“It’s raining again!”
“What? It’s going to be 110 degrees today!”
“Another snow storm!!”
We have all said those words many times throughout the year. Another day, sometimes a week, stuck indoors. Your kids are bouncing off the walls, and you can’t come up with one more idea to keep them entertained and you SANE! After a winter of never ending snow storms, I became a self-proclaimed (semi) expert at entertaining my children inside!
Here are some fun ideas that are not only engaging but also EDUCATIONAL:
Make your own fort and watch a movie while sitting inside:
This is something I did many times as a kid, and I LOVE that my kids love to do it now. Although I am not the best fort builder, my kids appreciate my attempt. What is even better is that this task uses fine and gross motor skills, spatial organization, planning and problem solving. It also gives kids the sense of accomplishment which boosts self-confidence.
Make an indoor obstacle course:
Dust off those hula hoops and pull out those pool noodles, it’s time to make an obstacle course, and yes I said it, IN YOUR HOUSE! This may sound crazy, but it’s AWESOME! Find a space in your house (move the couches if you must), and set up a fun course full of adventure allowing for hours of fun. Let the kids be involved, especially if they are older. This task boosts activity level which is great for children’s health. It is also uses gross motor skills, motor planning and the imagination!
Create learning stations:
Set up stations around the house where kids can work on their academic skills while still having fun. Stations can include some of the following: coloring, placing beads on strings, math flash cards, sorting objects, making a specific craft, reading books, building with Legos or blocks, etc. The possibilities are really endless.
Once the stations are set up, have your child/children choose their first station. Set up a timer and when the timer starts, the creation begins. Try and stick with only a few at first as it can get overwhelming. When the timer stops, they move to the next station. Once the stations are all done, they can earn a prize (maybe a certificate and a sticker).
Play a game:
Any game will do – board game, hide and seek, Simon says, charades. Games of all kinds are the perfect way to bring friends and families together. They help increase social and language skills, including vocabulary and turn taking skills. In addition, most games involve thinking and reasoning which are skills needed for academic success.
Making crafts and projects enhances a number of developmental skills including creative thinking, fine motor skills, understanding directions and maintaining focus and attention. Kids also find making crafts fun, and it allows them to use their imagination! One great project, especially for older kids, is making a scrapbook or collage. This crafty project encourages kids to use their imaginations and thinking skills. Fine motor skills and visual-spatial planning is also needed to create each page or project.
Go camping INSIDE:
Set up a tent in the house, make a pretend fire out of paper towel rolls and red tissue paper, make s’mores in the oven, tell scary stories and fall asleep to the light of an electric lantern. Make it even more exciting my inviting over some friends.
Have your own puppet show:
For this activity, you can use puppets you already have or make your own. From what I hear sock poppets are fun and easy to make, although I have not made them myself yet. Playing with puppets helps boosts creativity and imagination. It also enhances language skills and self-confidence.
Play your own version of Food Network’s Chopped:
Have each family member pick out one random ingredient, then everyone has to work together to make a yummy meal using all of those ingredients! Not only does cooking involve math and science, it also fosters family bonding. Cooking together is also an opportunity to promote healthy eating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Family story time:
As I have said many times, reading boosts vocabulary and overall language development. Family story time also brings parents and kids together. Let your child pick out the book so they feel more involved. Make it more exciting by reading by the fireplace or under a fort with a flashlight!
Build and Create:
Playing with building/construction toys has so many benefits including including enhanced cognitive development. Read Build, Create, Play to learn more! Building toys can be used independently or families can work together to make giant creations!