20 Indoor Activities For Little Kids For When It’s Too Gross To Go Play Outside

Bored? Never, thanks to these all-weather arts, crafts, and games that are fun for kids and parents alike.

January 5, 2017

The weather is awful. You’re stuck inside all day. With the kids. Now what? We rounded up 20 of our favorite indoor-only arts, crafts, and games that will keep you and your troop entertained from breakfast through bedtime.

(Find seasonal recipes, inspiring imagery, and gardening tips every day inside the Rodale’s Organic Life 2017 Calendar!)

little girl in a fort
Step Up Your Fort-Making Game

Kick it old-school by draping a bed sheet over the dining table and adding lots of pillows and blankets. Or, if you have some large, cardboard boxes on hand, build a fort tunnel by connecting the box ends with packing tape, like Smile and Wave blogger Rachel Denbow did. Don’t forget to cut out a few windows and flaps for peeping.

Learn A Cool Magic Trick

An easy one for beginning magicians to master: turning an ordinary cup of vinegar into a colorful “potion.” (Hint: It involves some baking soda and a drop or two of food coloring.) How Does She has the full tutorial.

playing on a computer
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FaceTime With Grandma

Or your best friend. Or the next-door neighbor. The impromptu visit will brighten their day—and yours.

Create A Terrarium

Bring the outdoors inside with a custom-made terrarium. All you need is some soil; sand; rocks; small plants, like a succulent or moss; and a clear jar. Top with a bottom-of-the-goody-bag miniature toy, like Pokémon or a dinosaur.

Related: 7 Mason Jar Crafts For Gardeners

Glinskaja Olga/shutterstock
Play Flashlight Tag

Designate someone (okay, you) to be “it,” and count to 60 while everyone else hides around the house. When you find someone, shine a flashlight on them. They’re now “it” and you can hide.

science experiment
Build A Volcano

The quickest way to shut down a chorus of “I’m bored!”? A gushing volcano, of course! We’re big fans of this one from Kids Activities Blog: To make, simply pour a tablespoon of baking soda and a few drops of food coloring into an empty plastic bottle, and top off with two cups of vinegar. Then step back and watch the explosion!

jam session
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Hold A Jam Session

Dust off their old recorder, or better yet, make your own instruments out of everyday supplies. Kid-friendly creations include stringing rubber bands over an empty shoe box, filling a plastic bottle with sprinkles or small beads, or rubbing the rims of glasses filled with water.

Related: 13 Life Lessons All Parents Should Teach Their Kids

playing with balloons
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Play Balloon Volleyball

Knock the balloon back and forth to each other, making sure to never let it hit the ground.

pillow fight
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Have A Pillow Fight

There’s a reason why no slumber party is complete without one of these—it’s a really fun way to burn off some energy!

play dough
DIY Play Dough...

Has their Play-Doh seen better days? We thought so. This homemade version isn’t just a fun way to kill an afternoon, it’s also more pliable and won’t dry out as easily. Try this recipe from The Imagination Tree.

... Or Flubber

Dig up a couple bottles of glue, add some water, liquid starch or Borax, and food coloring—and presto! You have slimy (but can’t-stop-playing-with-it) flubber. This recipe from Little Bins for Little Hands calls for glitter!

tie dyed cloth
Tie-Dye Old T-shirts

Breathe new life into old tees by tie-dyeing them. Modern Alternative Mama offers a simple, less-messy approach. Bonus: The cool swirls will hide any stubborn stains.

freeze dance
Play Freeze Dance

Fire up your T-Swift playlist and start boogying. Just as you’re all gearing up to shake-shake-shake it off, hit pause. All dancers must freeze until the music starts again. Take turns playing DJ so everyone has a chance to be in charge.

playing with a tennis ball
Onchira Wongsiri/shutterstock
Play The Ball Toss Game

Place several empty basket containers in a line in the center of the hallway, leaving a few inches of space between them. Then, standing a few feet away from the first basket, try tossing a ping-pong or tennis ball into each basket. The first one to make it in the last basket wins.

cooking with kids
Cook A Meal Together

Kids of all ages can get involved in meal prep. Let younger children help measure ingredients and stir, and encourage older ones to try their hand at making a side dish. One to try: the most kid-friendly pasta recipe ever.

indoor camping
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Camp Out

Don’t let inclement weather stop you from roughing it. Set up the tent in the living room, get out your sleeping bags and blankets, and whip up some s’mores in the kitchen (like one of these crazy delicious s’mores variations). Campfire songs are optional.

scavenger hunt
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Have A Scavenger Hunt

Draw up a list that includes items all over your home. Think everyday things like socks and toothbrushes as well as specific finds like an AAA battery or size 7 sneaker.

mixing oil with water
Michael R Ross/shutterstock
Make A Groovy Lava Lamp

They’ll be so mesmerized by the colorful bubbles that they won’t even notice the icky weather outside. A few empty bottles, vegetable oil, food coloring, Alka Seltzer, and this step-by-step guide are all you need. 

kids playing twister
Iakov Filimonov/shutterstock
Play Party Games

Ain’t no party like a bad-weather party, especially when you’re playing classic games like Charades, Hot Potato, Musical Chairs, Twister, Simon Says, or Red Light Green Light.

Related: How To Get Kids And Adults Off Their Phones

putting together a puzzle
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Put A Puzzle Together

You know that 1,000-piece puzzle sitting in the front closet? Today is the rainy day you tackle it together.