Whether it’s raining, snowing, freezing, or sweltering hot outside these easy activities will keep your little ones free from the dreaded whining phrase we all know, ” Mommy I’m bored.” As a mom to five children under the age of eight, I am tied to a strict budget. I’ve had to be creative and find some inexpensive activities that don’t require any planning or shopping beforehand. Keep this list handy and pull it out for a quick solution to bored and whiny kids.
Snowball Fight! – without the snow. Let your kids have unrestricted access to some scrap paper, computer paper, or old notebooks. Have them smash and crumple the paper into indoor snowballs. They love that they are now allowed to “ruin” the paper and throw it around. Bonus: No wet clothing and these “snowballs” are harmless.
Scavenger Hunt – Take a few minutes and write as few or as many clues as you want on some paper. Tell the kids to stay in one place while you hide the clues. If you’re up to it, have a small treasure waiting at the last clue. This could be as simple as a lollipop, an “I love you” note, or some stickers, anything goes.
Craft Time – My children love crafts. Although they have bundles of coloring books, they really get excited to go online with me and print out a coloring page from one of numerous free coloring page websites. If you’re really feeling energetic you can help your kids make a bird feeder. Pine cones work or even half a bagel. Just rub peanut butter on the outside and use dry bread crumbs instead of bird seed. Get some ribbon or yarn and hang it outside.
Cooking Class – There are times I need to be in the kitchen and my kids seem to need my attention at that very moment, I know, rare. So this is an opportunity to teach them about baking or cooking while simultaneously getting my meal prepared. I give each of them a measuring cup, or spoon, or an ingredient and let them practice their cooking skills. Bonus: They tend to be more willing to try new foods when they help prepare them.
Puppet Show – Grab some matchless socks, popsicle sticks, or stuffed animals and have your kids put on a show. We have them put on the show from behind the couch. Other options for the stage can include a small table on its side, a kitchen island, or for younger children, a toddler bed tipped to the side or small end table. Homemade puppets and make believe stories always generate good times. Bonus: This activity is a great way for your children to stimulate their creativity and imagination while working together.
Exercise Games – These are great ways to get those indoor wiggles out and get their hearts pumping. Our favorites are Hide-and-Go Seek and Simon Says. Push your couch and coffee table to the side and have some fun!
Story Hour – Most public libraries offer a free story hour for children of all ages, but especially for pre-school age children. Often there will also be a Mommy and Me class for babies as well. Call your local library for more information. It’s a great way to get out of the house on inclement weather days and it helps build fundamental social skills in toddlers.
Build an Indoor Fort – This one is very simple and so much fun. There’s just nothing like a fort that screams childhood rite of passage. Really your imagination and circumstances dictate this activity. I tend to use couch cushions and light weight blankets to make our forts. Gather up flash lights and their favorite stuffed animals and watch them disappear for hours. I’m giddy just thinking about it!
These are just a few of many ideas to stimulate your children on a long day. Take what you like, leave the rest, and go have some fun!