20 Fun Indoor Activities for Kids
We often hear “the days are long but the years are short,” and that rings most true on days when families are cooped up indoors. Maybe stormy or snowy weather has forced daycares, schools and workplaces to close. Maybe it’s a season of sickness causing little ones to stay home with sniffles and sneezes. Whatever the reason, moms and dads can agree that endless hours of playtime can get monotonous and there are healthier, more imaginative options than hours of screen time.
We’re here to the rescue for caregivers who may be trying to work while coming up with indoor activities for kids or for those who just need to survive another day of staying put. Check out our 20 boredom busters to keep tots entertained.
Go on a Scavenger Hunt
Grab pieces of paper, a pen and a prize for the end of the adventure, and send your kiddos on a scavenger hunt that’ll keep their little minds and bodies busy. Leave notes throughout the house, each with a clue to the location of the next note. Make it easy, hard, rhyming or fill-in-the-blank—anything to keep them guessing—and watch as they buzz around trying to discover the next clue. Leave a tiny treasure (dollar store prizes, snacks, craft supplies, etc.) at the end, or tell them that a successful scavenger hunt earns them 30 minutes of screen time.
Want an easy print-out version? Download and print the Aqua-Tots Scavenger Hunt for a simple list of items they can gather indoors.
Bake Homemade Cookies
If your family basks in the ease of break and bake cookie dough, take your tots on a trip down memory lane to the days when homemade cookies were the way to go. Pull out the butter, sugar, flour, eggs and all the goodies to try your hand at fresh-out-oven cookie goodness. This may top the list of delicious, fun indoor activities for toddlers, kids, teens and adults alike!
Build a Blanket Fort
Gather all the blankets and sheets from around the house and clip them together or drape them over furniture. Make one giant fort or several mini forts, put flashlights inside and watch your kiddos take imagination to the next level.
Play Board and Card Games
Pull out the board and card games you promised you’d play when you bought them but never seem to find the time to conquer. The time has come! Show your family that friendly competition is more than the video game craze and can happen right at the kitchen table.
Create Coffee Filter Art
Coffee filters, water-based markers and a spray bottle of water are all you need to let little ones create a unique piece of art. Color a plain white coffee filter with markers and spray with water. Watch as the marker colors morph into a magical new design. Place on paper or foil to ensure that the marker doesn’t bleed through onto your furniture. Then display those beautiful creations on the fridge to be admired by all!
Put on a Fashion Show Photo Shoot
Strike a pose! Let your kiddos go through YOUR closet and debut their best runway fashion. Play music and snap pictures as they saunter down the catwalk…err, hallway.
Construct a Stuffed Animal Zoo
Turn your living room and bedrooms into a zoo fit for a king—a lion king, that is! Use stuffed animals to create an in-home zoo, kitchen bowls as feed troughs and name badges for the zoo staff (AKA: the kids) who will stay busy caring for their furry friends.
Make Waves With Bathtub Art
Fill plastic cups with shaving cream and add a couple of drops of food coloring to each. Hand little splashers some paint brushes and let them go to town painting the bathtub walls. Once they’re finished, give them washcloths or sponges to clean it up. It’s a scrub-a-dub good time!
Write and Perform a Play or Musical
Pull out the dress up clothes and put school-aged children to work writing or composing a play or musical. Then let them use their best directing skills to include all the siblings in a production that’s sure to earn awards (or at least a standing ovation from Mom and Dad)!
Relax With a Spa Day
Have a cucumber in your fridge? Cut some slices to cover the eyes, fill bowls with warm water and epsom salt to soak the feet, pull out the nail polish, and have yourself a little in-home relaxation. This is one activity that Mom may want to join!
Host a Tea Party
Pinkies up! Pull out grandma’s old china—the set you inherited but didn’t know what to do with—and throw a tea party! Write out invitations on note cards, dress up in your Sunday best and meet in the dining room for tea (or juice), crackers, cookies or any snack that suits your fancy!
Create a Masking Tape Racetrack
Energy abounds indoors! Let little ones zoom around a homemade racetrack with toy cars. Want to get even more creative? Pull out the legos and create houses and businesses that they can visit on their matchbox travels.
Mix Up Slime
Kids love it—moms tolerate it—but it’ll fill some time! Bring out the glue, activator, food coloring and a big bowl. Recipes abound online and can include extra ingredients such as shaving cream, glitter, foam balls or beads. Let them make their own unique creations and play, play, play!
Create Shapes With Cookie Cutters
Those cookie cutters are for more than holiday cut-out cookies. Pull out Play-doh or clay and see how many shapes you can make. Have alphabet cookie cutters? See how many words you can create. The fun continues with food! Make a pan of Jello or a batch of sugar cookies and snack your way through the day.
Line Up Laundry Basket Train Cars
All the more reason to get the laundry put away! Pull out empty laundry baskets (or boxes) and line them up for a chugga-chugga-choo-choo train escape. Tie the baskets together and have older siblings pull little ones through the house, or better yet, have them stay put and use their imaginations to describe all that they “see” out of their train windows!
Put on a Sock Puppet Show
Remember all those single socks that lost their mate? Their time to shine has come! Gather the pile (you know you’ll never find the matches anyway), glue on yarn for hair, attach buttons for eyes and teach your children the true art of the old-fashioned sock puppet. Stack boxes to create a stage or raise up tiny hands from behind the couch to put on a show!
Snack on Snow
If you’re stuck at home due to winter weather, bring the snow indoors for some yummy fun. Winter activities for toddlers can be as simple as mixing in juice for snow slushies or roll a couple of snowballs to put in the freezer. Then pull them out during the heat of summer when you’re wishing for a little winter weather to return.
Craft a Paper Plate Ring Toss
Using plain white paper plates, cut a large hole in the center, leaving only the outer rim. Let tots color or paint the rim while you use an empty paper towel roll to create a rod. Tape or glue the paper towel roll vertically onto a paper plate or piece of cardboard, and show your little ones how to play the classic ring toss game. Award prizes to whoever gets the most or a fruit snack or small treat for each ring that makes it onto the rod.
Play Ollie Bingo
Practice cutting and pasting with Aqua-Tots’ printable Ollie Bingo game. Between crafting and playing, this is sure to fill a little time when you’re searching for indoor activities for toddlers.
Make a Splash With Bathtub Swim Lessons
At the end of the day (or even in the middle) when you’re winding down for bed, practice all the swimming skills as you shampoo little heads. Blowing bubbles, back float and chicken-star-rocket are just a few of the things they can work on at home. Then it’s off to bed! (You made it!)
When it’s chilly outside and you’re searching for indoor winter activities for kids, we know it can be a challenge. We hope this list sparks the imagination of every caregiver who values the at-home memories made in the mayhem when you’re stuck indoors.