As the cooler weather sets in, most of us will be spending a lot more time indoors than we did during the summer. If we’re not prepared, this could lead to bored children asking us what they can do for entertainment seventy-seven times a day. While a little boredom isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s wise to have some fun activities on hand too, just in case. Here are 10 fun things to do at home with kids this fall–perfect for rainy days.
Though we Minnesotans like to complain—or rejoice, depending on your love of ice fishing and snowmobiling—about our below-zero temperatures and the thick blanket of snow that carpets the ground for several months each year, the truth is that I enjoy winter. I love the way twinkling lights sparkle in the snow, the cozy warmth of a roaring fire indoors, and the way steam billows off hot bathwater even as the cold wind blows outside.
While summer can sometimes become a frantic bid to spend as much time as possible outdoors, soaking up the warmth and sun, winter often brings a quieter rhythm to our home. I love lazy days of reading books or snuggling up with my kids to watch a movie with no expectation to leave the house in sight.
But while I’m happy to enjoy a day with no true plans, I’m also a list-maker—even when it comes to the fun stuff in life. In case you’re in the mood for a little more time indoors, here’s a list of 10 kid-friendly, at-home activities to try with your family.
1. Create a Family Time Capsule
Find a suitable container—a cardboard box works perfectly as kids can decorate it themselves—and spend time filling it with mementos from the past year. Include photos, kid artwork, sweet messages to other family members, or lists of everyone’s current goals and dreams. Then tuck it away with the plan to open it the next year.
Bonus: Accumulate a few of these capsules over time to see how your family grows and changes over the years.
2. Host an Unbirthday Party
Want a reason to eat cake when no reason exists? Decide to have an impromptu ‘unbirthday’ party. Reuse decorations from past parties or print off coloring sheets featuring your kids’ favorite themes for them to color and tape on the wall for the day. Spend a little time baking and frosting a cake, and take time to play party games—Pie in the Face is a classic option for our kids, who love all the whipped cream. Last year, we picked up a tres leches cake from a local baker and threw a unicorn-themed unbirthday party for our girls. They talked about it for months afterward.
3. Learn Something New With Home Science Experiments
Here’s a great roundup of ideas to try, including making your own rock candy, creating a homemade lava lamp, projecting the stars on your ceiling, and sending secret messages with invisible ink.
4. Try Out a Theme Day
One of our kids’ favorite days is Backwards Day. Everything is reversed, including meals. The day starts with dessert, followed by dinner, a snack, another dessert, lunch, and finally breakfast. Clothes, routines, and anything else we can think of are included in the day’s backward festivities.
Other fun theme days could include Board Game Day, Movie Day, or even Italy Day (in which you listen to Italian music, eat spaghetti or lasagna, and watch movies like “Roman Holiday”)—anything is possible with theme days.
5. Host a Treasure Hunt
Searching for treasure is a perennial favorite in our home, but it doesn’t have to take a lot of time and effort. Simply look online for premade treasure hunt clues (type “free printable treasure hunt clues” in the search bar, then click over to images). Once I print off the clues, I hide them—along with a little treat at the end—and let the kids take off. After the first treasure hunt, my children will often get into the spirit, creating their own clues and hiding stuffed animals or beloved toys as the prize at the end.
6. Get Crafty
There are lots of ways to encourage indoor creativity. A recent favorite in our home has been painting peg dolls and then playing with them afterward. One time, all of their peg dolls resembled Disney princesses; another time, they patterned them after themselves and their friends. The painting can be simple or intricate but usually entertains my kids for hours, as they finish the dolls and move on to creating mini houses for them.
Want some more creative ideas? Here’s a fun roundup of 15 crafty ideas that are perfect for snowy days.
7. Have a Pajama Party
Our snow days always include pajamas—worn all day long by everyone, including parents—and board games. In our family, every person gets to choose one game that we play together—my kids often clamor for bingo, and I end up hunting down small prizes like stickers or mini candy bars for them to win.
Other ideas: Make an epic blanket fort to play your games in or set up a pretend shop using Monopoly money after you’ve finished playing the game.
8. Get Creative in the Kitchen
Try something like an ‘everything is new’ dinner one evening, in which all the recipes are new. Continue the theme by having everyone at the dinner table tell a new story or joke (as long as it’s something we’ve never heard before!), or ask each family member to talk about a hobby or skill they want to learn or develop. If creating new recipes sounds daunting, get creative in another way—pull your kitchen table to the side of the room, throw a blanket on the floor, and turn the meal into an impromptu picnic.
9. Show Gratitude to One Another With Family Appreciation Day
It’s easy to take one another for granted sometimes. Celebrate each person’s unique characteristics and show love and appreciation for one another with three easy ideas in our Family Appreciation Day guide.
10. Incorporate Joy in Small Ways
Surprise the kids by bringing them breakfast in bed (just make sure it’s a laundry day), turn on music for an impromptu dance party, print off a free printable indoor scavenger hunt, or leave encouraging messages for your kids somewhere in their room or taped on the bathroom mirror.
A little planning can go a long way toward incorporating an extra dose of fun during the months we often spend more time together indoors. What indoor activities do you enjoy doing with your family?
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