Whether the culprit is snow, rain, smoke or social distancing, some days force families to stay inside and rethink their plans. Add in kids, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for stir-craziness. Keep your young ones occupied at home with these seven fun and free indoor activities.
1. Dance it out. Your kids are too young to remember dances like the Electric Slide and the Typewriter – throw on an old CD or fire up an oldies station on Pandora and impress them with your retro rug-cutting skills. Then, put on their favorite music and let them show you their stuff. At the very least, you can provide a little comic relief for their afternoon.
2. Go on a scavenger hunt. Make a list of hard-to-find items around the house and let the kids hunt them down while you time them. Hand out small trinkets as prizes for completing the list. Ideas for scavenger hunt items could be “something that smells like lemons,” “something fuzzy” and “something with today’s date on it.” Adjust the list’s length and difficulty for each competitor’s age.
3. Wiggle and jump. Create the free, at-home version of indoor trampoline and bounce house facilities. Take wiggle breaks with instructions such as “jump on the bed for 5 minutes,” “pretend you are a snake slithering down the hallway” or “see how long you can hop on one foot.” Bonus if you have trampolines and jump ropes in your house. But anything that gets the kids moving will work.
4. Have a hot-chocolate party. Set out warm milk, chocolate syrup, marshmallows and other essentials and supervise your kids as they make their own steaming mugs of cocoa. To make things extra-delicious, include lots of extra “goodies” like white chocolate chips, whipped cream and peppermint sticks for stirring. (See our recipes for homemade chocolate syrup and cocoa mix.)
5. Allow TV time. Using the television or iPad to entertain a child all the time isn’t a good idea, but a few carefully scheduled programs or webcams aren’t bad at all. And you can use that down time to breathe. Living on the Cheap compiled a list of cute animal webcams that will entertain kids of all ages. You can also stream a few free movies or TV shows, or let the kids put together a Netflix party.
6. Pretend that it’s summer. Reverse the “winter in July” idea by having a beach-themed shindig right in your living room. Crank up the heat, dig out the kids’ bathing suits and sunglasses, and enjoy ice-cold lemonade or snow cones. If you’re brave, you can even take them “swimming” in the bathtub.’
7. Create a home spa. Get out your old nail polish and give your family the ultimate DIY spa experience. Start with a bubble bath, perhaps accented by cucumbers on the eyes and soothing music on your smartphone. Next up, homemade mani-pedis. (Follow our tips for the perfect DIY pedicure.) Finish with a massage circle. Don’t exclude the boys. They deserve some relaxation, and no one has to know what color their toes are under their socks.
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