50 Awesome Indoor Activities for Bored Kids (No Parents Required)

kids indoor camping
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It's winter. Your kids are climbing the walls at home, fighting over who's breathing whose air ... aggggh! While it may be tempting to plant them in front of an iPad, there are actually plenty of far more fun ways to keep them occupied without too much participation on your part. Keep this list handy for your next snow day or any other time your kids are feeling bored and cooped up at home.

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boredom busters for kids

  1. Create an indoor camp-out, complete with a tent, flashlight, even a fake "fire."
  2. Stage a teddy bear hide 'n' seek: you hide teddy, your kids search until they find him.
  3. Challenge your kids to put together a play or musical complete with a script and costumes, which they'll perform at 5 p.m. sharp.
  4. Set up homemade bowling with a ball and some plastic water bottles. Have the kids keep score, or count the number of times they get a strike.
  5. Challenge them to create the longest, most elaborate Domino line ever.
  6. Have them write a list of ways that you can improve your parenting. We're sure they'll have a lot to say!
  7. Got car lovers in the house? Lay down painter's tape to make a racetrack -- under tables, through doorways, even up the stairs. Plus cleanup is a breeze!
  8. Have your kids create sculptures out of toothpicks and marshmallows. 
  9. Challenge your kids to draw self-portraits by looking in a mirror -- or to draw portraits of each other. 
  10. Make an indoor sandbox out of rice and rubbing alcohol, or flour and baby oil.
  11. Stage a tea party and have your kids invite every single stuffed animal and doll in your house. The preparations will keep them busy for hours!
  12. Make fake snow out of baking soda and hair conditioner. Your kids get the fun of snow without the cold!
  13. Have them write letters to each other on how to be better siblings. Yet again, we're sure you'll get a mile-long list.
  14. Bring some summer inside by challenging your kids to create a rainbow indoors -- all they need is a glass jar, mirror, and water.
  15. Break out a puzzle -- one with lots and LOTS of pieces.
  16. Create your own bathtub water table: fill your tub with water, then throw in a bunch of kitchen tools and containers. Cover the floor with towels, then let your kids at it! Adding bubble bath optional.
  17. Pin the carrot on the snowman -- a fun twist on a classic game.
  18. Hold an indoor soccer match with a Nerf ball. Just be sure to stash anything breakable!
  19. Teach your kids how to play chess, then have them play each other.
  20. Stage a scavenger hunt in your home by giving your kid a list of objects to find. Incorporate numbers, shapes, and colors as clues.
  21. Stage an indoor snowball fight with old white socks.
  22. Break out TWO puzzles, dump the pieces together, then challenge them to separate the pieces and put them together.
  23. Stage a massive hide 'n' seek where you hide, say, all your kids' toy cars. They may not even find them all, but they'll spend all day trying!
  24. Create snowflake window hangers out of popsicle sticks.
  25. Build an indoor fort; pack the kiddos snacks to take on their "trip."
  26. Build a pretzel log cabin -- it's like Link 'n' Logs your kids can eat later!
  27. Two words: sticker books.
  28. Grow your own magic crystal tree out of table salt and a few other household items.
  29. Make a bird feeder by filling a milk carton with bird seed, then hand your kids a bird book and have them try to identify every species that swings by for a snack. 
  30. Create an indoor hopscotch with masking tape on the floor.
  31. Add sparkles to your Play-Doh -- your kids will act like they've never played with Play-Doh before. 
  32. Create window art with foam pieces, which will stick with a bit of water.
  33. Make a snowman indoors -- out of socks, shredded paper, tin cans, or honestly anything else that you think will work.
  34. Put on a yoga video and challenge your kids to try some of those crazy poses (which they can probably do with ease). They get to destress and exercise, and you get one full hour to yourself!
  35. Hand them a bunch of old magazines, scissors, and a challenge them to create the world's largest, most magnificent collage of things they love. 
  36. Create a density tower out of various liquids in your home, from dish soap to olive oil.
  37. Another cool at-home science experiment: elephant toothpaste. Yeast is the magic ingredient!
  38. Hand them a map and some travel magazines and have them figure out where they want to go on your next family trip.
  39. Hand them a camera and tell them to photograph something amazing, or funny, or cool. Who knows what they'll come up with?
  40. Blow up a balloon, then tell them to time how long they can keep it in the air without touching the ground.
  41. Set up an indoor golf course using cups or tin cans on their sides for holes.
  42. Have your kids play jax. Or marbles. These old-fashioned pastimes will keep them occupied longer than any iPad. 
  43. Teach them a magic trick that will knock their socks off: how to make M&M letters float.
  44. Have them play Monopoly, only use real money -- nickles for $50, dimes for $100, and so forth. Watch how serious they'll get about the game once a little cash is on the line. 
  45. Tell them to create an indoor obstacle course, then time how long it takes to get through it. 
  46. Forget about just tracing your hands and feet. Roll out a big sheet of paper and have your kids trace their entire bodies, then fill their silhouette in as they please. 
  47. Kids bored of plain old drawing? Try scratch drawing instead.
  48. Create a larger-than-life tic-tac-toe board with masking tape on the carpet, and X's and O's on the backs of paper plates. Something about scaling it large makes the game much more fun.
  49. Have them write a letter to their grandparents about how life is going. Bribe them if necessary, since the results will make grandma's and grandpa's month.
  50. For Pete's sake, just pop in that Frozen DVD.

 

Image via Olga Bogatyrenko/shutterstock

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