12 Games to Play Inside
Avoid cabin fever with these easy and fun indoor games
1. Have an indoor snowball fight. Fill kid socks with cotton balls, and then tie the tops so the "snow" doesn't fall out. Stash the faux snowballs around the house, and then set your littles on the loose! Don't feel like getting caught in the crossfire? Set a clear target. Cut different-sized holes in a giant piece of paper, giving each opening a different point value, and then hang it up for target practice.
2. Make DIY ice cream. Missing summer? Turn up the heat and make sundaes with this easy recipe (no ice cream maker required!)
½ cup milk
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup rock salt (also sold as "ice cream salt")
one sandwich-size zippered plastic bag
one gallon-size zippered plastic bag
Place milk, sugar and vanilla in the sandwich-size bag; squeeze out the air and zip it shut. Place salt and ice in the gallon-size bag. Then place the bag with the milk, sugar and vanilla inside the bigger bag. Seal it all shut. Have your kids shake the bag for 15 minutes. Stir in add-ins of your choice (chocolate chips or strawberries) before serving.
3. Try a coloring challenge. If your kids get bored with their crayons two seconds after pulling them out, make it more exciting by telling them they can only color blindfolded or using their non-writing hand -- or even their elbows and toes. Give them specific ideas to draw so they have to focus, like a portrait of the family pet.
4. Turn the tub into an island. If the sub-zero temps are bumming you out-make the bathtub into a tropical oasis. Put your kiddo in her bathing suit (sunglasses fully acceptable!) and run a bubble bath. Give her some beach and bath toys, turn up the tunes and it's a beach party.
5. Set up a mini ice rink. Fill a baking sheet with water and freeze it. Tell your child to gather all of her favorite playset figures because they're going on a winter adventure. Pull out the frozen sheet of ice and let her skate them around. Another idea: Use markers to draw different colored circles on the ice. Kids over three can try using a small game piece to see if they can slide it into the colored zones.
6. Paint with water. Lay down a piece of cardboard for this truly no-mess activity. Then fill a bowl with water, arm your kid with a paintbrush, and let him paint away. He's sure to be mesmerized watching his water drawings disappear!
7. Set up a streamer maze. In a hallway, tape some brightly-colored paper streamers at different heights and from wall to wall and pretend they're laser beams! Have your kids try to move through without touching anything.
8. Turn the living room into a carnival. Set up a few stations of different games that your kids can rotate through. Some of our favorites: Laundry Basket Ball (line up laundry baskets for your minis to throw balls into-each basket is worth a different set of points) or Bean Bag Toss (set up a pyramid of plastic cups and have your kids try to knock them down.
9. Think big. Make traditional games more exciting by turning them into life-size versions. Mark a tic-tac-toe game board off on the floor using painter's tape, for example. For the pieces, draw giant X's and O's on paper plates. Another easy option: Have kiddos draw the same image on two plates and play a memory game.
10. Spin the cube. For a constant source of what-are-we-going-to-do-now inspiration, tape up a medium-size box so it looks like a giant die. On all the sides, write down an activity. It could be anything from hopping like a frog 30 times to finding three things that start with a certain letter.
11. Set up a self-portrait session. Pull out a stack of magazines and have each kid cut out pictures they can use to glue together a self-portrait. If they get their project done in record time, suggest they also do one of other family members.
12. Turn TV watching into exercise. If you're all huddled together watching Thomas & Friends™, tell everyone that their goal is to do five jumping jacks every time Sir Topham Hatt comes on or when Gordon starts bragging.