In the warmer months, it seems to be easier to keep the kids entertained than in the winter where we’re mostly limited to the indoors. (Because mama just doesn’t do cold.) We’re hoping these indoor activities for kids will be the cure-all for snow days this winter!
When I’m not forced to think about it, I can come up with lots of creative activity ideas for my kids.
When they’re standing in the kitchen whining about being sooo bored, however, I tend to draw a blank!
And it’s especially important for me to have an arsenal of “things to do when bored” for the kids, since I often work at home.
I’m sure that you have those times in the day that you just gotta get stuff done too.
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Indoor games, crafts and more
My solution (especially for long winter days) is to print out this list of indoor games, crafts and other fun activities for kids to keep them busy.
While everyone is entertained the old-fashioned way, I mark some items off my to-do list. It’s a win-win.
You can receive a printable checklist version of this list at the end of this post.
Creative Indoor Activities for Kids at Home: to Keep Kids Busy!
Below are 40 fun indoor activities for kids: the best ideas for keeping them active, unplugged from technology (always a plus!) and stretching those creative muscles.
A few will require planning ahead of time, but most of these activities involve items you probably already have at home.
There are a variety of ideas for all ages listed below.
1| Make snow ice cream
Or, make ice cream in a bag if you don’t have snow 🙂
2| Make a fort with chairs and sheets.
Light it up with Christmas lights!
3| Make homemade playdough.
Create your favorite animals, a playdough family or even a playdough village.
4| Write a play
Work together with siblings, assign parts and have an after-dinner performance.
5| Make sock puppets
Dad’s old tube socks make great puppets!
6| Bake cookies or a cake
You could also sign them up for online cooking classes! Check out this popular one: Kids Cook Real Food.
7| Write a story
Retell a famous fairytale or write about yourself in the future.
8| Stacking Cups
See how high you can stack the cups, or make a castle or “igloo” with them.
9| Make Penny Spinners
Hunt for pennies around the house (or car!) and make these penny spinners.
10| Movie Night
Make homemade hot chocolate , pop some popcorn and watch a movie together.
11| Paint a picture
Use craft paint or whatever paint you have on hand. For younger kids, place a piece of paper inside a gallon size ziplock bag, add some paint and let them “paint” through the plastic for less mess!
12| Make potato stamps
Look for a variety of things to stamp: copy paper, newspaper, an old t-shirt, etc.
13| Make instruments
Use rubberbands, wax paper and toilet paper rolls or other objects (baking pans, tin cans, wooden spoons etc).
14| Create a sensory bin
Use a plastic shoebox with hidden objects in oats or rice for younger kids to find.
15| Grow an indoor herb garden
Let kids help plan the dinner menus with their results.
16| Make some kid-friendly DIY bath bombs
17| Build a marble run
Use toilet paper rolls, paper cups and duct tape to construct it.
18| Cut out paper snowflakes to decorate the house.
Check out these free printable templates.
19| Invest in a Kinetic Sand kit
Now you can play at the beach indoors! Younger kids can play on top of a sheet on the kitchen floor for less mess.
20| Act out a scene from your favorite movie.
Some moms will appreciate mess-free ideas like this one!
21| Make popcorn garland
Pop some microwave popcorn (we like making our own in one of these) and string onto thread with a plastic needle.
22| Make your own snowglobe
I love an indoor activity for kids or craft that all four of my kids can work together to create, and this is one we love to do.
Younger kids can look for objects to put in the snowglobe and will love playing with them over and over again.
23| Play charades
You (or an older child) can make a list of ideas; tear the list into strips and let each team take turns drawing ideas out of a hat.
24| Make macaroni necklaces
Color macaroni noodles with markers and string onto yarn.
25| Make “my favorites” collages
Cut out pictures from magazines of your favorite animals, items with all your favorite colors, or favorite foods, etc and paste on posterboard or a large piece of cardboard.
26| Play a board game.
27| Lego hunt & build
Find all the Legos and/or blocks in the house and create the tallest structure possible.
28| Play card games together
Check out these 15 easy card game ideas for kids.
29| Write a letter
Think of an out-of-state relative or friend and practice your letter-writing skills.
30| Start a journal.
You can use some notebooks from the dollar store or use Our Family Journal below and build a journal together you can look back on each year!
31| Make a zoo
Gather all the stuffed animals in the house. Use laundry baskets, cardboard, string, etc for cages and fences.
32| Make an indoor obstacle course.
Use chairs, pillows, stack up blocks…whatever you have. Give some instructions, set a timer and see who can complete the course the fastest.
33| Play dress-up in old Halloween costumes.
This one hardly needs explanation! My younger kids love any chance to dress up.
34| Indoor bowling
Make plastic bottle bowling pins and bowl down the hallway with a basketball or bouncy ball.
(Or buy a set like this one.)
35| Make creative costumes
Use newspaper and tape – or cardboard boxes. Color with markers or crayons. (Ideas: dress up as pirates, princesses/knights or animals.)
36| Make a memory book
For older kids: organize schoolwork, pictures and artwork you’ve saved from previous years into a scrapbook or binder.
37| Have a tea party
Wear fancy outfits, make real tea and cookies.
38| Make some non-toxic slime.
Even better- use natural food coloring. We love this kind.
39| Go fishing indoors
Use a fishing “pole” (or stick or dowel rod), paperclips and gummy worms. (Instructions here.)
40| Make bird seed ornaments
See if you can identify the birds these attract!
Free printable list of activities for kids indoors
These fun activities for all ages are some of our family’s favorites.
We hope these ideas will spark the imagination in your home, and put an end to the “I’m bored” mantra on cold, rainy days!
For the printable version of this list, simply click on the image below:
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Originally published December 15, 2018; last updated 5/30/21.