Staying indoors with kids? Turn off the TV and check out these 10 indoor family fun ideas to keep the kids busy and make memories (and build skills too).
Feeling like you’re stuck at home with the kids? You won’t get bored with these indoor family fun activities that help to promote bonding, connection and fun. Some are downright silly while other activities promote interactive learning. If you’ve got other suggestions, please comment below.
12 Fun Indoor Activities the Whole Family Will Love
1. Kid/Parent Date Night
My kids love one-on-one time with mom and dad, and changing it up to a “date night” out just makes it even more special. We’ve done everything from miniature golf to laser tag to watching the latest movie at a theater. We try to keep it focused on spending quality time together rather than shopping or buying goods – and I’m often using coupons or discounts I find online to keep costs down.
Another option is have a kid/parent date night in. Plan and cook a meal (check out these kid-friendly gluten-free recipes) together and watch a favorite DVD.
I admit we’re not big on outdoor camping, but my kids love camping indoors – especially in my room. They’ve grown so big that they can’t fit in my bed anymore. So we set up a tent with sleeping bags in my room so they can camp in. We’ll stay up late eating treats, make shadow puppets, and tell ghost stories like a real camping trip, but I still get to sleep in my bed at the end of the night.
Make your own s’mores with this Gluten Free Graham Crackers recipe.
3. Nature Night Walk
This is a kid-favorite. Once the stars come out, we take the kids on a night walk around the neighborhood. They really enjoy the feeling of being outside when everyone else is indoors (again, the forbidden stay-up-too-late thing). We’ll look at constellations, observe phases of the moon, watch cars go by with their lights on, and listen to the cacophony of crickets, frogs, and other creatures. When it gets cooler, sometimes we’ll opt for a night drive instead.
This is great especially during the winter when holiday lights go up around our neighborhood. We tell our kids we’re going “exploring” and try to find new areas to explore to instill a love for adventure. Take a healthy snack, like this Paleo Maple Nut Trail Mix, on your adventure or try this Homemade Electrolyte Drink if you need to replenish those fluids after a long walk.
Another option is geocaching with kids – a high tech treasure hunt you can do that’s free.
4. Indoor Scavenger Hunt
My kids really got into scavenger hunts this summer. I’d compile a list of things for them to find in our yard, and they’d compete over who would find it first. I’d tell them what they were searching for rather than writing it down since my youngest can’t read yet. We tried this at night with flashlights, and my kids went nuts. They felt like little detectives searching for odd-ball items I’d come up with that they could find throughout our home, like a blue crayon, a striped washcloth, a stuffed animal with whiskers, or a Hawaiian-print dress shirt (which they both own). My youngest can get fierce and a bit cranky with competition, so we’d encourage my boys to work together by offering a prize or a small snack to them if they helped each other.
Offer a sweet treat prize with one of these homemade candy recipes that are healthy and are made with real food ingredients.
5. Lego-Building Party
Legos are the “it” toy in my house. The idea here is to come up with a theme with the kids – like a medieval dungeon or ninjas in battle – and then the whole family works on Lego creations to fit the theme. Someone could even be elected as the storyteller to weave all the Lego creations together. Or take turns telling a story and reward the silliest or most creative. The kids enjoy when we work with them on building Legos, and coming up with a story boosts their imagination.
Make these delicious Homemade Healthy Fruit Snacks in fun Lego shapes to go with the Lego theme – while still giving the kids a nutritious snack.
6. Game Night
Bring out the board games and have a fun night in playing favorites like Monopoly, The Game of Life, Jenga, Pictionary, Yatzee, Connect Four, or even checkers. You can have two sets of games going at the same time, or go through one game and then bring out the other. Serve up some fun snacks like this Instant Pot Popcorn.
7. Fort-Building Party
Gather up your sheets, pillows, boxes, bins and have a fort-building party. Build around couches and furniture, or better yet around beds and bunk beds. The kids will have a blast making their own forts. Show the kids how to build tunnels and rooms with their forts. Have a contest on best use of pillows or boxes, or most creative. The kids will have so much fun they won’t want to take them down for bedtime.
8. Top Chef Contest
Got future chefs in the family? Have fun with this Top Chef-themed indoor contest. Have two teams (one parent and one child each team) make the same dish like this gluten-free pizza base. Pick a winner – like the tastiest pizza, the best use of ingredients given, or the pizza with the funniest shape. You can even do this with one team (one parent and one child) and make two pizza to judge. Have fun and make delicious food together.
9. Karaoke Party
Channel your inner judge from The Voice TV show and have a karaoke party with the kids. Each family member can sing their favorite song and the one with the most votes can win a fun prize or even a fun title like Best Song or Best Dance Moves.
10. DIY Skincare Party
Okay this sounds like it’s just for girls, but boys and dads can participate too. It could be a spa day for just the girls, but with boys too you can call it a Mad Science with skincare party. Choose a couple of DIY skincare products to make. Check out these 100+ Best DIY Beauty Recipes for ideas. My favorite that works for both boys and girls is this DIY Lip Balm. It’s so easy and fun to do. This one is also great when entertaining a lot of kids for a party or sleepover.
11. Virtual Vacation
These 12 famous museums offer virtual museum tours. You can visit the Musee d’Orsay in Paris (my favorite), the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, or even the Guggenheim Museum in New York. It’s a great way to teach kids about art, anthropology, and history without even leaving your home.
You can also take virtual tours of parks like Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming or famous icons like the Champs Elysees in Paris with Google Arts & Culture. It’s a great way to bring those landmarks to life and plan for the next family vacation.
12. Interactive Science + History
If you’ve got a kid who loves science or asks a lot of “why” questions, you’ll love these virtual science lessons from Mystery Science. They have interactive science lessons available for free. They actually create most of the popular science lessons in schools.
Another option for history buffs is the history and social studies section of PBS Learning Media. My sons love learning about WWII and we’ve spent hours going through it on PBS and then finding movies to watch about it too.
Got any family-fun night ideas to share? We’d love to hear them.
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This post was featured on Redbook Magazine’s Mamarama blog.
Photo credit: Bigstockphoto.com / yarruta, evgeny atamanenko