Here are indoor kids activities that will keep kids (and you) happy and active if its too rainy or cold to go out—no TV or video games required.
You don’t need a fancy building set for this. Popsicle stick cities, card towers, even buildings out of blocks, or forts out of boxes or pillows, will do just fine. If you want to get competitive, whoever builds the highest tower wins.
Magical Mama (or Papa)
Be your kids’ very own Harry Houdini—without the locks, chains and water tanks, of course. Simply place a coin under one of three cups and shuffle the cups around. Then ask your children to guess which cup holds the coin. Sneaky parents can place the cups near the edge of a table and secretly drop the coin. Watch your tots’ eyes light up in amazement when they learn the coin is gone!
Card games are great for challenging young minds and creating hours of indoor fun.
Exercise those creative, cognitive and problem-solving muscles with a good puzzle. You can use a store-bought variety or have the kids make their own. Have your children draw a picture on a sturdy piece of cardboard or Bristol board. Then use a pencil to outline puzzle pieces directly on their drawing. Cut out the pieces with a good pair of scissors, mix them up and get solving.
Choose some of your kids’ favorite tunes and turn up the volume. Ask them to dance until the music stops. When it does, they have to freeze in whatever position they find themselves in – even if they have one leg up. To make the game more challenging, ask the kids to freeze in specific poses: animals, shapes, letters or even yoga postures.
This game is ideal for larger groups — a sleepover favorite. Divide the kids up into groups. Give each group a bag filled with props, such as a spoon, toy jewelry, a sock, ball or ribbon. Then give them 15 minutes to construct a skit around the props. This game is so much fun that it doesn’t have to be competitive. If the kids want, though, they can all vote on a winning skit.
DIY balance beam
We all know how much kids love walking in straight lines every chance they get. Put on some music, and one at a time the kids can take their turn walking one-foot-over-the-other across the straight line of tape. Make the game more challenging by having the kids walk backwards or balance with one foot on the line.
Hide and Seek
In this classic game, one person (“It”) covers his or her eyes and counts aloud while the other players hide. When “It” is finished counting, he or she begins looking for the hiders. The last hider to be found is the next “It.” Warning: this game is often a source of giggle fits. Families with older children might want to take things up a notch and play Hide and Seek in the dark. Just to be safe, make sure there are no loose items on the floor. If you want, allow “It” to carry a flashlight or turn the lights on once “It” finishes counting.
Kids love finding hidden objects — especially when there’s a prize at the end. Simply write your clues on some slips of paper — get creative. Place the first clue somewhere easy to find, like inside your child’s snack or cereal bowl. Then leave as many clues as you like around the house, making a trail to the final clue. Instead of a prize, the treasure hunt can lead to various coins around the house. This way the kids get to collect all the coins and put them in their piggy banks in the end.
A great way to reuse water bottles (or you can purchase an indoor bowling set). Line six-10 water bottles up at the end of your hall or living room. Place a line of duct tape at the starting line. Grab a medium-sized indoor ball and start bowling! If you want, keep score and give out trophies at the end. (Note: if you need to stabilize the water bottles or make the game more difficult, simply fill them up with some water. Don’t forget to screw the tops on tightly!)
Picnic memory game
Everyone sits in a circle. The first player says, “In my basket for the picnic, I packed…,” and then says what item he or she packed. The next player then says, “In my basket for the picnic, I packed…,” and then recites what the first player packed and adds his or her own item to the basket, and so forth.
The listening game
One of Colla’s go-to games for her preschoolers and grandchildren, this game is sure to both educate and delight little ones. Take out several miscellaneous items. Have the children look at all the items, and then take them away. Next, ask one child to hide his or her eyes and listen as you pick up an item and make sounds with it. Ask the child to guess which item made the sound. Examples of items might be a comb (run your fingers along it), a glass (gently tap it), cymbals, shakers, sandpaper; blocks rubbed together, a pot and spoon. Be creative!
Find a shoe box or any box that has a lid on it. Cut a hole in one of the sides of the box —large enough for your child to fit her hand in. If you want, get creative and decorate the box with glitter and question marks. When you’re ready to play, put an item inside the box and have your children guess what it is. They can ask questions about the item if they need to, or you can offer clues. use such simple objects as a brush, a toy, a piece of fruit. To make it competitive, you can give a point to the first child to name the object.