Long breaks from school can mean that your kids are out of their usual routine, and older siblings are at home with younger siblings all day. Charlotte, a parent educator with the South Seattle College’s Cooperative Preschool Program who taught our Pre-3s Class during the 2018-2019 school year, shared with us some ideas of indoor activities that you can enjoy at home with kids of all ages.
Create a town in a cardboard box
Take a giant cardboard box and ask your kids to draw a town on the bottom of the box, with roads, tracks, bridges, parks, etc. Add some wooden building blocks, cars, trains and some wooden/plastic animals.
Have a mini treasure hunt
Everyone gets a matchbox to fill with as many tiny objects as they can find. They have 10 minutes to find and fit into their matchbox as many tiny whole objects as they can. Examples of tiny things that would fit in the matchbox could include a paper clip, a pea, a button, a piece of lego, a bead….
Hold an indoor scavenger hunt
Make up a list of items that can be found throughout the house. Ask the children to find and photograph each item on the list using a digital camera or the camera function on a mobile phone.
Bring out board games, card games, or jigsaw puzzles
Play some board games or card games together. Have you been to Meeples or Uptown Espresso and Gameporium in Delridge? Also, jigsaw piuzzles are a whole-family activity that can work well between siblings of different ages. Set each member of the family up with a puzzle to suit their skill level, all helping each other finish, or create teams to work on a large puzzle together.
Make shadow shapes
Turn off the lights, close the curtains and, with the help of a flashlight, take turns making shadow shapes on the walls with your hands.
Make some music and dance
Get your instruments out–or make some DIY versions using kitchen utensils (pots, wooden spoons, tins, spatula)–and make some “music”.
Most kids love to bake, with the promise of a sweet treat at the end!
Create a play/show
Have the children put on a play or show (don’t forget to film it!).
Make paper airplanes
First fold your paper airplane and then the kids can draw the pilots at the front and the passengers looking out of the windows. Then have a test flight demonstration.
Set a challenge to read a certain number of minutes during every day of school break. Older kids can read by themselves, or they can read aloud to their younger siblings.
Have a tea party/indoor picnic
Spread out a picnic blanket or kids’ table and set out little plates with snacks, drinks, and napkins, and enjoy an indoor picnic! Stuffed animals can also be invited guests.
Build a fort with blankets and pillows
Build a den out of sofa cushions, chairs, or clothes rack with a blanket draped over, or create a fort out of a big cardboard box. Add some books or toys, and perhaps even enjoy a snack or picnic lunch in the fort.
Set up an obstacle course
Create an indoor obstacle course with plenty of climbing, crawling, hopping, jumping, falling on cushions/mattresses. Let the kids loose as they try to beat each other’s times round the course.
Share photo albums and photos
Kids (and adults) love looking at old photos and hearing family stories, so find those old photo albums and have a look at the past.
Make a collage
Get out the old magazines and some paper, glue, and markers, and have a collage-making session.
Make sock puppets
Gather up some old socks and add some craft items for eyes, mouths, and noses to make some sock puppets. If your kids can sew, they can add the decorating with needle and thread, while younger kids can use glue. You could create a puppet theatre in a cardboard box, and let the kids put on a puppet show (be sure to record it!).
DIY balloon ping-pong
All you need is some balloons, and either table-tennis paddles or make your own paddles using paper plates and popsicle sticks for handles. Clear some space in the hallway or living room and off they go.