Whether it be rain, snow, or even sick siblings, there are plenty of days throughout the year that you and your children are stuck indoors. Burning their energy while maintaining yours can be a challenge though and the many screens in the house may be calling your name! Here are some tips to keep them occupied and help you make the most of the time inside.
We all know going outside is the ultimate energy burner, but there are some indoor physical activities you can do too if you have a bit of space:
- Challenges such as ‘How many jumping jacks can you do in one minute?’ peak their interest but allow you to maintain control so it doesn’t become a free-for-all of running around aimlessly in the house.
- Create a simple obstacle course. Your children will not only love completing it, but also coming up with the ideas of what items to use and what to do with them. Take turns being a commentator like they may have seen on TV.
- Dance parties are always a huge success! Bonus points if you can add glow sticks, costumes or fun lights!
- Try turning on a Yoga video to follow along. This can burn energy while also bringing some calm into the space.
Many parents find baking stressful because it can become quite messy, however, there are also many ways for your children to learn and grow from this activity. It’s really up to you how involved you allow them to be. You could always try a no-bake item, or something simple like this Chocolate Pretzel Treat to get started.
Older children learning to read can try to read out the instructions in the recipe or work on some math if you divide or double a recipe. You could also employ those critical thinking skills by “misplacing” some of the measuring cups and spoons and having your children figure out how to achieve the correct measurements with the ones you have left.
Younger children love to add items to the bowl or do some of the mixing and don’t forget the taste testing!
I love to purchase craft kits when I see them on sale and stash them away for when we’re home and looking for something to do! If you don’t have that option, you could set out any items you have for them to freely create, teach them something you did as a child like paper snowflakes or friendship bracelets or even Google an idea that uses things you already have laying around the house.
Another fun activity is creating sensory items like slime, play dough, moon dough or gak. There are tons of recipes online that use household items you can find in your pantry. These activities are a great way to engage kids over a longer period of time because they first need to create the item and then they’ll also spend time playing with it. If you’d rather, even just filling a container with water and bubbles can be exciting! Make sure to provide some scoops or cups, cookie cutters and straws to keep them engaged with these activities.
Preschool-aged children especially love to pretend! Mix it up by putting up your camping tent inside, building a fort out of blankets or creating a car (or anything their heart desires) out of boxes!
Encourage children to create their own play where they develop their story, craft props, make costumes and finally act it out in front of the family.
Reading, colouring and puzzles are all quiet activities that can keep them occupied as well. The Dollar Store has a great selection of these that you can purchase and save as a special surprise!
Keep in mind, you don’t always need a plan! Children have incredible imaginations and some pretty great things happen when they’re left to “be bored”. Sometimes the most memorable moments happen when you’re just present in the moment and following their lead.
About the Author
Jalisa Handford has a Bachelor of Education and has worked in the child care field since 2011. She played a vital role in the opening of the BrightPath West Henday centre in Edmonton, AB and has been its Assistant Director since its inception. She is an organized mother to three children and enjoys taking in new experiences with her family. You can find her sharing more at www.premeditatedparent.com