Won’t be long and temperatures will be falling, rain will come, and little ones will be stuck in the house more often. I’ve brainstormed a list of things to play indoors. Some of these require mom or dad’s supervision. Most of it, however, can be enjoyed by them with or without you. They’re all tried and true, and I guarantee any one of them will bring you more peace over a long cold weekend than kids fighting, saying their bored, or begging you to buy them more stuff.
10 Indoor Activities to Fun All Season:
1) Build a fort: Take blankets, sheets, comforters whatever you have in the closet. Drape it over furniture (kitchen chairs in the living area works great) Anchor the blankets with books, or if possible tie it to the chair to prevent anyone from getting hit on the head with a book. (especially little bitty ones). Inside your fort pile it will pillows, a flashlight, and a couple of snacks. My little one likes to color in there, the older one piles in and reads books. They will be completely entertained most of the afternoon with it. Later in the evening, climb in and watch a movie with them. It’s loads of fun!
2) Dance Off: Play Wii Just Dance and try to keep up with those kids…I dare you! We’ve done that or we just turn on music and dance. Funny to watch what happens especially if they have friends over. You’ll see some hip hop moves, pop dance, cheer pyramids. One thing for sure both Mom and Kids get a great work out!
3) Get in the kitchen together: That’s right, Cook something! Have them help you measure and mix. My preschooler thinks stirring stuff up is so much fun. Sometimes we make slime or other non edible crafts they can play with. Most of the time though, it’s something good to eat. Steering from sweets, we make trail mixes, lunch, even start dinner sometimes. I admit I have a weakness for yummy baked foods on a cool day, so I can’t tell you everything we make is healthy to eat. Last year we made Pumpkin bread mini loafs and took several over to our elderly neighbors houses. (that’s a double bonus b/c kids are busy decorating the package you put them in while the bread bakes, and they’re so proud when they get back from the deliveries). It’s also fun to make and then drive it over to their Nana’s house.
4) Have a mini-carnival: Stuff dry beans in a zip lock bag and use them for ring toss (toss in coffee cans, canisters, anything that won’t break). If you’re living room is large enough, have the kids put their feet in a pillow case for a good old fashion sack race. Stack blocks or stand hard back books up and have them roll the ball to knock down. Blow up balloons and have them tap the balloons around (similar to ball toss, but the balloons won’t go fast or hard enough to break stuff). Or you can fill balloons with a message and have them run around popping balloons with their feet. Each one they pop they have to either do the chore, find the item, or act it out and get back in the ring . ( tell a kid in a game to go get their toothbrush off the counter it’ll be done is 2 seconds…sure beats arguing all morning)
5) Play charades: You don’t need a board game to be silly and have fun. We play “categories” all you say is “animal, sport, person” etc and the other has to act it out.
6) Football Party: Pick a team and get your game on! Kids really love cheering for their team. I’m a firm believer in sportsmanship, and their is no better way to teach a kid than participation. We make popcorn or trail mix, grab a drink and gather in the living room. Sometimes I wear my teams’ colors and they will too ( I almost Always pick a team different than theirs so we have a little friendly competition going). Sportsmanship and spirit is the goal here. We may make it pajama/unmatched clothes party on a rainy day. Once we did crazy hair! Many days in the winter, when it’s cold and rainy the kids and I will have one of these football parties and have a great homemade soup/stew/gumbo going. They help dice and chop in the kitchen too. When the game is over, dinner’s ready! It really makes for a relaxing, fun Sunday afternoon with them. Most of the time they’re talking all through dinner about game!
7) Play Board games: Family game night is often next to impossible during the week. But on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon? This is a perfect time to drag out all the board games, stack them up and get playing. Or play cards. My kids love “go fish”! Sometimes we have a little difference in opinion on what games to play. I’ve settled that by drawing a number, the lowest number wins and picks the first game. Then after that the winner picks the next game. (and yes, we let my little one win sometimes but that’s 1/2 the fun)
8) Artwork: One rainy day last year, I put my car in the driveway and set a table in the garage. Kids took watercolors, washable paints, crayons, playdoh, markers and chalks out there in their school boxes. Add scissors, glue, papers, ribbon, magazines, and anything else you have around lying around that makes art more fun-just throw in a basket and put in the middle of the table. I gathered up some old items around the house (a hat, a flower pot, a craft box, t-shirts, mini pails, an apron). I had a drop cloth from painting the bathroom I found in a drawer in the garage. I put it under the table. An old sheet or newspaper would work too. Then I closed the garage door so they wouldn’t be too cold and turned them loose! They had a ball. (hint: stock up on school supplies during the back to school sales and store spares for winter use at home). Clean up was simple. I rolled up the 99 cent drop cloth and put in the garbage!! all paper and spilled paint was in the rollup. Done!
9) Have a scavenger hunt: My kids won’t fall for the “go find that game piece you lost trick” but I have made a list of things to find around the house, or given hints and they have to find the item. (ex What do you use on your Bobo? they have to figure out the riddle and bring me a band-aid). Sometimes they have to find an item in a magazine and cut it out (or Coupons). Or have them make a peanut butter sandwich or pour a glass of milk (now they’re fixing their own lunch!) I usually play this when other kids are here, and I pair one of the older ones with a little one on each team. That way the older one reads and helps the little ones.
10) Make good use of the small electronics/kits they got for Christmas last year. (the easy bake oven, cotton candy machine, rock polisher, pottery wheel, birdhouse craft kit, latch hook rug, nail spa, jewelry makers). My kids always get stuff like for this Christmas, they love it but here’s the reality of it. They play it when they first get it and then mom puts it up. I have a special shelf in the garage for things like this. And it’s very easy to put away because most of this stuff requires some patience. Santa just left and my kids have no patience at this time! So, when I put it away it’s to clean up after Christmas. I don’t intentionally leave it there…it just happens. School starts back up, then spring comes and then by summer they’re on to the pool and outdoor stuff. These items are a mom’s lifesaver in the fall ! Drag them back out!! The kids are so excited like it’s a brand new gift again. They have lots of time to kill and plenty of patience. My oldest daughter loves all of these things. She has everything I’ve mentioned here plus a chemistry set and I don’t know what else. When I pull this out I have made her day! And there’s an added bonus…stored right and used less often than other toys…some of these things we’ve had for years. They still work great and we just keep collecting them. ( you may have to buy refills but no biggie). Every time I get some of this stuff down for them, they are all so excited because they have forgotten about them. They will work on, build, make and craft all afternoon. It’s awesome when you have things you need to get done.
And the best part about this list? it’s amazing what things like this will do for your relationship with your kids. I keep the atmosphere fun and relaxed, during the course of the day you will almost always hear what’s REALLY going on at school, who’s worried about what and they will ask you things they wouldn’t normally. It’s also amazing to end the weekend “clean your room” argument. I can tell my girls on Friday night that if they clean their rooms then we can have one of these days, and I promise those rooms will be shining on Friday night. I usually have plenty of their friends here playing, and I can say Friday evening “well, we need to get this done or that done and then we can do….” and I will have every one of those kids helping my kids to get it done! Truth is they usually jump in to do more than I asked in the first place.
I’ve also figured out that all of this is stuff kids are going to get into when you say “go play” anyway. However, if you organize it with them before they get started, the clean up is so much easier, I have far less accidents, and they don’t get on my nerves constantly dragging stuff out while I’m cleaning and picking stuff up. The rule is if you are done with one thing, put it away before you take out another. As long as I make the day fun, I have no trouble with this rule. As soon as they are idle and think I’m not paying enough attention to them…it’s another story!
So there you have it! My miracle list to make every weekend a “staycation” at home. It’s not fool-proof, but it’s budget friendly, fun and less stressful than the alternative! (at least for me). This list will not get boring. MIX IT UP! have a mix-matched clothes and board game day, bake in the morning/paint in the afternoon, gather up all the craft items the night before (it helps clean up the bar and other stow-away places they love)/then cook, or build a fort and have a football party inside it!
Enjoy the season at home with your kids. Kids have an amazing way of easing your worries and troubles! Plus, when they grow up, they won’t remember every little thing but I guarantee you they will remember days like this! (and be a better person for them).