11 Ways To Entertain Young kids That You'll Love Too - Without Leaving The House Or Spending A Penny
You don't want to resort to plonking them in front of a DVD, but you're caught unprepared and need inspiration.
Don't worry: we've kindly scoured the internet, and help is at hand because there are LOTS of things you can do at home that will keep your little ones engaged and entertained crucially for FREE.
Here's our definitive round-down of the ten best indoor (and free!) activities that don't involve a singalong to your kids’ favourite movie score.
1. Room tidying competition
Yes, really! Tired of perpetually picking up after your kids? Get them to do it!
This is a mutually beneficial activity can actually be fun if approached in the right way. It also means your little ones get to make as much mess as they like beforehand.
2. Treasure hunt
Another great activity that taps into a child's curiosity and competitive streak. See above on how you can get them to clear up the mess they inevitably make. Realsimple have some lovely, simple pointers: "Make one set of clues for every player (try rhyming the clues for fun), each clue leading to the next one and, finally, to the treasure.
Seal them in envelopes marked with a clue number (i.e., 2/7, or “two of seven”); this will help the treasure hunters keep track. "
3. Create a family recipe book
If your bored bundles of joy love nothing more than trying to be helpful in the kitchen, this will be right up their street. With this activity you can be as simple or as fancy as you like, and even allow your budding cooks to concoct some recipes (you are under no obligation to actually cook and eat these though).
4. Indoor camping/den-making
Why should 20mm of rain dampen your love of the great outdoors? Chances are this is something YOU enjoyed as a child (and secretly still do, right?), so you can really get involved.
5. Pizza party
Another mutually beneficial activity where your kids get to be creative and you get to eat pizza. Win-win. Which means they'll be that little bit more proud of their finished product.
To make it an extra-special occasion, why not turn it into an indoor picnic?
6. King (or queen) for the day
Sometimes you need to relinquish control to stay in control. Please note, it is NOT advised doing this for more than a day at a time; it could develop competitiveness in your children and strain your relationship as they grow older.
This could make a good 'prize' or initiative for any games you've played with them.
7. 'What's on my bum?'
This is especially fun if your kids are easily amused. You’ll have to lie down for this one.
"You lie face down on the couch and try to guess what object your kiddo has perched on your tush. "'Is that a cement mixer on my bum?' Just getting to hear you say the word 'bum' is the best thing that'll happen to your kid all day."
8. Bake a batch of NAME PLACE cookies
Depending on your child's age and culinary abilities, the kitchen can be a mysterious, and often OFF LIMITS zone. Baking is a way of getting them into cooking, and getting dessert out of it.
There are all sorts of weird and wonderful takes on the humble cookie recipe out there.
9. Make a magazine or newspaper
Don't worry if you don't keep old copies around the house. You can also give your kids a list of fun topics, scenarios and characters to cover which they have to illustrate.
If you do have old magazines and newspapers, Netmums have an original take on this activity which will make it a little more interesting
10. Bath time boat regatta
There’s much more to bath time than just getting clean.
Spend some time making boats together using empty margarine or butter plastic tubs.
Then fill the bath half way up with warm water and have some fun racing boats or filling them with marbles to see how much weight they can take before they sink.
When you’re done, top the bath up and pop your child in. Bath time and playtime sorted in one go!
11. Playing the old man
This is another gem which crucially allows you to put your feet up for five minutes. Once you've got going, you can get your kids to take turns.
"I pretend that I'm a very old man who can't move and who has an important story to tell, but I can only remember the story by looking at various objects that the kids bring back to me.
"So I send them all over the house for things like scarves, stuffed animals, and whatnot.
"If you can spin a story, you'd be surprised how long you can keep them entertained running around the house."
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