By Sandy Fielders Harper
It’s the start of a new year and the winter season has settled in. Some days are just too cold to have the kids running around outside.
So what do you do with those energy filled children, besides sitting them in front of the TV? Don’t fret, here are a few ideas that can entertain their minds and release their energy.
- Dance party – Crank the music up and start dancing! Everyone can show of their dance moves. This is great for mom and dad too because dancing is great cardio and calorie burner.
- Indoor bowling – To keep things from getting broken in the house, I use a rubber ball. For the pins I have used empty toilet paper rolls or empty water bottles. You can use anything that stands up on its own and is easily knocked over.
- Scavenger hunt – This can be fun for toddlers and older children. For toddlers, use picture cards of items they need to find around the house. For older children, leave clues or puzzles that they have to figure out to find a certain item.
- Indoor ring toss – If you don’t mind taking a few minutes to cut up a couple paper plates then this activity is for you. To make the stand simply take an empty paper towel roll, cut a few slits in one end, flatten the flaps out and tape it down to the backside of a paper plate. Cut holes in a few other paper plates (to create rings). Have the kids decorate the rings. Then toss your homemade rings and try to get them on the stand.
- Balloon ball – Simply blow up a balloon and toss it back and forth. Each player will try to not let the balloon hit the floor. If you want to use something other than your hands you can make “rackets” out of paper plates with Popsicle sticks glued/taped to them (to create a handle).
- Kids Charades – Charades can be a fun game for the whole family. When coming up for ideas to use in the game try to base it on the age group of the kids. For young children, think of simple ideas that they can act out like animals or cartoon shows. If the kids are a bit older you can combine ideas. I found some fun charade ideas on a site called Moms & Munchkins.
- Activity Cube – On each of the six sides you can write the name of a basic exercise, such as: push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, etc. Each person gets a chance to roll the cube and everyone has to do whichever exercise it lands on. Whoever can do the most of that particular exercise wins that round. It’s another great way to exhaust that pent up energy.
- Nerf fun – Nerf darts are typically soft enough to use indoors. You could create target practice by stacking empty soda cans or plastic cups. This will remind them of carnival or fair games.
- Cook together – This is another fun idea for any age. You just have to pick simpler recipes or jobs for younger children. I have found baked goods are the most fun to do with younger children. They can help add things to the mixing bowl and even help mix those ingredients. For older children this is a great opportunity to have them help with making dinners. This makes it a great life skill learned early. Plus, they can learn other skills like measurements, reading recipes and the responsibility of cleaning up after themselves.
- Create an indoor city of tents and tunnels – For some reason kids love hiding out and playing in tents. You can use whatever you find in the house, such as: kitchen chairs, couch cushions, blankets, boxes, etc. If you use cardboard boxes, the kids can decorate them and even cut out doors and windows. Their imaginations is the limit to this being endless fun.
- Make homemade cloud dough or slime – Nothing is more entertaining to kids than gooey, mushy and sticky things. Why not add in the fun of them helping make their own. I have personally made cloud dough and it was so easy! I even had my toddler help out. You can find the recipe and directions here. To make slime, I have found two recipes that are easy and with only a few ingredients. Since my toddler still likes to taste test everything I tend to use this recipe because it does not contain Borax. If your children are a little older than I would go with this recipe. Both projects can be a little messy but if put in the right containers and played with at a table (maybe cover with paper or washable tablecloth) then the mess will be less of an issue.
- Make your own lava lamps – Making a lava lamp will be entertaining and educational for preschooler age and up. They are simple to make and you most likely already have all the ingredients. I found the site Hands on as We Grow had easy to follow directions.
- Make musical instruments – If you don’t mind a little noise, you can get some free time (but not quiet) while the kids create their own songs and rhythm. I typically pull out household items such as large kitchen pots, wooden spoons, Tupperware, put rubber bands on a Kleenex box, and an empty paper towel roll (use as a trumpet). Put on your headphones momma and let the kids have at it.
- Masking tape or painter’s tape activities – If you have carpeted floors than regular masking tape is fine to use but if you have hardwood then I suggest painter’s tape. It will not leave a sticky residue. Games and activities that you can make are hopscotch, bullseye (toss things like beanbags), racetracks, jump the river, etc.
- Legos or other building blocks – You really can’t go wrong with the fun and creativity building that these can bring to all ages. Even most adults I know don’t mind participating in this childhood activity.
I hope you and your family enjoy these winter fun indoor activities as much as mine do. Please let us know if you have other indoor activity ideas. Enjoy and make the most of this winter season!