The Ultimate List of Indoor Activities to Keep Little Kids Entertained For Hours
Whether it's a downpour or an unexpected snowfall, the weather forecast can quickly leave kids feeling restless while stuck indoors. When it's too snowy, wet, hot, or cold to go outside, you'll be hearing echoes of "I'm bored!" before you know it. If you're looking for rainy-day activities after a few days cooped up inside, you've come to the right place.
We've come up with 55 boredom-busting ways to stay entertained indoors. Challenge your little ones to do something different this afternoon by making a craft or an easy recipe or playing a game that wouldn't have otherwise interested them. Prove to your kids that being stuck inside isn't necessarily a bad thing — it can be an opportunity to learn something new!
— Additional reporting by Melanie Whyte
Play Hide and Seek
There's nothing more classic than a game of hide and seek, but playing in the great indoors is much less stressful on Mom and Dad (fewer places to hide!). It also helps young tots learn the concept of object permanence. We recommend getting in on the action and hiding yourself. You'll love seeing the smile on your kids' faces when they find you!
Dig Up Some Old Socks
A clean pair of socks has endless potential. Create sock puppets, fill them with sand, or decorate them into door stoppers.
Make Your Own Ice Cream
The kids will all be screaming for ice cream with this easy recipe of homemade single-serving ice cream. But don't worry, no ice cream machine is required, just a few active hands and a ziplock bag!
Tear Up Some Paper, Then Do Something With It
If you need rainy-day activities for toddlers, let them tear into some colorful paper and come up with a collage craft that will have their fingers excited about creating.
Put On a Puppet Show
Remember those sock puppets from earlier? Well, now you can put them to work. Whether you're using finger puppets, stuffed animals, or old-school puppets (hey, painted hands work, too), a puppet show is fun for the whole family!
Make Edible Flower Lollipops
You don't need a candy thermometer to make these floral treats. You'll be surprised that they turn out just as delicious as they are pretty!
Rearrange the Kids' Rooms
Channel your inner interior designer and get the whole family involved in "Project Room Makeover." Tackle a DIY design project, spruce things up with new bedding or some fun new accent pieces, or reconfigure the room's layout for an updated look. This satisfying endeavor will continue to give you a sense of accomplishment all year long, and getting your little one's opinion on the new look will make them feel like a valued member of the family.
Create an Indoor Sandbox
When you can't go to the beach, bring the beach to you! Create an indoor sandbox by sprinkling some sand on a table. Throw in some toy cars, figurines, cookie cutters, and measuring cups for at least an hour of uninterrupted fun!
Have a Rock-Painting Party
If you have some paint and brushes on hand (and you can brave the rain for a few minutes to gather some rocks), then you have everything you need for a rock-painting party. Let your kids get creative by mixing colors, and give toddlers smaller brushes to work on fine motor skills.
Make a Button Bouquet
Break out your button stash, and create a bouquet that blooms all year long!
Go Camping . . . Without Leaving the House
Pitch a tent or two in the middle of the house, and re-create an authentic camping experience — minus the uncontrollable element of weather. Add in some s'mores, and you have a campout!
Create Rock Crayons
Rock crayons are the gift that keeps on giving, because once your child has enjoyed the fun of making these rainbow creations, they can enjoy coloring with them during future projects. But they will need help getting the rocks out of the oven.
Make a Fingerprint Family Tree
Use an ink pad and kiddie thumbs to create a fingerprint family tree. It's a great way to teach your little ones about their family history.
Host a Tea Party
Everyone loves a tea party! So gather up the stuffed-animal guests, and start brewing. The addition of cakes, tea sandwiches, and British accents is optional — but recommended.
Practice Pretend Gardening
There's not a lot of gardening to be done on a rainy day, but start laying the groundwork by helping your tot make an indoor version. Make two-ingredient edible dirt, and create an "indoor sandbox" of sorts for your kiddo to play with.
You'll keep tots busy for hours by freezing some of their smaller toys in a block of ice. Just place the block in the bathtub, and let them start excavating!
Have a Classic Board-Game Marathon
Put away the video-game controllers, and go old school with classic family games like Candy Land, Twister, Chutes and Ladders, and Operation. They might not be as high tech as the Xbox or Wii, but there's a reason companies have been making them for decades.
Create Kid-Friendly Pizza Bagels
Grab a couple bagels, slice them up, and let your kids add their own toppings. If you want to get really creative, then make these adorable pepper, tomato, olive, and pepperoni critters from Betty Crocker! Who knew eating pizza could be even more fun?
Make No-Bake Cookies
"Baking" doesn't get easier or faster than no-bake cookies! Take a peek at these easy-to-make recipes your kids will love.
Make Some Goop
No, we're not talking about Gwyneth Paltrow's company, but some slimy, silly concoction that requires only three ingredients: food coloring, cornstarch, and water.
Have an Indoor Picnic
Take all the elements of an old-fashioned picnic and bring them indoors for a memorable meal. Lay out a blanket on the living room floor to make it extra cozy!
Let your little one's inner moon man come out by building a DIY rocket-fueled jet pack from cardboard, two-liter bottles, felt, and straps! Practice for takeoff with some indoor flying until sunny skies return.
Mini Painted Clay Pots
Bring the outdoors inside by creating new homes for some special plants or herbs with some creativity and paint.
Get messy with colorful finger paint — no explanation required!
Pull Out the Puzzles
Puzzles are great for brain development, but be sure to pick one that's age appropriate. Check out this list of jigsaws meant just for kids!
Make Your Own Play-Doh
Making homemade Play-Doh requires only some common household ingredients and a few minutes of your time for hours of fun! If you're feeling fancy, add a couple drops of essential oils alongside the food coloring to tap into an additional sense.
Write Letters to Relatives
Whether they're states away or right down the block, what relative doesn't appreciate a letter from their favorite little one? Set them up to practice the lost art of letter writing with stationery or construction paper and crayons.
Create an Art Gallery
Put the kids' original artwork on display! If you have an excessive amount of old paintings and drawings, then use this as an opportunity to have them sort through and organize the keepers vs. those that they (and you!) can do without.
Make Cake Pops
Cake pops can seem intimidating, but they're actually quite easy — and delicious. Have the kids top them with their favorite sprinkles.
Build Your Own Terrarium
A glass vessel, a little sand, some dirt, and a few plants make a fun rainy-day project that will last long after the sun comes out.
Make Paper Rosettes
Make paper rosettes out of tissue paper, book pages, or coffee filters for easy and cute decor.
Create a Cool Piece of Crayon Art
This artwork might look complicated, but it really just involves a canvas, some hot-glue crayons, and a hair dryer. Get the full how-to instructions here, but trust us, it's easy and a fun way to play with color.
Make a Button Monogram
A framed button monogram makes for fun, personalized home decor that gives any room a jolt of whimsy. Each child can make one of their own initials.
Put On a Fashion Show
Let your little ones strut their stuff. Make a runway out of craft paper or a rug runner, and get the music pumping. Give points for the best runway walks and the most creative outfits!
Make Your Own Chalkboard Paint — and Use It
Make your own homemade chalkboard paint to set the stage for many future indoor days to come! It's the craft that keeps on giving.
Whip Out the Swiffer
Sometimes all it takes is Swiffer. Let them take turns pushing it around, then compare how much dirt they've collected along the way. After a long day, there's no harm in having them help with the dusting — especially if they're having fun with it!
Check out your favorite books from your own collection. Organize your library by book color, author, size, or subject, or just find a cozy corner and curl up to read.
Make Paper-Bag Puppets
These can be as complicated or as simple as you want them to be, and the beauty of paper-bag puppets is that you really don't need any fancy supplies other than staples.
Make Noodle Necklaces
Create a dye solution with food coloring (and optional rubbing alcohol to help the color dry faster) and then transform ordinary pasta into a rainbow of shades. String the noodles on a piece of yarn or ribbon to create a one-of-a-kind necklace or bracelet.
Sort Through Old Toys, and Plan a Garage Sale
Use the promise of an upcoming garage sale as motivation to get the kids to sort through their old toys. Have them propose prices for each of the items they're giving up, and discuss what you'll do with the (eventual) profits. You may want to consider making a donation to a charity of the kids' choice to make the project especially meaningful.
Have Fun With a Cardboard Box
They say tots love the box a toy comes in more than the toy itself, so don't throw them away! Save them for a rainy day and transform them into something unique that simultaneously lets a child's imagination come alive. With a few snips, they can be converted into lemonade stands, puppet theaters, or any number of creative discoveries.
DIY Some Edible Slime
If your child already loves playing with slime, why not take the fun up a notch by making a batch of edible slime? These edible-slime recipes include flavors inspired by popular treats like Kool-Aid and Peeps, as well as colorful varieties like unicorn butter.
Create a Race-Car Track
Using masking tape, create a "race track" for kiddie cars to zoom throughout the house. Be imaginative with walls, rugs, and obstacles — just be careful around delicate wallpaper and painted walls.
Make No-Bake Granola Bars
Kids can help stir, measure, mix, and press these no-bake granola bars into shape. Just pop the yummy, chewy bars — full of healthy ingredients — into the fridge for a bit to let them set, and you'll be snacking healthfully in no time.
Have Fun With Pancakes
We're big fans of getting creative with pancakes, so whip up some batter, grab some food coloring, and let your kids go crazy (with some adult oven supervision, of course).
Enjoy an At-Home Spa Day
Break out the nail polish for at-home mani-pedis. To create an extra-authentic spa environment, have everyone wear bathrobes, cut up some cucumbers to soothe weary eyes, and turn on some soothing tunes.
Build a Fort
For some good, old-fashioned fun, hit the linen closet and construct a fort or tent with sheets and pillows. The process of creating the hideaway is only the beginning; once they're done with the hard work, playtime can begin!
Turn On the Flashlight
Adult-size flashlights are not only search lights for little ones looking for lost toys under their beds, but they're also spotlights for an afternoon puppet show, pointers for kids playing "school," and torches for those hunting down monsters in the land of make-believe.
Create Milk Art
Milk has fat in it, and the food coloring floats on top of the fat. Hence: milk art. Not only will your kiddos love every second of this unique project, but you'll also be thrilled with the frameable result.
Make Fruit Art
Fresh fruit doesn't have to be just for eating. Gather the kids, along with their favorite fruits, and enjoy an easy afternoon art activity.
Have a Classic Disney Movie Marathon
So maybe you shouldn't watch all of the best Disney movies in one sitting, but a couple in a row on a rainy day can't hurt, right? From "Under the Sea" to flying elephants, Disney never disappoints. A side of popcorn and M&M's would only makes things better.
Croon to Karaoke
If you have a karaoke machine or your cable provider offers a karaoke channel (it sounds silly, but many of them do — pay your on-demand section a visit and check), then unleash your inner rock stars and start singing!