Oh, April Showers! Oh, Cabin Fever! Keep Kids Busy…Indoors
Rainy days are the worst, when your child is stir-crazy and everyone is tired of being cooped-up inside. With a little bit of prepping, though, and thoughtful prompting, all of that can be avoided!
Here’s some ideas of things to do indoors:
For younger kids – Chutes & Ladders, Candy Land, Twister, and Honeycomb is a new family favorite
For older kids – Battleship, Monopoly
For the entire family – Acquire, Cranium, Rook, Uno, Spades, Clue
Toys and activities kids can do by themselves:
My son loves Power Rangers. He will sit there, bring them to life, enact scenarios and play with them, even if we’re not there by his side. Any type of action figures – or dolls or Barbies – can fire up the imagination and make for hours of indoor play. Power Rangers are a great activity to pull out when we’re needing some time and space to do our own things.
In the kitchen:
– Making lunch or dinner together.
– Baking cookies, prepping meals on the stove or for the oven.
– Teaching them to make their own sandwiches. My four-year-old can make a peanut butter
and jelly sandwich by himself!
We’ve learned that some really fun ways to spend time together indoors center around food and the kitchen. Kids can help set the table, stir cake mixes, and the older kids can be taught to cut up fruit and vegetables. Older kids can also help with the dishes. Nothing is seen as “a chore” when it becomes a fun way to spend time together. When we’re all in the kitchen together, it’s no longer boring or drudgery. We love our kitchen time together!
Learn to do something new, or learn a craft:
– Learn to make jewelry or design t-shirts.
– Learn to build a small business by selling craft products.
– Learn about mom or dad’s hobby, so they can do it, too, some day. Kids are never too young to learn about something. So take them with you on the path of exploring your own adventure. Do you want to learn to parachute or hang glide? Let your child study it with you, and watch videos, and you can read to them out loud about it.
For the littlest ones:
My youngest son just turned one, and we have to get creative with him. He’s in the phase where he likes to empty and sort things. When we’re trapped indoors on a rainy day, he’s happy with a big, empty laundry basket that we fill with toys (we also do this with cardboard boxes and other containers). He sits there pulling each toy out of the basket/box, and he usually throws them around. Then he’ll find the objects and put them back into the basket. I give him different types and sizes of objects/toys, so he has a variety to look at and feel.
Of course, nothing listed here is perfectly kid-proof. Some ideas work with a certain child, some ideas don’t. But when you spend time with your kids, you’ll start to know what they like and what they feel like doing, and when. It’s rare for my four-year-old to sit and look at books, but sometimes, the right book may keep him occupied for twenty or thirty minutes. If we’re lucky enough that it keeps him busy for five or ten minutes, he’s likely to go grab another one…and then a third!
Now I’m definitely not suggesting ignoring your kiddos. We are very involved parents, and love doing things with our children. It’s necessary to be able to get things done, though, so we need to keep them occupied. Hopefully these ideas and suggestions of what works for my kids might get your brain going with new and clever ideas of your own!
If all else fails, get your kids in on it. Ask what will spark their curiosity.
“Mommy has to work for a while…” or “Daddy has to do dishes for a little bit…so what would you like to play with?”
Usually their first answers will be related to a tablet, or TV, or something that requires your presence. With some alternative suggestions or options, they’ll eventually come up with their own, and you’ll hear a suggestion: “I think I’ll play with the gears and Legos,” or “Baby and I will chase around the remote control dino.”
Happy parenting, and best of luck fighting off that cabin fever!
Katie Waisanen is a Boy Mom of two beautiful boys, and lives in Corinth, MS with the rockstar love of her life, Dave Frost. Together they parent and live crazy-artist lives. She’s an actress, blogger/author/playwright, singer/songwriter, and owner of a Digital Marketing Biz/Social Media Agency. Katie is passionate about cultivating a beautiful family life – one in which everyone can live out their dreams and thrive.