Spring is a joyous occasion for most parents. It often comes just as extreme “cabin fever” is setting in, and the opportunity to send the kids outdoors to play is welcomed with open arms. Unfortunately, spring in Calgary doesn’t always mean the weather is good enough to go outside. So, when you’re still stuck inside after months of winter, try some of these fun indoor activities that will keep the kids entertained.
Make a Spider Web With Tape
This is a great activity to incorporate movement and imagination. Set up a giant spider web-inspired design out of masking tape (painter’s tape or duct tape work, too) across a door-frame, opening, or other space in your house where nothing can get broken. Have the kids throw balls of newspaper at the web. They will love to see how they get stuck, just like flies in a real web. Try making it a game with points awarded to whoever gets the most stuck. Or, try using different small, light objects and have them guess which will stick and which won’t. Check it out here!
Make a “Laser” Web With String
I have done this activity with several children, and it always brings hours of entertainment. Use any type of yarn (how much you will need depends on how big the course is) and create a mission impossible-type course by wrapping the yarn around objects and furniture in the room, or tying ends to door handles. Create a maze of yarn, and make believe with your child that they are laser beams; watch as they have to manoeuvre themselves over and under to get to the other side. Provide a prize or treat at the end to make it more exciting. The best part is, no two laser courses are the same – try creating ones in different rooms or the backyard. Check it out here!
Make an Indoor Obstacle Course
Similar to the laser course, this activity uses items you have around the house to get kids up and moving around. Pick a space in your house where nothing can get damaged, and use laundry baskets, towels, tape, plastic cups, coloured paper or other household items to create an up and over, around and under, in and out, obstacle course inside your house.
One of my favourite books has always been Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin and John Archambaul. I used to read this story all the time when I worked as a preschool teacher, and it inspired one of the best rainy-day activities I have ever done. I had every child colour a pre-cut letter from the alphabet. They also practised writing the letter and coming up with words that started with their assigned letter. When all the letters were coloured, we read the book together and each child got to place their letter on a giant paper tree on the wall. The kids loved this because it made the storybook come alive in their classroom. Use your child’s favourite story to inspire a fun craft or activity. Illustrate your own story. Have your child tell you a story, or help them come up with one, and write it down on several pieces of paper for them; then let them draw a picture to go with each page of writing. When they are done, bind the pages together with a staple or some yarn and they have created their very own picture book.
DIY I-Spy Bottle
Use any see-through bottle you have, fill it with rice and several small objects like: dice, coloured beads, stickers, barrettes. Remember to hot glue the top shut so it doesn’t come open. Give your children a list of things to find in the bottle. They will have to shake it and move it to spot each item. Check it out here!
Indoor Water Table
If you can brave the possible mess, find a large tub and fill it with water. Have your child sit with the water tub on the table to play. Add soap for bubbles, or cars and make a car wash, use different kitchen items like funnels or measuring cups for added fun. Instead of water use sand, rice, or beans to add a different sensory element to the play.
Simon Says, Draw!
A twist on an old favourite game. Have your child sit with paper and crayons, but they can only draw what you tell them too. Use easy commands like “Simon says draw a blue circle,” for younger children and more complicated ones for older children.
Spread out a tablecloth or sheet on the kitchen or living room floor, and enjoy a picnic with your child. Kids will enjoy the change in routine and it will become special thing to do with them.
Baking With Kids
Find a favourite recipe on-line, or let your child pick out a recipe from a children’s cookbook. Use this time to make something you’ve never tried before.