Just because you’re stuck indoors, doesn’t mean you really have to be stuck indoors. There are a ton of things that you and your kids can still do to have a blast from morning until night. And, to top it all off, you can do all of these things without your TV or your phone, unless you’re watching a tutorial video. Yes. That’s right. Unplugging can be a great way to reconnect as a family. Many of these activities can play an important role in children’s development as well. You can learn how to make learning fun for everyone involved or help your children learn skills that will last for a lifetime, all while having a great time.
1. Do a science experiment
2. Build a fort
Okay, so if you’re strapped for things to do, this one is a classic go-to that will always see you through. You can literally make a fort out of anything. The dining room table and some sheets, the couch cushions and the couch, chairs, boxes, you name it. Challenge yourself to see who can build the coolest fort, the biggest fort, and the most creative fort. Ideas
3. Make a masterpiece
It might sound old-hat, but making art is a great way to pass an afternoon. You don’t have to go full out with expensive canvases and paints. Paper and pencil crayons, crayons, or even just a pencil and paper can all be inexpensively turned into masterpieces. If you want to try your hand at painting, look for canvases and paint supplies at garage sales, or places like dollar stores. Ideas
4. Shadow puppets
Okay, you might be saying this is pretty lame, but shadow puppets are actually fairly amusing. Kids LOVE them and it’s a great way to be creative. A lot of kids hate the dark, so shadow puppets are a great way to show them that the dark can actually be a lot of fun. There are videos and even books out there and tell you how to make all the neat little animals and characters, so do a little bit of research if you’re not already a puppet making master, and let the fun begin.
5. Play store
This one might be best if you have some storage space. If you can, save up the empty boxes and packing from good you’ve already used. Wash out and store containers. Empty cereal boxes, empty ice cream cone boxes, empty pizza boxes… that kind of thing. Let your child set up their own grocery store. If you have some play money lying around (look for it at garage sales or dollar stores or make it yourself), that will just take the fun up a level. Playing store can be really fun and it’s a great, sneaky way for you to teach your kids about counting change and even about math. Ideas
6. Act out a story
7. Dress up
This one is an old classic. Let your child enter into a world of imagination by playing dress up. Clean out your closet and donate a few of those items you never wear to the dress up box. Thrift stores and garage sales are great places to find unique and retro clothing. You might just have quite a bit of fun dressing up right along with your kids!
8. Listen to a story
Most libraries have books on tape, even for kids. Or, if you can find them, there is still vinyl out there that have stories recorded. Sometimes, you can get lucky and even find ones where the author is reading their own work. Alternatively, you can just download some of the many children’s books offered on popular audio book sites like the one on the link below. It’s a great way to wind down or just sit and relax. Alternatively, you could also act out the story as it’s being told or keep busy with crafts or another activity while you’re listening.
9. Create a car
10. Get beading
You can buy bead kits or search the house for your errant craft supplies. Making a necklace or a bracelet can be a lot of fun and can be done inexpensively with pony beads and even string, if you don’t have anything else on hand.
11. Get crafty
There are probably tons of gems just lying around the house. Cardboard, cans, lids, construction paper, beads, maybe even feathers- it can all be transformed into a beautiful new creation. Chances are, you have a ton of crafting supplies just sitting around not getting used. Why not break them out and get creative for an afternoon!
Ideas: Here & Here
12. Your deal
Don’t let playing cards become a lost art. There are a ton of different card games that you can play that are really fun. People of all ages and skill levels can learn different games. It’s not only fun to take time and learn something new, but the games themselves can be quite competitive and amusing. A deck of cards fits into just about any small space, so no matter where you are, if you know a couple games, you can usually keep the entertainment going. Ideas
13. Browse the past
You might not think that your kids will be interested in going through family photo albums or photo books, but they probably will be. Not only is it a great way for them to learn about their family, and what things were like in a different era, it’s a great trip down memory lane for you. A lot of people don’t have photo albums on hand anymore, but if you ask a relative, chances are, you’ll be able to borrow a couple. Or, if you have photo books made of your own family, your kids will probably love talking about all the fun things you’ve done together already. Ideas & How-to
14. Get your bake on
Baking is a fun, creative way to spend time together as a family. Making cookies is one of those time-honored traditions that likely just about everyone can remember doing with their parents or grandparents as a child. Those kind of memories last. You can be as creative as you want to be and there are no shortages of recipes you can look up at a glance online if you don’t have a cookbook. Oh, and the best part? Enjoying the tasty product of all your hard work!
Like baking, cooking is a great way to bring the family together and create long lasting memories. It’s also a great skill for your children to learn. You can make anything from something simple, like toast or a sandwich, to harder recipes. If your family has pizza night or a lasagna night, why not get the kids to help? Cooking can be really fun. It’s basically like doing a science experiment, and it’s a great way for them to learn recipes, and hands on skills. Ideas
15. Chore it up
You might not think of chores as being a fun activity, but if your house needs to be cleaned and you have an afternoon or an evening that’s dragging on, why not make it fun? You can make a game of it. Put on music and dance while you’re dusting. Imagine you have to slay the vacuum dragon and you can only do that by filling it up since it’s always hungry. The ideas are endless. You can really be creative and create a positive connection out of something your kids might not really want to do. Details
16. Ready or not, here I come
Hide and go seek is one of those age old go to games for people of all ages. Even adults can enjoy the fun of finding that perfect hiding spot (half the fun is getting into it!) and waiting for your child to discover you. If you don’t want to play, you always facilitate the game. Help your child with counting, or point out those amazing hiding spots. Hide and go seek can literally last for hours and the surprise of finding someone never gets old.
17. Giving feels good
18. Lights, camera, action
Putting on a play is always fun. You can write your own script or act out a favorite book, story, or movie. Putting on a play can be anything as simple as just getting in the middle of the room or dressing up and doing some hair and makeup too. Now, it’s easier than ever to video things with your phone, so you can memorialize the moment forever.
19. Transform your socks
Yes, that’s right. Make sock puppets. You can make sock puppets out of all the old craft supplies you have lying around the house. Use up all those odds and ends and give them a new lease on life. Socks are always going down with holes or wear, so take that non-matching mate and transform it into an entirely new being. You can put on some exciting plays, or even design a puppet theatre out of an old box to go with your new puppets.
20. Puzzle it out
Building puzzles can actually be a lot of fun. Puzzles can usually be picked up for pretty cheap at garage sales or thrift stores. If you find it hard to find actual children’s puzzles, pick an adult puzzle that has fewer pieces (500 or less). Children will love sorting pieces with you and it might surprise you just how quickly they’re able to fill gaps with pieces even you couldn’t find! Doing an activity together is the fun part, and as they watch it take shape under your guidance, it truly is a fun experience for everyone.
You can even make one yourself by pasting an image on cardboard and cutting it into various shapes.
21. Dance off
It only takes a few seconds to put on a favorite song or a fun, upbeat dance song. Challenge your kids to a dance-off. Who can come up with the most creative dance? Who has the sweetest moves? Who can dance the longest? It’s a great way to get active indoors, but it also challenges your children to use their imagination and it might just instill in them a love of music.
22. Board games aren’t boring
That’s right! Board games aren’t boring. There are a ton of different games out there that are family friendly, along with all the old classics. There are literally games for children of all ages. Chances are, you have more than a few lying around the house. Break one out and actually play it! Games provide hours of fun and you can make some really great, lasting memories.
23 Invent your own spooky story
Sure you can read scary stories to each other, but inventing your own ghost stories can be just as fun! You can even act them out with bed sheets or just get up and pantomime the whole thing. If you want, you can create a chain story, where one person goes first, telling the beginning of the tale, and the next person steps up and creates the next part, and so on and so on. If scary stories aren’t your thing, you can do this with any genre of storytelling. The important thing is just to keep the creative juices flowing.
24. Make a time capsule
Time capsules are pretty cool. They’re a lot of fun to make, but even more fun to get out years from now and see all the items that went in with so much care and thought behind them. If you explain the concept to your children, they probably won’t mind parting with a few of their things. It’s exciting, thinking about the future, all while living in the moment. You don’t have to bury your time capsule. You can put it somewhere safe, like a spot in the basement way up high. You don’t need to wait years to open it either. You can decide how much time you want to wait. One thing is certain- opening it is just as much fun as putting it.
25. Block towers
There are a ton of different building block and brick toys and sets out there right now for kids of all ages. If you have a couple sets on hand, build something creative. Let your kids take the lead and watch their imaginations take flight. Some sets can be expensive, if you don’t’ already own them, but sometimes you can find them used at thrift stores or garage sales. If you keep your eyes peeled, you can usually find a good score.