Banish Boredom: 11 Creative Ways to Keep the Kids Entertained at Home
Keep the kids happy and occupied, even when they’re stuck at home, with these fun indoor games and activities.
My kids seem to run through the activities I have planned for them faster than I usually expect, which is why I always need a backup list of even more easy kids activities, like the indoor activities here. These ideas, which are all things you can do with items you most likely have in the house already, have been recent wins with my littles. And they’ve made me realize that there are a few perks to this being stuck at home business…namely more opportunities to laugh and create together! (Okay, this sometimes does result in more messes to clean up, but I can usually recruit the kids to help if I turn some music on and make it into a dance party!). From cardboard letter hunts to DIY Jenga and the best homemade salt dough, these ideas will keep everyone busy…at least until the next snack time rolls around!
1 Paper Toss
Have fun shooting hoops without the need to go anywhere with the help of crumbled up paper from the recycling bin. Plus, you don’t have to worry about the kids breaking a window with a real ball! Simply set up any tall laundry basket ($7, Target) and have the kids make balls from scraps of paper. Whoever makes the most baskets wins. (P.S. You can also use socks for the balls instead of paper!)
2 DIY Checkers
Use a piece of buffalo check fleece to make a DIY checkerboard. To make a standard 8x8-inch square board, trim fabric 1/2-inch beyond the 8x8-inch grid and blanket stitch the edges. Use rounds of cardboard or wood as the game pieces. Each player will need 12. If you don't have fabric on hand, you can also use a buffalo check flannel shirt or simply draw a grid on construction paper.
3 Toppling Tower
Let the kids create their own game. Have them cover as many empty boxes as you have with wrapping paper, construction paper, or even magazine pages. To play, have the kids alternate stacking the boxes one on top of the other. The player who topples the tower is out! Keep playing until only one winner remains.
4 Rainbow Foam
This fluffy foam is colorful, bright, and perfect for kids to get their hands a little messy. Place 2 tablespoons of clear dish detergent, 1 tablespoon of nontoxic tempera paint (like Washable Tempera Paint, $2, Michaels), and 1/4 cup water into a bowl. Using an electric mixer, blend the ingredients for 1–2 minutes until the mixture becomes fluffy. Place the foam in a large plastic bin and let the kids dive in.
5 Salt Dough
Mix together flour, salt, and water to make a simple dough they can roll and cut into any shapes they like. After baking, they can paint the shapes according to their imagination using acrylic crafts paint! I like to do the dough part in the morning, bake during snack and quiet time, then paint in the afternoon. It’s a total win for kids aged 2 and up.
6 Indoor Art
Have more fun with the alphabet with this fun letter art. Use a wooden letter from the crafts supply store or cut one out of cardboard. Then let the kids paint and decorate their letter with pom-poms, sequins, and markers however they like. They could even do their whole name if they want!
8 Indoor Hopscotch
Get the kids moving, even on days when they’re stuck inside, with a game of indoor hopscotch. Use paper and patterned tape to make the game—just tape off nine rectangles and fill each with a fun pattern. (Be sure to securely attach the paper to the floor with tape to help the game last a little longer!)
9 Pom-Pom Races
Pull out some straws and pom-poms ($2, Hobby Lobby) and get ready to have the silliest race! (My kids thought this was totally hilarious when we did it after dinner on a recent night.) Tape off a finish line on a table or on the floor in a hallway. Assign each player a color of pom-pom and set them in a row. Divide players into two teams, and give each child a straw and a pom-pom. To play, set the pom-poms in a row and go. Whoever blows their pom-pom across the finish line first wins!
10 Alphabet Find
Try an indoor scavenger hunt! Recruit the kids to help you glue letters into leftover boxes—you’ll need one of each letter of the alphabet. Then, let them hunt for objects that correspond with each letter. Think “S” for shell, “B” for a bouncy ball, “K” for key. See if they can find objects to fill up the whole alphabet!
11 Have a Costume Party
Pull out the dress-up bin, or just raid the regular clothes closets, and set out a box filled with clean household supplies like rubber gloves, funnels, cardboard, and wooden spoons. Challenge each child to create a fun costume using only these found supplies and then to tell a story about it!