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40 activities for you and your kids when you need to stay indoors for long periods

Mar 13, 2020

Updated January 6, 2022


With polar vortexes, snow days, at-home orders and any other situation you can imagine, you're going to come to a point where you're inside for long hours. 

While I have been tested over the past two years, I can confirm that there is a threshold for streaming. 

So, I thought it would be a good idea to offer some fun indoor activities that get kids and parents moving. Because if you move a little, you're gonna be less stiff. And it's going to keep your kids away from nine-hour stints of Peppa PigHere are 20 activities that I think will bring in the noise and bring in the fun (a reference truly just for the parents). 

Tuques, indoors? Now I've seen everything

When it's cold outside, you put on a tuque. And now you can put a tuque on a shelf or string some together to form a garland. Really, the sky's the limit with this Canadian winter-inspired, tiny tuque craft

Using yarn, paper and scissors, you and the kids can make all the tiny tuques your hearts desire

Use soap, but also play with it

Start with a classic. Using dish soap, you and your kids can create one-of-a-kind bubble art

Make muffins or play with the pan

Indoor activity like any other will make everyone hungry. So, get creative with this versatile muffin mix. Or if you're not hungry, use the pan for these eight games!

Put your improv skills to the test

When there's a lot of time to fill, your improv skills are going to be tested. Better put them to good use! Try telling some elaborate stories around a homemade, fake indoor campfire!

If you want to listen, give your improv skills a break 

Sometimes you can avoid screens and using your indoor voice. A podcast will do the trick for a bit of fun. You can listen to The Story Store on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify! Or really wherever you listen to podcasts!

To slime or not to slime

Now, we know not every parent is into slime these days! And that's OK. If you're not into it, move on to the next activity! But if you are open, try making some water bead slime. It takes time out of the day to make and then time out of the day to play with. 

Get green

If you aren't into sticky messes, then building your own terrarium at home might be more your speed. 

Take some slow down moments

It can be easy to get cabin fever, but you still need to slow down. You can make even slowing down activity-based with these mindfulness techniques. Also good if you're stressing or panicked!

Exercise: but make it a game

All you need is an exercise ball. If you've got one, you've got some serious gaming potential

Host a variety show in your living room 

Kids love to dance, sing and goof around (some might even call it acting). They've been mastering their moves, so give them a stage. Play MC to a family-friendly variety show. Put on an outrageous outfit, set the stage to music and give your kids the star-worthy introduction they deserve. Don't forget to applaud!

Gratitude Pictionary: not just for Thanksgiving

Fans of Pictionary will love this take on the classic. All you need is some paper and something to draw with. And your imagination, of course. 

Quiet time boxes

You'll want some quiet time. I know it and you know it. These quiet time boxes will save you!

Unleash your inner animal

Walk the walk. Here are 12 animal walks you and your kids can master. It's also great exercise. Work that core, mom and dad!

Waving through a window 

Sometimes it's all hands on deck and inside. No one is going out. That could lead to a lot of gazing out the window. Thankfully, even windows can be gamified

Turn your home into a butterfly conservatory

This butterfly-making activity is one of our most popular crafts and for good reason: it's beautiful. Bring monarchs inside very easily with a few household materials!

It's tissue, not Kleenex

Tissue paper crafts are an oldie but a goodie. Keeping with the butterfly theme (spring is coming eventually!), crinkle those sheets into stunning works of art!

TikTok round the clock

Now, I know you're going to probably want to limit screens a little. But if you and your kids are on TikTok already, this might be a good time to collab on a dance video. Hey, Charlie D'amelio and Addison Rae dance with their moms! 

Nature crafts

If you've got rocks, paint and curious little minds, you're on your way to some very adorable painted rocks. I suggest painting some ladybugs! Or turning a stack of rocks into a rainbow!

Give them flowers

Honestly, with spring on its way, get a jumpstart. Florals for spring: groundbreaking! These pastel felt flowers are delicate-looking (but sturdy!) and lovely!

Shave!

Just kidding. But if you've got a bearded dad in the house, you've probably got some shaving cream. And that's the main ingredient in these very cool paintings!

Resist!

You'll want to resist the urge to do a lot of things in this time period, but resistance is also a form of art. Give your name the background it deserves with a tape-resist art activity!

Toilet Paper Roll With The Punches 

Perhaps you're going through more TP with the kids home. No worries, there are plenty of ways to reuse them. 

You could try making this desk caddy with the kids, to, try as you might, keep their desks from getting too messy. 

But I ask you: why stop at just one activity. If you've got the rolls, might as well use 'em! Try all seven of these crafts that use toilet paper rolls!

Have Paper, Will Craft

If you have craft paper, glue and thread, you're on your way to making your very own racing game.

If you're not in the racing mood, you can use any recycled tissue boxes you have to make these adorable pet houses for stuffies and plushies

Or if you're feeling musical, you can turn an old cereal box into a set of DJ turntables

I hope this list helps keep you and your kids a bit busy if you need to be indoors for long hours, and days at a time! It happens to the best of us! For more activities, crafts and active play ideas, check out CBC Parents!

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