Frugal fun for kids

15 Free & Fun Ways to Keep Kids Entertained Indoors

Stuck at home and looking for fun things to do with kids? Check out these easy ideas of creative ways to keep kids entertained indoors.

Banish boredom on snow days and rainy afternoons!

Long winter days or wet, rainy stretches can be tough on both young kids and parents. It only takes a few days of being stuck inside for the cabin fever to set in. Getting through cold and rainy weeks with restless kiddos can be a real struggle!

Challenging as it may be, it does force you to use your creativity to come up with new ways to entertain those little balls of energy! Either that or you hide out in the bathroom for a while, right? Maybe that’s just me 😀 Really though, there are some cool ways that my kids and I have found to have fun this winter.

If you’re drawing a blank on a cold or damp afternoon and are ready to pull your hair out, stop stressing.  One of these ideas could be just the thing everyone needs to keep boredom at bay a little longer:

Free and Creative Indoor Play Ideas

Go “camping” by making tents or forts. Everyone knows how to make a good old-fashioned blanket fort, right? Get out the sleeping bags, too. Use mega blocks, building blocks, or just get creative with items to make a “campfire” to gather around. Have the kids come up with creative stories to tell around the campfire. For little ones, read them books while cuddled up under blankets.

Have an indoor picnic, complete with a blanket and a basket of lunch goodies or snacks. Spread out a blanket on the floor and pretend you’re picnicking somewhere warm and sunny. Spring will be here soon, right? Kids can help pack up the picnic basket with lunch or snacks.

Play “library” or “bookstore” by setting up a checkout desk. My daughter will gather her book selections and then bring them over to my laptop or her toy cash register to “checkout”.

Make paper collages with magazine clippings, scrap paper, or cut up construction paper. This is a favorite for us, as it allows her to work on her cutting and gluing skills with my supervision. Crafts of any kind are always a hit, but this one happens to be especially easy (and cheap).

Put them to work with age-appropriate tasks. Have the kids help with simple chores, like folding laundry or making the beds. You can turn an otherwise monotonous task into a fun experience. For little ones, simply handing them a damp cloth or a duster can keep them entertained for a while as they “work”. Take the opportunity to teach them how to fold, sort laundry, or even just put their toys back in the right places.

Have an Easter egg hunt! Why wait for the holiday? Pass the time indoors by hiding colorful Easter eggs. Hand the kids a basket and send them off on a hunt.

Make cards for loved ones for upcoming birthdays and holidays. Get out paper crafting supplies and get a head start on preparing for birthdays. Kids will love creating custom cards to give out in person or send in the mail.

Create a “workstation” next to your desk or table, complete with envelopes, papers, stamps, and an ink pad, crayons, etc., so that they can “work” alongside you. This is perfect for my family since I’m a self-employed freelancer staying at home with my son. I can get some work done, and so can he 😉

Indoors activity for kids

Organize toy bins together and put away outgrown toys, either for donation or storage. Putting things away doesn’t always go over too well with little ones, but organizing seems to work! This is one of the creative ways to keep kids entertained indoors that’s also productive, making it a win-win for parents.

Be fashion designers. Gather some old scarves and fabric scraps and let the little ones create “outfits”. They can also make outfits for their dolls, not just themselves. My daughter loves to dress herself up, and it’s a great way to let kids be creative and silly.

Do an indoor scavenger hunt. Come up with your own list or try one of these.

Go grocery shopping by setting out toy groceries and small items on a table so that they can collect them in their cart or basket and then come to the “checkout”. You may also want to pull items out of your pantry and let them “shop” for real groceries.

Get pretty and play beauty salon, complete with nail polish and hair accessories. My daughter loves painting our nails and “styling” my hair with her barrettes. We use washable kid-friendly nail polish, so no worrying about major spills and stains.

Kids beauty salon play

Have a dance party! Clear out an area in the center of the room, turn up the tunes, and let them get some of that pent-up energy out. Take turns picking songs. Another great idea is to write down different songs and artists on pieces of paper and put them into a hat. Then let everyone take a turn pulling a paper out, and then playing that song.

Play “school” by using preschool workbooks. We got a ton of workbooks from the Dollar Tree. By turning it into a play activity, it may be easier to get them interested in learning. Can’t go shopping? No problem! Check out these free preschool printables that you can print off and use right away

So there you have it, some creative ways to keep young kids entertained indoors. I’m sure some of these are not new to my fellow parents, but hopefully, they can help give you an idea of something fun to do or spark a new one.

Do you have some ideas to add to the list? Please do share!