Inside: Looking for the best list of indoor activities for kids? This list was made from thousands of parent submission. Download the free printable today!
This is the ultimate list of indoor activities for kids – because it was made by parents, for parents (free printable!)
I love a good crowdsourcing moment, and this is my best one yet.
I asked my Instagram community for their best indoor activity ideas – the ones that rescue them time and time again when days get long, life gets dull, pandemics drag on, and time keeps ticking backwards…
And oh my goodness did they come through.
Let’s cure cabin fever TOGETHER. Don’t miss the free download of this list!
65+ incredible indoor activities to help out the tough days
Activities are always my tools.
The way I reset a day. I don’t do activities everyday, because we don’t need them everyday. But when there’s a rough start, a grumpy toddler, a thunder storm, or someone’s trying to reattach their umbilical cord…
That’s when I reach for an activity.
I have my own favorites and my own best of list (you can see that list here!), but I wanted to see what other families do.
And I got some fantastic answers.
These ideas range from hands-on activities to (gasp) screen time!
Yep, SCREEN TIME.
Why would I include screen time on a list of kids activities? Because I view screens as a tool and sometimes, I need to use that tool.
You can read all about my screen time philosophy here.
Plus, these screen time ideas are REALLY good ideas – they’re not “stick your child in front of the TV and walk away for several hours.”
No no, these are IDEAS. Not trying to spoil things, but one parent wrote me that she calls Grandma on FaceTime, hides the phone in the house, and the kids have to go hunting for her. Now if that’s not a brilliant use of screen time… (mind blown emoji).
I broke these indoor activities for kids into 4 groups:
Hands-on activities – because lots of parents use certain kids activities as hero tools in their days when they need a win.
Easy, fun ideas – these are really simple, really easy ways to make some quick fun or an easy change of pace.
Random & fantastic – the genius level ideas that people shared and totally blew me away.
Screen time helpers – again, this isn’t “go wild with the iPad.” These are real ideas and they’re really good.
Thank you to the thousands of parents and caregivers who wrote to me to make this list!
This is truly an epic list and I am so excited to share it.
The Hands-On Activities
The most suggested hands-on activities – these are real heroes of the “stuck home” days.
- Flashlight hunt/tag/find: Turn off the lights and play with flashlights.
- Pouring station: Fill up pitchers and cups of water. Play in empty bath or sensory bin.
- Play with boxes: Find a box and start decorating. Add stickers, paint, markers, paper, etc.
- Make bubble foam: 2:1 water to tear free soap, whip into stiff peaks with a hand mixer.
- Tape road: Make a road out of tape. Add cars, animals, blocks, etc.
- Oobleck: 2:1 cornstarch to water. Stir into a taste-safe, no stain slime.
- Nature collage: Go on a walk, collect bits from nature, glue into a collage.
- Wash the toys: Fill up a bin or bath with soapy water and wash plastic toys.
- Painting with soap: Add paint brushes to the bath tub to encourage painting with bubbles.
- Sensory bin (rice, oats): Make a sensory bin from rice or oats, add cups or trucks for play.
- Post-it find & match: Draw on sticky notes, hide in house – find – match onto “key.”
- Make paper airplanes: Learn to make paper airplanes (lots of tutorials online).
- Paint rocks (then hide them): Gather rocks, paint them, hide for others to find.
- Paint with water: Use real paint brushes, water, and cardboard.
- Play with ice: Fill up a sensory bin or bowl with ice, water, scoops, and cups.
- Recycle bin crafts: Head to the recycle bin and find treasures. Create!
- Shaving cream play: Add squirts of shaving cream outside or to the shower. Have fun!
- Make potions: Build a science bin with baking soda, vinegar, soap, water, etc. Experiment!
- LEGO bath: Fill up the tub, dump in the DUPLOs. Also works in the shower.
- Popsicle bath: Fill up bath as usual. Add in kids and popsicles.
- Baking soda science: Dump a box of baking soda on a cookie sheet. Use syringes of food color dyed white vinegar for fizzy experimenting and color mixing.
Fun, Easy Ideas
Simple, but smart ideas to entertain, occupy, and keep the day moving.
- Obstacle course: Create a course from cushions, pillows, blankets, etc.
- Treasure hunt: Hide clues, a map, and end it with “buried treasure.”
- Pretend camping set up: Build a pretend camp site – sleeping bags, pillows, fake fire.
- Dance party: Crank up the kid tunes and let loose. Fill the house with dance & music.
- Easter egg hunt: Hide plastic eggs or other toys (like puzzles) for kids to find.
- Find a new recipe together: Look through a fun cookbook and pick something new.
- Play with balloons: Blow up a few balloons and let the games begin!
- Host a tea party: Dress up, invite stuffed animals, be creative together.
- Build a fort: Create an EPIC fort. Move a toy bin and some books inside.
- Use window chalk pens: Let the kids decorate the windows with chalk pens.
- Build a carpet city: Roll the rug into a hill, add pillow mountains, create a landscape!
- Book scavenger hunt: Give clue to a specific book. Once they find it, read it, repeat.
- Read aloud & draw: Read aloud BUT DON’T show the picture. Have them draw instead.
- Pop bubble wrap: Save bubble wrap. Use it when you need it.
- Make collages: Use art supplies, magazines, newspapers, anything!
- Tape line jump: Make tape lines to jump on, jump over, jump to, and jump around.
- Play dough: Grab out the play dough or make some together (try this recipe!).
- Bake cookies: Get out the ingredients, make cookies, sit and eat them warm.
Random & Fantastic Indoor Activities for Kids
As I was sifting through this list, I laughed at how “pre-Mom Susie” would have been super confused by some of these ideas… three kids later and I get all of this.
- Birthday party for toys: Have a birthday party for a toy. Don’t forget to sing!
- Temporary tattoos: Save temporary tattoos from goodie bags for days you need them.
- Pom pom competitions: Think “minute to win it.” Pom pom races by blowing in straws, play basketball, roll on ramps, think outside the craft box.
- Small indoor tent: Put up a tent and let the kids move “inside.”
- Act out Disney songs: Turn up the jams and act them out (think “Circle of Life”).
- Glow sticks: Glow stick bath, glow stick hide and seek, glow stick dancing…
- Make the floor lava: Turn the floor to lava, turn up the music, have fun!
- Birthday card art: “Oh wow! Uncle Frank’s birthday is two weeks from now. Better make him cards today!”
- Cleaning (dust, use sponges): Make a “cleaning station” with fun sponge options.
- Teach “Stuffies School”: Act out school. Let your child be the teacher to their stuffies, including circle time songs.
- Wash fruits & vegetables: Set out the fruit and veggies and let the kids wash.
- Ultimate library: Dump out ALL the books. Have an ultimate read-athon. Then sort them, donate some, and put them back together.
- Salad spinner with water: Salad spinners are so cool. Wash and dry toys.
- Car picnic: Take lunch to the car then work together to clean out the car after!
- Stopwatch timer: Try to beat their best times. Time anything and everything.
- Light a candle, sing happy birthday: On repeat. See how long this goes…
The Screen Time Helpers
- Go Noodle – Kids dance, movement, exercise
- Cosmic Kids – Yoga
- Disney Parades – Watch videos of parades and act them out
- ArtHub – Step by step drawing videos (great for all ages)
- Simple Learning Songs – Gentle songs to sing along
- Lunch Doodles – Learn to draw with Mo Willems
CELL PHONE IDEAS
- Hide & Seek FaceTime: With grandparents on FaceTime, hide the phone, grandparents holler clues or make noise until kids find phone
- Starfall: Starfall ABC is a simple, free app or visit Starfall.com for even more free fun
- Listen to audio books: Make a comfy spot to sit and listen
- Slow-mo videos: Show the kids how to make slow-motion videos
- Sleeping bag movie
- Drive-in movie (laptop in car, drive somewhere to sit and watch)
- Alexa play “Animal Workout”
- Open a blank word document for kids to type letters