Finding indoor activities for children that will catch and hold their attention for more than a few minutes a day is a challenge. Many (too many, if you ask me), delegate that task to the ‘electronic babysitter’, more commonly known as the T.V.
Children too young to be glued to the internet need indoor activities for kids that challenge their developing minds, and activities that will at the same time work those little muscles and foster a fondness for physical activity that will help them grow into happy, healthy young adults. Working parents have been relieved of this responsibility to a large degree with the help of daycare centers, or extended families.
But what do you do now that many municipalities are issuing stay-at-home orders, and that 9 to 5 respite from your child-rearing duties is temporarily on hold? Here are a few suggestions for keeping the little angels busy and entertained until life as we know it returns to normal.
1.) Stage An Indoor Treasure Hunt
Treasure hunts have been around for a long time, and a little planning ahead or special instructions for the hunt can breathe new life into this popular old game. In one variation, create a theme for the treasure hunt, a favorite is a pirate theme.
Use everyday items found around the home to make costumes for the participants; an empty paper towel roll and some magic markers can make a great spyglass, a Tupperware container full of costume jewelry, candy, and loose change makes a nice treasure chest.
Hide it the night before, and make a map with several clues as to it’s hidden whereabouts, and the successful searchers can learn to share their booty with the other kids. Another variation can be made by spotting items around the house, or just outside the window, that rhyme with one another, and memorizing them or writing them down. Set a time limit, and the child that spots the most rhyming items wins that round.
Another great indoor treasure hunt you can do is called Treasure Run, which you can print from their website treasure.run. It’s great for birthday parties or just for the family. It’s ready to play in just 5 minutes, all you need to do is select the puzzles, print, and hide the clues.
2.) Indoor Ninja Warriors
Use colored masking tape to mark lanes throughout the house, then set child-size obstacles in the path and let ’em rip. (Choose your obstacles carefully, your daily activities shouldn’t include a trip to the Emergency Room)!
Stagger small pillows to slalom through, or hop from one colored square of cloth, (a folded T-shirt works for this), to another, then limbo under a string stretched across a doorway or low-crawl under the coffee table.
Bike helmets and roller skating knee and elbow pads, if you have any, add to the authenticity of the game. Incorporate ‘The Three R’s’ into the game by placing a math or spelling problem at the end of each obstacle.
3.) Role-Playing Games
Pick a favorite movie, one that they have seen many times, and assign roles for each child. Play the movie, but with the volume turned off.
Have each child assume the role of one or two different characters, and encourage them to be creative in developing a new storyline to go along with the action on the screen. Changing their voices to fit the different characters, dressing in costume or making paper-plate face masks to wear according to which character they are voicing adds another element of creativity to this indoor activity for kids.
Before you know it, your children may even start to make their own games and rules, your own creative juices will begin to flow, and coming up with indoor activities for kids will just come naturally. Remember to share your ideas with other parents, compare notes, and when the time comes for every child on the block to get together and play again, there will be no shortage of games for them to share.