As I watch online at all the families in North America dealing with self isolation, I see that very few have been having frequent sunny days nor do they have big backyards to enjoy fresh air. In fact, some parts of Canada are still receiving snow. And when it rains, it is just miserable for our spirits. On a walk just the other day, we had a touch of hail! With that in mind, as the cold wind blows in Montreal, I thought I would compile some ideas of fun activities we have done that are not too hard to put together and that we have loved (and some they still do).
Consider this list a go-to when you need just one fun thing each day. Yes, the days are long, but you certainly do not need to fill them up with all the activities each and every day. Taking breaks with a family show, a book, quiet time (maybe you still have little ones that take a nap, how glorious!) are all great additions to the day, and I would say essential for our sanity right now.
Here is a list of tried and true fun indoor activities for your little ones.
Create an indoor picnic – There is something about bringing the outdoor activities inside, and kids love it. This is a great middle-of-the-day change of pace if you do it for lunchtime. Simply lay a tablecloth or blanket on the ground for the picnic area and you’re good to go.
Fort-building –Get some sheets, blankets, pillows and chairs and you have everything you need for an awesome fort. And if you have a tent for camping, and enough room in your home, you can set up a tent indoors – lots of fun! Your kids might even want to sleep inside for the night.
Concert at home – My boys are still into performing songs with drums, piano and a microphone. They recently gave a virtual concert for their relatives over a Zoom chat.
Play-Doh – I was so happy to pass on some shape building sets to my nephew recently. He is loving this stage of moulding, shaping and breaking Play-Doh. With my boys, we had little challenges too, where they would each making a flower, or a house, for example. This can also work with LEGO is you have at home. It is fun to see their creativity shine. If you don’t have Play-Doh at home, it is a simple recipe to make your own (you should have all the ingredients at home).
Puzzles – For years, our family has loved making puzzles. We have a great collection. Now is a great time to open a box and lay out this patience-building activity.
Charades – Choose words that kids can manage and help them along depending on their age. This is another great activity that can be played with friends over a video call.
Pictionary – If you have a chalk board, dry-erase board it is loads of fun to have each player come up and draw for their turn. If not, a simple paper and pencil will do the trick!
Head’s Up – this app created by Ellen DeGeneres can be added to your phone or tablet. There are free collections of words and it’s fun to play as a family. We let everyone blurt out things to the person guessing so everyone is playing together.
Minute to Win It – easy examples of games can be found on YouTube or Pinterest, and most games only require household items. It’s really easy to modify the games for younger kids. Our favourites have included the marshmallow and straw relay, the ping pong belt race and the cup stacking race. It helps get kids moving just for the fun of it.
Rainbow Loom – if you still have one of these in your home, now is a great time to pull it out again. Use it for its original bracelets or look up other crafts on YouTube like looming a scarf – it really works!
Card games – cards were always the go-to activity with my family for years. I admit, I forgot a lot of the rules and instructions for some games, but the good-old internet has everything I need for a refresher. Other cards great for children are UNO and Scopa (I just pulled out my deck to teach my boys!)
Dice games – If you don’t have an actual dice game like Tenzi, no worries, just go around your home and collect dice from board games and improvise. Again, lots of instructional how-to games are available online for quick-thinking (hidden math) fun.
Classic board games – Monopoly and Scrabble are all fun games, but sometimes too difficult for little ones. Now, there are junior versions of these to help children begin their love of the classics. If you don’t have those on hand, modify the originals for little ones by making teams or creating words on paper ahead of time.
Dance off – The little ones will know dance freeze well, so make it a family affair and get moving too. If your children are a little older and need suggestions of dances, here is a post of YouTubers that have great dance exercise channels.
The Simpler the Better – It doesn’t take much to please little ones. Eye Spy, Button Button, What’s Missing, The Humming Game, Broken Telephone, Pick Up Sticks,…these are hits! And you want to know why? Because you are there, playing with them. That’s all they need right now.
I know it’s really difficult right now. I know days can seem long, and sometimes, nothing works. But if you add one of these fun ideas to the day, it will break things up and help you feel a little less stressed. It isn’t just good for your child, it is fantastic for you too, mama. I hope these ideas help.
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