Try my favorite solution for kids who are in the house bored!
(Shout-out to TikTok for the title.)
Got a basket? A bowl? A delivery box you can decorate? Grab it and let’s make an Activity Chooser.
Start by decorating it if you like. This step isn’t necessary, but it’s fun! Then fill your container with slips of paper that describe an activity your child can do, some of which can be mostly independent and some that should include interaction with you. Stuff your container with these activity slips and give yourself a go-to when your kids start to get active inside.
Have them pick a slip without looking and then do the activity. Once they know what the activity will be, the slip can go right back into the container for the next time.
As they cycle through the ideas you’ve included, they will find some favorites which they can look forward toward in the future. Keep your Activity Chooser fresh with new ideas as you think of them.
I’ve scoured the internet for inspiration and also jotted down some of the things my own kids do. This list will give you a good start at filling your Activity Chooser to the brim. Have something to add? Please let me know in the comments and I’ll post it!
- Linen Parachute: Find a flat bed sheet to use as a makeshift parachute to flutter into the air and jump underneath. (Requires at least two people.)
- Balloon Garden: Blow up as many balloons as you can and play!
- Crab Race: From a sitting position, lift up on your hands and feet with your chest toward the ceiling and go!
- Bunny Race: Hop like a bunny all the way across a makeshift finish line.
- Dance Party: Turn on your favorite song and get moving.
- Old School Game: Pick a game like tag, tug ‘o war, or hide and seek.
- Balance Beam: Put a long piece of tape on the ground and can practice balancing and creating a dance routine along the tape.
- Long Jump: Place strips of tape on the ground at measured intervals and see how far you can jump from a designated starting place.
- Wiggle Race: Hold a plastic cup in your teeth and use it to carry cotton balls from a designated starting point to a bucket at the finish line while wiggling across the floor like a worm.
- Spinning: Spin around as fast as you can until you get dizzy.
- Paint with Water: Using a paint brush, paint construction paper or even the side of your house/building or the sidewalk with plain tap water.
- Make a Fort or Lean-To: Indoors or out, find materials to build a fort or a lean to and do all the construction on your own.
- Hula Hoop: Try to keep a hula hoop going for as long as possible.
- Use Your Imagination: Create a brand new game all your own and teach your family how to play.
- Kids Rule: For this mirroring game, the adults are the ones taking the lead from the kids. Whatever movement or motion you do, the adults around you have to copy.
- Spider’s Nest: Navigate a web of tape and string down a hallway without getting stuck or pulling anything down.
- Animal Charades: Act like an animal of your choice without saying what it is and let everyone guess which animal you chose.
- Follow the Leader: Follow the motions and movements of an adult.
- Word Party: Use your bodies to spell out the alphabet or to spell words and have others guess what you’re saying.
- Obstacle Course: Complete an obstacle course created by an adult using existing items inside or outside.
- Leader Says: With an adult serving as “Leader,” follow instructions only if the adult first says the words “Leader says.”
- Scavenger Hunt: Find all the items on a scavenger hunt given to you by an adult.
- Carnival: Choose which activity stations you’d like to complete after an adult sets up your very own carnival games.
- Bobbing for Popcorn: Eat a bowl of popcorn as fast as you can without using your hands.
- Fitness Circuit: Complete each activity on a fitness circuit created by an adult.
- Go Fish: Using tools like kitchen tongs or spoons, fish toys out of the water.
- The Big Stretch: Follow an adult through a kid-friendly stretching routine.
- Limbo: How low can you go when you have to slide under a broom without letting anything but your feet touch the ground?
- Big Kid Helper: Help an adult with an activity of your choice that adults usually do on their own.
- In the Kitchen: Make a baked good as a family, kids’ choice.
Bonus: If you are looking for equipment to purchase, consider getting indoor items like a tunnel, a rebounder/indoor trampoline, a punching bag/stand, a slide, a pikler triangle, or some of those foam climbing shapes, all of which are great for gross motor engagement.
I hope these ideas give both you and your kids a little break when it’s most needed.