The past week has been freeeeeezing here in Wisconsin. Below freezing, actually. When it gets so cold (or rainy, or hot, or whatever it is that keeps you stuck inside), it can be tricky to keep kids entertained – and keep mama from going pulling her hair out. So here are 10 screen-free ways to keep kids entertained inside (without going crazy in the process).
1. Reading – okay, this one might be obvious, but it needs to be said. Find the books that your kids haven’t read in awhile. Stock up on new books at the library. Download audio books, lay blankets out on the floor, and let your kids listen to someone else read one of their favorites. A recent new family fave is God Made Light (affiliate link)
2. Have a popcorn party – pop a giant bowl of popcorn (my personal favorite way is popped on the stove with a few tablespoons of coconut oil) and snuggle up together. Or make some tea and have a popcorn and tea party!
3. Jump on the bed. Really! Do it! Stay in your jammies and robes, grab the pillows, and let them get out some of that pent up energy. But if you really can’t handle bed jumping, get these foam pogo jumpers (affiliate link) or a small trampoline. They are super compact and the kids can jump, jump, jump their jiggles out.
4. Homemade play dough – let the kids help you mix the ingredients and then watch them wow you with their creativity. Add some essential oils like Lavender or Peace & Calming if they need to chill out. ;)
5. Cloud Dough – I posted this one on Instagram, and some other mamas thought I was a little bit crazy. So this one is maybe for those of you who a) don’t mind a little mess and b) don’t have wall-to-wall carpeting. Use about a cup of baby oil to eight cups of flour and mix together. Make your kiddos wear paint shirts or just their underwear if you want to avoid a lot of post-cloud dough laundry. Fill a shallow basin with spoons and cars that can be easily washed and let them go to town. This has kept my kids entertained for three days straight, so all the sweeping (and there has been a LOT of sweeping) is worth it. For an easier mess (but still a mess!), fill the basin with water, toys, and cups, and let them go to town! My toddlers have always loved indoor water play, and a fancy water table isn’t necessary. But we do bring our water table inside sometimes too!
6. Indoor picnic – throw a blanket or table cloth on the floor and eat your lunch on the living room floor. You could also try this snack style – put raw veggies, raisins, fruit, nuts or seeds, etc. into a muffin tin or onto a veggie platter tray. Let the kids serve themselves!
7. Indoor ball pit – I made one for the baby last year, but you could also throw a bunch of balls into a pack n play or a kiddie pool for the same level of fun.
8. Legos – again, probably a given, but really… how can I not mention the number one source of indoor entertainment at our house? Make these Lego lunch boxes to give your kids their own building station that they can carry from room to room (hopefully without trailing pieces behind them). Wooden blocks or Duplos are great for the younger crowd. Challenge your kids to make different animals and have a contest to see whose can be the tallest, shortest, most creative, etc. Let them each vote on their favorite – without voting for themselves!
9. Unstructured art time – when my kids have free reign over the art supplies, they are more creative and entertain themselves much longer than if we try to do a “craft” together. Cover the table with paper and pull out paint, glue, scissors, googly eyes, and pipe cleaners and watch the magic happen. Maybe leave the glitter in the cabinet if you’ve recently cleaned up all that cloud dough and are feeling a little mess-sensitive. ;)
10. Hot chocolate – Cozy up on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa. Try this peppermint hot chocolate recipe – or a mocha for Mama. ;) Look at books or just snuggle up – bonus mom points if you do this under the glow of the Christmas tree. Add a few marshmallows or homemade whipped cream and you just might make them forget that you wouldn’t let them pull out the glitter.
In our house, throwing in the occasional out-of-the-ordinary activity makes a long day inside a little more bearable.
Here are a few other ideas you might like:
What are your best ways to keep kids entertained during the long winter months?