January is not only the start of a new year, but the start of the coldest month of the year. This is the time that coats, mittens, and hats are a must (and sometimes not enough). This is the time of year that we utilize the local art museum, Gymboree, and Chick-Fil-A play areas more than ever. This is the time of year that we start to lose our minds after being stuck in the house with the tiny army we created, desperately trying to keep them entertained, without turning on Disney Jr. This is the time of year that I put on my creative former-teacher hat and start brainstorming super simple, inexpensive, quick, indoor play activities for kids, and I cannot wait to share them with you!
Whether I need to entertain my daughter because we’ve been trapped in the house all day, or simply because I need to make dinner, I try to use a few simple objects I already have lying around to make an activity that will keep her busy and happy (even if just for 15 minutes!). You’ll be surprised how simple it can be to whip a new game or craft with the junk you already have lying around the house. Here are 10 simple indoor play ideas that I love to use!
1. Bubble Wrap Track: Save some of that bubble wrap from your Amazon Prime packaging. Lay it on the floor, tape down the two ends, and let your little ones run and jump down the track over and over and over again.
2. Ziploc Painting: Put a few squirts of paint in a gallon-sized Ziploc. Tape it to a window or on the table with a sheet of white paper underneath. Voila! Mess free finger-painting!
3. Step Counting: This could be as simple as walking up and down the stairs while counting. However, if you’re feeling ambitious, then take some contact paper, write numbers with sharpies or paint pens, peel it off, and stick it to your steps. My toddler LOVES stepping on the numbers and counting EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
4. Noodle Drop: Take some dry pasta and any container with a small opening at the top. Your child can have fun counting, dropping, and cleaning up all the spilled noodles for as long as they please.
5. Shape Jumping: This is another great use of contact paper. I simply drew several shapes on the paper, peeled it off, and stuck it on the floor. Sometimes I call out shapes for my toddler to jump/march/tap/run/sit on or sometimes she just does it all by herself. You could also stick these to the wall and have them touch the shapes with their hands.
6. Laundry Ball: My little girl and I really get into this game. We gather up several different sized balls, the laundry basket, and a bath mat. Then, I remind her that she must keep her feet on the mat while she throws the balls into the basket. Honestly, she loves running back and forth getting the balls from the basket just as much as she loves throwing them.
7. Dance party: I like to keep some background noise on while we are in the house, which means I often, almost always, have Pandora playing. At some point, a dance party always starts. It’s a little tiring, but I must admit that I love when my toddler grabs my hand and says “dance mama dance!”
8. Cup Stacking: It doesn’t get any easier than this. Hand your kid a stack of those old solo red cups and let the stacking and castle building commence!
9. Create a Town. This one works best if you’ve already got some toy cars and people lying around. I grabbed some leftover brown paper from yet another Amazon Prime package, drew a little town, taped the ends down, and let her imagination takeover.
10. Cotton Ball Painting: Add some washable paint to a cupcake tin, dip a cotton ball in each section, tape some paper down, and let your kid to paint using the dipped cotton balls. I added contact paper under the tin in order to make clean-up a bit easier. I also happened to have some large balls leftover from a different project, but regular sized cotton balls will work too!
P.S. I used the finished piece to wrap a gift for a friend and it turned out adorable!
Try these 10 simple indoor play ideas at home and let us know what you think!