There’s a lot of emphasis put on the health benefits of spending time outdoors for our children. But even the most determined of us has to admit that there are days when you just don’t want to venture out. But even when you’re stuck indoors, there are plenty of ways that you can enjoy quality play time with your children.
We’ve scoured the internet to come up with 9 great indoor games for kids, that will help lift the blues on even the rainiest days. These are a range of activities that will burn energy, work on fine motor skills and learn – and all while having lots of fun!
Our Top 9 Indoor Games for Kids
There are some great benefits to cooking with your kids. For younger children the sensory experience is valuable, for older children, there is maths and science to be learned.
If you’re not a confident baker yourself, then don’t worry. There are some great recipe books that are designed for children to follow, and even getting things wrong can be fun! If you’d rather not try and bake, you could always buy plain cakes or cookies and some icing and have fun decorating them. Alternatively, your child could help with making their own sandwich or chopping up toppings for a pre-made pizza.
If you can bake yourself, then you have plenty of options to consider. Here are a few:
- Animal-shaped bread rolls
- Pitta bread pizza
- Curd or Jelly tarts
If your child is a fussy eater, then letting them pick and make their own meal can be helpful in getting them to try new things.
While you’re in the kitchen, you could always cook up a batch of home-made play dough. It’s made with store cupboard ingredients and has many different uses. There are also plenty of science experiments that can be done with store cupboard ingredients. One of our favourites is to make cinder toffee – learn about chemical reactions in the most delicious way.
The beauty of this rainy day favorite is that with a few simple supplies you can make many different activities. As well as simply using pain to make pictures, you could also:
- Use shaped sponges to stamp shapes – or carve shapes from a potato and use that instead.
- Drop paint onto the paper and blow it around the straws.
- Butterfly painting – add plenty of paint to one half of the paper and then fold it and press to make the mirror image (great for learning symmetry).
- Drip watercolor paint onto paper towels and watch it spread
- Try wet on wet painting – wet the paper and then add paint to make dreamy creations.
- Paint a sunny day picture, then when it’s dry stick on cotton balls for clouds.
- Get your hands dirty and finger paint! One fun idea is to make finger dots and then add expressions with a marker once the paint has dried.
3. Get Active!
Children are blessed with plenty of imagination, so even the smallest apartment can be the background to an epic adventure. For example, you could set up an obstacle course with cushions to bounce on, blankets to scramble under and challenges to meet – like throwing a piece of paper into a trashcan basket.
You can also have races – wheelbarrow, crab and bear walking are all brilliant ways to burn off some energy and you don’t need a huge amount of floor space. Headstands are another fun physical challenge to do at home.
You can make a hopscotch game using chalk or masking tape on the floor. This simple game helps balance, numeracy and turn-taking. Another great favourite with kids of all ages is the lava game. Someone yells, ‘The floor is lava’ and everyone has to get up off the floor as quickly as possible.
4. Screen Time
Phones and tablet computers can be a godsend when the weather is bad. There are many good quality apps aimed at children that will engage their interest in learning.
In the past, we’ve talked about the best Kindle apps for toddlers. Whether it’s watching something fun and educational like Odd Squad on the netflix app or completing jigsaw puzzles which never have a missing piece, there is something for everyone.
Apps are also a great way to encourage children to work on their ABC’s, with apps like Reading Eggs and Squeebles helping with reading and writing. There are also many apps that focus on Maths, which we’ve reviewed in the past.
Sport helps children to master their gross motor skills, encourages cooperation and builds self-confidence. So why not do some sporting activities at home? Here are a few ideas to try:
- Find a piece of paper or card large enough to cover a doorway. Cut a hole in it and try to throw foam balls through it. Have one child on each side, so you can keep it moving back and forth.
- Balloon Ball – You can play keepy-uppies, or bat it back and forth like tennis or badminton. Set targets and keep it fun and challenging.
- Bowling – stack up toilet rolls or empty soda cans or bottles in the hallway and roll a ball at them. Try and get a strike!
- Wrestling – Put down cushions or a duvet, and encourage your children to play fight. Join in yourself, and challenge them to get you
Yes, you can even make chores fun! Younger kids are usually happy to help with the household cleaning, give them a damp cloth and a water spray and set them to work on cupboard fronts. While older kids may be wise to what you are trying to do, they’ll probably still pitch in if you set a challenge.
Motivation could be, ‘If we can clear some floor space, we can do…’ and pick another great indoor activity from this list. Music can help here – play the Mission Impossible theme or something similar – can you pick up all your toys before the music stops?
7. Bathtime Fun
Cold, gloomy days can be completely transformed with a fun bathtime activity. Water play is one of the most popular indoor activities for kids, and the clean-up is a breeze. Here are a few suggestions:
- Purchase bath paints or crayons, or make your own from soap, cornstarch and food coloring.
- Add blue food coloring and glitter to the water and have a mermaid bath.
- Drop some costume jewelry into the water, and be pirates diving for treasure.
- Turn off the lights and add glow-sticks to the water.
- Add a small amount of water and a lot of bubble bath, then carefully use a food mixer to whisk up a whole bath full of foam.
- Take pots and pans into the bath and ‘cook’ with play food.
Get your groove on! Kitchen discos are great fun, or head into the living room for a rousing game of musical statues, or musical bumps. There are kids radio stations that you can tune into via the internet or your smart speaker so you can be sure the lyrics will be suitable.
Over the years there have been many songs with their own dances, aimed directly at children. Even the older ones are still popular with kids today. Introduce them to the Macarena, the fast food song, the birdy song or bring it bang up to date with Gangnam Style and Baby Shark.
9. The Movies
And once you’ve had a go at a few of the kids’ indoor activities on this list, it’s time to relax. Pop some corn, put on a favorite movie and snuggle up together to enjoy it. Many kids movies have humor that works on numerous levels, so you can laugh at the adult references that go over your little one’s head.
If you’re not sure which movies are safe for your children, then you might want to consult this list of 50 movies all kids should watch before they’re 12. The Internet Movie Database also includes a ‘Parents Advisory’ section for most films, which includes things like curse words, sex & nudity, drugs & smoking, nudity and frightening scenes. This allows you to make an informed choice for your child, rather than simply using the age-rating for guidance.
If you want to go the extra mile, then grab a cardboard box and spend some time making it into a car. Then you and your little one can go to the drive through without ever leaving your home!
You’ll Love Rainy Days
There’s really no limit to the number of indoor games for kids that you can play. If this list has whet your appetite for indoor fun, then Pinterest will be another source of inspiration for how you can enjoy yourselves on even the wettest and coldest days.
We’re passionate about finding the right apps, games, and toys to help your kids to learn. If you’d like to get updates, including when we post a new blog, then you can follow us on Facebook. Now what’s the weather like tomorrow? We’re hoping for rain!