Wednesday, January 25, 2012

20 Inexpensive Indoor Activities for Kids and Teens


How many days of winter can your kids handle before you hear those dreaded words, “I’m bored”?  Finding fun, indoor activities that are affordable and avoid the TV or video games can be a challenge.   I certainly can’t afford to take my kids to the movies or bowling every time they get bored.  Here are 20 cheap, indoor family activities to get you through the darkest of winter days.
  1. Play card games like Go Fish, Slap Jack, Rummy or Crazy Eights.  A simple google search for the rules and a deck of cards can lead to hours of entertainment.
  2. Build card houses.
  3. Marshmallow Olympics.  This might get a bit sticky so I would suggest holding the Olympics in room with a hard (mop friendly) floor.  Who has the best distance for throwing a marshmallow, kicking a marshmallow and, yes, spitting a marshmallow?
  4. Stack up plastic cups and knock them down with a remote control car.
  5. Play speed stack with plastic cups.  Who is the fastest in your family?
  6. Play a game of hide and go seek with the whole family.
  7. Let the kids plan a menu for dinner and help cook it.
  8. Have a theme dinner.  We had a “stick” dinner that was a lot of fun.  Everything had to be on sticks.  Corn dogs, cheese cubes on toothpicks, pretzel sticks, fruit kabobs and roasted marshmallows for dessert. 
  9. Family talent show.  True story:  several years ago, we took our family to Disney.  One of the most talked about memories from that trip is the family talent show that we did one night after dinner.  The highlights of the show --- one son burped the ABCs and another son hit himself in the head with a pot lid.  Absolutely, 100% pure silliness…but it didn’t cost a thing.
  10. Play chubby bunny.  Everyone puts one marshmallow in their mouth, holds it there and says “Chubby Bunny.”  Then add another marshmallow and repeat.  Keep adding and saying “Chubby Bunny” until your mouth is full or you are hysterically laughing at the silliness of it all.  Parents definitely need to supervise this one because we don’t want any choking going on.
  11. Marshmallow buildings.  Who can make the tallest building using only marshmallows and uncooked spaghetti noodles?  How long does it stand?
  12. Board games - Here's a list of 10 board games that can teach about money.
  13. Indoor nerf wars.  We reposition the couch and chairs to make forts.
  14. Make homemade play dough and pull out the cookie cutters.
  15. Invite some friends over.  Life is always better with a friend.
  16. Finger paint with pudding.  My kids used to love this.  I would make instant vanilla pudding and food coloring to make four different colors of pudding.  I would give each child a cookie sheet and a spoonful of each color.  They would swirl and paint and lick their fingers!
  17. Older kids and teens can entertain themselves for hours with a camera and a photo editing website. 
  18. Indoor balloon volleyball
  19. Digital scavenger hunt.  Give your kids a list of items and see how long it takes them to find the items and take pictures of them.
  20. Teach the dog a new trick.  Our favorite trick so far is that my kids point their finger at Rascal, say “Bang, you’re dead” and he rolls over. 

What do you and your kids do for fun on a cold, winter day?

15 comments:

  1. oh em gee your dog is so cute! my wheaten and your wheaten should get together for a playdate
    ; )

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    1. Rascal is a complete goofball but I love him dearly! It would definitely be a wild and crazy day to get the two wheatens together!

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  2. I like number 11; but why bother with buildings or pasta? On a more serious note, we'll try some of these.

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    1. Hmmm...that could be a new one...marshmallow eating contest? :) Hope you have fun!

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  3. How do you ever clean up the pudding painting? In my house it would be all over the walls! Marshmallows are fairly clean, though. And in a pinch, can be used to make a snow man. Also, it's good to try to get the kids outside even for a bit. All that putting on of coats and boots uses up time that they'd otherwise be complaining of boredom.

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    1. The kids were pretty good but keeping the pudding on the trays. But...the kids went straight to the bath when they were done!

      I love outside time too. Just a few minutes can make a big difference, for mom and for the kids!

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  4. Haha... nice list. There's some great ideas, especially for younger children.

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  5. Finger painting with pudding sounds like a ton of fun. Your dog is adorable! :-)

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    1. It is pretty fun. And...now that I'm thinking about it...Rascal would probably really like it too!! :)

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  6. That's a great list! Keeping kids entertained during bad weather can drive you crazy!

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    1. Thanks, Thad. I think your idea of an exercise bike in the living room would be helpful too!

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  7. These are good ideas for younger kids...but trying to keep a teen busy is not so easy on a rainy day

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