There will come a time when you’re stuck at home with kids—whether it be emergency school closings, stuck at home all day with winter weather (or weather emergencies), or you need fun things to do when it’s freezing outside or things to do when you’re bored inside, here are 9 UNIQUE and fun kids’ activities and indoor activities for kids to keep them learning and save your sanity!
SURVIVING STUCK-AT-HOME DAYS
How To Prepare For Being Stuck At Home with Kids
The best way to prepare for being stuck at home with kids is to start NOW — before you are stuck at home in an emergency situation (whether it be stuck at home kids’ sick day activities, weather emergency, family medical emergency, or … whatever) you’ll want some boredom busters for kids.
These tips work for preparing to stay home during a health issues, things to do on a snow day indoors, or an emergency that may happen in your area.
So, what do you do when kids are at home and stuck inside?
Here are quick ideas on what to do when you’re stuck in the house…
(DON’T MISS OUR FULL LIST OF UNIQUE IDEAS LATER IN THE POST. KEEP SCROLLING)
What to do when kids stuck inside?
Here are 19 great ideas for being stuck inside with your kids:
- Play board games / card games
- Cook / bake
- Relax technology rules (allow them to play video games, FaceTime friends, etc.)
- Put a tent up and have indoor camping (complete with indoor smores!)
- Write letters or draw pictures for relatives/friends (to be mailed later)
- Have movie and pajamas day
- Make an indoor fort city
- Take an online virtual field trip to a museum in a different city (or country!)
- Listen to family audiobooks or podcasts
- Play “hotter/colder”
- Paint, color or craft
- Have a dance party
- Play dress up and give a play
- Create a bucket list of things to do when you can get out again
- Work on family house projects you’ve been putting off
- Sort toys and clothes to be donated later
- Allow them to get bored (learn about the benefits of boredom!)
- Sleep in/nap / lounge (doing nothing is good for the brain and body!)
Have little ones, too? Check out our list of things to do with toddlers and ways to keep kids busy playing when they’re stuck inside.
What to do with toddler stuck at home
Here are 10 unique inside activities for toddlers:
- Read books and make sound effects with musical instruments (we’ve had a lot of fun with this musical set!)
- Play dress up and have a dance party
- Put on old clothes and finger and foot paint on a large roll of art paper
- Print out free coloring pages and color
- Learn about farm animals and created an indoor farm with stuffed animals
- Create a sensory bag with cooked pasta (for real!)
- Blow bubble and play with foam soap inside the bathtub or shower
- Give them pipecleaners and let them go crazy
- Play sorting with different size bowls, big spoons and marshmallows or cotton balls
- Make busy bags (see directions later in the post)
Before we get to the detailed fun stuck at home activities, let’s start with the basics of a family emergency preparedness plan.
Stuck At Home Emergency Tip #1: Make an emergency bag.
If you haven’t already, the first thing you need to do is create an emergency bag (backpack) for every member of your family (including one for your pets!).
Having a change of clothes, a comfort item, some toys/books, and even a few snacks all in one place is helpful, especially if the electricity goes out or if you have to quickly leave your house. (Think: chemical spill in the area or an emergency like that.)
Stuck At Home Emergency Tip #2: Stock up on food.
Whenever someone says “stock up on food for an emergency” it (for whatever reason) brings about visions of the zombie apocalypse and food supplies dwindling.
That’s not what I mean when I say “stock up on food.” (I’m not suggesting that you stock up on 3 years of MREs in this post.)
At any time, you should have enough food and water in your house for a 14 day emergency where you can’t leave your house and/or local stores are closed or can’t be immediately restocked.
Keep things on hand that store easily like:
- Peanut butter or nut butter alternative (we like these individual nut butter packs)
- Pasta and sauce
- Easy ready meals (like these)
- Pre-seasoned rice packets
- Tuna packets (we love these tuna packs because they’re easy to store, come in different flavors, and are good for the emergency bags, too!)
- Granola bars
- Canned fruits and vegetables
- Dried fruit / fruit snacks
- Comfort “treat” items like suckers, candy, candy bars, snacks, etc.
These are food items you’ll just naturally work your way through (before they expire) and replace as needed.
You also want to include some things that can be eaten without electricity (if that’s the type of emergency you’re in) and you have no way to cook them. We have an electric stove, so I like to keep this chafing dish fuel for emergencies.
Stuck At Home Emergency Tip #3: Get household basics.
Be sure your stock includes Lysol (which kills 99% of germs) as well as at least 60% alcohol hand sanitizer.
During an emergency where the power goes out, you’ll also definitely want to ditch the candles and make sure that you have safe lighting. We have these personal flashlights for each emergency bag. (They’re great for kids to read with, play games with, and find their way to the bathroom!)
We also like lights like these to put in the middle of the table for eating and playing games! (And, you don’t have to worry about the danger of candles!)
Don’t forget to have some extra batteries in different sizes!
Stuck At Home Emergency Tip #4: Plan for technology.
If you’re stuck indoors, you’ll want to be sure that you have your technology prepared — videos / movies downloaded (in case you can’t get on the internet), books and games loaded on tablets and everything charged up.
We like to keep an emergency charger that is also a flashlight and emergency radio.
Stuck At Home Emergency Tip #5: Don’t forget about emergency needs.
What does your family require to keep them safe and healthy? Do you have regular medicines that you need or your kids need (or other medical or health needs)?
Talk to your doctor NOW during non-emergency times about what you can do for emergencies.
Stuck At Home Emergency Tip #6: Take advantage of delivery services.
During some emergency events, you may be able to still get delivery services for groceries, medication, and even pet supplies.
So, take advantage of those so you can stay out of crowds (especially during widespread health isssues!).
We like services like Prime Pantry.
Now that we’ve covered some emergency prep, let’s talk about fun ways to keep your kids learning while they’re stuck at home (and also save your sanity)!
Remember, these activities work for weather emergencies and fun things to do when it’s freezing outside, and projects to keep you busy as a family during an emergency situation.
So, don’t worry!
We have how to entertain kids and tricks for surviving stuck-at-home days with your kids and even some productive things to do on a snow day!
Things to Do with Young Kids When You’re Stuck Inside
9 Stuck At Home Activities for Kids and Fun Indoor Learning
1. Watch documentaries.
I know what you’re thinking.
We often think of documentaries as something that only adults like and watch.
However, there are so many great family documentaries now and kids can learn so much from documentaries (and enjoy them!).
Kids can learn a lot of history, social studies, geography and more from watching documentaries.
Try these kids and family documentaries for interesting learning:
- A LEGO Brickumetary
- Big Pacific
- Kratt’s Creatures
- Walking With Dinosaurs
- The Food That Built America
2. Use busy bags.
Busy bags are great because you can make them for all ages and stages. (Just use different colored bags for each child or age.)
If you’re not familiar with busy bags, they are bags full of different items that are used to keep a kid busy.
Children learn a great deal and use a lot of STEM-based learning and creative learning with busy bags.
The idea behind a busy bag is that there are random items in the bag and the child needs to build or create something from the items. Some people put different games or books that they buy into busy bags.
For my busy bags, I put random items that I mainly find around the house (paper, markers, glue, and random things like a coffee filter and some yarn). I don’t even think about what’s going into the bag because that’s a job for the kids!
I also watch the clearance aisle at stores and use dollar stores to pick up items.
Be sure to make your busy bags ahead of time (like right now!) so that you can have them for emergencies or any time you’re stuck at home.
3. Play board games to practice basic learning skills.
Board games are so much more than just playing games!
Board games allow kids to:
- Practice teamwork
- Use math skills
- Practice reading and spelling
- Develop strategy
- Learn about topics like geography and history (without really knowing they’re learning!)
- & MUCH MORE!
We like these board games and card games that really don’t feel like you’re learning:
- Scrambled States of America (geography)
- Word Monkeys (spelling/reading)
- Sequence (math, strategy, teamwork)
- Skip Bo and Uno (math)
- Ticket To Ride (geography and history)
- Charades (drama, creativity)
4. Read as a family.
Reading as a family is still a great thing to do — no matter how old your kids are or the span of the age range. It’s also a great thing to do when stuck at home, even if you have no electricity!
We like these family read aloud books to stock up on for these times:
Also, try Kindle Unlimited where you and the kids can download and read books on a variety of devices (not just Kindle!).
5. Listen and learn.
Listening to audiobooks and podcasts is also a fun way to learn when stuck at home. (The art of storytelling is alive and well!)
Try podcasts from Wow in the World, Story Pirates, and even podcast stories like The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian.
Also, don’t forget that audio books are a great way to learn and pass the time!
Kids can play quiet games (blocks, drawing, clay, etc.) while listening and learning.
Try a free trial of Audible for a whole library of books. (You can cancel before the trial ends and not pay anything!)
6. Build (or create) and learn.
When you’re stuck at home, it’s only a matter of time before you get on each other’s nerves (no matter how well you get along!).
So, you’ll want to have some things that kids can do quietly to save all your sanity and learn how to keep your kid entertained for hours!
My favorites indoor games for kids include:
- Clay and clay sets
- LEGO bricks
- Craft sets
- Activity books
- Drawing or painting
- Sticker by number books
Don’t forget about inside activities for toddlers too if you have little ones!
How to entertain toddlers at home:
Also, don’t forget about subscription boxes!
Subscription boxes are a great way to learn a variety of topics while building and creating. And, the great thing about this is that most subscription boxes have a buy and try, meaning you can try the first box for a discounted price and then cancel the subscription if you don’t like it!
And, the cheap price on the first box (especially during sales) means you can try a few boxes for a discounted price!
You may also find sensory toys or fidget toys helpful in reducing anxiety for all of you during this time!
(These are also great ideas of what to do when your stuck in your room!)
If you are stuck at home but still have electricity, you should spend some time cooking and baking.
Cooking or baking favorite foods is not only comforting during stressful times, but cooking/baking is also a great way for kids to learn.
- & MORE!
8. Use tech to connect.
In emergency situations, stress levels are higher and you need things to do when stuck at home to reduce that.
During this time, relax your strict rules and allow a little more technology and TV usage than normal.
(It’s OK! I promise!)
Allow kids to play video games.
Lift limits on television watching (or movie watching on tablets) and find some fun (educational and non-educational) things to watch together.
Allow them to text, FaceTime and talk to their friends! (Find some cool ways to connect here!)
9. Get out of the house.
Being stuck at home doesn’t always mean stuck in the house. If it’s safe during your stuck-at-home emergency, spend some time outdoors.
Take a hike. (Read these tips first!)
Build a snowman or make mud pies.
Enjoy some outdoor sports or a game of tag.
Read in the sun.
Do a nature scavenger hunt (grab this free printable first!).
Make chalk art on the sidewalk or balcony.
And, just enjoy the fresh air!
(And, these tips even work as fun things to do when your stuck at home with a friend!)
Now you don’t have to worry about what can kids do when they are bored in the winter or when you’re stuck at home during an emergency.
REMEMBER: The important thing about emergencies is start preparing NOW, before the emergency strikes!
What did we miss in our stuck at home emergency tips?