It’s a feeling every parent knows too well: it’s raining outside, the car is in the shop, and the kids are bored. Keeping children entertained indoors without increasing screen time is one of today’s biggest parenting challenges. The following six activities are tried and tested ways of entertaining your kids at home.
1. Build a Fort
This one is a time-honored favorite, and if you ever built a fort yourself you’ll know why. It’s the most simple game to play with children. You can start classic—using pillows, armchair cushions, and sheets—and throw more complicated stuff in along the way, or invent a compelling story like Cops and Robbers to keep your kids really entertained.
2. Race Boats
If you’re not afraid of making a bit of a mess, you could always race boats. Fill up a bathroom basin, kitchen sink or a bathtub with water and get those toy boats on the water. It could be fun if you’ve got a small, handheld fan to help propel the boats, but the children might enjoy it even more if they get to make the waves themselves.
3. Play Music
Music is a great diversion for unruly and restless children at the best of times, but have you considered making the music yourself instead of playing it on a device? If you have any ability at all with a musical instrument your kids will love hearing it, and if they get a chance to play too it will be even more rewarding. And even if you’re not musical yourself, encouraging it in your children is never a bad idea.
4. Puppet Theater
Children love drama, so what better way to fight the boredom of a rainy afternoon with some makeshift theatre using puppets? You can buy a puppet theatre set in a toy shop or online, but if you really want to get the little ones involved then making them at home is far better. In fact, just making the puppet theater set itself will probably take up an entire rainy day. After that, you’ll have one ready to go for the next time you’re all stuck inside.
5. Board Games
In a world of games consoles and video streaming these have fallen out of favor slightly, but it’s worth remembering that board games have survived this long for a reason. For younger children, you could try Snakes and Ladders or Hungry Hungry Hippo, while there’s always the possibility of introducing more adult-level classics like Cluedo for older kids.
6. Arts and Crafts
Young ones get to do a lot of this in school, but the novelty of doing it at home with you is sure to hold your kids’ interest for a while. Break out the craft paper and the glitter, and your children will soon forget all about the downpour outside.
Of course, entertaining children is one of the hardest jobs in the world and they can get bored easily. Try to keep things fresh and fun, and remember to enjoy yourself too.