When the weather is rainy or cold, it is invaluable to have indoor activity ideas for kids at home ready to go! Arranging fun indoor activities for kids at home keeps children engaged, learning and prevents behavioural issues that can arise from boredom. The following is meant to provide inspiration when outdoor activities are not an option.
One of the most frequent venues we find ourselves caring for children is at our houses. Whether a parent or childminder, our homes are where much of the learning and experience the child will develop occur. For this reason, it is wise to have a good list of indoor activities for kids at home – here are some ideas!
Children have little or no experience with the basic occupations of life, one example being cooking. Taking the opportunity that being stuck inside provides to teach a child to cook can be both educational and entertaining. The child could be offered the opportunity to decide exactly what they want to make – possibly from options provided by the adult. Or you could simply offer the children the opportunity to make a meal!
The age of the children must be taken into consideration when assigning tasks and determining the level of supervision required to safely and successfully complete the task. Very young children may merely observe and occasionally stir, while older children may learn well by adding spices or mixing the dough. Regardless of the age of the child, learning to cook is an essential skill that you want to cultivate in the children you care for, so using time at home as an opportunity to not only teach something useful but also entertain is a wise decision.
Board games can be an excellent indoor activity in the home. They promote social interaction between those in your household and often some type of learning (usually deductive reasoning). Mastering this kind of thought can greatly serve a child as he or she grows and develops. Board games also help to ease boredom and can offer an opportunity for children to establish and expand their capacity for communication.
Often the advice given is to keep children away from video games, but occasional indulgence in such entertainment can be helpful to your child’s development and can help them learn computing skills and understand technology at an early age. Avoiding violent games and making generally well-informed selections can greatly enhance the value of such an activity. Some games will serve to merely entertain, while others may challenge a child intellectually, and further, some even engage the players in physical activity. Sports games on the Wii, for example, encourage quite a bit of movement, providing great indoor activities for kids when the weather is bad. Furthermore, cooperative games can enhance a child’s sense of teamwork, something that can benefit any child.
Having a day indoors is a good opportunity to explore what books have to offer. Children of any age can appreciate a good story, and a good book on a stormy day can be an outstanding means to establish or reinforce a strong bond between the child and the guardian, parent or carer. Offering a dramatic retelling of the story and voice acting the dialogue will make the stories more enjoyable both for the children and the individual reading the story. Older children can be encouraged to read a portion of the story – perhaps voicing a character – and, by doing so, the children will be given an opportunity to work on their reading skills and foster talent for public speaking or performing.
Children have all different kinds of games they play amongst themselves, a great example being hide-and-seek. Consider playing along. Children games are excellent indoor activities for kids to help pass the time and expel energy. A game of hide-and-seek can be an excellent activity to play around the home, and there are plenty of other children’s games which can be enjoyed right in your home. Telephone is another possibility – where one individual tells another individual something in a whisper to avoid anyone else hearing. What they say is then passed on to the next person, always spoken quietly to prevent anyone else from hearing. This is continued until everyone playing has been told what the first person has said, and then retells that dialogue to the next person until the final person speaks what they had heard for the group. Often comedy emerges as a result of miscommunications and the final dialogue is rarely the same as what was initially said.
Other games that can be fun inside the home include setting-up a bowling alley using just about any ball heavy enough to knock over pins, which can be made from empty plastic bottles or something similar. A game similar to horse played on a basketball court can be played using virtually any type of ball or even balled-up paper destined for the recycling bin. Simply toss the item into any hoop, basket, bin, or a cleaned-out trash can or recycling bin.
Word games like hangman can be a good way to get children to engage in expanding their vocabulary and improving their spelling. Try charades, Pictionary, or a similar game to get the children to act out or draw words or phrases, with the other children and adults attempting to guess what it is being drawn or acted out. Activities such as this will work to improve the child’s communication skills, build team working skills, foster good socialisation, and will help improve the children’s comfortability with speaking or performing in front of a crowd. They also require little or nothing in the way of supplies and facilities and can be both fun and beneficial to the development of the children.
Arts & Crafts
Arts & crafts are great indoor activities for kids to help encourage creativity. Provide children with crayons, markers, coloured pencils, paints, etc, and paper or something else to colour, illustrate or draw upon or paint. If you’re adventurous, why not try paper maché? Colouring books are a good option for younger children, while older children should be encouraged to learn more advanced skills of arts or illustration, such as exploring books on cartooning and drawing techniques or simply free-drawing on drawing paper or even copier paper. Even the newspaper can provide an interesting opportunity for drawing and colouring. Those comics might not be in colour, but they can be!
Other possible indoor activities for kids include origami, the art of folding paper into beautiful and complex forms. Though origami can be very involved and take skill and practice, there are many creatures and creations which can be made relatively simply. Getting a book on origami could provide many hours of entertainment for young children. They can watch as you try to follow the instructions and make the creature come to life from paper, while older children can try their hand at following the steps themselves.
You can also consider making, decorating, dying, or painting clothing. Use stencils to apply dyes and paints to shirts, hats, whatever you desire, giving children the ability to create fashion that reflects their unique style. Consider tie-dye, free-hand drawing, painting, bedazzling, or adding sequins, sparkles and other adornments on a shirt or other item of clothing. Not only will the newly-custom apparel be unique and be a representation of the child’s style, but it will also serve as a memento of the time the item was made. Items such as this can become very valuable to people and are therefore worth creating if for no other reason than to create lasting memories. Another advantage is that learning to manipulate and dye fabrics can be a source of joy into adulthood – and being able to put a design onto fabric well is something which will serve older children, as well. Making tee-shirts to promote a student council campaign, or to support a love interest’s sports team, or garner interest for their first band – being able to print tee shirts is a fun activity and a skill that can come in handy at all stages of childhood and young adulthood.
Sewing is another way in which fabrics and clothing can be manipulated. This skill can be learned relatively young and encourages kids to conceptualize what the item will look like before it’s completed. Sewing kits for kids as young as three years old can be purchased online & include everything you’ll need for this fun activity, including the thread, tools and fabrics.
Building is yet another activity that can be done from within the house, and you could build virtually anything. One could build legos, whether freehand or from the instructions, or a model aeroplane or car. Another idea is to build a bird feeder with the children. The feeder can be used as a source of entertainment and education. You could also build a train set or puzzle, or whatever the kiddies can imagine! There is a unique opportunity for learning when building, which should be part of every child’s early development.
Simple science experiments can make great indoor activities for kids! Experiments as simple as the ‘potato battery’, or as exciting as the acid+base volcano can provide early science lessons. Use the potato battery to describe the world of electricity and how it powers all living things, from people to potatoes to appliances.
Other easy experiments available include paper aeroplanes as a means to explore aerodynamics; it’s fun and can be scientific! Form hypotheses on what will make the longest-flying paper aeroplane, then test those hypotheses. If no one is right, no bother, work to create the longest-flying paper aeroplane you can together.
You may also try some chemistry kits or, for those familiar with the science, a kit may not be required. Growing crystals can be fun and interesting and the children can dye them how they wish. They can also learn about simple chemical reactions in the process.
Musical exposure and accomplishment early in childhood reportedly improve a child’s ability to perform all types of tasks later in life, the most notable example being observed improvements in mathematics scores among children accomplishing some talent for music at an early age. Turning music into indoor activities for kids is fun for children of any age. Whether they are old enough to start learning to play an instrument through formal instruction or are merely experimenting. Having a large assortment of simple instruments can create collaborative activities. Use easily played instruments like the tambourine and maracas to help establish rhythm. Even if the kids are off the beat, the maracas aren’t too torturous! Giving children the opportunity to explore many instruments will allow them to establish a preference as they get a little older and can begin to formally learn an instrument.
Singing is another activity which can be enriching and entertaining. It’s social and anyone can do it! Pick age-specific songs so that children can sing-along at any age. Songs can also further lessons, whether academic or moral, or they might tell a story. They can also offer an opportunity to sing in a fun manner, such as rounds of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”.
For more ideas for activities in the home, MomJunction.com has an article which offers 21 indoor game suggestions. An article from MorningChores.com details over 30 DIY games and indoor activities which can be constructed and played in the home. Lastly, this article from Fatherly.com has 9 physical activities for kids inside the home.