I am in sunny Florida for an extended family weekend with almost my entire family. For months we’ve been dreaming of this special weekend and the kids have been really excited too.
Today the weather is gorgeous and the kids are going swimming. However, sunny Florida turned out to be not so sunny for several days this weekend, and we had to find some easy activities to entertain all the kids and cousins through the torrential downpours that graced us over the last four days.
Although the kids were disappointed, by employing many of the following activities, we were able to keep everyone busy and happy and even the adults had a great time.
So here are 15 great activities to keep your kids busy inside, whether you are traveling and the weather is not cooperating or it’s just too cold or miserable to get out.
Get ready for some amazing, fun activities:
1) Indoor Relay Races – We had a great time with this. This is especially great for little kids because it doesn’t require too much space. If you don’t have an open area, you might have to clear some things away. If the children are very small, an adult can take their hands and run together with them. The kids love it and they don’t even care who wins. This can keep kids up to 7 years old entertained for a long time. Teach the kids that they need to start with “on your mark get set go” and older kids can slide into the finish line.
2) Twister – Twister is a great game for all ages, It consists of a plastic tarp with four different colored circles and a spinner divided up into right hand, left hand, left foot and right foot and red, blue, yellow and green. As each color foot/hand combination is called out, the player must twist himself to touch the correct color with the foot or hand combination that is called. S/he must balance and remain standing until the next turn. There is no limit to the amount of people that can play, it is easily transportable, and loads of fun.
3) Tents with Blankets – This is another easy, imaginative activity for kids that keeps them busy for hours. Blankets are draped over chairs to form tents and now the sky is the limit. Mysteries and fantasies are created and played out, in and out of the blankets of the tent. Your kids will love this one!
4) Top Trumps – This is a great educational card game. Each card presents some of the world’s most breathtaking and awe inspiring natural sites. Kids love playing and learn so many interesting facts about some of the most amazing sites in the world.
5) Baking – One of the timeless favorite activities, kids love to bake easy, special treats. There are so many kid friendly recipes that are great fun for all ages and don’t require complicated ingredients. Here is a great kid’s cookbook with over 50 recipes for a rainy day. It comes as an easy to use hard copy spiral edition or is downloadable as a kindle edition. Cooking Class: 57 Fun Recipes Kids Will Love to Make (and Eat!) Spiral-bound
6) Making Goop/Slime – Your kids will love this. This is so easy to make and all you need is cornstarch water and food coloring. Use one part water to two parts cornstarch. Mix and add food coloring as desired. It is probably best to mix this up in a large shallow container so that the mess stays within the container. Your kids can do all the mixing and playing in the same container. Give them spoons and plastic cups to play with in the goop container and they will just love the process.
7) Oragami – Oragami is the Japanese art of folding paper precisely into shapes such as flowers, birds, ships etc. While classic Oragami uses special colored Oragami paper, you can make your own paper by cutting out squares of printed paper and having your kids color the paper with markers or paint. Here are instructions on how to make Oragami paper and form it into a heart shape. You can make the paper into a heart shape by following the instructions here: https://www.origamiway.com/origami-heart.shtml. You can also find other shapes to make online. If you want to have real oragami paper on hand you can find it here:
8) Choir – Does your family like to sing together? Besides being one of the simplest most enjoyable family activities at any time, it is a great activity for kids when everyone is stuck indoors. Kids love to perform for the adults in the family and singing is a great way to have kids shine. Join with kids to make a choir or just have a sing along. Download music online and if there are musicians in the family they can accompany the singing. You may want to record the songs to play again or preserve the memories.
9) Hide and Go Seek – This is a great classic game for younger kids who love to find new places at home to hide. The whole family can join in. Older kids generally don’t mind humoring the younger ones and pretending that they don’t know where the younger ones are hiding. This is a blast for everyone!
10) Risk –Strategic games like Risk are great for older kids (approx 8 years old and up). These games demand thought and strategy and can be played for hours at a time. Players vie to take over territory and improve their chances by taking risks -(hence the name of the game)
11) Science Experiments – Turn your home into a science lab with some easy to do home experiments here: https://www.sciencebuddies.org/searchv=pi&s=science+experiment&gclid=CjwKCAjwmefOBRBJEiwAf7DstOxPJm6c1DXSirm7VYtAcLW2ArmL4M58wjnHnpetoa7Z33QzAOqwOBoCjlcQAvD_BwE
Kids love doing experiments and can learn a ton from seeing the results. There are many other online experiments as well as youtube videos on experiments to do at home. Your kids will love being able to participate in experiments in a non- school environment.
12) Making play dough – Less messy than slime, making play dough at home is an all time favorite. Here is a simple recipe that your kids can make at home and provide hours of creative entertainment. Combine one Cup of Plain Flour with 1/4 Cup Salt, 3 tsp of vinegar or lemon juice, 3 Tablespoons of oil, 1/2 cup of water. Add food coloring of choice.
13) Connect Four- This is a great game for older and younger kids alike. Very young kids can enjoy their own separate boards and they love dropping the different colored disks into the frame. Older kids love using strategies that they have learned through trial and error. This is a great game for the entire family!
14) Play Performances – Kids love to perform plays and they love dressing in costumes even more. Encourage kids to dress up in costumes and use props to make a performance for the adults. Guide kids to make a performance about a particular event or event in history or kids can make up a story line on their own.
You can help kids through the different stages of preparing for a performance through finding them a script or helping them compose one on their own. You can help them find props or costumes and be the perfect (polite) audience.
15) Telephone – Attach a string to two cups and kids can use the cups as mini walkie-talkies to talk to each other from separate rooms. This is fun for kids as they share messages or code from one room to the next.
With a little thought and ingenuity, those long dreary rainy or cold days do not have to be miserable. Try some of these activities to see if they don’t make a difference for your family. You may want to keep some of the above supplies at home, should bad weather appear unexpectedly.
Here’s to many hours of family activities and fun when the tables turn and things don’t turn out as planned.
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