With many people choosing to stay safe at home, you might be looking for some creative and fun indoor activities for kids.
These inventive activities for kids at home don’t require much either. Here are 31 easy ideas of indoor activities to do with your kids when Covid, your budget or bad weather keep you from wanting to leave the house:
Snuggle in bed with a stack of books. Yes, big kids still like to be read to. Go for a family-friendly series like Harry Potter. For little ones, make up your own stories to go with picture books.
They don’t call them board games for nothing. Now’s the time to introduce classics (chess, checkers, Monopoly, Life) or try something new together (Sushi Go!, Exploding Kittens or Cards Against Humanity’s new Family Edition).
Make homemade play dough. All you need is all-purpose flour, salt, cream of tartar, water, oil and some food colouring. Store it in a plastic zip-seal bag for up to three months.
Start your own Art Club. Have the kiddos lead a drawing, colouring or painting class. A cool activity to try: Draw with white crayon on white paper, then paint over it with diluted paint or food colour. Watch as the image becomes visible.
Have an indoor picnic. Toss a blanket on the floor and serve bite-size foods with tea.
Dress up. Let them raid your closet or adorn you in the latest superhero gear.
Open a make-believe restaurant. Take turns role-playing guest, server and chef.
Play hide and seek. It’s amazing how many unexpected hiding places you can carve out inside your own four walls.
Come up with your own scavenger hunt. Stash clues inside books (leave a clue in the form of a math problem to guide them to a certain page), in the refrigerator or under their pillow. The prize for the winners can be a favorite candy.
Have a building contest. Use Legos or blocks to see who can construct the tallest tower or more innovative architecture.
Play school. Watch their eyes light up at the idea of teaching you a thing or two.
Create an art gallery or museum. Paint masterpieces to hang on the walls; add clay or play dough sculptures.
Design a vision board or collage. To do, tear up scraps of newspaper or magazines.
Make a noodle necklace. Paint fun shapes, then string them on yarn once they’re dry. Surprisingly chic!
Freeze dance! When you pause the music, the kids have to completely stand. Bonus points: You get to sit down while they tire themselves out.
Do a puzzle. There’s an astonishing amount of strategic thinking and problem-solving involved.
Better still, make a puzzle. Draw a picture on thick paper, cut it into different shapes and assemble back together.
Craft Chinese paper lanterns. All you need is pretty paper, a stapler and scissors. Then hang them up around the house.
Make sock puppets or dolls. This is an excellent time to repurpose mateless socks. Supplies include common household items like buttons, string, scissors, glue and dry rice (for filling up dolls).
Design a long and winding car race track or train tracks around the house. Use coloured tape to create lines on the floor.
Sort through old toys and find ones you can give away. Sell kids on housekeeping by rewarding them with one new toy when they’ve finished.
Create a time capsule. Have the kids write a letter to their future selves, or interview them and record the answers. Pick a couple of photos or mementos and put them in an airtight container. Hide it and mark a day in the future on the calendar when you’ll open it again.
Invent a character. Invite them all to dinner or a party, and ask questions of your “new friends.”
Form a family band. See how many household objects can be repurposed into musical instruments–think chopsticks, spoons, buckets, bottles, combs, etc.
Try some home science experiments.
Or make this volcano!
- Bake cookies, cakes, mini pizzas – whatever treat sounds yummiest to your crew.
- Build a giant blanket fort. All you need is two chairs and a sheet or a couple of comforters, and you’re in business for the rest of the afternoon.
- Gather the recyclables and craft something new. Create a robot out of boxes, build a spaceship out of plastic bottles, paint jam jar vases and make flowers out of paper.
- Design an indoor obstacle course. Use pillows, toys or old boxes to create challenges the kids can jump over, crawl through or swerve around.
- Throw a dance party. Hey, Alexa, turn the volume up to 11! Fancy attire is optional.
Of course, in most places, the outdoors isn’t entirely off-limit either. There are plenty of fun activities for kids you can do these days without going too far.
For instance, take these 10 ideas for outdoor play into your nearest courtyard or park for free and easy entertainment served up with a side of fresh air.
Practice yoga or mindfulness. Again, a quick YouTube search will serve up a peaceful flow or a guided meditation everybody can do.
Play Charades. Try focusing on their favorite books, movies and celebrities. Generally speaking, even tweens are not yet too cool for old-fashioned games like Musical Chairs, Freeze Dance, Pass the Parcel or Truth or Dare.
Go lawn bowling. Set up a few water bottles as pins and grab a ball.
Bust out a deck of cards. Then proceed to school the next generation in the art of Go Fish, War or UNO.
Bring the mess outside. Have them blow bubbles (mix solution with a little tempera paint or food colouring) onto paper with a straw, or give each child a large paintbrush or sponge and pail of water, then let them go at it on any hard surface. That’s what we call good, clean fun.
- Work out together. Get the kids to do some push-ups, lunges, jumping jacks or whatever enjoyably elevates your heart rates. A quick YouTube search or fitness app can inspire or instruct you every step of the way.
- Practice karate. Search on YouTube for some introductory moves.
- Put on a play. Like Shakespeare said, all the world is now your stage.
- Dance to the beat. Choose a song that encourages pantomime, like Open Shut Them, Hokey Pokey and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. Listen for specific words such as “we jump up and down,” and boogie accordingly.
- Film a music video. All you need is your smartphone and some enthusiastic stars rocking out to their favorite pop song.
Originally by Kathleen Siddell, September 2015; some text adapted from Young Parents / Last updated by Brooke Glassberg
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