It’s not easy keeping kids busy and entertained when you’re all stuck at home. Whether it’s due to bad weather, illness, or budget constraints, it’s tough. Believe me — I know. Toys can only take you so far, and we’re sure you’re hearing complaints of boredom within the first few hours of your day at home. Rather than relying on endless hours of TV time, check out this list of indoor activities for kids of all ages.
Sometimes you’ve got to think outside the box and come up with new and exciting things to do, even if you can’t leave the house. I’ve compiled a list of affordable and fun indoor activities for kids that are easy enough to keep them (and yourself) entertained. If possible, take a look at this list ahead of any at-home time to prepare. This way you’re not last-minute scrambling if someone gets sick or you wake up to three feet of snow.
So whether you decide on a PJ day or get everyone dressed to stay in a routine, you can still check off a variety of indoor activities to fend off boredom. Keep their bodies, minds, and spirits active with crafts, exercise, recipes, books, movies, and so much more — all from within your own home.
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1. Take advantage of free virtual museum tours.
Most cities are now offering virtual museum tours for everyone who can’t visit in person. Check a city’s listings for options. Usually, Google does the trick. Plus, you can visit Mcm.edu for listings all around the world! It’s one of those indoor activities for kids that makes you feel like you left the house.
Related: Free Museums in Every State
2. Do some mind-blowing science experiments for kids at home.
Heck, what parent isn’t thrilled when their children take a shine to fun science experiments? These at-home projects can keep them preoccupied for hours while learning the laws of nature. Form clouds in jars, create snowstorms, icicles, and more — all from inside your home.
3. Order delivery or pickup from restaurants where kids eat free.
Sometimes staying inside is just too much. Eating out or ordering in can seem like a real treat. If you visit restaurants offering deals on kids eating for free, you can make a fun meal a lot lighter on your wallet. It’s among the indoor activities for kids that almost feels like a cheat (but it isn’t).
Kids-eat-free deals are normally tied to days of the week, like Tuesdays and Saturdays. But not to worry, you can find these deals every day of the week if you know where to look.
Keep in mind that they are often BOGO promotions. Denny’s, for example, offers kids to eat for free with the purchase of an adult entree.
Also, remember to check in with your local franchises to make sure these kids-eat-free offers are available in your area.
4. Listen to NPR’s “Kids and Family” free educational podcasts at home.
NPR podcasts aren’t just for adults. In their Kids and Family podcast section, they’ve got fun options for children who have cabin fever. “Brains On,” for example, features science for kids and curious adults.
5. Get your kids the ABCmouse app and access award-winning educational programs for 50% off.
The ABCmouse app features over 8,000 educational programs and more than 850 lessons that teach reading, math, science, social studies, art, and music. Plus, you’ll get online books, educational games, puzzles, art activities, and printables.
Right now you can get two months’ access to the ABCmouse app for just $5 (it’s regularly $9.95 a month), which is almost a 50% savings! Outside of this promotion, you can try the ABCmouse free trial for 30 days and a 49% discount on their annual subscription (normally $59.95). I love indoor activities for kids that include learning.
6. Order games and learning to practice preschool activities at home.
Hooked & Co. Book Clubs offer book subscriptions featuring some of your kids’ favorite characters (think Disney and Dr. Seuss). Right now if you sign up for a subscription, the company is offering two free gifts including a 160-page activity pad and a Disney lunch bag. It breaks down to three books for $9.99 a month, which Hooked & Co. says is a $45 value.
7. Make these $5 DIY sponge blocks for kids and enjoy the quiet.
I had to fit this one in here because sometimes it’s not keeping kids busy indoors that’s the problem. Sometimes (let’s be honest), it’s noisy, and you’re craving some quiet time.
To make your sponge blocks, all you need are colorful sponges ($1 for a pack of two) and a serrated knife. Then slice those sponges into 3/4-inch strips and they’re ready for endless playtime.
8. Solve puzzles with a free Highlights Magazine subscription.
Challenge your 4- to 7-year-old to tackle mazes, word games, and activities with a free Highlights puzzle book and tote bag (just pay $1 for shipping). Try their Hidden Pictures digital daily puzzles 14-day free trial, and pay only $2/month with an annual subscription — a 50% off deal.
Highlights is also offering up to 60% off their annual magazine subscriptions, along with a Hidden Pictures Fun book as a free gift. Each magazine has 32 pages of puzzles and experiments that’ll keep your kiddos occupied for hours.
Plus, when you shop their sales section, you’ll save up to 70% on book collections, sticker sets, games, learning kits, puzzles, and an array of group packages.
9. Get book bundles at World Book Kids for 50% off.
Help them learn about the world — especially when you’re stuck indoors. I love these curriculum-based books because they help broaden my children’s views, but they also make them want to read. That’s what I call a success.
The best part? You can snag their book bundles for more than 50% off. For only $29, you’ll get a bundle of three books and save $29.90 on their regular price ($49.95).
Plus, when you sign up for their updates, you’ll receive 10% off your first purchase. If you don’t like to share your email, just peruse their website until a window pops up offering 10% off.
TIP: World Book offers free material and resources you can check out and share.
10. Watch Amazon Prime movies free for a month with the whole family at home.
From the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers to Silver Spoons to Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood — the shows you thought you might not ever see again are free with Amazon Prime.
If you aren’t already a member, you can try Prime’s 30-day free trial. If you end up not liking it, just go to Account Settings and stop the automated payment before your trial is up.
11. Building newspaper forts is a fun indoor activity for kids.
Gather up all those extra newspapers and use them to build the indoor fort of your child’s dreams. Use old newspapers, masking tape, and a stapler to construct a frame that’s strong enough to cover with a light blanket or sheet.
A DIY newspaper fort is the perfect little tent for reading, tea parties, playing games, and whatever else your imagination can come up with.
12. Take advantage of the time at home and teach your own baby Einstein with free Baby Einstein bundles.
If you have a baby or toddler Einstein of your own, then they will love these books and cards.
If you join Baby Einstein Playful Discoveries, you’ll get a welcome package that includes three board books (Music on the Go, Baby Animals, Happy Families – Animals), one squishy plush book (Baby is So Big), and a set of discovery cards with a card ring and parents’ guide. Just pay $5.95 and you’ll get free shipping.
13. Make homemade slime for endless hours of indoor fun.
You only need three ingredients to keep your kids entertained on a day spent indoors. Make this DIY slime out of Borax, warm water, and colored glitter glue.
14. Start an indoor garden in an egg carton.
A great way to upcycle an old egg carton is to use a little bit of potting soil and some seeds. You can get free seeds through a community seed library, use seeds from your own vegetables, or host a seed swap with neighbors. Keep the egg carton with seeds near a window and have your kids water it regularly. Used coffee grounds can act as a free fertilizer, too!
15. Try beginner yoga with free videos online.
Get your bodies moving with free kids’ yoga videos. Search Cosmic Kids or the term “yoga for kids” on YouTube for some great free yoga videos for kids.
16. Paint leaves or rocks from your yard.
So this falls under both outdoor and indoor activities for kids. Take a stroll through your own backyard or your neighborhood and have your kids find interesting leaves or rocks. Bring them home and paint them or use them as stamps to create fun patterns on paper.
17. Make a scrapbook with photos and artwork.
If you’ve got a lot of your kids’ artwork saved, why not take a walk down memory lane? Pick a few favorites to start building a scrapbook together. Find an affordable scrapbook that can be delivered to your door or make your own. Have your kids help select their favorite artwork or photos to create themed pages in the book.
18. Build a cardboard fort or obstacle course.
This is a great way to utilize all of the boxes you’ve accumulated from deliveries while you’re stuck at home. These boxes can be used to build a fort or a cardboard obstacle course. Have your older kids help design either activity. The fort can be loaded up with comfy pillows and blankets for a cozy place to read. And the obstacle course can be used for an afternoon of competitive play.
19. Make your favorite meals from scratch.
Have each child pick out their favorite meal on a different day of the week and cook it together as a family. You can use Instacart or Walmart+ to get groceries delivered straight to your door.
20. Play dress-up with old clothes in your closet.
This is one of those indoor activities for kids that uses stuff you already own. Allow them to scan your closet and pick out some of their favorite outfits to try on. You don’t have to bust out your designer apparel for this, but anything you don’t mind them taking on and off a few times is fair game.
21. Learn a new card game.
If you have a deck of cards, do an online search for card games based on your children’s ages. War and Snap are fun games for young kids. While Crazy Eights and Rummy are good options for older kids.
22. Make cards or write letters to family and friends.
Who doesn’t love receiving a piece of snail mail? Use the time at home to create handmade cards or handwritten letters. Even toddlers can get in on the fun with some markers or paints on the empty space of the cards.
23. Find free printable games online.
We’ve shared Halloween Bingo and Christmas Bingo cards, but there are hundreds of free printable games online that you can do with your children. Do a search for some age-appropriate games and print them out for a fun indoor activity for kids.
24. Do a puzzle.
Find a puzzle in your closet or order one online and set it up in a common area. Kids can come and go as they please to work on it whenever they feel inclined. This way no one is required to sit and work on it for hours.
25. Try a home-themed scavenger hunt.
Create a list of objects in your home and have your kids search for them. You could do this with ingredients for dinner, clothes for the day, or supplies for an activity. Or you could just put random objects on the list to keep the kids busy.
26. Create a playlist and have a dance party.
Have each of your kids — and yourself! — add several favorite songs to a playlist. Hit shuffle and let the fun begin. Create a fun game by keeping the songs a secret and having each kid guess who added which song to the playlist.
27. Read a new book out loud.
Find a book you haven’t read yet, or have the family select a new one together to buy. Read it out loud while you lounge in comfy jammies on the couch, or have your older kids practice their reading skills by having them read out loud to you.
28. Keep cheap craft kits on hand.
I can’t tell you how many times a cheap craft kit I purchased eons ago has come in handy on a rainy day. They are seriously my heroes when it comes to finding indoor activities for kids. Check Michaels, Joann, Target, and Walmart for goodies that will keep your kids occupied. I’m talking sock puppets, shrinky dinks, fairy gardens, etc.
29. Make up your own Mad Libs.
Everyone loves a good story, especially when they get to play a part in it. Write out a simple story, but leave some verbs, adjectives, and nouns blank. Then ask your kids for words that will fill in the blanks. Read the story back with their offerings. You’ll all get a huge kick out of the end result.
30. Make sidewalk chalk paint.
If the weather permits, you can make sidewalk chalk paint and spray.
- 1 tsp washable tempera paint (make sure it is washable!)
- 1 cup hot water
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- Squirt of dishwashing liquid
- 1 squirt bottle
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl and pour into your squirt bottle. In order to avoid spills, I used a funnel to pour the paint into the bottle. Shake well before use.
- Take your paint outside or even use long pieces of butcher paper and enjoy something fun to do on long at-home days.
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- Food coloring
- Craft brushes
- Container for the paint (such as an ice cube tray or small bowls)
- Combine cornstarch and water. Mix well.
- Add food coloring.
- Use craft brushes to create art on the sidewalk!