I’ve put together a list of indoor activities to keep kids entertained.
We are from a town outside of Chicago, so between October and March it’s usually cold. And for at least three of those months, it’s so cold that your face actually hurts. That’s a lot of indoor time with three kids. We get a little stir crazy sometimes. Here are the indoor activities that we have used over and over to get over that boredom.
We get a little stir crazy sometimes.
Disclosure: This post contains links to products I personally love and highly recommend. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Or “muck-a-muck” as my daughter has affectionately named it. Making it is simple. Cleaning it up, a little less so.
- 2 cups Cornstarch
- Food coloring or cocoa powder for color
Start with 2 cups of cornstarch and mix with 1 cup water. Add in the cocoa powder or food coloring, if you’re using it. The mixture will be stiff and very hard to mix. Add some more water if needed, a little at a time until you get a consistency that’s almost solid when you push down on it, but it drips and melts off the spoon.
Pour it into a tray or bowl (we like shallow cake pans) then add in some spoons and maybe toy animals. This keeps my kids busy for a long time. This post has a lot of fun things to do with oobleck.
Tip: Cleaning this up can be a little tough (especially since my oldest basically immerses herself in the stuff) but I’ve learned that a scraper like this or rubber spatula works wonders to get most of it off of the table.
Yes, I know you’ve probably heard of this one over and over, but it’s for a good reason. This stuff really is fun and can be made many different ways. You can add in all sorts of fun things.
For basic slime you’ll need:
Add Borax to a cup of warm water. Then add one tablespoon at a time to the glue. About six to eight tablespoons, sometimes more. Add in your food coloring. Mix with a spoon, and once it starts coming together use your hands to really squish it and mix it until it starts looking like slime. Getting the consistancy right is tricky. Keep adding Borax until it’s no longer sticky.
This is just one of many slime recipes.
There are so many add-in ideas to try, also.
- Foaming hand soap adds scent, volume and texture
- Shaving cream makes the slime fluffy and smells great
- Microfoam beads add a really fun texture
- Baby oil gives it a glossy look and makes popping sounds
- Lotion can add lovely scents and makes the slime stretchy
- Fragrance oil (not a food additive oil) gives you tons of options for scents
- Glitter, of course! This works best with clear glue slime
Tip: vinegar gets slime out of hair, off clothes and anywhere else you may find sticky patches of the stuff.
3. Simple Sensory Bins
We love these! We have a sand and water table we keep outside for summer, but during the winter we use plastic bins and fill them with a variety of things. No matter what we fill them with, we always add measuring spoons and toy animals.
Some of the most successful options for us were:
- Orbeez. These are their favorite things in the world. We like them in the water table outside, but we have done them inside too. They can be hell to clean off the floor once they start breaking though. Putting down towels could help.
- Dry penne
- Corn kernels
- Corn meal
- Cotton balls
- Kinetic sand (It feels like wet sand that never dries out. It sticks together nicely so the mess is minimal.)
The options are endless. Remember, putting towels underneath could save you a lot of time when you’re cleaning up.
4. Cardboard Boxes
It’s so simple, but a single box has the potential to keep our kids entertained for a massive amount of time. Just order yourself something nice, and when it comes in, give the kids the box and enjoy your gift from yourself.
Some things we’ve done with boxes:
- Cut a flap for a door that opens and shuts. Make sure to leave a cutout for their hands to pull it closed
- Tape some boxes closed and make giant building blocks.
- Create a washer and dryer or even a fridge. This takes a bit of extra work.
- Open the top of the box so they can sit inside, then hand them markers to decorate.
- You could get extra creative and build intricate houses or shops from cardboard, but I won’t be able to give you any instructions on that.
5. Felt Board
To make one yourself, you’ll need:
- Lots of felt sheets
- Foam poster board
- Hot glue gun and glue sticks
I made one of these compete with glued together people, houses, cars and food. Warning: cutting felt sucks. I haven’t made anything new for it in years for this reason. If you can find precut characters or shapes, it’s probably worth buying. For the felt board, hot glue some felt sheets to the poster board. Hours of play possibilities and it uses their imagination.
6. Tub Painting
Simple activity. We put them in the bathtub and give them paint and brushes. They paint the walls, the bath toys and themselves. Clean up is easy since they’re already in the tub.
7. Rainbow Spaghetti
- Spaghetti noodles (cooked)
- Ziplock bags
- Food coloring
Simply cook spaghetti, cool and add to ziplock bags with food coloring and water. You can simply eyeball the amounts for this one. Mix well. Drain.
8. Rainbow Rice
- 1 cup Uncooked rice
- 1 Tbsp Vinegar
- Food coloring
- Ziplock bags
- Wax paper
Mix vinegar, rice and a few drops of food coloring in a ziplock bag. Spread on wax paper to dry.
9. Painter’s Tape Roads
What you need:
We use the tape to create roads to follow all over the house. We’ve also created obstacle courses with tape. They can jump from square to square and walk “tightrope” lines.
10. Dance Party
We have a go-to playlist on YouTube with kid-friendly songs. Their favorites are Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off and Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop The Feeling. The coffee table gets pushed to the side and the music gets turned up. We get a little crazy with our dance moves and by the time we’re done, all the excess energy is gone.
Lost With Littles is our family travel blog. Our family is about to uproot and travel abroad from the US. We write about topics from parenting to destination guides and travel tricks. For more about our wild family, check out our about us page or head straight to our blog.