My husband has a long history of gag gifts. His specialty this year was a magnet I proudly display on the refrigerator that reads, “My favorite outdoor activity is going back inside.” A pretty accurate description, especially during winter in Minnesota. Lest I have a great deal of experience from which to write about indoor activities that keep our family entertained.
This feat proved even more challenging last year, when it was advised to minimize my youngest daughter’s exposure to germs following her premature arrival. Trips to public areas were limited to doctor offices at which we were typically roomed immediately. To say our social contact was limited is an understatement. Multiple days would pass without either of us leaving the house. Long drives offered a nice change of scenery and entertainment when we both started to go a bit stir crazy. Doing so also offered the opportunity to get my afternoon pick me up furthering my caffeine addition. Thank goodness for the Starbucks drive thru! If only all grocery stores offered drive-up service, but I digress…
To say I had to get creative with indoor activities is an understatement. Admittedly, my experience is largely with younger kids as my daughters are now four and one, but a lot of the activities work for all age groups with minor modifications. More so, I should mention that I am not creative by trade, my pre-mommy specialty was finance, so this is just a list of ideas a novice could compile. Below is a list of our favorites:
- Building activities – Whether it is Legos or Magna Tiles, pick a theme and build it. Maybe a neighborhood, castle, school, etc.
- Gel Clings – Perfect for us on glass doors or windows. This is especially fun when a holiday is around the corner and festive sets are for sale in the dollar section.
- Pretend Store – Put any extra food in your pantry to good use and set up a pretend grocery store with your kids. Extra fun when you have a toy cash register and can work in some math skills.
- Cookie Contest – If baking is more your speed, turn your next batch of cookies into a contest and have kids get creative with recipes and/or designs.
- Play-Doh – An old-fashioned activity that still has a lot of appeal for kids. Let them get their hands dirty building their latest creation.
- Picnic – An afternoon break does not mean the fun should stop. Turn lunch time into a living room picnic complete with picnic blanket and paper utensils. A fun way to make meal time less of a struggle if you have fussy eaters…there are two in my house.
- Fort Building – Put that picnic blanket to good use after lunch time when building the ultimate fort.
- Obstacle Course – If there are any pillows left over from said fort building, use them to create an obstacle course for little kids that helps with motor skills and burns some precious energy.
- Scavenger Hunt – Older kids may enjoy running around in a more organized way in the form of a scavenger hunt. Simplify the traditional scavenger hunt with pictures of favorite items around your home.
- Dress up – Dress up is another beloved activity for all ages. Instead of the usual dress up costumes, take a pass in Mom or Dad’s closet for something different.
- Dance Party – When energy levels remain high, a dance party is a great way to burn energy and brighten the mood. Turn on a music channel or favorite YouTube music video, and dance like no one is watching.
- Bounce House – If space and resources allow, a bounce house can be a lifesaver on these cold winter days. We found a small one at a Black Friday sale and turned the basement into the ultimate kids area. Add some balls or balloons to mix-up the fun.
This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of fun indoor activities at home. A quick internet search will overwhelm even the best Pinterest Mom.
Then, when you want to venture outside the home, the Twin Cities offers several indoor play areas. Refer to the Twin Cities Moms Blog Indoor Play Area Guide for a compilation of the best locations. On quieter days, you can never underestimate the joy of the library.
Whether inside or out there is plenty of fun to go around. Sometimes it just takes a little more effort to bring the fun indoors. What are you favorite ways to pass the time when stuck inside on these cold winter days?