Ten ideas for indoor activities for kids that are free and easy

Adding indoor activities for kids to your day is easy if you can tolerate a little messiness. I wanted to share a few ideas for things we’ve done to break up the boredom on rainy days or just plain “too hot” days (we don’t get snow days here). These are indoor activities for kids that are free and easy to do using supplies you probably have on hand.  They are parent tested (by me) and kid approved (by two boys) and require no crafting skills whatsoever.

10 ideas for indoor play

10 ideas for indoor play

This is Watty, about two years ago. He is wearing the blanket around his head because he was a pirate.

Yes, he is drawing on the bathroom mirror with whiteboard markers. I was in the bathroom with him, cleaning. His brother was otherwise occupied. He drew a picture of Jonah and the Whale. Then he drew a pirate ship and attacked the whale. Boys are so predictable.   I think it had been raining for two weeks straight, I was pretty desperate for indoor activities for kids that didn’t involve a fast food playscape.

If you don’t want to let your children draw on a mirror, any glass surface will work (think windows or glass shower doors).  Just be prepared for a little marker accidents. The other photos are of GoGo pretending to be a t-rex, and of Watty using the plastic tubs like stepping stones in a stream.


Without further rambling, here are ten ideas for indoor active fun that I have actually implemented.

  1. Let the kids build a fort out of toilet paper or paper towels.  (this works only if the rolls are still wrapped in original packaging.  if you coupon heavily, pull out the paper goods stash and let them build)
  2. Sail paper airplanes down the hall or down the staircase.
  3. Play catch up and down the hall with a spongy ball or other soft object.
  4. Have a “Texas snowball fight” using crumpled up sheets of paper.  (Don’t use newspapers, the newsprint might get on the furniture).  This is normally followed by “Texas Basketball” which involves dunking all those snowballs into a basket.
  5. Throw a disco party.  Push the furniture back to make a dance floor.  Get dressed in your silliest dance wear.  Crank up the music and dance like a fool.  (Um, you might want to close the windows first).
  6. Take turns trying to throw stuffed animals up the stairs.  It’s harder than it sounds.  Define a “target stair” that everyone is trying to aim for.  Alternately, try to toss them onto a kitchen chair that is in the next room (through the doorway).
  7. Set up a bowling alley using plastic cups and any object that rolls (like a rolled up sock).  Hallways are good for this, but we’ve done it in the kitchen.
  8. Make up your own twister game.  Grab a blanket or towel that has multiple colors.  Lay it out on the floor.  Write down body parts and colors (or whatever is identifiable on the blanket) on slips of paper and put them in separate piles.  Pull one from each pile and call it out.
  9. Encourage them to make a “reading nest” in the bathtub (or any small space).  They will spend a ton of energy making their nest, running back and forth getting pillows and blankets and stuff.  My kids make about 20 trips up and down the stairs before the “nest” is done.   They will expend just a much energy putting everything back, although I generally have to help get things back where they belong.
  10. Have a scavenger hunt.  Call out objects for the kids to find and bring to you.  I’m sneaky.  I tend to stand in the play room and ask them to bring me five toys from downstairs.  Then I move to my closet and challenge them to bring me all of my shoes that are in other rooms.  Then I move to the laundry room and challenge them to bring me all the dirty laundry they can find.  The winner of each round gets a small prize and bragging rights.
When you’re ready for a break, give your child a popsicle in the shower (without the water running).  Then turn the shower on and clean up the mess.
indoor play
I’d love to hear how you keep your kids active (and unplugged) on days you can’t go outside.  What indoor activities for kids can you share?

If you need other ideas, I’ve pinned a few on Pinterest from around the web.  It’s on the summer fun board at the moment, but I may move it to a separate board.  If so, I’ll label it “indoor activities for kids.”  (sorry, i’m not that creative on pin-board names.

You could also head over to  Amazon and grab Games for Kids – 77 Exciting Indoor and Outdoor Games for Children – Free and Low Cost Fun Children’s Play Activities for Boys and Girls! – For Any Child Age 5 and Up! for your kindle  (you can read them on your computer or almost any phone).   (yep, I’m an Amazon associate.  but you knew that already, right?)


Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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  1. These are great ideas. I love the reading nest. I can see the boys snuggled up in the bathtub reading now.

    • Thanks for your comment. I’ll try to take a photo the next time the boys are “nested.” Love your ideas for boy crafts. I have some colored rice ready to go for the next crafting opportunity I can find with my boys.

  2. These are so cute — I’ll have to keep them in mind when my kids are older! I actually blogged earlier about summer activities for newborns! (If interested: http://mommysbundle.com/4-summer-activities-for-mommy-newborn/)

  3. I love the Texas snowball fight idea! We’ll have to try that tonight. I also love that your list requires no crafting skills–that’s my kind of list.

    • i don’t craft. with 2 boys so close together, i would lose my mind! they’re like herding wet cats when it comes to crafts. besides, hubby took my glue gun… something about protective custody.

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