25 Indoor Activities For Kids Sure to Cure Cabin Fever
Winter is coming. While bears get to hibernate, parents know toddlers and even older kids do not. Hence, it's peak season for cabin fever. The good news is that plenty of indoor activities for kids offer fun (and even educational) experiences, even if the weather outside is frightful.
The bad news: you may not have the energy to muster up ideas for things to do inside — with the holiday whirl and the hustle and bustle of work beckoning. Allow us to lend a hand. From top indoor activities for toddlers with energy to burn to weather-proof experiences for older kids, there's something on this list for children of all ages. These indoor activities for families will make even days with the worst weather delightful.
Lay out art the art supplies and let the kids have at it. The possibilities are endless, and spending a few minutes to hours crafting something is a genius way to spark creativity. Seasonal activities like DIY Christmas, Valentine's Day, or St. Patty's Day crafts are one idea. But a fuss-free option simply involves laying out crayons and colored pencils and allowing kids to create something all their own, giving way to beneficial unstructured play.
Have a Movie Marathon
Curling up on the couch and watching a favorite flick can keep families warm and snuggly as they pass the time. Draw numbers to see who gets to pick the first movie (and beyond, if you're embracing the "marathon" feature of this idea). Depending on the age of the child, families can also make popcorn and gather together their favorite treats to enjoy during the movie.
Make Your Own Movie
If you've streamed every movie in your queue (or can't agree on one to watch), pivot to making your own. Less passive than watching a movie, a DIY family flick is one of the best indoor activities for kids who want to be creative while moving around. Bonus: you can watch it for snow days to come. You can put your phones to use and then edit with software or apps like iMovie, Canva, or Snapseed. The VTech KidiZoom Creator Cam also has onscreen editing.
Do Puppet Theater
Puppet shows provide opportunities for imaginative play, collaboration, and creativity. You can use blankets to set up a stage or have kids go behind a couch or chair. Plenty of readymade puppets, like Melissa & Doug Safari Buddies Hand Puppets ($22, originally $38), are available. However, making your own out of paper bags or tube socks gives kids another way to flex their creative muscles. Puppet theater can engage various ages, from infants delighting in their parents' antics to big kids with similarly large imaginations.
Start a Scrapbook
Make memories while taking a trip down memory lane. Scrapbooking together is a great way to use all the photos you took during the holiday or all of last year — and maybe it will let you feel less guilty about deleting some of the hundreds of photos of kids you have sitting on your phone. Just be sure to print photos before a bad-weather day at your local pharmacy or printing store.
Grow an Indoor Garden
Some of the best indoor activities for families involve bringing the outdoors inside. Grab some containers, order some soil, roll up your sleeves, and enjoy getting your hands dirty. Herbs like basil and chives grow well inside, or you can make kitties swoon by growing catnip.
Have Fun With Play-Doh
If paint and colored pencils have gotten stale, mold a better day inside with Play-Doh. This Play-Doh Modeling Compound 10-Pack ($8) can be used to make all their sculpting dreams come true. Moreover, using their hands can be incredibly calming to kids feeling jittery after a day of being stuck indoors.
Do Housework (Seriously!)
Use the time spent indoors to spruce up your space. Get your sock drawers under control, or brainstorm ways to redesign a room for a kid due for an upgrade. This idea isn't just for older kids. Chores make excellent practice-life-focused indoor activities for toddlers and build skills like sorting and following directions through seemingly mundane tasks like folding laundry.
Start a Science Experiment
Beat boredom blues by engaging a child's love of discovery. Younger kids around two or three will love helping to mix dyes or into foods to create new colors (think: turning milk blue or combining red and yellow to make orange).
Bake Something Delicious
Ready to bake a cake as fast as you can? On second thought, what's the rush on a blustery day when you have nowhere to go? Choose a family-friendly recipe for bread, cake, cookies, or whatever your cravings call for, and make a warm baked good that hits directly on the coldest of days. Even tiny tykes can help with small tasks that feel like big deals to them, like pouring pre-measured ingredients into a mixture.
The local park may be a no-go, but indoor playground activities can weather-proof plans for kids who love climbing (and keep them off your tables). Time spent on pickler triangles and slides makes for some of the best indoor activities for toddlers and pre-schoolers, while forts are excellent for older kids.
Make a Blanket-and-Pillow Tent
Though play couches and fort kits are hits, back in our days, we used our own couches. If you're cool with it, have a nostalgic experience with your kids by using actual furniture to make the coolest hideout ever. Once you've built a tent, get cozy by snuggling and reading a book or telling ghost stories (if you dare).
Gentle movement can be relaxing and engaging but not tiring. Stretch limbs by doing yoga together. Apps like Peloton and even YouTube have practices geared toward children and families.
Play Marco Polo
This pool party-favorite game isn't limited to summertime fun. It can easily be brought indoors. The person who gets "tagged" first gets to be "it" and close their eyes next. The game is an ideal indoor activity for families of any size or kids whose playdates got rained on but still want to hang out with their crew.
Break Out the Board Games
Get some friendly competition going to liven up a day spent indoors by playing board games. This classic indoor activity remains a boredom-buster in the digital era. From quintessential little-kid games like Candy Land to ones geared toward older children and adults, such as chess — families have plenty of age-appropriate options. The winner gets to choose the evening's movie, baking recipe, or next game.
Build With LEGOs
Speaking of screen-free classics, LEGOs remain one of the best activities for toddlers and kids alike. LEGOs DUPLO bricks are ideal for tiny hands, while older kids can graduate for more intricate sets with smaller pieces. Regardless of whether you buy a set to build something specific or just a box full of blocks, LEGOs offer opportunities to get creative and build motor skills.
Have a Pillow Fight
While we generally discourage hitting one another, pillow fights can be a fun way to pass the time. This quintessential family activity is best left for kids old enough to understand the need to be gentle and stop when someone says so.
Host a Scavenger Hunt
Creating a scavenger hunt for your kids will make for a memorable day indoors. Older kids can search for specific spices, shoes, or cherished toys. You can even ask them to spot things outside. Bonus: This idea is an excellent way to help kids remember where things are around the house.
Make Friendship Bracelets
Still basking in the glow of your Eras-tour family experience? Go ahead and
make the friendship bracelets (again). Amazon sells kits aimed at school-aged kids and tweens. Allowing Taylor Swift to provide the soundtrack to your crafting is optional but recommended.
Make a Sensory Bin
Sensory toys can be a fun way to engage younger children. However, parents can also get creative and DIY these fun indoor activities for toddlers. Crushed-up Cheerios with a shovel become edible sand, and even a bowl of water with bath toys can make a splash inside. Not in the mood to create? You can find readymade options online.
Play Dress Up
Allow imaginations to run wild by playing dress-up with your little ones. From doctor and firefighter kits that inspire the next generation of helpers to princess outfits that allow for charming and imaginative play, there's no shortage of options.
Do a Challenging Puzzle
Even young infants and toddlers can partake in this activity using large or peg puzzles. Older children can help put together intricate jigsaw puzzles. This indoor idea is well-suited for independent play, but families can divide and conquer larger puzzles together for a bonding experience.
Do Some Breathing Exercises
Weather got them down or stressed? Simple breathing exercises can be incredibly soothing. Sit quietly together on the floor or a mat and take deep breaths together. Even a minute can put you in a better headspace. Speaking of which, apps like Headspace and Calm have guided meditations for families seeking assistance.
Read a Book Together
Whether you're reading a toddler a bedtime story or sitting next to an older kid as you read your novels of choice, reading allows people of all ages to escape to another place and time (hopefully somewhere warmer).
Have a Dance Party
Craft a playlist full of songs everyone loves and turn a kitchen or living room floor into a dance floor. Dance parties are a great way to get families with children and adults of all ages moving when local parks and backyards are too cold and soggy.