Are you home with your kids because of COVID-19? Are you going stir crazy yet?
We're here to help! Here are 14 ideas for indoor fun with your kids:
1. Have a LEGO challenge
If you have tons of LEGOs (like us!), grab a few little buckets or food storage containers and scoop up a random assortment for each person. Set a timer and start building! What cool things do your kids come up with? You can give your kids a theme if they need help getting started. They can build a spaceship, a car, an animal, or a skyscraper, for instance.
2. Water play
Throw the kids into the bathtub with a few toys or things from around the house they don't usually play with in water. It will make the experience all new! My kids love kitchen items like plastic bowls, cups, and even utensils in the bathtub. Just be sure to stay away from glass!
3. Sensory bins
Sounds fancier than what I do! I just throw some materials into an empty wash basin. Yep, that's it. Some of my go-tos are dry rice, dry beans, dry pasta of different shapes, play dough, acorns, sticks ... you get the idea!
My kids love to scoop the objects, sort them, count them, string them on laces or ribbon, and drop them into containers and shake them. Add measuring cups, cleaned out recyclables of different sizes, ice cube trays (good for counting and sorting!), egg cartons, whisks, wooden spoons, rubber spatulas, ladles, or anything else you have around the house. Keep it simple! One main ingredient and just a few add-ins is all you need to keep them entertained!
4. Have a movie day
You can go fancy and make little cars out of boxes and do a "drive-in" movie in your living room OR you could just pop some popcorn and sit on the couch.
5. Learn something new
Head to YouTube and look up a fun tutorial to do together! Kids love watching you learn something new right alongside them. I recommend finger knitting!
6. Get in the kitchen!
Make hot cocoa ice cream, a batch of your favorite cookies, or something in the Crock Pot. Kids love to spend time in the kitchen with you. Check out Macaroni Kid EATS for more family-friendly fun recipe ideas!
7. Feed the wildlife
Make a bird feeder and get to know your backyard birds! We're partial to the classic pinecone covered in peanut butter and rolled in seed feeder, but this one made from recycled materials is fun and easy to make too. Just remember to keep the feeder full all season long because the birds will come to depend on the food source.
8. Become scientists
STEM fun! See these simple instructions for growing ice crystals in your kitchen, explode some apples or make bouncy eggs!
9. Make easy pop-up puppets
I'm not super into crafty projects with my kids, but I think these pop-up puppets are super cute and worth tackling!
10. Have an easy gingerbread house contest
Our store-bought gingerbread houses never stand a chance, so I love this alternative to a traditional gingerbread house. I also love the idea of turning it into a contest so the kids are more invested in it (read: it buys you more time). Why wait until the holidays for a gingerbread house?
11. Decorate the house
Cut up some brown paper bags and have the kids make their own gingerbread men for a festive decoration to hang on the fridge or do a spring-themed bubble wrap art project.
12. Do a toy turnover
I'm sure the kids have a bunch of new toys and you could stand to clear a few older ones out. Go through the toys with them and select things in good condition to donate.
13. Make play dough
There are a bunch of different play dough recipes, but here is one that smells amazing too: gingerbread play dough. My kids love to make the play dough and mix in different things - big sequins, wooden beads, pipe cleaners, googly eyes... the possibilities are endless!
Go through your bookshelves, grab a stack of books, and settle down on the couch to read them all. Or download some library apps and get the kids into some audiobooks! See my audiobook picks!
Julie Lepore is the publisher of Macaroni Kid Summit Short Hills SOMA, N.J.