How to keep kids busy inside, when you can’t face arts and crafts?
Yes, there comes a time when even the most creative kids run out of things to craft. Or you want to preserve some art materials, because, you know. For those times, it’s good to have a few other indoor activities up your sleeve. You can keep it simple, because, with kids, the tried and tested ones are usually the best.
- Indoor scavenger hunt
- Find a fork
- Find something that is yellow
- Find four things that have wheels
- Find a key
- Find a sticker
- Find a rubber band
- Find something very soft
- Find a teddy
- Find an envelope
- Find a small ball
- Find a rubber band
- Find a red felt-tip
Or you can turn this into a learning activity and concentrate on textures, shapes, or colors.
2. Balloon football
A safe and indoor sports activity, who doesn’t love those? Anyone can do this: drop a balloon in the middle of a long rectangle table, and have each time try to blow the football toward the other side’s goal (you can use a simple A4 white sheet for pretend). To inspire them to show them this funny, extra-large version of indoor balloon football.
3. Kitchen disco
Our children love dancing, and the best place for a house party is a kitchen. As always, the classics are the best; The yellow submarine (The Beatles) is a hit in our house. Queen’s ‘I want to break free’ or ‘We are family’ (Sister Sledge) are also guaranteed to get them moving. Join them, and they’ll love you for it.
4. Hula Hoop competition
This game is a great fun indoor activity for two kids: let them spin hula hoops and then try to move simultaneously, this can be running, shimmy, or even herky-jerky their way to the finish line. Whoever comes first is the winner!
5. Play some tidying up games (you can never start them too early). Here are some ideas:
- pair your socks
- make your bed
- pick up eight toys and put them away
- sort your lego/teddies by color
- sort your toys by size
- clean your bedroom (set a timer, and promise them a story if they finish on time)
- fold your clothes
- sort your books by color
6. Build a reading den: find a cozy spot, snuggle up on a few cushions and read/ look at all your favorite books
7. Play with some playdough, make shapes you have never made before.
8. Build the tallest lego tower you have ever seen. You can do this together.
9. Use old socks and play a puppet show.
10. Go on a maths trail in and around the house:
- Name three 3-D shapes you can see outside
- Count how many cars, people, birds, dogs, etc. pass your home in 10 minutes. Draw or chart them
- Write down the numbers of your car’s number plate. Older kids can add them up. You can explain the letters of the number plate so that they can compare them to your neighbors’ cars.
- How many buildings can you see outside?
- What shapes are their roofs?
- How many buttons are on the computer keyboard, and the remote control, or microwave?
- go on a shape hunt: squares, triangles, and circles are suitable for small children.
- draw all the shapes you can see on the kitchen table
- play shop with money
How to keep older kids busy indoors
- write a letter -to your grandparents/friends/elderly neighbors
- read half an hour every day (preferably in your reading den)
- hide something and make a treasure map to find it again
- make up a new game, anything goes
- make your own book
- build something, anything
- invent something new and draw it
- write a shopping list for a cake you would like to bake
- play snap, or another card game
- practice tying your laces
- help to make lunch or dinner
- lay the table and use fancy place settings
- empty or fill the dishwasher
- plant some seeds
- read a story to your sibling/pet
How to keep little ones busy: activities you can do together
Create a time capsule: this is a fun and educational activity to do together, to engage them in history.
- draw a self-portrait
- draw a picture of your family, or include a photo
- do a handprint with paint (imagine how big your hand will be when you dig up this time capsule
- write a letter to your future selves. Tell them about yourself:
– how tall are you?
– what is your age?
– what class are you in
– what is the name of your teacher and (play) school
– what do you like to eat most in the whole world
– what is your favorite toy, your favorite book, your favorite sports and
your favorite cuddly
– what are you doing now to keep busy while off school
- include some newspaper headlines/articles
- include wrappers of your favorite sweets, or even a sweet
Make your own playdough:
Makes 1 colored ball
Prep 10 minutes
You will need
● 8 tbsp plain flour (or gluten-free flour)
● 2 tbsp table salt
● 60ml warm water
● food coloring
● 1 tbsp vegetable oil
1. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the water, a few drops of food coloring, and the oil.
2. Pour the colored water into the flour mix and bring it together with a spoon.
3. Dust a work surface with a little flour and turn out the dough. Knead together for a few minutes to form a smooth, pliable dough. If you want a more intense color, you can work in a few extra drops of food coloring.
4. Store in a plastic sandwich bag (squeeze out the air) in the fridge to keep it fresh.
Bake yummy scones together
Yes, your kitchen will look like a flour bomb went off it once done. But on the plus side, your children will love doing this, and you’ll have your elevens sorted for today! I sourced a straightforward recipe for traditional English scones by Mary Berry if you’re not a likely candidate for the Great British Bake-off.
Or if you plan to bake anything a bit more advanced and you’re short of butter, sugar, or flour, have a look at this overview of alternatives for missing ingredients.
STEM: make some weird science together
I don’t think I need to tell you that children love experimenting with science. I have done a few of those with my kids and found that washing up liquid works just as well as detergent.
How to keep kids busy indoors: play the kindness bingo
This wonderful suggestion was sent to us by our children’s teacher. Why not try to complete four acts of more in one day.
|Clean up after someone.||Give someone in your family a compliment.||Call someone you love||Help someone with their work.|
|Wave to someone outside your window.||Clean up after yourself.||Make a snack for someone else.||Push someone’s chair in for them.|
|Make a snack for yourself.||Help someone who dropped something, by picking it up for them.||Thank your parents for helping you.||Show patience if someone is busy doing something else.|
|Fill someone’s bucket.||Teach someone something you have learned.||Give someone in your family a shoulder massage.||Create something for someone|
How to keep kids busy: 20 fun outdoor activities
If you’re lucky enough to have some outdoor space, make sure you get your kids outside as much as you can. The fresh air and exercise will keep them away from screens and make them feel better. These are for both younger and older kids.
- Take your bicycle, scooter or skateboard for a spin.
- build a den or a camp outside
- go on a bug hunt
- make daisy chains
- make out shapes in the clouds
- pull out weeds and help out with the gardening
- race your toy cars outside
- have a teddy bear picnic
- try skipping 100 times in a row
- make a scarecrow
- draw rainbows with chalk
- blow bubble outside (now you can finally use up all your bubbles from your party bags)
- wash the car
- make a crazy golf course
- collect tadpoles if you’re near a pond
- make a bird feeder
- play with sand
- fly a kite
- hunt for animal tracks
- collect leaves and twigs for artwork (you can even recreate ‘the stickman‘ pictures-just listen to this first with your children, or read the book if you have it.