There will be plenty of times you and your family may be stuck inside, and if your kids don't have school it may seem like a daunting task to find healthy, engaging activities for everyone that don’t involve watching Netflix on the couch for hours or fighting over whose turn it is to use the tablet. However, spending more time inside than usual gives you the opportunity to try something new or do something you haven’t done in a while.
The opportunities can be endless if you get creative. To get started, we’ve put together a list of good-for-you activities that will help your whole family beat the indoor boredom blues. You can even put the ideas you’re most drawn to into a bowl and take turns letting different family members pick one out.
Bonus: Aside from some initial setup, most of these can be done with little to no adult supervision — which is ideal for parents who need to get other work done (though we recommend taking a few breaks to join in on the fun, too!)
Indoor activities to keep kids active
Just because you’re stuck inside doesn’t mean you can’t burn some energy. Think beyond jumping jacks or running up and down the stairs, and try one of these ideas:
Play hallway soccer
Move any breakables (and take framed photos off the wall for the afternoon), use a soft, round ball and have kids make up their own game rules. If you want to keep them occupied for a while, have them play until they score a certain amount of points or make at least 10 goals. Other indoor sports include bowling with empty water bottles and a tennis ball, shooting hoops with an over-the-door net, or playing a good old-fashioned game of tag.
Throw an impromptu dance party
Dancing is a great form of cardiovascular exercise and it’s fun, too. You can put together a playlist of your favorite songs and just move to the beat or judge a “dance off” contest. You can also put on a music video to learn the choreography — or, better yet, have your kids spend time making a dance routine or teaching you the latest viral dance.
Build an obstacle course
Use everyday household objects, like couch cushions, plastic cups, plastic food storage containers, stuffed animals, pillows, and books, to create a course for kids to navigate by jumping, crawling, balancing and more. You can also put your kids’ creative thinking to the test and have them build their own course with pre-approved items.
Create a scavenger hunt
Have your kids on their feet with a list full of clues helping them find “hidden in plain sight” objects. You can hide one treasure — like a sweet treat — and provide clues to follow or use different clues for multiple items around your house. Make use of every room to keep kids occupied and playing independently.
Indoor activities to keep kids entertained
Once your kids are all worn out and say they’re bored by all the tried-and-true favorites like board games, puzzles, and craft projects, suggest one of these entertaining activities:
Build a fort
Kick their imagination into high gear by using things around the house — like pillows, blankets, chairs, tables, and even cardboard boxes — to make a fun place to hang out.
Make a time capsule
Gather objects around the house that represent your daily life, like pictures, to-do lists, junk mail, receipts, and other mementos. Note the cost of everyday items, like milk or gas, on a separate piece of paper. Then, write a letter to your future selves and place all the items in a box with a reminder to not open for several years. You’ll have fun looking back on this moment in time when your kids are older.
Try a sensory bin
Need a few minutes for your kids to play independently? Sensory bins help young children explore, imagine and learn while engaging their senses and can keep them occupied for longer than you might expect. Just grab a plastic bin and start with a base, like dried beans, corn kernels, or pom-pom balls, then add various tools like tongs, measuring cups, and funnels, plus a smaller bowl or cup. The best part? You can easily make a sensory bin out of items you have around the house.
Make a meal together
Cooking together is a great way to work on reading skills and teamwork. Depending on your child's age, they can read the recipe, gather ingredients, wash vegetables, learn how to do simple math and much more. Need a new recipe to try? Check out healthy recipes for any time of day under the Recipes tab at the top of the page.
Exhausted all your indoor activities?
Don't forget about simple things you can do outside together as a family, if the weather permits. Explore your neighborhood with a scavenger hunt walk (for example, ask your kids to spot a certain paint color or type of tree), pitch a tent in your backyard and go camping, have a picnic, or start a chalk-drawing contest. There are plenty of ways to kick boredom as a family both indoors and outside without spending money.