Thursday, February 19, 2009

10 indoor activities to do with kids

When you are stuck indoors with kids, coming up with ideas can be hard. Here are some that we've had luck with, even in the longest winter.
    1. Scavenger Hunt. Make a list of things to find and give a basket to your kids to gather them in. For toddlers, draw shapes or simple items (a ball, something green, something fuzzy, etc) Older kids like more of a challenge (something noisy, something smaller than your pinky nail, something with buttons). You can also hide clues around the house and draw a map to where they can be found, like this. Don't forget the prize at the end!
    2. Use an old shoebox or packing box to make a dollhouse. You can cut your own dolls out of paper, or download some from this list and have fun decorating the room with origami paper or pages from magazines. Use fabric scraps for rugs and blankets.
    3. Build a fort. These are always a hit, but adding some height can make for more excitement. Three plastic stacking bins in a closet make a great perch, with a kitchen step-stool as the way up. The shelf above them in the closet is perfect spot for keeping a notebook and crayons, a snack, and a flashlight. 
    4. Encourage your budding photographer. With some instruction on being gentle, and using the strap on the camera so they don't drop it, let them take your digital camera around the house and document their favorite things. Ask them to set up photoshoots, or make a well-lit area for them. Import the pictures and make a memory book, or have them write a story to go with their photos.
    5. Swap ATC's with your kids. I've gushed about this before, but we've had a great time making these using markers, magazines, scissors and glue. But the possiblities are endless. Try a new technique like crayon resist painting, or drawing from real-life
    6. Play a game of crab soccer. The rules are simple, and it's great when the kids get squirrely.  Sit on the floor and then lift yourself up with your hands and feet, like a crab would. Using only your feet, you try to get the ball past the other team and into their goal. 
    7. Have a picnic or elegant lunch. Set up a blanket on the floor or a short table with cushions. Ask them to design the menu for the occasion, and set the table as they would like. 
    8. Make a magic potion. Dig out the mixing bowls, wooden spoons and measuring cups, and give your kids an assortment of potion ingredients: water colored with drops of food coloring, spices, sprinkles, flour, jello, ice cubes, dry pasta, couscous and a few goldfish or soup crackers are some ideas.
    9. Bring the outdoors indoors. Take an underbed storage bin, fill it with snow and bring it inside. Give them some spoons, scoops, cups and some little people, animals or cars. Or, fill the bin with water or sand-- the same rules apply. 
    10. Do something silly. Kids get stir-crazy, too, and sometimes it's great to let them "get away" with something they couldn't normally do. Give them a skein of yarn and see how long they can make it go around the house. Encourage them to wrap it around the legs of tables and go up and down stairs to make it even longer.  Also in this category are pillow fights, jumping on the bed and lining up all the stuffies on the staircase.
    11. Bonus! Newspaper sculptures. I haven't tried this one yet, but rolling newspaper into tubes makes a great medium for sculptures of all shapes and sizes. I've seen these tubes used for making the frame of a fort or teepee, which could be a really fun way to make a fort (see #3!).
    Please leave me a comment with your ideas, because I could use more!


    Iris E. said...

    We like to pull out the seasonal books that are not of this season, for a lark. Like all those gorgeous summery and springy picture books that we keep up high in a closet usually. It's great fun to see the illustrations full of color at this time of year.

    We also cycle in and cycle out toys all year. So when we are crabby and grumpy, or if mom needs some uninterupted time, if I spend 15 minutes lugging OUT the dollhouse to replace it with the car garage and's like a whole shift in the energy of the play.

    Love your thoughts and ideas. And I love the action shot of the jumpy knees!


    Lisa said...

    Thanks for the great ideas! I especially love the crab soccer and ATC cards! We will be trying these!

    Pink & Green Mama said...

    Such a fun list, love the magic potion idea!

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