one of these ideas!
-Think of a topic, such as colors, celebrities, shapes, states, etc. Begin the rhythm. On each down beat (the first beat in a rhythm- for example, if the rhythm is “Clap, snap, pat, Clap, snap, pat” then the downbeat is the clap), the person must say something that fits under that topic. For example, if the topic were states, I could say “Arizona” on the downbeat. Then the next person has to think of a different state to say on the next downbeat. You are out if you miss the downbeat, if you can’t think of a new state to say, if you repeat a state that has already been said, or if you get off rhythm.
-Each person is assigned an animal. The group makes a rhythm. On the downbeat, the first person says the animal of anyone else in the group. That person must then keep the rhythm and say someone else’s animal name on the following downbeat. For example: Person 1 says “Cat” on the downbeat. The cat person says “Horse” on the following downbeat. The horse person says “Bird” on the following downbeat. You are out if you get off beat, if you forget your animal, or if you forget the animals of the other people in the group.
12. Finger paint.
Messy, but worth it! Put down a drop cloth, an old table cloth, or an old shower curtain to limit the mess. Make sure you wear old clothes that can get stained, or choose washable paints (click the image below)!
13. Try to paint on a piece of paper that is hanging from a string.
This is creative art. Tape one end of string to a piece of paper. Tape the other end to the table. This will hang the piece of paper in the air. The child sits on the ground and tries to paint with the paper moving around!
It is best to put some kind of cloth underneath to limit the mess.
14. Cover the table in paper and color the whole thing!
Use your hands, feet, elbows. This is a great chance to get some energy out while using gross and fine motor skills!
This and many other crafts are easier with large butcher paper. Click the image below!
15. Have a colored bath.
Put food coloring in with your bath water! It does not stain skin or the bathtub.
We enjoy starting out by putting a few drops of one color into the water, like blue. The child can watch the color spread until the whole bath is blue. Then, we add another color, like red, and guess what will happen to the color of the bath. It is so exciting to see the color slowly change to purple.
This is a great way to get something done that you have to do anyways- but still entertain the kids! Dinner is ready, and everyone had fun.
If you need to use eggs in a recipe, I recommend having the children crack the eggs into a separate bowl first. That way, if there are egg shells in the egg, you can get them out easier rather than having egg shells mixed in with your food.
17. Play “Zip your Lip.”
Choose a “buzz word” that is off limits for the day. If you catch someone saying the “buzz word” they are out! See who lasts the longest without saying the word.
You can also give each child 5 clothes pins to put on their shirt sleeve. If you catch someone saying the buzz word, you get to take one of their clothes pins and put it on your sleeve. Whoever has the most clothes pins in the end wins! This can be a fun variation because nobody is ever “out”. If you run out of clothes pins, you just keep listening for others to say the buzz word and you can get your clothes pins back!
18. Play charades.
Write down lots of things that a child can act out. These can be easier for younger kids or more difficult for older kids. Some ideas include: animals, movie characters, actions like going fishing or wrapping a present, or places. Write each thing on a separate piece of paper. The child draws one piece of paper and they must act out that thing without making any noise. The rest of the group tries to guess what they are acting out.
19. Play the “Telephone game”.
Everyone sits in a row. The first person in the row thinks of any phrase. They whisper it to the next person. That person repeats what they heard to the next person, and it continues down the line. You can only whisper to each person once- no clarifying! The last person says what he heard out loud to the group. At this point, the phrase has usually been changed as it was passed down the line. Often, it doesn’t even make any sense! The first person shares what the original phrase was.
20. Build something with household objects, like silverware, toothpicks, qtips, etc.
This is a great game to build creativity and problem solving skills! And it’s just plain fun.
21. Tell stories.
These can be true stories- parents can tell about their childhood, kids can tell their favorite family vacations, etc.- or they can be unique stories that we imagine.
22. Tell stories- with a twist.
This is a group story telling activity. Each person gets to participate in telling the story- but each person can only say one sentence to add to the story at a time. The first person starts out with one sentence to begin the story (Ex: “Once upon a time, there lived a fair maiden.”) Then the next person continues the story (Ex: “She lived in Narnia!”). Everyone gets a turn to say one sentence at a time.
The story often takes many unexpected twists and turns as each person gets to put their own unique spin on things.
23. Do the limbo!
This is great for kids who need to get some energy out. Find a stick (a broom handle works great). Two people hold each end of the stick high in the air. The participant must walk under the stick leaning backwards without letting any part of their body touch the stick. If they make it, they get to try again with the stick a little lower. Gradually, the stick is closer and closer to the ground and it becomes more and more difficult to limbo under the stick! You are out if you touch the stick, if you fall, or if you touch the ground.
24. Try yoga poses, somersaults, standing on your head, or other tricky poses!
These are great to help kids use energy in a focused way instead of being crazy! These kinds of tasks also build coordination.
25. Have races with random objects.
Roll marbles down a ramp, race cars across the table, slide washers down a string, etc.
26. Play card games.
Some of my favorites to play with kids are: Spot It, Go Fish, Uno, Old Maid, Crazy 8’s, and War (in this one, all you have to do is flip over two cards and the winner is the person with the highest card).
27. Play board games.
I really like Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders because they can be played with all ages.
There are lots of great games for every age group!
Click the images below!
28. Mix food coloring in a cup.
Guess what color the water will change to next??
This can also be a fun thing to do while cooking. For example, the kids can choose what color to make the pancakes.
29. Create your own board game or card game.
The rules don’t usually make sense when kids make their own games, but they have a blast doing it!
All they need is paper and crayons to decorate their cards or board game. Oh, and a patient parent who is willing to play a game with no structure in which the child is sure to be the winner in the end.
30. Ask each other “get to know you” questions.
These are great for some relaxing fun. They also help a parent get to know the ins and outs of their child’s life.
Fun topics include: the child’s future, the child’s favorite things, the child’s fears, the child’s friends, the child’s day to day routine, events coming up, fun memories, things they would like to do, etc.
31. Don’t let the balloon touch the ground!
I tried this game with a ball once. I recommend the balloon because there is less of a chance that the balloon will break something.
The game is simple- throw the balloon in the air and work as a team to keep it up. Don’t let it touch the ground!
Click the image below.
32. Try science experiments.
Mix water and corn starch. Roll the mixture into a ball. When it is moving, it is a solid. As soon as it is still for a few seconds, it settles and dissolves into a liquid.
Color a jar of water with your favorite food coloring. Put white flowers into the colored water. The flowers will soak up the color from the water!
Put pop rocks into a bottle of soda. Put a balloon over the opening. The balloon will inflate!
Mix borax and glue to make homemade slime.
Use lemon juice as invisible ink. Write a message to someone, then use a blow drier to read the message.
33. Read a story.
Books are wonderful. Reading to children when they are young will foster a love of reading and learning that will last into adulthood.
Click on the image below!
34. Write your own story.
This is great practice for writing in school! Tell your child that they are going to be the author and illustrator of their very own book! Then sit back and watch them imagine and create.
35. Tell jokes.
What do you call a bear with no teeth? Gummy bear!
36. Count cars that drive by the window.
For more fun, each person can choose one color of car to count. Whoever counts the most cars of their color wins!
37. Think of something you can do to make a friend smile.
Tell a joke, make them something, write them a letter, tell them thank you, give them a hug….
38. Write a letter to someone who lives far away.
Tell them everything you are up to. Ask them about themselves. Tell them your favorite memories of the two of you. Tell them what you miss about them.
39. Call your grandparents.
This is a great way to teach your kids to think about others as well as develop strong friendships with their extended family.
40. Plan a vacation.
Dream of places you would love to go. Get online and research sites you could see, restaurants to eat at, hotels you could stay in, etc. Learn about the culture and language of that area.
41. Make a budget.
Yes, this is a great activity for kids.
It doesn’t sound exciting, but kids get super excited to save money for something that they really want. Help them think of ways to earn money. Then identify what they need to spend money on and help them realize that the only way to get the things they want is to save some of their money in a special place until they have enough for the things they want.
Then stick to your guns. Don’t give them extra money for no reason or step in and buy them the thing they were saving for. That ruins the fun and the learning.
42. Look for something to fix around the house.
Leaky faucet? Does the dresser need a fresh coat of paint? Is there a tear in the couch?
Kids are super excited to do things they have never done before. This can be a great opportunity to teach them some life skills and also get things checked off your to do list!
43. Sew something simple together- like a bean bag or a pillow case.
Square objects tend to be the easiest because you only have to sew in straight lines. Kids can learn to sew by hand or to use a sewing machine- whatever is safer for your child.
44. Tie a fleece blanket.
This is an easy project that can be a lot of fun! Buy two pieces of fleece material- each 1.5-3 yards. One piece will be the top and one piece will be the bottom of your blanket. It is fun to get patterns that are different but that still match.
Cut your material to the size and shape that you want. Both pieces should be exactly the same size and shape.
Cut fringes along all edges of the fleece. Each fringe should be about 3 inches long and 1 inch thick. When you get to the corners, cut out the corners to match the fringe length.
The fringes should be exactly the same on both pieces of material.
Tie each coordinating fringe together. This will hold the front and back together.
45. Learn about your culture or ancestors.
Do family history research to learn who your ancestors were. Read their stories. Learn about their culture. Try to incorporate that culture into your own life.
46. Plant seeds.
You can use the old-fashioned dirt in a pot method, or you can plant seeds in a Ziploc bag. Place the seed in the Ziploc bag. Get a few cotton balls wet and put them into the Ziploc bag with the seed. Tape the bag to a window. Watch the seed grow!
47. Make a “dream board.”
Think of your perfect future. What would your job be? Where would you live? What things would you have? Cut pictures out of magazines or print pictures from the computer to represent your dreams. Compile them onto a board and share them with your friends/family.
48. Have a pillow fight.
Just like when you were 12 years old!
49. Learn something new by researching something your child is interested in.
Dinosaurs, volcanoes, cowboys, princesses, mermaids, outer space… What is fact and what is fiction?
50. Look at family pictures.
This is especially fun to see how the child has grown and changed over the years. Show them what they looked like as a baby.
Or show them what you looked like as a baby, and as a child, and as a teenager.
51. Have “parent interviews”.
This is one-on-one time with each child. The parent interviews them to learn more about them individually. What do they like to do? Who are their friends? What are their favorite things? What are their dreams? What are they working hard to do? What do they need from you right now?
52. Have a “family meeting”.
This is a lot like a parent interview, but the whole family is involved together. The parent conducts the meeting. Kids and parents get to express concerns, ask questions, create goals, check up on each other, learn about each other, and be more united.
53. Make shadow puppets.
Shadow puppets are made out of paper in the shape of an animal or object. Glue the paper to a Popsicle stick. Then have a puppet show using a flashlight to project the shadow of the puppets onto the wall!
54. Make hand puppets with a flashlight.
No time for crafting? Skip it and use your hands to make shadows! Use the flashlight to project your shadow puppet show onto the wall!
55. Sing along to your favorite songs.
Whoever can remember the most words to the song wins!
56. Tell spooky stories.
Make sure the kids know that they aren’t real. Hopefully there won’t be any nightmares.
57. Play “The Quiet Game”.
See which child can be quiet the longest. Whoever speaks first is out! Whoever is quiet until the end wins!
58. Play “Duck, Duck, Goose”.
An old classic! My kids love to come up with new names instead of “duck” and “goose”. We have played “cake, cake, doughnut” and “worm, worm beetle”…
59. Sing Nursery Rhymes.
Adding hand motions to go along with the words can add fun to the songs or rhymes!
60. Bake cookies for a neighbor or friend.
This is a great excuse to stop in to say hi.
Or it can be anonymous. My kids love to ring the doorbell, leave the plate of cookies, and run away so that nobody knows who did the good deed.
61. Make a house out of a large card board box.
Add windows, spare rooms, bedrooms, doors. Draw curtains, couches, kitchens, dressers, and other decor. Make it just like home!
62. Play “No Bears are Out Tonight”
In this game, one person is the “bear”. They hide somewhere while all the seekers close their eyes and count to 30. There is a designated “safe area” that the bear cannot enter. Once the seekers are finished counting, they must walk around the house looking for the bear. The bear tries to chase and tag the seekers. If you are tagged, you become a bear as well. Then, both bears hide while the seekers count. Both bears try to tag more and more people until there is just one seeker left and many bears. That person is the winner!
63. Play “Musical Chairs”.
Count how many people are playing. Create a circle of chairs, but make sure that there are not enough chairs for everyone to sit down. One person plays music for the group. While the music is playing, all the others walk in a circle on the outside of the chairs. The person playing the music randomly stops the music. When the music stops, those walking in a circle hurry to sit down. One person is left without a chair and is out. Remove one more chair from the circle and restart the music. Each round, one more person is left without a chair and is out. See how long you can keep your chair! The last person sitting in a chair wins.
64. Find objects that look like the letters from A-Z.
A chair might look like a capital A. A window might look like a capital B. Find objects throughout the house the look like hidden letters. Try to find the whole alphabet in your house!
65. Have a Spa Day!
Just follow the link above for lots of great spa day ideas! Enjoy some relaxing time with your kiddos and take a load off yourself!
66. Get some Chores done!
If you’re inside anyways… you might as well get something done, and teach some great life lessons along the way! Use any of these fun activities as a reward for the work.
With a little creativity, even a rainy day inside can be a lot of fun! Happy indoor adventures!