Here are ten of our favorite indoor activities for when we can’t get outside. What do you like to do when you’re trapped inside all day?
1. Put the crayons and paper on the floor.
There is something about doing art on the floor that increases a child’s attention span. It’s true. Try it! One of our favorite things to do when we’re trapped inside is get a LONG piece of paper, trace ourselves and make self-portraits. And when we have lot’s of time to burn, I pull out the big guns! Oh yes, you know what I’m talking about: glitter. Because no self portrait is complete without a glittery shirt.
2. Make a mess.
I give up on cleaning some days. After all, at my job, the proof of a successful day is a messy room. In an attempt to keep this fresh, I rotate the toys that the kids have from the basement to the playroom upstairs every month or so. In this way, when we are trapped indoors, I can grab a box from the basement we haven’t seen in a while, dump it on the floor with a grand gesture and VOILA! We have new toys to play with!
3. Bake some muffins.
Food can cure a lot of things… hunger pains, a headache, boredom. When we’re trapped inside, I like to start baking with the kids. Our favorite thing to whip up is muffins. I like to time my baking with when the older kids get off the bus. If we save our baking projects until late in the afternoon, it gives me and the kiddos something to look forward to! And also, this way the other kids have a warm snack when they get in!
We have two favorite puppets around here: Girlfriend, who is a cheerleader, and the cook, who has a Russian accent and tends to be a bit bossy. I don’t know where the kids get these ideas from... ok, fine. You caught me, I thought of these ones. But when I tire of hearing myself, I sometimes call for the puppets to reveal themselves from hiding. If I yell loud enough, out they come and soon the laughter follows! It isn’t always easy to transition into “puppet mode”, but on a good day I could probably audition for Sesame Street.
5. Movie Theater.
This is something I used to do a lot when I was in college and watched a preschooler. We would spend hours getting a movie theater ready. This took more time than you might imagine. First, we had to decorate paper sacks for the popcorn to go in. And they had to look good. We didn’t want our movie goers to be disappointed. We would color and use glitter until you couldn’t even see that old paper bag!
Then, we would make money. Of course movies are expensive, so you need to make a lot of money. For this I would cut strips of paper out. Then we would practice writing numbers on them, along with drawing lots of shapes. After which, we find our fanciest purses and evenly distribute the money.
And what would a movie theater be without a concession stand and ticket counter? After popping popcorn, making lemonade, slicing apples (to go with the peanut butter of course) we would fill our trays, then stand in line to pay. At last, all of that hard work paid off and we could sit on the couch, snuggle and watch a movie. Phew! We deserved a break after that!
6. Tea Parties.
We have quite a few tea parties around here. Aren’t all the two year olds doing it? While they are getting dressed in their princess and cowboy costumes, I warm up the water. Then, once they come to the table, I give them each a spoonful of honey to stir into their water to make “tea”. On special days, I give them some oranges to squeeze into their tea for a little extra flavor. They love it! And I love it, too. It’s nice to have someone to drink tea with in the afternoon.
7. Alphabet Hunt
For this, we pull out our alphabet flashcards. Then, one at a time, we look around the house and try to find where that letter is. This game is as much fun indoors as it is to play outdoors.
8. Dance Party.
Need I say more? Get those endorphins pumping with a little Neil Diamond. At least that’s what we do around here.
9. Kids Yoga.
You can never get kids involved in yoga too early. Sometimes we drop down into downward dog when we aren’t even doing yoga- it’s just that fun! Yoga with kids is awesome and definitely something that I intend to do more as the kids get older. The positive effects that it has on the kids blows my mind! And this calm physical activity helps to expend a lot of energy without making the kids more crazy! Hooray! What’s not to like about that!?
10. Bath Time.
Not baths for us…baths for the toys? What, even Elmo needs a bath now and then. For this activity I find the biggest bowl in the kitchen, fill it up with warm water and bubbles and toss their little figurines in. Then, I put the bowl on a big towel in the middle of the kitchen. Most of the time, I’ll let the twinners strip down to their diapers, but as they get older this activity makes less and less of a mess. I just give them a little wash rag and let them go at it! Sometimes the twins can do this activity close to forty minutes, which is quite a long time for such little ones! I HIGHLY recommend toy bath time!