Looking for the best indoor activities for kids? This post is filled with “play heroes:” activities that will save your day all created by Busy Toddler. Check out these realistic, easy, and doable activities to help kids (and parents) make it to nap time.
What are the best easy indoor activities?
Some days, parenting doesn’t go so well.
Some days, the kids aren’t meshing, someone is bouncing off the walls or trying to reattach their umbilical cord, or time is ticking backwards.
Some days, I need the kids to do something other than screens, or run wild, or make giant messes.
That why some days I reach for an indoor activity to save the day.
RELATED: Looking for more easy activities for toddlers and preschoolers? Check out this list.
How do activities help families?
When I get into a parenting jam, I use activities to calm the see. Activities have a way of resetting the day or jump starting play.
They’re my secret weapon that I keep in my back pocket.
We don’t always have to turn on the TV when the going gets rough (although trust me, I do that too – here’s my screen time TEDtalk).
We don’t always have to be resigned to a rough day.
Activities have this magical way of fixing things.
Looking for more structure each day?
Check out Playing Preschool: Busy Toddler’s 190-day at-home activities program
What are some easy indoor activities for kids?
Well, good news. I’ve been working my whole parenting life on perfecting this list and I have it down to a science…
This list (we’re getting there) is my go-to, minimal supplies, limited prep, maximum fun list of activities for kids.
Since I’ve been building this list for years it spans:
- Big Kids
Now, don’t yell at me. I DO NOT ADD AGES TO ACTIVITIES. I can’t stand that. Here’s why:
We cannot define kids solely based on their age. There are different ability levels. There are different taste levels. Heck, birth order can even play into this.
So instead of asking me “what age is this good for?” – look at the photo of the activity and think:
- Would this be safe for my child?
- Would this fit their personality?
- Can I set this up super fast so even if they hate it, I’m not out a bunch of time? (wink)
Busy Toddler’s Parenting Book is Here!
Busy Toddler’s Guide to Actual Parenting: From Their First “No” to Their First Day of School (and Everything in Between)
What supplies are needed for indoor activities?
Busy Toddler is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read more about these links in my disclosure policy.
The following few supplies (ones that you probably have one hand already) will take care of all the below activities:
Revealed: The 20+ Best Indoor Activities from Busy Toddler
In no particular order, the best activities to do with kids to help time stop ticking backwards and give you a much needed win.
POURING STATION: Water + Kids = Problems solved.
BOX ROAD: Draw on top of a box QUICK. Move the wooden blocks and cars near it – wait for the magic.
INTRODUCE DOT STICKERS: Put a target on the wall and hand over the dot stickers.
PAINT TOYS: Plastic toys and washable paint are a match made in heaven. This activity ends with everyone in the tub so that’s like a double win.
ABC ERASE: Draw on the window with dry erase, call out letters, and let kids erase.
BABY DOLL BATH: Let your child practice their care giving skills – oh this is a sweet one!
BAKING SODA SCIENCE: Never underestimate the power of a box of baking soda and some food color-dyed vinegar…
POPSICLE BATH: The mood changer of all mood changers.
STICKER SORTING: Simple and effective. My daughter is 24 months old here and this was perfect entertainment back then.
STICKER LINES: Here’s my daughter a few years later… lining up those stickers.
TRASH PAINT: Yup, dump out the recycling bin and add some paint. Kids love this.
STICKY NOTE LINE UP: Write the alphabet on sticky notes, hide them around your house, and let kids put them back in order. They’ll do this on repeat.
KITCHEN SINK PLAY: Kiddo won’t leave the kitchen while you cook? Lean into it. Fill up the sink with colorful water and add options.
WASH THE TOYS: This can be done in a bin or in the bathtub.
TAPE RESCUE: Tape down the toys – on a cookie sheet or a high chair.
LEGO BATH: Put the kids in the tub with ALL THE DUPLOS. This is epic.
COLORING MIXING: Grab some colors, plastic ware, and peri bottles (no joke).
ANIMAL PARADE: Tape down some lines and add some tiny toys.
STICKY WALL: Have some con-tact paper? Tape it to the wall and let your kids figure out what sticks.
POM POM BATH: Baths really do fix everything. And the pom pom dry at the end (click to find out how).
PAINT TRUCKS: Remember what I said earlier about paint and toys? Here’s another example.
Remember – Activities are a tool
Indoor activities for kids to the rescue.
The next morning that time’s ticking backwards or you can’t figure out how to make it through the purgatory from naps to dinner…
Try an activity.
It’s the best reset button. It doesn’t need to take a lot of energy from you or supplies or time.
But it sure can make a world of difference.