It’s time to kiss the ice cream man goodbye because summer just drove off with him.
Party’s over kids, come on back inside.
Our Fall kicked off with 3 straight days of rain, which actually was quite refreshing. To me. Not sure my kids would agree since we spent our summer living in our yard. Honestly. We made bubble baths in kiddy pools, played all kinds of sports, created american ninja warrior courses, scorched the night sky with many a bonfires, ate lunches and dinners at the picnic tables, fought over the swing set, jumped on the trampoline, slept under the stars on the trampoline, put the sprinkler under the trampoline . . . can you tell we like our trampoline? Shoot, how can you not? It’s like a giant-sized pack-n-play that quarantines all your kids and sucks out all their energy in one fail swoop. Great invention. The trampoline and the zipper are both keeping me sane. Unfortunately only one of those fits inside our house.
But even though those warm days are over, it doesn’t mean our life is. Not to say that it doesn’t feel like my life is over when the munchkin crowd is murmuring and devouring one another. These four walls have put up with a lot. And when the rains come and the cold weather moves in, this 990 square feet becomes home sweet home. And it is a sweet home. It has grown on me. And we have grown in it. In many ways. But that is for another post.
So what do we do when the rain and cold days keep us indoors?
Here are five indoor activities that are easily replicated (well, maybe not the last one!) and should cost you nothing since you probably have some form of these items in your home already.
Knowing that most of us are aware of the regular board games, reading books, drawing pictures, watching movies, we wanted to give you new ideas to help bring some fresh fun into your home with your kids.
Activity #1 ~ Lane Drawing
Items Needed: ~ roll of paper ~ tape ~ washable markers & Crayons ~ erasers
Optional: ~ stencils ~ stickers
Think lap swimming, but for coloring. Move aside the furniture and lay out long banners of paper for each child. We used old computer paper and taped both ends of the banner to the floor. Don’t have computer paper from the 1980’s (I’m still not sure where the mass quantity of ours came from)? Then you could use butcher block paper or easel paper. Of course you could tape single sheets of paper down one by one to make a row, but that would be too much work in my world. Remember the key is to stay sane here. But do what you gotta do.
Make sure to space out the lanes of paper so that each child has enough room to operate. Stay in your lane, kids.
The older children could use it like a story board to draw out a whole story of events, either real or fiction. What did you do on your summer vacation? What would it be like to take a space shuttle to the moon? Have them draw out the different scenes and events from start to finish.
This activity lasted a good hour. And then tack on another 10 minutes for the clean up of all the art supplies that they will do. And do I need to state the obvious? Only give them washable markers. Crayon markings can be cleaned off the floor (and the walls!) very easily with an eraser.
Activity #2 ~ Playing in Boxes
Items Needed: ~ empty boxes of all sizes (or laundry basket or Rubbermaid bin)
Optional: ~ filled recycle bin with random plastic and paper goods ~ tape or glue ~rope or bathrobe belt ~ markers ~ scissors
This one never gets old. My sister and I did this when we were kids! And seeing as we go to Costco an insane amount of times now, we constantly have boxes. My temptation is to want to throw them all into the recycling bin right away after a shopping trip (I hate clutter!), but my kids kept asking to play with them. Might as well get every penny’s worth from that large grocery bill I just spent. They turn them into pretend cars, sleds to push one another around in, or decorate them with markers, stickers, large quantities of scotch tape, you name it.
For the older kids, tell them to invent or build something by attaching other objects to the box. The recycle bin has never seen so much action! Attaching lids for wheels, toilet paper tubes for arms or legs, and using scissors to cut holes, allows for a robot, animal, or train cars to be born.
If you don’t have boxes, then let them use an empty laundry basket or Rubbermaid storage bin that seem to reproduce themselves in your attic. They could tie or duck tape a rope to the basket/bin (my bathrobe belt seems to be the go-to for some reason) and take turns pulling each other. The down side to this is if you get roped into dragging them all around the house. Can you do it again, mom? Again! Again!
Activity #3 ~ Give Mom A Foot Massage
Items Needed: ~ towels ~ lotion (that you don’t mind being wasted)
Optional: ~ nail polish ~ hair brush ~ hair accessories ~ stuffed animals ~ dolls with long hair ~ rocking horse
Would you believe this was their idea? I am not kidding. We all rotated being the “client” who comes to the salon for a foot massage. Mine actually lasted 15 minutes. Genius, pure genius, Lily. Mommy thanks you.
A word for easy clean up: Put towels down all around since their little hands can’t seem to give a massage unless they are dripping with lotion. Also, you can bypass saying things like, “You only need to squeeze out a little bit of lotion, hunny”, since I said this about 29 times with no real results. So my advice, just enjoy the massage. Take the opportunity to even close those eyes of yours. That alone is worth the large amount of lotion they are wasting.
Variations of this could be playing nail salon (here’s a tip on helping this to go smoother), hair salon, or pet grooming salon with stuffed animals, rocking horse, etc (not sure how this works on live pets since we do not have any).
Activity #4 ~ Pin the Body Parts On the Child
Items Needed: ~ paper ~ washable markers or crayons ~ scissors ~ tape
Optional: ~ reference anatomy book ~ YouTube videos about organs and human skeleton
Ruby invented this game. She asked me to draw different organs and bones on some colored paper. Do you like that large intestine I drew? I’m sure that’s to scale.
I let the kids take turns picking a body part from the pile we drew, guessing their location and taping (not actually pinning!) them onto the body. Some simple questions asked throughout it: What organ is this? Where do you think it goes? What do you think it does?
You could add in some YouTube videos on the organs and skeleton for some extra learning, and to help the kids with a visual if they want to draw the parts. Them drawing equals you being freed up to make yourself another cup of coffee and start the dryer going with the laundry.
Activity #5 ~ Door Bridge
Items Needed: ~ Door . . . and a willing husband
Dad, this is awesome, cheered the kids! Their bunk beds were now joined and turned into a castle. Atleast that’s what they saw. I see a door and think, let’s close it to keep the noise from traveling. My husband sees a door and thinks, let’s take it off the hinges and make a bridge for the kids to play on. That’s why two are better than one.
For safety, we stocked piled both sides of the floor area with pillows and blankets to cushion anyone’s fall. And no child was harmed during this activity.
Not sure about taking your door off it’s hinges, especially if they’re newer than 1951? I understand! But let this idea get you thinking outside of the box.
How about . . .
Set the tent up inside your living room for a family fun night.
Or have the kids get their sleeping bags out and camp in their room under a blanket a fort.
Let the kids bring their watercolors and brushes into the bathtub to make murals (that can be easily wiped away at the end).
And maybe throw in a snorkel mask and some shells for them to pretend they are at the ocean.
I admit that when the sun is gone, I get to feeling like the fun is too. But then my sponatneous husband goes and does something like take the door off the hinges. He keeps me on my toes. And thank God he does. For they would be stuck to the ground without him sometimes.
Do you have some out of the box indoor activities that your family enjoys? Do tell in the comments below!
From our four walls to yours, here’s to fun when there is no sun!