Keeping children entertained on a cold or rainy day, when they can't play outside, can be challenging. No matter the weather, play is an important part of your child's life and growth. Having a few indoor game ideas at the ready can keep you from having to scramble to find something for your child to do and can keep the whole family happy.
You can do these indoor games and activities with things that you probably have around the house. Each activity can be adapted to fit your child’s age and maturity.
Board games. Reaching for a favorite board game can do more than just pass the time. Board games help teach children a variety of skills, such as problem-solving, teamwork, and hand-eye coordination. When played together, board games can help family members reconnect and keep everyone's eyes off their screens for a while. Younger kids may be drawn more toward board games where everyone works together to win, but older kids and teens may enjoy strategy games where the players try to outthink each other. If your child needs extra attention in a specific area, such as reading or math, chances are, there is a board game out there that will help them improve their skills while having fun.
Fort building. When your child builds a fort, they’re not just balancing blankets and furniture. They’re building a place that feels safe for them, both physically and emotionally. Forts can be built from whatever materials you have lying around, such as furniture, sheets, beach towels, and rope. Forts are a great way for children to express their creativity and to build a space that is all their own. Experts have also found that forts can help reduce a child's stress and anxiety, providing them with a quiet space for comfort away from everything else.
Arts and crafts. Pulling out the paper, pens, scissors, paint, and other craft supplies you have on hand is a favorite indoor activity for kids. Art is important for the development of motor skills in young children. Learning to cut paper, use paintbrushes, and mold clay lets them be creative and express themselves. Access to art and other creative outlets also improves children's critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, as well as helping them improve how they see and understand the world around them. Crafts do not have to be guided. Try just pulling out some supplies and letting your child create whatever they are inspired to make.
Hide and seek with toys. Consider breaking the mold of the traditional spring egg hunt and hiding toys for your child to find around the house. These could be plastic eggs or any other item that you have several of, such as plastic animals or building blocks. You can even put a festive spin on this activity by hiding paper hearts in February, paper flowers in May, or pine cones in the fall. Searching for hidden toys can be great exercise, and it can teach children about object permanence and strengthen their problem-solving skills.
Helping around the house. Children, especially those 8 and younger, love to feel like they’re being helpful. Your kids can pitch in on some chores around your home that will be fun and educational for them, and be helpful for you. Not only are age-appropriate chores helpful and fun, they can help your child improve fine motor and spatial skills, and learn responsibility. Try some of the following chores with your child and have fun.
- Sort objects into piles, such as toys into bins or silverware into a tray
- Sort and match pairs of socks
- Fold simple laundry items such as cloth napkins and hand towels
- Sweep floors and dust furniture
- Spray and wipe tables, doors, countertops, and windows
- Water indoor plants
Scavenger hunts. Scavenger hunts are easy to adapt to the age of your child. For younger kids, you can draw pictures of the items that you want them to find, and they can color the drawings in as they find the items. For older children who can read, list items that are more difficult to find. You can choose to make items specific, such as a rolling pin, a certain book, or a favorite toy. You can also send your child on a broader search by directing them to find five red items or 10 circular items.