17 Great Indoor Games and Activities
Break out these fun and creative ideas when you're cooped up indoors.
When my family moved from snowy Massachusetts to sunny Austin, Texas, I breathed a sigh of relief. No more cold, wet days cooped up indoors with a restless toddler. I'd just open the back door, pour a Texas-sized glass of iced tea, and watch my daughter frolic in the sun. As luck would have it, we were hit with a freezing winter (yes, it actually snowed) and the rainiest summer in the history of Austin. Needless to say, it forced me to get pretty creative in terms of entertaining a young child. I can't take full credit -- some crafty moms and dads added their share of ideas too. Below is a roster of activities to delight toddlers and preschoolers. All you need are a few simple, inexpensive supplies.
A bag of marshmallows and some thin pretzel sticks are all you need to build the perfect puffy pal, a 3-D house, or tepee. Your child simply skewers the marshmallows with the sticks to create his own masterpiece. Add to the fun by placing toy pigs or other animals in the house and challenging your child to be the big bad wolf and blow it down.
Improve your child's memory and help him learn who's who in your family tree with this photo game. Take nine family photos and arrange them into rows of three, then give your child nine playing cards or checkers pieces to serve as bingo chips. When someone calls out "Daddy" or "Grandma," your toddler covers the photo with the card. Whoever gets three in a row wins.
Even the most domestically challenged chef can pull off this sweet and simple project. Slice several thick cookies from a roll of refrigerated sugar-cookie dough. Gently flatten them a bit on a cookie sheet to widen them, bake, and cool for about 10 minutes. Next, your little Mario Batalis can decorate their pies with strawberry jam or red icing for sauce, shredded coconut for cheese, and red M&M's for pepperoni.
Haul out the craft supplies and set up a home Hallmark business. First your toddler creates the card with stickers, glitter, cut-out magazine photos, or whatever else he likes. Then you ask him what he wants to say to the recipient, and you write it inside. (I once received one of these from my then 2-year-old nephew that said, "Dear Aunt Isadora, I like to bite my piggy toy. Love, Jared." That was one card I never tossed.) The icing on the cake? When the weather clears up, let your child stamp the envelope and slide it into a nearby mailbox.
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