When activities and even school (eek)!) are cancelled, my first reaction is often panic. How am I going to fill all of those hours at home without resorting to screen time? But after taking a deep breath and an even bigger sip of strong coffee, I realized there are loads of great creative activities to do with the kids that don’t involve special materials or a trip anywhere except for their imaginations. I always feel good about helping their creativity thrive and the kids always remember the awesome times. Plus, at the end of it all, I feel like I’ve really earned that glass of wine in front of the fireplace.
Here are my go-to awesome indoor activities to do with the kids.
Write a Song
They’re always belting out a tune and dancing up and down the stairs, plus they worship the younger musicians. Funnel that adoration into a creative outlet and set up a song-writing studio. Be there to provide keyboard or guitar accompaniment or even just drum out a beat on a bucket.
We can make some pretty neat things by folding paper. Online tutorials abound, and you can assist in creating mini paper houses, boxes, cranes and more.
Create an Outline for a TV Series
They love Teen Titans Go, and the only career you can see them embracing is the director or animator of a TV series. Get them cracking early by creating an outline for their own TV series. Help them develop characters, names, personalities and a plot. They could be behind the camera at YTV in no time.
Style Each Other’s Hair
Haul out the mousse, gel and hair spray and open a kids’ salon. Mohawks, updo’s curls, beachy waves—everything is on the menu. You can be the stylist or the kids can work their magic on each other. At the end of it all? A nice long bubble bath or shower to wash out the gunk.
Learn String Games
All you need is a piece of string and a tutorial on string figures and games. Kids are surprisingly adept and intrigued by developing string figures and adding movement or variations. Added bonus? It’s good for fine motor skills.
Create a Map of a World
Set out the markers and paper and have the kiddos each develop a map of a make-believe world. Ask for a minimum of five colours, ten place names or provinces labelled, and a legend of ten items. Encourage creativity in naming the country and provinces. After they are done, have them present their worlds and ask them where in that country they would most like to live and why.
Develop a Scavenger Hunt
They adore scavenger hunts, so why not help them create their own? Older kids can craft the clues and hiding spots on their own for the other children. Younger kids can come up with the hiding ideas while you assist with words, or make it a pictorial hunt. Prizes can be chocolate chips or hand-painted pictures.
Design a Tree House
Encourage eco-design by asking them to design their dream tree house. Provide magazines so that they can cut out photos or images, have a discussion about green and sustainable design, and encourage quirkiness! Do they want a bouncy castle for a bed in their dream tree house? Done! A hammock on a balcony? Why not? They could become the great eco-architects of our times.
Build a Superhero out of Recycling Materials
In our home, Super-Mega-Bunny is made out of a motley assortment of materials found in the recycling bin. Paper towel tubes, clean yogurt containers and even the inevitable plastic water bottle or two gave rise to a pretty rockin’ bunny on a mission. Raid the blue box and help the kiddos design a super hero for our times.
Bake Cookies Without a Recipe
Let them loose in the kitchen…without a recipe. I like to be there to keep things somewhat under control and avoid an inedible mess (i.e., no ketchup allowed). But with a few basics, they’re bound to produce something halfway decent. Just make sure that some baking powder, soda, oil, and egg get in there and it will be good. Especially when chocolate chips are involved.
We’ve got phones, and we maybe even have a digital SLR or point-and-shoot camera kicking around somewhere. Turn the kids into photographers and encourage them to take interesting photos. People, objects, different angles—they’re all fair game. Bonus: if you get some good snaps, print and frame a few to hang in their rooms for a personal touch.
So there you have it—some fun, creative, and giggle-inducing activities to while away the snow day and make awesome memories.