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10 Things to Keep the Kids Busy Indoors

It’s that time of year. The time of year where I’m dying for some warmth and sunshine and the ability to boot my kids into the backyard. Here’s what we’ve been doing at our house to save our sanity:

Butcher Paper
Wrap the kitchen table in butcher paper. It’s easy for all the kids to draw and often times facilitates a group project between them. And it’s really easy for my 2 year old to join in. (and it keeps my table clean)

Journals
I’ve got a big list of journal prompts and lots of blank paper. If you google “Journal Prompts” you’ll get more than enough ideas for starters. The questions are simple and I love peeking in my little ones creative minds.

P.E.
Yep, the crab crawl. I’ve started to make the kids do relay races with the dreaded bear crawl and the crab walk in the basement. It started as a punishment actually. But of course they want to compete often.

Play Restaurant
You can go big or small with this one. They can design their own menus, use dress ups, and of course you can cook together. If you want to get crazy you can do some international themes. But seriously – don’t do all the work. The point is to have them design menus and dress up. You just control the kitchen weapons.

Read-a-thon
We build “nests” of blankets and bust out some treats. The books we’re reading right now? Chronicles of Narnia and the Percy Jackson Series, Flat Stanley, Junie B. Jones and at last we are reading Harry Potter together.

Chores.
Yep I put a period after that one. They should do them. I have the kids write their own checklist (which I double check) and then I turn them loose. We call it “unleashing the tornado” at our house. We turn up the music and we get crazy clean. This might not be their #1 pick – but it’s definitely top on my list.

Video Games
I’m a video game nazi. I’d prefer nothing more than for my kids to be playing outside in reading a book. But the reality is . . . that games . . . can {gasp} actually be good for them. (as referenced in the below book). I still prefer the active kind like Wii Sports and Just Dance Kids.

Board Games
I’ve got a child that needs to learn to lose and I take pleasure beating him (in games that is – put down the phone to DCFS). Right now we really dig “Guess Who”. I like it mostly because there are not any extra pieces to lose. We are notorious for that.

Make a Video
The great thing about shooting video today is that it’s easily deletable and available right on my phone. I’m happy to let my kids keep themselves busy with my iPhone/video camera every so often. And then I delete the 10 minute segments of them filming the walls (and me when I’m sleeping).

Forts
We have a corner of the basement that I won’t even venture to anymore. I don’t even want to know what’s in there. We call it “The hideout”. That might be my winter activity one day. To find out what’s in there. But for now, it’s my forbidden forest.

What are you doing to keep your kids busy indoors this year? Keep it simple – I’m a slacker!

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Comments (10)

  1. Duncan Faber 03/02/2013 at 8:50 pm

    One word. Audiobooks. We load up their ipods with them because they’re much more engaging than dvds. There are lots of sites where you can get them, but we use this site a lot because the short stories are original and free. Here’s the link if anyone is interested. http://www.twirlygirlshop.com/short-stories-for-kids

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  4. Shelly Knight 02/11/2011 at 12:40 pm

    Oh, and I love the journaling idea, and especially how you print the topic and the date-that makes a great keepsake!

  5. Shelly Knight 02/11/2011 at 12:39 pm

    I love this post! I’m going to borrow the “unleasing the tornado” tonight. Turning up the music makes anything fun, and we frequently have dance parties this time of year. We also make paper airplanes and fly them from the upstairs landing. And, winter is pretty much the only time we unleash the Play Doh. And often make our own when we find all the dried out cans. I try to keep cheap flour on hand just for this reason.

    My favorite thing by far is baking with the kids. Quick breads, cookies, jello (not baking, but measuring and mixing anyway), a cake for no reason…

  6. Callie Feyen 02/11/2011 at 12:35 pm

    Great ideas! I love the butcher paper and journaling ideas.

  7. stephanie peterson 02/10/2011 at 1:53 pm

    good ideas! love the restaurant! we love to play grocery store with emptied boxes taped back up.We also play mailman. We bring the scooters inside and deliver mail(cheap envelopes and boxes bought from the post office) to mailboxes placed all around the house. The good old art book covered with contact paper and their name has saved us around dinner time.

  8. Shannon Nelson 02/10/2011 at 11:33 am

    You guys all have basements! I need a basement!

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  10. Erica Fehrman 02/10/2011 at 10:51 am

    When the little boy sleeps, I let the older one watch a cartoon so I can read or work in peace for an hour. For activity they play on their ride-on trucks in the unfinished basement. There’s also a kids workbench to hammer nails and even saw wood (supervised, of course).