Ideas for Indoor Activities!

What to do when it's too cold to go outside!

By Julie Follansbee April 2, 2013

The winter weather got me thinking. What DID we do when the weather was just too bad to go outside? When it was too windy, wet, icy or just dangerously cold to be much fun? What if one child was napping, but you had to keep the other busy...inside?

I put my thinking cap on and here are a few ideas of what we used to do.

I think the number one fun for a while was turning the bathtub into a recreation center! My son LOVED to play in the tub (while I was in the room, of course!!) We would draw on the tub walls with bubbles, shaving cream, or special tub paint. We'd play with the foamy sticky things, sing, splash and read forever, refreshing the water with warm every once in a while until he was a wrinkled prune!

Fun with food!! We used to pour things like rice or oatmeal into a flat container and play with it. I had the perfect thing... it was a hard plastic microwave safe container that was about 18" square and had a lip of about 1". My son would play in the rice by either drawing numbers, or putting his cars and little people in it. It was the perfect indoor sandbox! I think kids like to feel texture in their hands! You can also use things like birdseed, dried beans of all sizes, feed corn, dried peas... anything non toxic, but by far, rice was our favorite! DON'T use sand!

Set up a tent inside!  Every kid needs his/her own little nook and we set up an actual tent inside! He positioned it so that the door faced the TV and would snuggle in there to play with buddies, watch a movie with Dad or just rest.

Back to the shaving cream! I would give him a can of shaving cream and he would spread it all over the kitchen counter and draw, write or make shapes out of it... also good with cars and toys! Good clean fun, though our house smelled like menthol for a very long time!!

More fun with food ideas!  I asked a friend what activities they did and here are a few of her ideas. Finger painting with pudding! Yum, sounds good to me!! When her little girl was small, she would spread pudding on the high chair tray and let art happen!! She also would give her kids dough to make shapes with... cookie, bread... Bisquick... and in a pinch, flour and water.  Much easier to pick out of the carpet once dry than the store bought kind!

Indoor Track! Yes, we would run around the dining room table to burn off energy! This activity is best done in bare feet! Unfortunately that was the furthest I've ever jogged!  Or we'd turn on the music and dance!

Back to the kitchen! Give your little one free rein of your pantry (within reason). My son had a grand time making what he called "concoctions". Baking soda, food coloring, herbs and spices go a long way to inspire a blooming young chef (even if you really DON'T want to eat what they produce!!). Once in a while though... he learned what DOESN'T taste good together!

Play "Store"! If you've got lots of dry goods in your pantry like we usually do, then letting your kids play with them is a fun way to play "math". Or let them help you sort them out and put the like items together.

Build a fort out of a cardboard box! Even if you don't have one very large box, you can tape several smaller ones together. Cut holes for doors and windows and decorate!  THAT takes a long time and is lots of fun! 

Build a pillow fort! Those cushions on the couch aren't really for sitting on! Pull them off and combine with blankets to make a secret little fort!!

Get out a deck of cards! We'd build houses, set them up and flip them against a wall, or actually play a card game with them!

Board games and puzzles are great for snow days! Some days we never put the game "PayDay" away!

Read together! One of my favorite activities was always snuggling under a warm blanket and reading to my child. have those days back!

Well, I hope that I have given you a few ideas for what to do when the weather is just too bad to go outside!

Were these ideas helpful?

What are some of your favorites?