When we have little kids at home, the thought of staying indoors all day with them can make us feel stressed because we know that at some point they’re going to become stir crazy. Thankfully, there are lots of ideas on the internet (thank you Pinterest!) of ways to keep kids busy whether it’s an activity to burn off their energy, something to keep them concentrated on, or a fun sensory activity.
However, one thing to keep in mind is if you are at home for a long time, try to implement a schedule. Kids function best when they have a rhythm to the day that guides them through each hour. When there is no structure kids feel lost and don’t know how to manage their own time well. As parents, it’s our job to help them divide the day up into different activities so they feel safe and know what to expect.
Establishing a routine doesn’t need to be complicated. Having a routine can mean sharing one meal a day and having a routine to get ready to go down for a nap or to bed. The important thing to remember is to always let your child know what to expect and let them know in advance. If you need to head out of the house or clean up the toys, let them know by saying “in 10 minutes we need to clean up” or “we need to leave the house in 20 minutes, so you’ll need to clean up your toys and put your shoes on.” When there is an unexpected interruption we can easily be met with tantrums, tears, and arguments.
Here are some great ideas to keep the kids busy indoors whatever the case may be that you have to spend some time inside.
Games to burn off that energy
Balloon Fun – Use balloons to play tennis, volleyball, or even make a balloon rocket using straws and string to blow the balloon across the room.
Obstacle Course – grab some tape, string, or streamers and make an obstacle course for your kids to work their way through! You can also cut out different shapes and colors on the floor and have them make their way from one side to another only touching one shape or color. Set up some chairs, brooms, and other household items they have to either crawl over or under. Have them roll over pillows, balance on masking tape, or run around plastic cups. Get creative and see how you get them using their gross motor skills while playing.
Dancing– Just turn on some dance tunes and start moving your body. Even if avoiding screen time is best, there are also lots of videos online that lead kids through dancing. If you need that break and they need to release that energy hit the tunes.
Arts and Crafts
Art activities are a great way to spend some downtime, quietly, together. Just make sure you have some paper, scissors, colors, and glue. If you are able to also start collecting pipe cleaners, glitter, pom poms or other small objects then you’ll really be able to go wild!
You can look online for almost any image possible and find a printable coloring page. Ask your kids what they would like to color and print off some fun images of their choice. You can also make a collection of drawings and say you’ll send it to someone special whether that’s a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or friend. You could even make a shoebox mailbox, decorate it, and put each drawing into an envelope and drop it in the mailbox!
Other Fun Activities
Some other fun ideas of things to keep those long days full of stimulating activities can be as simple as getting household objects you already have and turning them into a game. Freeze toys into ice and keep kids busy as they work on getting them out. Pull out an old favorite family recipe and bake it together.
Whatever it is that leaves you at home with the kids all day, the best thing is that you get to spend lots of time with loved ones. Make memories, have fun, and create something beautiful.