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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

48 Simple Ways to Beat Boredom This Winter

Happy New Year! Hopefully your 2013 is off to a fabulous start!

Today was the first day back to work and back to school after some much-needed time off. However, I think we got too accustomed to being lazy. We traveled to visit family for the beginning of winter break, and then spent the last couple of days in pajamas and building Lego sets. As 11 a.m. rolled around, I found myself scrambling to get the kids dressed and fed before my oldest had to get on the bus for Kindergarten.


It was way too easy to stay in pajamas, skip getting to the Y for  a workout, and keep the TV on today. To be fair, the kids got a bunch of new toys for Christmas and they were having fun playing with them. But we can't do this every morning. So I decided to be proactive and make a list of fun things and put together a Boredom-Busting, Shake-Things-Up, Pick-Some-Fun activity box.

Step 1: Make a list of all the indoor activities you would be able to do in your home. I included board games and craft kits that we have, as well as toys that we have available.
Step 2: Write them down on slips of paper and place the slips in a container (check your recycling bin for a large jar, a shoe box, etc.). The contents of our snowman kit are currently outfitting a frosty friend on our lawn, so I used the empty container for our activities.
Step 3: Turn off the TV and have kids take turns picking out activities to do together.

Yes, it's that easy. Here is the list I used; feel free to customize it to suit your needs, what you have available, and what your kids enjoy.

  • Dance party
  • Paper airplane races
  • Simon Says
  • Cards n' Motion - grab a deck of cards; assign an activity for each suit (hearts = marching, diamonds = crawling, spades = jumping jacks, clubs = shake/wiggle); each player takes turns picking a card and doing the motion. For example, if a player picks the 8 of spades, he or she does 8 jumping jacks. Number cards are face value, ace = 1, jack = 11, queen = 12, king = 13.
  • Car races - with toy cars.
  • Fashion Show - even boys like to dress up; this is a great use of old Halloween costumes.
  • Obstacle course - set up a few household items for kids to go over, under, and through.
  • Play catch - roll up a sock and have fun tossing it around.
  • Puppet show
  • The Rabbit Hole - put throw pillows on the floor; all players are bunnies hopping through the garden; if you touch a pillow, you fall down the rabbit hole.
  • Wild Things - take turns calling out animals; all players make that animal's sound and act like that animal.
  • Bullseye bowling - make a target on the floor out of masking tape; players take turns rolling a small ball and try to get closest to the bullseye.
  • Puzzles
  • Play Twister (or another game in your collection)
  • Indoor ice skating - attach sheets of wax paper to your feet using rubber bands, and have fun "ice skating" on the carpet. Just BE CAREFUL; this is a slippery activity.
  • Craft Kit (we have a ton of these in the closet; I pick them up at Michael's and then forget about them)
  • Make a collage - old magazines, safety scissors, glue sticks, and paper. Or check the recycling bin for a cereal box as a 3-dimensional base for a collage.
  • Balance beam - just some masking tape on the floor, and have kids pretend they are walking along a balance beam. Or walking the plank!
  • Feather races - mark a starting line and finish line on the floor with masking tape. Each player puts a craft-feather (or wad of tissue paper) on the start line. On "Go!," players blow on their feather and try to get it to cross the finish line first.
  • Write a letter to a Disney character - Send to Walt Disney World Communications, PO Box 10040, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-0040. Your kids will receive an autographed picture from the character!
  • Guard the Eggs - make a large rectangle on the floor with masking tape; place a few balls in the rectangle; choose one player to be the guardian and "protect" the eggs; all other players try to steal the eggs; if a player gets tagged by the guardian while his or her hand is within the rectangle, that player becomes the new guardian.
  • Build a fort - some chairs and blankets are all you really need.
  • Blow ice bubbles outside - if it's cold enough, the bubbles will freeze in the air. All right, so there's one outdoor activity. But this is something we can do quickly, even from the garage with the door open.
  • Make a card and send it to someone special
  • Write a story - ask your kids who is in the story and what they will do; help them write it down and ask them to illustrate the story as well.
  • Dominoes - if you don't have actual dominoes, try setting up books or DVD cases and then knock them down.
  • Tic Tac Toss - make a tic tac toe board on the floor with masking tape; use two different colored sets of bean bags (or small stuffed animals, or balled-up socks) to play.
  • Band Practice/ Marching Band - anything that rattles, whistles, or can be hit with a wooden spoon is fair game. Play some music together, then become a marching band and perform all around the house.
  • Craft time - cover the table, pick a few art supplies, and see what your kids create.
  • Scavenger hunt - pick 10 cars or Monster High dolls or blocks; one person hides them then the other players try to find them; the person who finds the most is the next to hide items.
  • Play-Doh
  • Board game
  • Giant Busy Box - another craft kit we have on hand.
  • Legos
  • Coloring books
  • Make a sock puppet
  • Make salt dough shapes - If you have salt, flour, and water, you can make these. There are lots of recipes out there such as this one; grab some cookie cutters, let them dry, then paint them. Before letting them dry, you can punch a hole with the end of a drinking straw and then string them up later.
  • Air hockey (or another game in your home)
  • Hop scotch - using masking tape on the floor.
  • Balloon volleyball
  • Xbox Kinect game - yes, it's a video game, but at least it requires movement.
  • Paint a picture (water colors, finger paints, whatever you have)
  • Play freeze dance
  • Make pictures for the grandparents
  • Make pictures for the aunts and uncles
  • Make seasonal decorations - For example, January = snowmen & snowflakes; February = hearts; March = shamrocks and eggs; April = rainbows, umbrellas; May = flowers; June = outdoor-themed items; July = American flags; August = beach items; September = back-to-school-themed items; October = pumpkins; November = leaves; December = Christmas trees & candy canes. Obviously you'll need to tweak this according to your religion and cultural background.
  • Blow bubbles in the house! - into the bath tub, of course. This doesn't have to be a bath time activity. Leave the tub empty, and just let the kids blow bubbles into the tub to avoid a slippery, sticky mess in other areas of your home.
  • "Almost" Yahtzee - grab some dice and a pencil and paper for each player. Write the possible sums of the dice on each piece of paper (2 dice = numbers 2-12, 3 dice = numbers 3-36, 4 dice = numbers 4-48). Each player takes a turn rolling all the dice, adding the sum, and crossing that number off their list. 
There is a mix of active games, creative activities, and quiet games listed. I left out "making cookies" simply because I don't want a batch of cookies in the house. We ate way too much over the holidays, and I don't need anything tempting my will power. Completely selfish, but necessary right now.

I plan on keeping the "used" activity slips in a bag. Once we've emptied the jar, I can just throw them all back in to repeat this cycle...at least until the temperature rises a bit so we can play outside comfortably again.

I hope this inspires you to do some creative activities with your kids. Or grandkids. Or the kids you babysit. Just have fun! What is your favorite indoor activity with the kids? Post a Comment and let us know. As always, thanks for reading.


  1. What a list! I was just looking up indoor activities for kids since they have been home all day today. I am running out of ideas. But thankfully I found your list! Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. Marietta, thanks for stopping by! I'm glad you found this list helpful; we certainly use it in our house. I hope your kids enjoyed the activities.


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