30 indoor kids ideas

30 Ideas For Kids Indoor Activities

It donned on me, with the suggestion from a brilliant family member, that we have a fair number of kids indoor activities we have done ourselves. We have used them over the years to keep busy and occupied while … you guessed it… indoors. We have been social distancing at different times, for one reason or another, before we even knew there was actually a term for it!

Tried and True Indoor Activities for Kids

So what better time than now to corral all our tried and true ideas for kids indoor activities in one place! Bring on the indoor inspiration. Young or old these should give you some ideas. Though I do feel compelled to say that just because it worked for us, does not of course make it everyone’s favourite. They are merely suggestions, not things to make anyone feel guilty or stressed or that they ‘should’ be doing. Rather these are all things we have done and enjoyed and still do. Perhaps our ideas may spark a variation or idea of your own.

1. Baking

Always an immediate go to indoor activity around here!
Sugar cookies, gingerbread or cookie houses are always a hit.
Older kids can find and execute their own recipe.
Younger kids can help roll out or choose cookie cutters.
Or simply decorate with icing on already baked cookies or cupcakes.
Mini cupcakes can be simple and a piping bag with frosting makes for great (messy) fun.
Older kids like scouring Pinterest for inspiration or drawing an idea to try themselves.

Kids Fox cake

2. Painting Bird Houses

Ready made small wooden bird houses have been a favourite of both my kids to paint since they were old enough to hold a paint brush. The older the child, the more detailed the design.

diy birdhouses

Stickers and sparkles and decorative butterflies all make for great embellishments once the paint is dry too. I have always found my wooden bird houses from Michaels or the local dollar store easy to come by.

3. Making Book Marks

Both my girls are currently very into making bookmarks with detailed pictures or a cute turn of phrase, and self laminating with scotch tape. Then they trade bookmarks. Apparently it’s a thing. Also rather perfectly related to the original (O.G.) of all indoor activities: READING

4. Balloon Cars

This one we did as a school project. But since my eldest was sick and unable to race with her classmates. We all made one so as to have own family race. Tears, frustrations, physic lessons and tons of laughter ensued.

So let me save you the hardship and say to actually make a balloon car work one must use a larger straw (think bubble tea straw or turkey baster) attached to the balloon.

Even though we are not purchasing any new balloons or straws (because of the environmental ramifications), we still have some on hand in our home that we used. Oh and we bought a bubble tea or two for the cause. It was a good cause.

So ultimately this may be a better concept to make a push or elastic powered car for racing, out of recycling and found objects.

Balloon Cars

5. Writing Thank You or Greeting Cards

Even if kids are not old enough to actually write in a card. We have gotten them to either trace or copy the letters or just draw a picture or scribble. We love taking it a step further and actually mailing them to grandparents and loved ones. And who wouldn’t rather receive the card from the child themselves than the parents anyways (spoiler it means one less thing on your list possibly).

There are also several online companies who will turn your own kids artwork into greeting cards. The kids elementary school does a annual fundraiser with The Card Project or even Vistaprint will allow you to upload your own design or picture.

6. Paint or Create an Art Piece on Canvas

We tend to have several sized canvas on hand in our art cupboard. I keep an eye when they go on sale at Micheals. Opus generally has the largest selection and best prices, as well as many sizes and flat canvases that take up less room. We like to give our art away to grandparents and hang some up or even enter local art contests.

Some ideas we have done are:
Splatter Paint
Blowing paint with a straw
Gluing crayons on and then melting with a hairdryer
Beach Inspired Found Objects
Outer space themed
Spring Flowers

crayon art

7. Make Your Own Doll Furniture and Houses

The kids have done this from cardboard, paper, recycling and found objects for their Barbies, American Girls and Stuffed Animals. There are also plenty of YouTube tutorials on how to make things, especially for American Girl like Dolls. They have made pillows, blankets, beds, tables, dishes, fake food, entire apartments or hospitals … basically you name it. Cardboard and shoe boxes are a great starting point. Once they are old enough to use a glue gun, then really the sky is the limit.

8. Sewing

Depending on age we have done both sewing by hand and guided sewing with a machine. My youngest is a wiz with needle and thread and made a plethora of pillows herself, from scraps, for her doll’s day bed. It kept her happily busy for hours. So because she enjoys it, I even suggested she mend her own socks (but she sewed them together…because well, she is seven).

I taught my oldest how to do straight seams on the sewing machine and we made an a-line, drawstring dress that she proudly wore to school for years. I purchased them both hello kitty sewing kits and they came with directions and supplies to make their own tiny throw pillows.

The kids love to make bedding – pillows and blankets – from scraps for their stuffed animals or dolls. Sometimes just cutting or gluing scraps of fabric, with no sewing needed.

I also have a very popular tutorial for making your own Rock Like Pillows for a more complex (though by no means hard) project to tackle.

rock pillows

Obviously this idea is best for older children as it would frustrate and not be safe for little hands .

9. Rock Painting

This is a fun one, that I have already written a whole blog post about. We have a rock garden out front that we add to each year with our creations.

rock painting

10. Writing Stories, Cartoons or Graphic Novels

Our oldest as an avid reader has taken inspiration from other tween and teens writing and publishing books and so has several stories on the go at any one time. Working towards her goal of finishing her first mystery novel.

Her sister has written a hilarious phonetic saga about a llama and giraffe.

Some of our favourite notebooks have been gifted us, but whenever I see notebooks that might trigger inspiration for the girls general interests, I grab them. Nothing like a fresh, beautiful notebook to let the thoughts and ideas flow.

Younger kids can do a cartoon style and draw their story or journal events. These always turn out like gold. I have shared a couple favourites over the years.

11. Make A Newspaper

Our oldest said her school didn’t have a newspaper, so she made one. Now she looks forward to making a monthly edition for her class. But a family newspaper of goings on would likely be welcomed by most grandparents or neighbourhood friends. A double sided photocopied black and white single sheet paper/flyer is more than realistic.

12. Planting a Garden (or a Potted Plant)

Obviously this is more of an outdoor activity. But still a really great one. We like to give each kid a container to have free reign over. Sometimes I am surprised by what they want to grow and how enthusiastically they check on it daily and water it.

13. Making Stop Motion Videos

The kids love setting up scenes and using the iPad to record them. Moving each one just slightly. It makes for hours of set up, giggles and fun. Though be warned you will be required to sit through watching all the videos!

14. Making Drawing Tutorials

Currently the kids really enjoy using the iPad to video themselves drawing something in steps and then speed it up. Again be prepared to watch endless drawing videos … at least they are quick!

15. FaceTime Drawing Competitions with the Cousins

Their cousins live far away. So face timing is generally how they keep in touch between visits. One of their favourite activities to do is to have these quick timed drawing competitions, where everyone takes a turn deciding what the group individually draws and then adding a ‘twist’ during the last minute of drawing time. Then they rate the drawings for a winner. I am not allowed to ever judge as I can not choose one child over the other (apparently seeing the beauty in it all is super irritating). So yeah, I am not allowed to play. I am more than okay with this however.

16. Scavenger Hunts

The kids will take turns creating mini scavengers hunts and clues around the home for each other.

When they were younger I would hide the clues and help them. Alternately there are many ideas of common outdoor items that kids can do an outdoor hunt for as well.

outdoor scavenger hunt

17. Making Detailed Miniatures From Found Items

Now as the kids get older they have more detailed interest. So they like to try to make detailed miniature scenes from crafting and found items using glue and hot glue and anything else that has been left unattended.

18. An Afternoon Tea Party

Bring out the nice dishes or tea cups and make a mini tea party. Cut the edges off your sandwiches. Add a couple cookies with some tea or hot chocolate. This is still one of my kids favourite things to do and we have been doing it since they were old enough to partake.


19. Paper Mâché

This is a messy, but good one. Old fashioned paper mâché. Make anything you want, but a favourite of ours has always been to make our own pinata!

20. Make Your Own Fridge Magnets

This has to be one of my all time favourites. I loved participating and still smile daily at our beautiful west coast fridge magnets.

west coast magnets

21. Make Felt Flowers and Hair Clips

There are many ways to make flowers from dollar store felt. Pinterest is full of simple tutorials, using both hot glue or needle and thread. We have made our own hair clips (I did the hot gluing) and brooches. We even made purses from folding the felt over and gluing or sewing to make a rectangular bag and then attaching a plastic hairband for a handle and felt flower for an embellishment.

22. Watch A Cooking Show and Pick One New Thing to Make

This is a good thing that challenges me as much as the kids and something we do together. It is also great for getting kids to try something new or just help in the kitchen in general.

kids donuts

23. Challenge The Kids to Make Their Own Board Games

Use the simple design of Candy Land or Snakes and Ladders to show them ideas. Then be fully prepared to play this game many, many times!

24. Make a Simple or Complex Mouse Trap/Marble Track

My youngest loves getting out the dominoes, marbles and blocks to create elaborate paths and mazes that knock down one thing after another. Sometimes they go allover the living room, especially if her dad gets in involved.

25. Set up an Epic Hot Wheel or Train Track Course

Think outside the box. Think how to work the stairs in for added speed or even a upside down loop. Building blocks and Lego can help too. This one always gets the grownups going as much as the kids. Cousins, dads and uncles once had this going through two stories and up and over all sorts of things.

26. Good Old Fashioned Lego

The kids LOVE to set up a village or town of their own design (usually based on Nancy Drew’s town of River Heights) where they keep adding and adding over the course of a week or two.

27. A Baking or Cooking Competition

This is best for older kids familiar with the kitchen or teams. And we almost always make it a family project. It is super fun to do over video messaging with willing family members. Often my oldest and her aunt have it going between the two of them. They have done fox cakes, unicorn cakes and upside down ice cream cone cakes so far. We have a whole meal and dessert combo from surprise ingredients planned for our next one. Of course this is great in person too and younger kids love being the judges! Need more impartial judges?! Social media loves to weigh in with votes too.

28. Indoor Tenting

This became a favourite the first year we had to stay indoors because of the summer smoke. We have four kids simple, pop-up play tents. To think how much I payed for these tents on sale initially (I think Micheals, Superstore and Hip Baby many years ago … but a quick search online still turns up several options on Amazon or Ikea) and the hours of fun they have provided. They were such a good purchase! The kids can assemble them alone now and create little cafes or shops or a tent village in our living room. When they were younger I would help to assemble. Granted if you had the space, an actual small tent might work too or good old fashioned blanket forts!

29. Play Games Over FaceTime/Video Chat

Have family, cousins or friends you are missing terribly?! Play games over video chat. Some of our favourites have been:

Play a board game
Just dance on Wii
Creating their own Jeopardy questions
Acting out plays or Improv
And general silliness

30. Celebrate the Little Things

Find something small or silly or wonderful to celebrate. It’s fun to see how quickly the enthusiasm catches on! There is nothing quite like throwing a ‘party’ for a favourite stuffy.

The Mess Factor

So, yes most truly creative activities create some sort of mess. Some worse than others. But we generally have a rule that before we start a messy endeavour we all must promise to help clean up. And also that we don’t start the next project until the first/last is put away. Obviously there is sometimes overlap (especially in Legoland times). Some days this works better than others. It is definitely easier and more attainable as the kids get older to have things neater.

kids baking

However one word of caution: NEVER EVER USE GLITTER. There is no point mincing words and no other way to say it, from me to you. If one is to retain their sanity; glitter and children can not be combined. It’s just a sad reality and yet one nearly everyone has to learn for themselves. Or maybe there is a secret to life with glitter I have yet to learn. Either way… I can’t wait to hear what some of your favourite indoor activities are! So please share in the comments!!

30 kids indoor activities
kids indoor activities

4 thoughts on “30 Ideas For Kids Indoor Activities”

  1. Brilliant ideas! These are really going to come in handy over the next few weeks! Thanx for sharing!

  2. Absolutely amazing to have everything in one spot. Great ideas, and yes grandmas never tire of gifts they’ve made themselves. Keep busy and keep smiling. It helps us to do the same.

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