When the weather outside is frightful and you are fresh out of fun ways to keep kids entertained, turn to this list of ideas. The key is to stop thinking like an adult and to remember how to think like a kid. Once you accomplish this, who knows what kind of mischief you will help your kids dream up!


And while we are on the subject, why not forget your grown-up responsibilities for a little while and join the kids in some fun indoor activities? Your cabin fever will melt away like snow on a sunny day once you dive into one of these fun pastimes with your kids. Come on, parents. They will only be kids once.

1) Become a builder. Make a fort after lunch and then live in it until dinner.

2) Ready, set, duck! Ball up some clean socks, turn some furniture sideways, and have a sock-ball fight.

3) Fun with flour. Make something that involves kneading like bread, rolls or pizza dough.

4) One-legged kangaroo. Spend an hour hopping on only one foot every time you have to move around the house.

5) Soften their falls. Put on layers of soft, stretchy clothes and play Twister in the kitchen.

6) Set a world’s record. See how long you can toss a soft ball back and forth without dropping it even once.

7) Stretch for it. Have a headstand or a handstand contest. Who is the straightest, who can last the longest, and who is the most poised?

8) Colorful awe. Look up group games that can be played with a silk parachute (please note: also helpful in fort construction).

9) Strike a laugh. Take turns playing yoga teacher and making up silly yoga poses. Not laughing yet?Add in funny breathing exercises.

10) Let alter egos act out. Make sock or bag puppets, give them your quirkiest qualities, and then put on a puppet show.

11) Have a competition. Make a foursquare court in the basement or garage using painter’s tape and then take turns playing.

12) Find your inner Picasso. Tape large pieces of drawing paper on the walls of the basement or garage, spread newspapers on the floor, and create self-portraits with chalk pastels.

13) Play charades. Make sure the clues are appropriate for all ages. Or, if you prefer, try Pictionary instead.

14) Take that, Villain! Act out a scene from a family-favorite book. Look up some fight choreography online and stage a mock-fight.

15) Climb, jump, and hop. Create an obstacle course in the basement or garage. Time everyone’s results. Then try to beat your best time. (See sidebar for more ideas.)

16) Mess around with beauty. Make facial masks out of bananas or avocados and take turns giving them to each other.

17) Get inspired. Watch The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe and then draw what you image you would find on the other side of your hidden doorway.

18) Bonsoir, Madame. Create a simple meal from a foreign culture like France, India or Africa, with ingredients you have on hand.

19) Start a band. Make some music with either real instruments or whatever you can create out of what you have on hand. For even more fun, try a marching band.

20) Musical fingers. Fingerpaint to different kinds of music. Let everyone choose a song and then compare the resulting images. Which music helped to create the most inspired paintings?

21) Instant nostalgia. Make sparkly white play dough and then recreate a miniature scene of your home in a snowstorm. (Keep a can of instant snow on hand for just such an occasion)

22) I say potato, you say potahto. Break out the potatoes, cut them in half and carve the cut ends into stamps. Then, transform leftover brown bags into recycled wrapping paper.

23) Trashion passion. What’s in your recycle bins? Divide it up into two teams, mix in some plastic and paper bags, set a timer for one hour and see who can whip up some runway magic for a quick trashion runway show.

24) Lip-sync battle. Everyone picks their favorite tunes and then battles it out on whatever kind of “stage” you can create. For extra fun, video the numbers and cut some short clips together into a compilation.

25) Sculpture magic. Go through all of your art supply cabinets and drawers and pull out everything you can bear to part with. Be sure to include sticks, wire or string. Then, see who can create the most original sculpture using supplies on hand.

Indoor Obstacle Course Ideas:

• Throw a sheet over a string to create a crawl tunnel

• Over and under string or masking tape stretched between walls

or objects

• Pogo stick jumping

• Hula Hooping

• Stilt walking

• Balance beam

• Throw beanbags into buckets or pots

• Walk a lap while balancing large book on head

• Slalom on a too-small bike or scooter

• Jump rope

• Jumping jacks or push-ups

• Bounce a ball off a wall

• Spin around ten times

• Juggle a soccer ball or hacky sack with your feet or legs

• Balance something on a

serving spoon

• Step from stool to chair to stepladder, etc.

Stash These Supplies For When You Have Down Time:

• Fort-building kit (check Amazon)

• Parachute (double duty in making forts)

• Nerf products (for throwing in the house)

• Nutella (for crepe-making)

• Instant snow (for creating your home in miniature)

• Glitter (for adding to playdough and making sculptures sparkle)

• iTunes card (for lip syncing and finger painting to music)

• Twister

• Pictionary

• Foursquare ball

• Hacky sack

• Painter’s tape

• Chalk pastels

• Finger paints and coated paper

• Bananas

• Avocados

• Bag of russet potatoes

Christina Katz

Author, journalist, and writing coach Christina Katz loves jungle gym slides, water park slides, Slip N’ Slides, and Chutes And Ladders, but not the summer slide.