As any parent will tell you, keeping children entertained can be challenging. When recreation is limited to indoor environments where children cannot freely romp about, you may find it frustrating to plan activities that engage your kids! Here are 25 simple indoor activities for kids you can enjoy with young ones when circumstances prevent you from venturing outside. I believe in all of the mamas out there, you can get through staying at home with the kids when need be!
25 Indoor Activities for Kids to Have Up Your Sleeve
1. Hunker Down with a Classic Indoor Activity for Kids; Board Games
Boardgame culture has really changed since you and I were kids! While classics like Monopoly and Scrabble remain household favorites, they might not hold the attention of your kids. Explore new options designed for more interactive experiences that will have the entire family laughing over healthy competition for hours on end.
Terraforming Mars – Colonize mankind’s new home in this imaginative game set on planet Mars. Recommended for ages 12+.
Codenames – A word game where team members guess words on the board based on one-word clues. A two-player edition of this game is also available for purchase. Recommended for ages 10+.
Azul – Compete as a skilled worker decorating the halls of a royal palace in this beautiful game of strategy. Recommended for ages 8+.
2. Have a Fashion Show
Do you happen to have any old clothing lying around? Encourage your little ones to embrace their inner fashion designer. With clothing-safe paints, beads, scissors, and knowledge of basic knots, children can transform old clothing into new garments they can wear with pride.
3. Start a Band; A Noisy but Rockin’ Indoor Activity for Kids
Use familiar objects sitting around your house to create homemade instruments. Putting a cup of beans in a sealed plastic lunch container is a fast way to create a shaker. Painting aluminum cans and gluing or taping a firm plastic covering over them is a great way of making miniature drums that can be played with chopsticks. After you’ve created your instruments, compose some original melodies with your children using your new creations.
4. Make Jewelry
It doesn’t take much to create attractive jewelry that captures the eye. With only string and colored beads, children can build necklaces and bracelets of their own design. Take this activity one step further! Purchase more elaborate beads and charms that children can add to their future creations by completing household chores or meeting academic goals.
5. Keep Your Little Kids Entertained Indoors with a Sensory Activity
Fill a bin with objects that have an interesting texture for you children to interact with. You can experiment with filling your sensory bins with whichever items you chose. Popular options include uncooked and cooked grains such as oatmeal and corneal, ice, marbles, and beans. Bury objects in the bins—like small toys or candies—for children to find as they explore the bins to find hidden treasures. You can also make some slime to put in your bin, here’s how!
6. Use Screentime to Educate your Kids!
There are several educational programs that my kids love and are great for learning. If you have kids ages 2-8 ABC Mouse & Hooked on Phonics are exceptional.
ABC Mouse teaches your kids using games about Reading, Math, Science and the Arts. This is our kids favorite learning game to play. You can do it on the computer or off an app on your phone. You can try it out for free for 30 days with this link.
Hooked on Phonics is another great resource that helps your kids to learn to read. You can give Hooked on Phonics a try for 1 Month for only $1.
7. Give a Performance
Give the young aspiring actors in your life a chance to demonstrate their talents. Spend the day writing scripts and songs. Then, after rehearsing lines and practicing melodies, present your productions in an organized show. For added flair, judge one another’s creations and present winners in select categories — best costume, best performance, and most creative.
8. Take Up Indoor Gardening as an activity with the Kids
Anybody can enjoy the journey of growing and harvesting herbs and flowers. Many plants thrive in indoor environments, given they have access to sunlight. Teach children about plant life cycles and have them assist you in planting seeds and watering them on schedule while teaching them about responsibility. Plus, having plants around is always a mood brightener when stuck inside!
9. Bake Up a Storm
There’s something particularly rewarding about biting into yummy food that you made together. Invite children into the kitchen to prepare your household’s favorite baked goods. Read recipes aloud and have children gather listed ingredients, measure them out, and help mix them together. They’ll be excited to bite into moist cake and chewy cookies that they made themselves!
10. Movie Night
You’ve hosted movie nights with children, but not like this. Instead of simply calling everyone to take a seat after dinner, make movie night an event to look forward to. Plan the movie night several days in advance, allowing all participants to contribute to the movie selection process. Allow children to earn tickets in the time leading up to the event by following directions and contributing to household maintenance.
Let them know tickets must be presented to enter the screening. Decorate the area where the movie will be playing and serve an assortment of traditional snacks to add a layer of realism — popcorn, nachos with cheese, and pizza pies.
11. Play School
Children might typically find school boring, but in the right environment, they just might find education exciting. Have children host lectures and act as teachers as they share knowledge of their favorite subjects. Allow them to call on you and others to answer questions throughout their “lectures” and distribute class activities like homework and pop quizzes.
12. Hold a Writer’s Circle
Do you know any young storytellers? Host a writer’s workshop. Have each child bring a piece of writing: a short story, a poem, a script, or journal entry—any imaginative piece of writing. Allow each participant to read their work aloud and receive constructive criticism.
Afterward, let the children discuss the feelings and events that may have inspired their works. This is an especially helpful activity if there is something stressful going on that’s causing you and your kids to have to stay indoors (thanks 2020!).
13. Create Sculptures as an Indoor Activity with Kids
Purchase modeling clay and watch the power of young imagination run wild. Children can either mold sculptures of their own imagination or you can sculpt a figure for each child to mimic to provide guidance. You can create little skits with sculptures when done!
14. Exercise Together
Indoor exercise is a convenient way to maintain health from the comfort of your home. Video hosting websites like YouTube contain hundreds of exercise videos you can enjoy with children. The Internet offers fitness videos based on dance disciplines, martial arts, yoga, and other fitness niches to satisfy your children’s’ interests.
15. Play Fishbowl
Fishbowl is a fun team-based icebreaker beloved by families, professional groups, and college students enjoying weekend nights in their dormitories. This innovative mixture of charades, passwords, and Taboo provides hours of entertainment.
16. Create a Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts are adventures where participants rely on lists of clues to track down items. The team or individual that is able to gather the most items by solving the most clues wins. Create clue lists based on your indoor environments for children to solve.
For example, your list might contain the following rhyme: “You pick me up to fix your hair; I have bristles everywhere.” Children will race to find a hairbrush for points.
17. Play Video Games
Video games have earned a negative reputation in parenting and educational circles, but in moderation, they can be a healthy addition to your indoor entertainment rotation. As a parent, do a deep dive into some different video game titles. Becoming familiar with the industry will help you pick out appropriate games for your kids and guide them towards beneficial choices. Take time to occasionally join them in their on-screen adventures to make it a bonding affair.
18. Turn Your Home into a Lab with a Fun Indoor Science Activity for Kids
Remember how intrigued you were when your middle school science teacher erupted a volcano made of clay using vinegar and baking soda? Bring that excitement home with classic projects that give children a deeper understanding of scientific principles.
19. Complete a jigsaw puzzle
Jigsaw puzzles make for a great indoor activity because they are easy to get lost in while exercising spatial intelligence and developing memory skills. When selecting a jigsaw puzzle, be mindful of the ages of children who will be participating. If the puzzle is too simple, it may not hold interest. If too complex, children may grow quickly frustrated and abandon the puzzle.
20. Build Model Rooms
If completing puzzles doesn’t quite hold your kiddo’s attention, perhaps building DIY dollhouse rooms might. The 3-D nature of DIY rooms adds an additional level of engagement as children enjoy constructing rooms and dabble in interior design.
21. Bring Back the Childhood Games
Many games do not rely on technology or special equipment to enjoy. Hide-and-seek; Mother May I; and Red Light, Green Light are classics that children can enjoy indoors. With sufficient space, children can also appreciate the classic entertainment of hula hoops and jump ropes in confined spaces as well.
22. Turn Cleaning into a Fun Indoor Activity for Kids
Cleaning is not the average child’s idea of fun, but with a little of your own magic, it can actually be a blast. Convert the household chores into a competitive points-based game, and suddenly you have transformed the activity to result in a clean home into cheap entertainment. Make the process a little more fun by allowing children to exchange earned points for something the love.
23. Puppet Show
With the right materials, children can create puppets and stage puppet shows from behind a display table or constructed fort. If your puppets require a glue gun to create, be mindful of whether children are old enough to handle heated tools; they may need your assistance.
24. Learn a New Language
Take some time to invite conversation about different languages your kids have heard that may have interested them. Knowing multiple languages is a coveted skill in many professional spaces. Learning basic words in other languages could inspire an interest that will help them in the future.
Being stuck at home with kids used to scare me, but I have learned with the right mindset all being home together can actually be a really special time. It really is all about mindset and I hope with these activities up your sleeve, you feel more than ready to take this challenge on!