February may be the shortest month of the year, but for moms here in Minnesota it can seem like the longest. Below-zero wind chills often prevent us from going outside, even when bundled to the max. Kids get antsy being inside unable to blow off steam. Here are seven fun ideas to keep them busy and their minds stimulated.
Activities for Kids: 7 Fun Ideas for Indoor Play
Color Scavenger Hunt
A color scavenger hunt requires zero prep and very minimal effort. Call out a color (you can do the rainbow, plus grey, pink, brown, white and black as well). Kids run and find an item that was the correct color. If you have several kids, you can turn it into a race. Create your own rules: No using two of the same item (for example, if someone picked a car, no more cars can be used.) Then, do backwards, with them picking a color and putting those items away, so you’re not stuck cleaning everything up.
Keep all your old yogurt containers, plastic lids, paper scraps, twist ties, wrapping paper and so on. Throw everything into a box. When it’s full, bring them out for “Imagination Day”. Along with some glue, markers, and creativity, your kids can transform them into something unique. Give them some instruction, if needed, such as “build an imaginary creature or animal”; “create a new board game” or “invent something that would solve a problem”.
Play virtual sports like bowling, skiing or baseball on your Wii, Xbox or other game system. But, to make it more interesting, turn it into a “Virtual Olympics” friendly competition complete with Gold, Silver and Bronze (DIY Olympic Medals). This can be an ongoing competition that lasts for days, just as the “real” Olympics do.
Let the kids take all the pillows and cushions off the couch and make a fort. Let them drag out blankets, sheets from the linen closet too. You can pull furniture away from the wall and arrange things to make fort building easier for them. Get out card tables and drape with sheets. This can keep them busy for hours! It’s totally worth the time it takes to re-fold and put everything away. Or, save any large leftover boxes that come into your possession when you get a new TV or appliance (break them down for easy storage). Pull them out so the kids can create a “box fort.” You can stack them, duct-tape them together and have the kids decorate them.
Bring the Snow Indoors
When it’s too cold to play outside, bring the snow indoors! You can put it in the bathtub or on top of a big plastic tarp on the floor (keep in mind it will melt quickly). Just a little bit of snow is fun to mold and shape and cups and shovels as they would playing in a sand box. Add a little bit of food coloring to a squirt bottle and let them color it. Or, use it to make ice cream. Homemade Ice Cream Using Snow
Rotate Your Toys
Have you ever noticed that kids think that other kids’ toys are the best? It’s because they’re new and novel. You can duplicate this effect at home, too, with your own toys. Store your toys in big plastic bins and rotate them as needed. The other benefit of this is that you only have a small amount of toys out at a time, which helps keep play areas organized as well.
Create an Indoor Play Area
If you have a large basement area (or a heated garage), bring in some of your kids’ favorite outside toys to play with during the winter. Young kids can ride their bikes, roller skate, bounce balls, etc. if you have the space. Or, adapt your space for indoor fun. Create an indoor climbing wall or install a monkey bar on the ceiling (make sure your walls can support the weight).