Rain. Arctic cold temperatures. Excessive heat.

These are three scenarios, especially if occurring over the span of multiple days, can put a parent’s sanity to the test. These activities {listed below} help tackle boredom and restless energy, making even the yuckiest day enjoyable for everyone. Most are free and use items already present in your home.

Indoor Treasure Hunt

Wrap a random household item in aluminum foil and hide it somewhere inside the house. For children who aren’t yet able to read make a treasure map to help them find it. For children who can read, leave a trail of clues that help lead them to the treasure.

Easter Egg Hunt

Pull all those plastic Easter eggs out of storage (or for added fun dye real eggs) and hide them through the house. Use baskets, too! If you want hide healthy treats or snacks inside (candy will just aggravate any restless energy).

Hide & Seek

Some of the best hide and seek games in our family have been ones that  were indoors. Whoever is first to find the hider gets to hide next time. A fun variation for large families is for each seeker to hide with the hider when they find him.

Masking Tape Road System

Using masking tape, make a system of roads for toy cars. tractors, trains, etc. Let the road climb over chairs, couches, up walls. Make it as simple or elaborate as your child wants. Clean up is easy, just pull up the tape and you are done.

Have Bath Time A Little Early

Some extended playtime in the tub passes a lot of time, keeps kids contained and is an excellent outlet for imaginations.

Play-Doh

Play-Doh is great for helping children transition and calm down. It’s very versatile, too. You can all free-play or design a contest where everyone has to contract the same item. This is an easy recipe for a homemade play dough.

photo credit and recipe source Modern Parents Messy Kids

Coloring Books / Activity Books / Draw

This is a great day to let out some mental and creative energy. In our home we have a bin full of coloring and activity books. Sketchbooks are a great to have on-hand for your child to scribble, doodle or even draw. Here are some great coloring / activity books I recommend

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Paint

Another calming activity, painting uses a lot of mental energy without frustrating children. Paint on paper, finger paint or even use dry erase markers on a window. Another fun way to paint is to use a water-based craft paint on glass.

Balloon Ball

Grab some pool noodles and balloons and you are set. No rules needed, just let your kids have fun whacking balloons around with the noodles. Add an small empty laundry or toy basket for a goal if you like or create an organized game of volleyball, baseball, hockey, etc. [ We cut a pool noodle in half to make it safer for indoor play. ]

Bubbles

Who said bubbles are just for outside? My kids get more excited blowing bubbles inside than they do outside {and they play with them longer inside, too}. This is a great activity for helping calm hyper children down, as the breathing/blowing rhythm helps relax and soothe the body and mind.

Target Practice

Make a target using masking tape. Label each ring with a point value. Take turns rolling a marble or small ball, trying to get as many points as possible. This makes for an excellent math activity for children learning to add, just make your child be the score keeper.

Quiet Time Bins

Originally created to help create a quiet time for children transitioning out of naps, Quiet Time Bins are also great for bad weather days. Pull a bin off the shelf and enjoy the treasures it holds.

Build a Tent/Fort

Grab some sheets, blankets and pillows or a table and build a hide-out. There is something magical about creating a hideaway. Feel free to climb in with your kids and read a book or two!

photo credit

Bake

Use the extra time indoors to your advantage and bake some special treats. I have been stockpiling lots of yummy ideas on Pinterest.

Picnic

Spread a blanket out in the living room and enjoy lunch together. The best part? No ants.

Balloon Ninjas

Secure helium balloons to the floor with string or ribbon and take turns shooting them down with a nerd gun. A sure hit with boys.

photo source

Hullabaloo

My kids love this game. It gets the wiggles out and encourage a lot of laughs in the process.

Board Games

Great ways to pass the time, bond as a family and create memories board games are an excellent way to pass the time.

Spy Training

Create a web using string. Let your child try to make his way through the web. Older children might enjoy the challenge of trying to pass through without touching any of the string.

photo credit

For these ideas and more check out my “For the Littles” board on Pinterest.

 

What are your favorite indoor activities on rainy, cold, or hot days? What would you add to this list?