When you are a parent, EVERY DAY is the busiest day of the week. Especially in these pandemic times, keeping kids both engaged and screen-free is a herculean task. Of course, with online classes already consuming the permissible screen time for kids, more time on the screen would mean more harm to their eyes and creativity. So we have taken care to keep most of the activities screen-free. So here’s the ultimate list of indoor activities for kids right from my tried and tested bucket list:
The Ultimate List of Indoor Activities for Kids:
1: Learning to play musical Instruments (For all ages):
Did you know that playing musical instruments are great for reasoning, math skills and many other skills in children? Experts believe that music education should be compulsory in the early school years. My son loves to play his keyboard. He practices in his leisure time and is all set to present a few songs once his school reopens. The best part is that I get my ‘me time’ while he does so.
2: Treasure Hunt/ Scavenger Hunt (For ages up to 12):
Hide toys, their favourite things and give them clues to find. They will love being in the detective mode while you finish up your chores or other work.
3: Indoor camping activities for kids (For kids below 10):
Why wait to get outdoors for a camp, when you can have one indoors? Make a DIY camping tent with bedsheets using two chairs as the tent holder or you can buy an indoor tent online for children, pack some snack boxes, board games for them and they can have a pretend camp indoors. They would enjoy in that enclosure and mind you, they would keep it utmost clean without you having to remind them of that, as they feel it’s theirs, only theirs. A sense of belonging can easily be noticed. Enjoy your free time as your kids are busy with fun indoor activities.
4: DIY (Do it yourself) (For all ages up to 12):
Doing simple DIYs like making s family tree, paper quilling etc delight the kids and can be a wonderful indoor activity. DIYs are known to develop creativity, problem-solving and sequencing skills in kids It will also give them a sense of accomplishment and make them confident.
5: Business & Monopoly (For all ages):
Playing business and monopoly games are very interesting and do teach children money management in turn, like what they should buy, where they should spend or save.It is one of the most popular indoor activities for kids.
6: Karaoke /Singing(For all ages):
Most of the kids love to groove and sing to the music. Download Karaokes of songs they know, give them a pretend mic and they are set to give their vocal cords a good massage. They can sing along with karaoke for practice. There are many apps available for free download which helps in singing and reading the lyrics like Star Maker etc.This is one of the best indoor activities for kids.
7: Indoor Gardening activities for kids (For all ages):
Growing your herbs and vegetables can be satisfying and a great way to keep kids occupied productively. The process of gardening, right from germination to harvest can be super useful to teach them about scientific nuances of nature. The cause and effect relationship of why a certain plant did not grow well, the requirement of sunlight, water etc can be a real learning laboratory for them. Best of all, they will learn the value of caring for plants and nature.Gardening kits are easily available on Amazon. Indoor gardening activities for kids can be done in the patio, balcony, terrace or on the kitchen window sill too.
8: Role Play (For ages up to 12):
Children love to become what they see around like teacher, doctor or vegetable vendor etc. Don’t mind giving them fake money, some articles, veggies to sell and they will soon be setting up their own indoor business. Simple math skills can be easily learnt from such role-plays. Occasionally, you can be a student or a customer. It is a wonderful chance to relive your childhood. Kids can be a doctor using their doctor set or chefs with their kitchen sets.
9: Simple Board Games (For all ages):
Playing board games can be very refreshing. Children who have siblings at home can play by themselves or if you want to take a break from your office routine, playing board games like Snakes and Ladders, Ludo, Chess etc could help you get your dose of caffeine…
10: Dance (For all ages):
Dancing can be a great stress buster and is known to improve the psycho-motor coordination of kids. It is also a good form of exercise. They can join online dance sessions if you can spare them some screen time once a week.
11: Lego/Blocks (For all ages):
From young kids to teenagers, Lego is a major fascination. My children were more than happy when they recently made a helicopter and a parachute out of it. Select Lego puzzles based on your kid’s age and they will be happy to engage in it.
12: Reading (For all ages):
‘ Once a reader, always a leader’. Reading has powerful benefits which are not new to modern age parents. Encourage children can grab books of their interest which they usually were not able to because of overload of school curriculum books. They can start some book series like The Famous Five, Nancy Drew etc or pick up some comics in their leisure time. If your child hates to read, start with reading aloud with them or discuss a few books you might have read and how they helped you to get them inspired.Kindle is a popular device for reading.
13: Creative Writing (For all ages):
Writing diaries and journals can be one of the best habits kids can have. Writing about their feelings, expressing feelings in words in the form of short stories and words can have therapeutic benefits for kids. Children can start writing small stories or even a page in their diary. That will help them improve their written communication skills. Consider telling your child to write about ‘ How I spent my day today?’ every day. He/She will eventually start loving this activity every day.
14: Recording & Uploading Songs/videos (For all ages):
YouTube videos need not be open to the public if you don’t wish so. Children or rather everyone loves to see themselves on screen. Children especially are happy to record their songs and see their performance. Recordings can be great family memories for the future. So make use of the ‘private’ setting and keep your family videos to yourself for moments of nostalgia in the future.
15: Sketching and various art forms (For ages above 12):
Children can learn various art forms such as glass painting, Warli or knife paintings etc. They can also read about the origin of those paintings and the significance of the tools etc. involved. After all, a blank canvas holds many possibilities.
16: Audio Books-
Audiobooks are a growing trend among the young as well as the old. For people who don’t like to read, like to listen to books being read by others, like to listen to audiobooks while doing their chores, travelling etc, this is a great option. Amazon’s Audible serves awesome books. There are other free audiobook apps too like Free books, Booklet etc.
17: Non-Gas cooking (For all ages):
This is one of my favourite indoor activities for kids.Won’t you like to be served some lemonade or sandwiches while you do your chores or office work at home? With older kids, they can serve you on-demand but younger ones need help to do so. Get them involved in you day to day cooking activities by engaging them in sorting, cleaning, assembling food etc. Children love to make simple food like Indian Chat, lemonade, Sandwiches etc.
18: Story Telling (For all ages):
Children can listen to many stories online (audio only) and other interesting podcasts. They can also volunteer to be a storyteller. If you have your kid’s grandparents living with you, they will have a nice time listening to your children’s stories. I’m sure you would love to hear them too.
19: Learn to code or earn any programming language (Above 6 years):
Coding is the future. Children can learn programming languages from age six. Coding can be exciting as it will enable them to make and code their games, apps etc. in easy ways. It also enhances reasoning and problem-solving skills.
20: Exercise/Gymnastics (For all ages):
Exercising in the morning can help to maintain good health and stamina. Since we cannot go out for our walks or jogging. Set a family exercise routine to enjoy the benefits together and keep the kids physically active.
21 Fun with Magic (For all ages):
We all love fairytales and so do children. My son learnt some magic tricks as he wants to give some presentation in school. He presented a magic show in his school oratory competition.
22: Household chores
Let your kids help out with day to day household chores depending on their age like folding clothes, laying the table etc. Doing household chores help them to be independent and teach them the value of self-reliance and self-care.
Age-wise chores for kids-Ideas and Benefits
23: Story Writing (For all ages):
Children can start writing short stories, something which they see around or what they feel. They should learn the freedom of expression. They can start by writing one page in a diary. Stories can be short fiction stories or real-life instances.
24: Science Experiments (For all ages):
Simple science experiments like filtration, sedimentation or decantation to complex ones can be done at home to improve the scientific temper of kids. You may have to help out with experiments that may require adult supervision for safety purposes. You can check their science books or YouTube for experiments.Experiments can be useful and educational indoor activities for kids.
25: Baking (For all ages):
Children love to bake cakes and muffins. Let them help you to mix the batter or decorate the cake of muffins. Let them show their creativity by doing so.
26: Learn a new Foreign Language (For all ages):
Learning different languages can enhance problem-solving and critical thinking skills. It also helps improve listening and concentration. Also, it’s always good to know some other language in case we get an opportunity to travel onshore or to be able to interact with people from another country
27: Start A Library (For ages above 12):
Children can exchange books with their friends and have reading clubs virtually (in this pandemic time) or in their societies or neighbourhoods. They can also have some discussions around book reviews and suggest books to friends accordingly.
28: Making a scrapbook (For 6 years and above)
Childhood memories, love notes form family and friends, photographs etc make a wonderful scrapbook. School-age kids are particularly more interested in scrapbooks. Give them an unused book or buy it on Amazon.
29: Playing Cards/UNO or Sequence (For all ages):
Playing with cards and associated games with variations are also very interesting. Younger kids can stack cards to build a house. It is a fun activity and can keep kids engaged for quite a while.
30: Virtual Dance Parties /Connects/Open Mic Night (For ages up to 12):
Children can schedule and plan some virtual connects with friends and solve some puzzles online together or do some dance. I recently celebrated and hosted my son’s birthday party virtually and kids were extremely happy to see each other and to answer my quiz questions 😊
31: Rangoli /Mehndi/Mandala art (For ages above 12):
All forms of art are known to improve concentration and creativity. Who says Rangoli should be made only during Diwali or Mehendi during weddings? Add some colour and spice to the mundane lockdown life with these art forms. Mandala art is an emerging trend and is known to have therapeutic benefits and satisfying effect on the mind. Give it a try.
32: Stamp or coin collection (For all ages):
Children are fascinated with collecting things like stickers, coins, stamps etc. They love to exchange it with their friends and show them to everyone. Let them drool over their collection or add to it.
33: Exploring the globe (Ages 5 and above)
If you have a globe, let them explore the expanse of the earth, the continents, longitudes and latitudes, geographical features, capitals of cities etc. Nowadays, globes with virtual reality are available on Amazon, which can make learning even more fun.
34: Plan a cause (For ages above 12):
Collecting plastic, preparing natural compost with household waste, identifying the e-waste in the house etc can be a good cause to start from home. Later on, you may extend it to your society or neighbourhood.
35: Reading spiritual texts (For ages above 8):
Children can be introduced to religious values by reading spiritual texts and holy books. Reading spiritual literature can have a calming effect on the mind. It is at the discretion of the parents on how and when they would like to start it.
36: Jigsaw Puzzles (For all ages):
Depending on your child’s age you may give simple to complex jigsaw puzzles. Don’t be over-ambitious and give complex ones right in the beginning as it may discourage the child. Puzzles ranging from 4 pieces to 5oo pieces are available online.
37: Rubik’s Cube (Ages 5 and above)
Rubik cube fosters patience, problem-solving, mind mapping and makes reflexes faster. It could keep children engaged for hours together. As you learn the skill of speedcubing, interest and motivation to achieve a complete cube can lure anyone to spend hours trying to decode the right techniques of speedcubing. Speedcubing competitions is a growing trend these days.
38: Printable Worksheets (For kids up to 12):
Math, wordgames, reasoning, worksheets can help to improve the reasoning abilities of children. Parents can get some interesting worksheets printed for children which they would enjoy solving. You can keep the worksheets ready the previous night and fix a worksheet time to engage kids.
39: Makeovers/Grooming sessions (For ages above 12):
Grooming is a skill and it is essential to groom yourself well whether you are just a student or a professional. After all, the first impression makes a difference.Let your children experiment with their looks (under your supervision wherever necessary). Trying different hairstyles, working on postures, hygiene etc can be some of the grooming aspects.A good hair massage could be relaxing too.
40: Indoor Sports activities for kids (For all ages up to 12):
Indoor basketball sets, Bowling sets, dart games etc are easily available on Amazon. This game gives the benefit of keeping kids active and doing a physical activity which is limited these days due to the pandemic.
41: Tumbler/Stacks (For kids below 5):
Infants & toddlers enjoy building stacks and heaps. You can give some tumblers from your kitchen which are not sharp, and children can play with those. They can also try to arrange different spoons, pots and pans as per size, colour, types etc.
42: Playing with Clay/Playdough(for kids below 10 years):
Children love to play in the sand (in your garden) or clay/playdough at home. They get delighted to see things coming out of moulds made from mud and clay. It also strengthens their muscles and helps them to acquire psychomotor skills.
43: Caring for pets (Ages 6 and above)
Caring for pets instil the value of gratitude sensitizes kids about the importance of life and animals. Simple routines like providing food or water, Bathing the pets(Age above 10), grooming pets etc. can be done by children.
44: Yoga (For all ages):
This is very important for all especially due to lockdown scenarios when things look depressing and confusing. Meditation and yoga help you stay calm and helps in reducing anxiety. It also promotes mental health and wellbeing.It is one of the most popular indoor activities for kids.
45: Best out of waste (For ages 4-8):
Children can create some artefacts or cards by using waste bottles or pencil shavings, eggshells, old cardboard, bottle caps, old CDs etc. They can also make some sock puppets and make a story of their own.
46: Old is Gold (For all ages):
Parents or grandparents can sit with their children and revisit their childhood. They can browse through their old photo albums or collections and give them a glimpse of their past. Children are thrilled and interested to know about the times of their parents.
47: Poster Making/ White Board/Black Board (For all ages):
Give your kids a topic to draw about or to write their thoughts. A whiteboard or blackboard can help kids doodle, draw, write, playschool, practice math, display charts etc Kids can display mathematics table charts or good thoughts on posters or whiteboards.
48: Photo Collage (For all ages):
Children can stick photographs on chart papers, make a frame and hang them in their room. A family tree can be created using old newspapers and colour papers. This will help them go down their memory lane and rewind the time for some time.
49: Dictionary/ Spell bee (For ages 8-12):
Children can be given some word and asked to search it in the dictionary. It is a good habit to learn one new word a day to improve vocabulary. Kids will also love to play Spell Bee where you have to spell a word. The correct ones fetch you points. It can be a fun activity for kids.
50: Salad Dressing (For all ages):
Another interesting indoor activity could be Salad dressing. It can be an everyday task before meals. Let them experiment with different variations of salad dressings. My elder son Nabhanyu recently made a tricolour salad on his school’s Independence Day celebration was overjoyed to showcase his newfound talent.
51: Bubbles and Balloon’s (For kids below 10):
Children like to play with bubbles and balloons. Make some soapy water and let them enjoy the beauty of the sparkling bubbles bursting in thin air. Balloons can also be fun to play with especially for younger kids.
52: Pizza/Sandwich Toppings (For all ages):
Kids enjoy putting toppings on pizzas such as cheese cubes, corn or olives etc. Teenagers can even cut & chop a few vegetables and cook delicious sandwiches for the family, giving mom a break from the kitchen 😊.
53: Mix and Match ( For ages above 12) :
Another interesting indoor activity could be, mix and match, kids can re-arrange their clothes in different combinations and can decide which one they would like to wear on each day in the current and next week. It will give them a sense of pride and independence. After all, they can DECIDE and choose their own clothes. They will eventually learn which ones suit them better, which colours go together and which don’t.
54.Sketching / Self-portrait (For kids above 6 years):
Kids like to sketch their family members or themselves (by looking into the mirror or with their photographs). Give them their photographs, pencils, sketch pens etc. and let them draw their own sketch.
55. Paint a wall/ Decorate a Wardrobe (For ages 8 and above):
Children can paint the walls with their favourite cartoon characters or make a statement wall (with real wall paint and frog tape they can draw geometrical shapes or create their own designs. Don’t miss the look of pride on their face when they complete the statement wall. They can also decorate their wardrobe with their favourite stickers, DIY décor hangings etc.
56. Wardrobe/ cabinet organization
Now-a –days a lot of stuff is available in the market and on Amazon for wardrobe/home organization. Let your kids take the responsibility of organizing their own wardrobes with various organisers. It would help them keep their possessions sorted in a better way and improve the functionality of the wardrobe.
57.Shadow Dance/ Illusions (For ages above 5):
Children can learn shadow dance practice creating illusions with their hand movements. You can show them a few simple illusions like say bird and you will be surprised to see their creativity with illusions.
58.Guessing games (For all ages):
Parents can disguise themselves as some character or use some objects to describe and allow children to guess what they are trying to convey. It will certainly exercise their brain . There are many board games also based on guessing and solving. In case you don’t have one at home, for elder children you can play, guess the price of any biscuits/chips etc. you have at home.
59.Tops & Beyblade’s (For ages 4-8):
Kids enjoy spinning tops and playing with Beyblade’s. It can be good fun rather than being hooked to screens for a long time.
60.Word games, Pictionary or Scrabble (For all ages):
Children can play Pictionary or scrabble games either on board games or online. This will increase their analytical skills, vocabulary etc.
61.The Number Jump (For ages up to 5):
Parents can write or stick some numbers on the floor with some chalk or marker (which can be erased later). Children can jump on the number as asked by parents one by one. You can use opposites, synonyms, odd or even numbers etc depending on your child’s age.
62. Make a greeting card (For all ages):
Children can make cards and keep them for future use to present it to loved ones for their birthdays/anniversaries. Making many cards at once will encourage them to get creative and used different designs rather than using the same design every time.
63.Water games (For ages 4-8):
Indoor inflatable swimming pools can provide fun and relaxation to kids on hot summer days. Bath toys, measuring cups, bubble bath can add to the fun. However, parents need to be present with the younger kids to supervise them, so this activity can be taken up when parents don’t have immediate work commitments.
64. Sorting fun (For ages 3-6):
Sorting pulses, sequencing bottle caps as per sizes and colours can be one of the fun indoor activities for toddlers and preschoolers. Timing of the activity will create more enthusiasm and engagement.
65. Candle making (For ages 6 and up):
Children can make floating candles and make new candles from old ones by melting them. Wax can be moulded in various shapes to make numbers, alphabets etc. Young children in parent’s supervision can try making numbers or alphabets using match sticks.
66. Educational apps
This may involve some screen time but if administered in limits, it can be fun and learn. Educational apps providing puzzles, word games, math games, short courses, skill-based learning can be allowed to children for 30 minutes a day.
Set targets by keeping pots and pans and asking your kids to ai the ball at it. To add more fun, you can use different colour boxes and tell the kids to aim at a specific colour. This game helps to improve hand-eye -coordination.Dart games are fun to play too.
68. Name Place Animal & Things (For ages 4-8):
All players should have a paper and pen. One alphabet will be chosen, and players must write a name, place, animal and thing starting from that alphabet. When the player is unable to write all four for a particular alphabet, he is out of the game. This is one of the most popular indoor activities for kids in school.
69. Musical Chair (For ages 4-8):
Players can dance and move around chairs clockwise or anti-clockwise. If there are five players in the family, keep only four chairs. Music starts playing and the movement of the players begin. As soon as the music stops, players must find a chair to sit on. The player who is not able to find a chair to sit on is deemed out of the game. Reduce the number of chairs as the count of players decrease. The last player to get the chair is the winner. This is another fun indoor game
70. Carrom/Chess (For all ages):
Children can play carrom or chess at home. If they don’t have one available at home or an opponent to play with, there are apps which can help play.
71.Watching TV shows and Movies
Limited screen time does more good than harm as children can learn better with audio-visuals. Parents just need to be careful about what the kids are watching. For example, if you want your kids to learn a particular language (say English if you are not a native) allow kids to watch only English cartoons or movies with simple English (eg. Peppa Pig). Kids can also learn from Discovery Kids and National Geographic or History channel shows. Inspirational movies can be good to watch too.
72.Antakshari (Chain of musical Songs) (For ages 8-12):
This can be a fun family game and is popular in India even in large gatherings (players are divided into groups). Choose an alphabet or the word, players need to sing one by one by picking the last word or alphabet from the previous song sung by the player and like this, the chain will continue. The player who is unable to find a song to sing from a given word or letter breaks the chain is deemed out. The next round begins again excluding that player and so on.
73. Pass the parcel (For ages 4-8):
Players need to pass a box of chits (with tasks written on them) and must stop passing, once the music stops (somebody needs to play the music and stop randomly at any time without looking at the players). The having the box in his hand when the music stops needs to pick a chit to perform the task on the chit and is out of the game. The last player is the winner.
74. Car Racings (For ages 8-12):
Make a car track with tape and let the kids race to the finish line. You may join them too and have fun. It is fun and equally exciting like video games.
75. Playing games blindfolded (For all ages):
Kids love to hunt for things when blindfolded, they can play being blindfolded and try to catch other players. You can also draw something and tell them to identify the centre or mark a spot being blindfolded.
Conclusion on Indoor activities for kids
Rainy, snowy, lockdown days can be fun with these little activities. After all, a little ray of hope, a drop of love, some cuddles and hugs and some family fun time can add sunshine to our life. So enjoy your staycation, together we can make our days bright and beautiful.