Before you can get that picture-perfect blanket of snow, you have to endure the snowfall, gusty winds, and dangerous roads. It's usually better to just stay put during a snowstorm, but you'll want to have some indoor games for kids ready to keep them occupied until it's safe enough for them to go build a snowman. When you're faced with cabin fever, any game that keeps them engaged or exerts some energy is key for survival.
When thinking up games to fill up a day, consider your kid's attention span first. There's no point in trying to teach a little kid a complicated board game because they'll ultimately scramble the pieces around and create their own version (which usually includes throwing everything and making a mess). Likewise, you aren't going to get an older kid to so much as entertain the idea of playing in a sensory tub or finger painting.
Still, there are a lot of activities and games you can do inside when the weather is bad that are age-appropriate, fun, and don't require anything you don't already have around the house. Sure, you can turn to the classic movie and a fort activity, but you need something else to help you fill up the rest of the day. To get you started, here are 20 indoor games and activities that are fun for your kids, and easy for you.
1. Make Your Own Snack Mix
Snack mixes are really easy to make, and fun to eat. Have your kids create their own using their favorite snacks you already have stocked in the house. If you want to be a really cool mom, bust out your hidden bag of candy and let them drop a few pieces in there for good measure.
2. Stamp Painting
If your kids are older, have them hunt through the house to find objects to use for stamps; if they're younger, you can do the hunting for them. Use items like empty toilet paper rolls, wine corks, milk lids, cotton balls, anything! If it's disposable and can transfer paint, it's fair game. Then, have them create little works of art using what they've found.
3. Balloon Tennis
If you have some balloons lying around, there's no shortage of games you can use them for, one of which is tennis. Tape a paper plate on to something that can serve as a handle (a stick, a fork, anything that is sturdy) to create a racket, and use the balloon as the ball. You can create a makeshift net if you want, but honestly the kids will have fun just trying to keep the balloon in the air.
4. Ring Toss Using Recycled Items
This is another great way to add in a scavenger hunt for older kids, but for younger ones you can simply use a discarded paper towel roll and some paper plates. Secure the paper towel roll to the floor so it can serve as the ring toss target. Then, cut the inside of each plate out to create little rings. You can let your kids decorate their rings with crayons, markers, and, if you're really brave, glitter to extend the activity even longer.
5. Paper Airplane Competition
Go online and find some tutorials on folding various kinds of paper airplanes. After you and the kids have built a few, have a competition to see who can get theirs to fly the longest, farthest, or highest.
6. Painting Snow
If there's a bit of snow on the ground, pile some into a plastic tub to bring inside. Then, have your kids "color" it using water with food coloring in it. They will be able to create all kinds of fun patterns, and someone is bound to make a joke about the yellow snow.
7. Obstacle Course
Have your kids get their energy out with a sofa cushion, pillow, blanket, and anything else that's soft obstacle course. Have them jump around, crawl, run, whatever is safe for them to do in the home to exert some energy. You can even implement some extra challenges in there, like "bounce a ball for five seconds before moving forward." It will be fun for them to create and play.
8. Balloon Wall Art
Grab some construction paper and balloons and have your kid create some art on the wall. They can use the balloons creatively, like to fill in a princess skirt or to create the outline of a dinosaur. It will get their creative juices flowing and they'll love an excuse to color "on" the wall (well, on construction paper taped to the wall, at least).
9. Life-Size Candy Land
If your little one enjoys the Candy Land board game, create a life-size version using pieces of construction paper. Some index cards will work as game cards, and the kids get to be their own game pieces. If you don't mind a sugar rush, you can also give them some sweet treats as they play.
10. Shaving Cream Letters
Grab some shaving cream, a couple of plastic freezer bags, and some food coloring and you have all the makings for a fun activity. Fill each bag with some shaving cream and add a drop of food coloring. Zip up the bag to keep everything locked in and let your kiddos practice writing letters or words on the bag. They can easily move the shaving cream around to work on a new letter or word over and over.
11. What Can You Make Challenge
Go through the house, grab some random objects, and put them in a box. Then, tell your kids they can create anything they want using only the items in their box. They'll have to get creative and will love making something out of the ordinary.
12. Color Yourself
For this game, you'll need paper that's large enough for your child to lie down on and trace their body (if you don't have a giant roll of paper, you can tape some pieces together or even use the back of wrapping paper). After you've traced them, have kids color themselves as super heroes, princesses, doctors, or whatever they can dream up.
13. Homemade Paper Dolls
This will be pure nostalgia for any mom who played with paper dolls as a kid, and fun for any kid who loves some creativity. Use some construction paper to cut out dolls, shirts, pants, skirts, and whatever else the dolls should wear. Then, let your child decorate their doll and its accessories. It'll be a fun craft that then turns into some imaginative play.
14. Make Your Own Rainbow Crayons
Put those broken and stubby old crayons to good use by using them to make rainbow crayons. Have your kids crush up the old crayons and then sprinkle them in a muffin tin (use a foil cupcake liner to protect your tin). Bake the crayons for about 10-15 min (until the wax is melted) at 250 F. Let the new, swirly crayons cool and harden, and then let your kids create colorful masterpieces.
15. Ping Pong Ball Toss
Get some disposable cups and a ping pong ball, and you're ready for a fun game of catch. If the kids are older, they can toss and catch the ball using only their cup. If your kids are a little younger, you can gently toss the ball toward them for them to catch, or you can let them toss the ball at you so you can catch it in your cup.
16. Hide-And-Go-Seek In The Dark
Close the blinds, turn off the lights, and grab some flashlights. Play some hide-and-go-seek with the kids and implement a little flashlight tag in it. It's fun for the kids and a great excuse for you to hide in a closet and get a few minutes of silence.
17. 'Snowball' Fight
Since they can't go outside for a snowball fight, bring it inside. You can use cotton balls, crumpled up newspaper, rolled up socks, or anything else that can be thrown and won't cause a black eye. Just make sure there are no breakables around for the kids to knock over.
18. Make Your Own Safari
Have your kids gather their stuffed animals to create a safari. You all can hide the animals throughout the house and then walk around together trying to find and observe them. For extra mom points, have everyone dress the part and make some pretend binoculars out of old toilet paper rolls.
19. Boat Races
Challenge the kids to create a boat using something they can find in the house. They can make one out of paper, some plastic storage containers, or anything else that's lying around. Then, have a competition to see which boat goes the fastest or stays on top of the water the longest.
20. Create Something In The Kitchen
This can go a lot of ways, you can make some homemade slime or moon sand, or create something delicious to eat. Have your kids find a recipe they want to try, or work together to create your own. Whatever it is, let them take the lead while you serve as sous chef (and safety monitor).