Winter time is long, dark, and cold, and keeping the kids busy when they can’t be banished to the backyard for some fresh air and play time is essential for maintaining your sanity. Thankfully, there are many things to do that’ll keep your kids busy and engaged indoors. Next time your kids complain that they’re bored, break out one of these fun inside activities and watch them have a blast.
- Do Some Crafts
Kids love crafts, and PBS Parents has a huge database of craft ideas with instructions for you to choose from, including paper crafts, pipe cleaner crafts, and toy-making crafts.
- Have a Treasure Hunt
Hide a special prize, like a board game or a new DVD, somewhere in the house. Hide clues that lead to the prize so that the kids have to solve each clue to find the next one. You can make these clues as simple or as elaborate as you wish. The kids will love solving puzzles, riddles, and codes to find the next clue.
- Make a Fort
Dig out the sheets, twine, and clothes pins and have the kids build a fort. Serve them lunch in the fort, and consider letting them sleep in it if they beg hard enough.
- Make a Bubbling Mess
Kids love messy activities. Parents not so much. But if a few minutes of clean-up is worth an hour or more of engaged children, lay out a plastic table cloth on the kitchen floor and give the kids all the ingredients they need to make colorful and bubbling concoctions. Give them a cupcake baking pan, a bowl of baking soda with some spoons, a squirt bottle full of vinegar, and some food coloring. The vinegar bubbles up when you add the baking soda, and the food coloring makes it all the more fun.
If the kids are tired of coloring books and crayons, give them a high-tech solution: The Coloring Book for Me & Mandala app for Androids features endless mandalas the kids can color virtually using 25 color palettes for endless color choices.
- Have a Carnival
Have the kids design carnival games with items from around the house. A large cardboard box with holes cut in it and Ziplock bags full of beans become a beanbag toss, and soda bottles and paper plates with the middle cut out become the ring toss. Let them invite some friends over to play the games.
- Beads and String
Buy a big box of beads and some string, and let the kids go nuts making necklaces, bracelets, belts, and other accessories. Macaroni, penne and other tube pastas are paintable and make great beads in a pinch.
- Decorate Cookies
Bake up a batch of sugar cookies and some bowls of colored frosting, and let the kids decorate the cookies. Include a variety of candies for even more decorating–and snacking–fun.
With a little ingenuity and a willingness to clean up a few messes, your kids can have a lot of fun inside during the winter. When things get way too crazy all cooped up inside, bundle the kids up and take them out for some cold-weather adventuring, either to the sledding slopes or the local ice rink. Once you get home, they’ll be ready to settle back down for some quiet, creative fun.