We get it, parents. The days are long and you're simultaneously serving as an employee, a teacher, and an entertainment guru...without ever leaving the house. It can be downright exhausting.
To help take some of the pressure off of you, we’ve come up with a list of indoor play activities for the entire family. These ideas are full of imagination, while still being easy to pull off with the supplies you have on-hand. So, the next time you hear the words “I’m bored,” grab this list and have some fun.
Build an magical indoor fort
What you’ll need: chairs, pillows, sheets, binder clips, and blankets Extra credit: string lights
When you can’t escape the home, sometimes it’s important to bring the magic of new spaces indoors. Plus, what’s more exciting than cozying up inside of a customized fort?
To kick off this project, utilize what you have within the home. Construct your walls using couch cushions, kitchen chairs, or even your kitchen table. Next, drape sheets over your entire structure to create a roof. Use clothespins, binder clips, or heavy books to anchor down the sheets.
Create an inviting ambiance with your favorite blankets, pillows, flashlights, and string lights. Use the tent as a new space to read books, watch movies, do homework, eat snacks, or tell stories.
Create a gratitude wall
What you’ll need: crayons, markers, post-it notes, and a designated wall Extra credit: washi tape, stickers, or photographs
During a time when anxieties might be running high, it can be easy to forget all of the wonderful things that bring joy to our lives. A great practice is to designate a gratitude wall within your home and welcome your kids to dig deep and think of anything and everything that brings them happiness.
Parents can start by naming the more significant things that they are grateful for, like health and time with family, and then challenge themselves throughout the day to get specific. Encouraging kids to take time to be grateful for the sunrise, a special treat, or their favorite toys can provide an excellent shift in perspective.
To implement, choose a wall within the home as your “gratitude wall” and encourage everyone to add post-it notes for the things that spark gratitude throughout the day, along with drawings and photographs. The constant reminder to focus on the good will undoubtedly lift everyone’s spirits and offer a cheerful visual within your home.
Open a restaurant
What you’ll need: play food, plates, paper, and markers Extra credit: costumes, restaurant decor
You may be preparing so many meals these days that you actually feel like a chef, so why not embrace it? Encourage your kids to launch their own restaurant. Get entrepreneurial by naming your new spot and creating customized menus complete with illustrations.
Determine what your “food” will be made out of: clay, paper, or play food that you have on-hand. Encourage older children to actually prepare meals for themselves and other members of the family.
Together, come up with uniforms for your staff and decorate your space. When it’s time to launch your new biz, take turns serving as customers and restaurant staff.
What you’ll need: paper, markers Extra credit: creative scavenger hunt theme ideas
Get their minds working and their bodies moving by introducing a challenging scavenger hunt within your home. Give your kiddos a list of items to check off and incentivize with prizes or special treats.
Themes can include a color hunt (find an item that is red, etc.), a letter hunt (find an item that starts with the letter “S,” etc.) or a special object hunt (find an item that sparkles, etc.).
Once they master the hunt, encourage kids to come up with their own themes and create a challenging scavenger hunt for the adults.
Put on a play
What you’ll need: costumes, props, a recording device Extra credit: a makeshift stage and lighting
We all know kids can be quite dramatic, so consider channeling that energy into a family production. Get the entire gang involved by writing a script, assigning roles, designing costumes, creating a set, and directing rehearsals.
Once the stage is set and everyone feels comfortable with their roles, record the grand performance and send it to friends and family outside of your home to enjoy during their quarantine!
Open a school house
What you’ll need: a space to designate as your school, books, paper, and pencils Extra credit: a chalkboard, notebooks, and other “students”
At a time when children are longing for the structure of their classrooms, opening your very own school house can be extremely grounding. Encourage kids to come up with their daily curriculum, including subjects like music, science, physical activity, and art.
Use stuffed animals or dolls as pupils for younger children or encourage older children to FaceTime with their peers to show off their teaching skills. Get creative with presentations, experiments, and you can even sneak in their actual school assignments to make virtual learning more fun.
While being stuck at home together can test everyone’s sanity, digging deep and getting creative with the entire family can create wonderful memories. Of course, things might get messy, there is always a chance of tears, and the final products may not be Instagram-perfect, but thinking outside of the box during a time when your options are limited is always a good thing.