Budget-Friendly Indoor Activities for Kids
By Dinah Wulf
When the bad weather strikes and the kids get stuck indoors, how often do you hear the words, “I’m bored”? Before you know it, both you and the kids are stir-crazy – it happens all the time. Despite the raindrops, mud puddles, or blizzarding snow, there are a variety of things to not only entertain your child, but nurture their imagination, grow their creativity, and build strong muscles. Best of all, you can do all these things with items you already have around the house.
Encourage Creativity with a Craft
- Decorate rocks or pine cones
- Make finger puppets or paper bag puppets
- Search the house for materials, and make a recycled craft
- Make homemade playdough
Make little pets out of rocks and pine cones. Paint smooth stones into bugs, ladybugs, or birds. Gather pine cones, leaves, and sticks to make little pine cone animals. Use leaves for ears and sticks for tails and legs. Glue on wiggly eyes as a final touch. Make a little house or bed for them out of a shoebox. Have your child paint and decorate the shoebox and cut out windows and doors. Make curtains and furniture out of construction paper. Playdough is not only fun, but also beneficial for your child, helping to develop the large and small muscles in their hands and aiding eye-hand coordination. It also helps to improve fine motor skills, which is beneficial to daily activities.1
Bring Out Their Inner Artist
- Finger-paint or watercolor for a friend, coach, or teacher
- Draw pictures with pencils, colored pencils, or crayons
- Make toothpick and mini marshmallow sculptures
- Design a card, and send it to a grandparent or other loved one
Bring out their inner artist by supplying them with colored paper, markers, glue, scissors, stickers, or craft punches. Have your child design an anytime card or special holiday card to mail to a loved one. Allowing your kids to use age-appropriate child-safe scissors is great for building fine motor skills. Try using cookie cutters for them to trace and cut out shapes to decorate their cards. Have them address and stamp the envelope themselves and put it in the mailbox.
Curate Some Recipes and Cook or Bake
- Make a snack or meal together with simple recipes
- Decorate cookies or make them from scratch
- Bake and decorate cupcakes for dessert
Get creative in the kitchen with some classic Ants on a Log with celery, peanut butter, and raisins, for a healthy snack. You can also have your child prepare dessert for that night’s dinner by baking cookies or cupcakes, or opt for a healthier dessert such as colorful fruit skewers or chocolate-covered bananas. If the kids are longing for the outdoors, bring the outdoors in by making Dirt ’n’ Worms!
Brush up on Writing Skills
- Write a good old-fashioned letter to a friend or loved one
- Make up a song with music and lyrics, rehearse it, and then perform it
- Make up a story and draw pictures to create a book
Encourage your children to talk about ideas for a story line. Perhaps they want to recreate a fun family vacation or a favorite funny memory. Start with a first draft. Then make a blank book by folding and stapling several sheets of paper together. Have them draw pictures to go with the story line, as well as draw a book cover and come up with a catchy title. Books like these make great gifts as well!
Exercise the Brain with Teasers
- Do puzzles or make your own puzzle
- Play board games
- Play a memory game
- Play a card game
- Make your own crossword or word search
Make your own puzzle using a cereal box and old coloring book covers. Cut a piece of the cereal box to serve as backing for the coloring book cover. Glue the cover to the cereal box with a glue stick, and allow it to dry. Once it is dry, cut it up into puzzle pieces. Young children can cut large shapes, while older children can cut out smaller, more intricate shapes. Save your puzzles in a decorated shoebox and plastic bags to use time and time again.
Get Physical with Games
- Indoor bowling with empty bottles
- Indoor hopscotch with tape on the floor
Save 10 plastic water or soda bottles. Remove all the labels with soap and water. Have your children paint each bottle as they wish. Once they are dry, fill the bottles with water, sand, or pebbles to weigh them down. Set them up like bowling pins, and use a ball to take turns knocking them down.
Construct and Build Together
- Build a Lego city
- See who can build the highest block tower
- Turn old cardboard boxes into cars, refrigerators, stoves, trains, or boats
- Build forts with blankets and pillows, and watch a movie
Old cardboard boxes can be transformed into so many things. Let your child’s imagination run wild, and bring out the paint, markers, scissors, glue, and construction paper. Turn an ordinary box into a car. Add four wheels, a steering wheel, headlights, and a license plate, and even cut a flap for a door. When they’re finished, pop a bag of popcorn, and watch a favorite family movie at the drive-in in the comfort of your own living room.
Imagination and Pretend Play
- Sing and dance, and put on a show
- Play dress-up, and walk down the runway in a fashion show
- Put on a play yourselves or with puppets
- Go indoor camping with a tent, and make indoor s’mores
Make a puppet theater out of a large cardboard box. Cut it out one side, so that the box will still stand on three sides. Cut out a window in the top middle side as your stage area. Cut up an old pillow case or T-shirt to use as curtains on the sides of the window. Your children can put on a puppet show with their dolls and stuffed animals, or make sock puppets or paper bag puppets. Suggest that they make their own tickets for you to use when their show is ready to present.
As you can see, there are so many fun and exciting things for your children to do at home with materials you already have. Start now, and save and stock up on cardboard boxes, food boxes and shoeboxes, and plastic bottles. Rain or shine, these boredom-busters are guaranteed to be a hit in your home!
Source: Fix.com Blog