“I’m bored, Mommy. I want to go to the playground and play with other kids.”
This is what my 4-year old says to me when he gets fed up with being home all day. It breaks my heart every time I tell him “No, we can’t go to the playground yet because there’s a scary virus going around.” He says he understands, but he’ll ask the same thing every few days anyway.
I know parents all over the world are dealing with this problem. And it’s not just the pandemic that is limiting social opportunities for our kids, it’s also the weather. So, how do we keep our kids engaged and entertained indoors? I’ve compiled 30+ ideas for indoor play for kids and broken them down into different categories. Feel free to grab a pen and write down the fun indoor activities that appeal to you most!
Fun & Creative Indoor Play Ideas
These ideas will allow your kids to truly be kids. They may make a mess, but it’s better than letting them sit in front of the TV all day. Let them explore and get creative during playtime. Remember, they’re not going to be kids forever. So, let them play their hearts out, while you get to catch up on work or household chores.
1) Treasure hunting
My kid loves this one! Show them what you want them to look for, then ask for a few minutes while you go and hide them in not-so-obvious places. Just make sure the item’s still within arm’s reach though, so they can easily grab it!
2) Indoor picnic
You can join your kids on a real picnic with some cupcakes and juice. Or you can let them play on their own with toy pizzas and plastic teacups.
3) Singing and dancing
Bust out your dance moves and show your kids how it’s done! Let them sing and dance to anything, even Baby Shark (doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo)! My son also loves singing and dancing to the catchy “Dame tu cosita” even though he doesn’t understand a word, which is a good thing since the lyrics aren’t exactly kid-friendly.
4) Bubbles and water games
Kids love the water, don’t they? At least mine does. Buy ‘em a toy bubble machine, blow the bubbles with a fan, and let them chase the bubbles all around the house!
5) Card games
Buy some age-appropriate card games, teach your kids how to play them, and have a family card night!
6) Board games
Just like card games, board games for kids can also bring hours of fun – for the entire family!
You can buy toy bowling pins or improvise with some other toys or old plastic bottles. They basically only need a good-sized ball to bowl and knock down some stuff!
8) Hide and seek
What is childhood without hide and seek? Young kids have favorite hiding spots, so they shouldn’t be too hard to find. But crafty, older ones are a bit more challenging to find, especially if you’ve got a bigger house!
9) Recycling cardboard boxes into something fun
Cardboard boxes not only serve as packaging for stuff, but they can also be recycled into kid’s toys! For example, you can make a cardboard bus, a cardboard robot, a cardboard house, cartoon character cutouts, and so much more!
10) Robots and race cars for boys
Boys don’t look at price tags when it comes to toy robots and race cars, so you don’t need to splurge on them. You can even create DIY robots from cardboard boxes and toy cars from plastic bottles. Anything with wheels is a sure hit with boys – and girls who like these kinds of toys!
11) Dolls for girls
Most girls can sit quietly in a corner playing with their dolls. If you’ve got a daughter like this, encourage her creativity by dressing up her dolls with various accessories! She’ll have fun for hours!
12) Build stuff with playdough
Playdough is cheap and pliable, and you can use it to make hundreds of different things. Let your kids express their creativity with playdough. It will keep them busy and happy the whole day!
13) Pillow and blanket forts
Here’s another fun indoor play idea for kids of all ages! They can use pillows and blankets to make a cozy fort or castle. You can then drape some LED lights over the blankets or give them a flashlight to light up the interior.
Indoor Play for Kids: Learning and Discovering New Stuff
Kids absorb information like a sponge absorbing water! The younger they are, the easier it is to teach them new things. Here are fun indoor activities they can learn at home:
You don’t need to wait to send your kids to school before teaching them how to read. You can use flashcards and games to help your children learn how letters, sounds, and words work.
Avoid giving young kids sharp objects, this includes sharpened pencils and pens. Instead, give them crayons, child-grade paint and/or kinetic sand to write down letters and numbers.
16) Drawing and painting
Just like writing, encourage your kids to draw or paint whatever they like! You can give them a few pointers here and there, but for the most part, leave them be. And no matter what the finished artwork looks like, give them some love and praise them for the effort!
17) Science experiments
Kids are curious creatures and most of them learn by exploring and experimenting. Fortunately, there are a ton of science experiments you can do at home – no need to get fancy. You can show them some simple chemistry, biology, and physics experiments.
Kids love to act out whatever they see on TV. If they see their favorite characters running or flying around trying to rid the world of evil, then that’s what they’re going to do as well!
19) Playing musical instruments
Encourage your kids to learn how to play a musical instrument. Your kids will not only have fun for hours on end, they’ll also improve their hand-eye coordination, mental agility, patience, creativity, and confidence!
20) Math games
Teach your kids basic math like counting and simple arithmetic. You can use objects around the house to demonstrate various mathematical concepts.
Gamify Household Chores!
Household chores might not seem like fun indoor play for kids, but if you turn it into a game, they’ll be more likely to have fun. Having kids means a never-ending queue of household chores, be it daily, weekly, monthly, or seasonal chores. By teaching your kids responsibility, you can hit two birds with one stone. You get help and they learn important life skills in return – it’s a win-win!
21) Keeping toys tidy
It’s hard to keep the house clean when you’ve got young kids. I don’t know about your kids, but my son loves it when his toys are scattered all around the house! He does help clean up afterwards, but it takes a while. He’s getting better at it now though that he’s a bit older.
22) Cleaning the house
Older kids can help clean the house. They can sweep the floors, wipe down surfaces, and be mommy or daddy’s little helper. If they balk at the thought of cleaning, introduce a reward system to motivate them!
23) Watering the plants
Watering plants is a teaching moment – you’re letting your kid know that plants are living things and they need water in order to survive. Show them how much water they need to use, so they don’t accidentally kill the plant when they attempt to water it on their own later on. Or, you can work on your indoor herb garden together!
24) Cooking and baking
If your child is showing interest in what goes on in the kitchen, that’s great! There are plenty of child-friendly recipes on the web that are good for their tummies. Just make sure you don’t leave them alone in the kitchen – a lot of things can go wrong if they’re not properly supervised!
25) Feeding pets
Not all pets are kid-friendly, so it’s important to know in advance if your pet(s) belong in this category. For example, even the sweetest dog in the world can turn aggressive when near food. Never leave your child unattended around animals.
26) Folding the laundry
Folding the laundry may not be anyone’s idea of fun indoor play for kids. But trust me, if you turn this chore into a game (maybe give them a reward for folding stuff properly), they’ll have loads of fun! Start with light materials, like socks, hand towels, and handkerchiefs. As they grow older, you can add shirts, jackets, pants, and blankets.
27) Rearrange their bedroom
Give your kids free rein on how they want their bedrooms to look! You might be surprised at their creativity. You may need to help move some heavy furniture around, but for the most part, let them hone their interior design skills!
Indoor Games For Teens To Keep Them Busy
Some of the indoor play for kids ideas won’t work for teens and older kids. Household chores are a must as well as some of the family-bonding activities like card games and board games. Encouraging them to pick a hobby instead of spending all their time in front of a computer is great as well. Here are some “unplugged” suggestions they might enjoy while they’re stuck at home:
28) Chess and checkers
Chess boards are cheap, so if you don’t have one, order one right now! Checkers is easier to play than chess, but I think chess is a whole lot more entertaining, not to mention it also helps improve your IQ!
29) Table tennis
If you don’t already have one and you have enough space in your home, why not let your teens build their own table tennis or ping pong table! It can be a family project, and you’ll have tons of fun building – and playing – on the table!
30) DIY projects
Encourage your teenagers to build their own DIY projects. The table tennis table mentioned above is a good start, but there are plenty of cool DIY projects for both teen boys and girls!
31) Family exercise
Now’s an important time to be healthy and to strengthen the whole family’s immune system. Herd immunity starts at home, so keep everyone on the same page when it comes to health and nutrition (try our dietary supplements if anyone’s missing out on some important nutrients). Have a variety of exercises prepared or hold a mini competition to make the activity fun for everyone!
Getting stuck indoors is no fun, no matter how old or young you are. As parents, we already have our hands full with work and kids. But entertaining kids who are used to playing outside with friends is a different story. Hopefully, you picked up a few useful ideas for indoor play for kids and teens.
What about you? What’s your go-to activity when your kids get bored? Do let us know in the comments section below!