30 Best Indoor Activities for Kids at Home


HomeHome / Blog / 30 Best Indoor Activities for Kids at Home

May 23, 2023

30 Best Indoor Activities for Kids at Home

These mostly free, extremely entertaining activities will keep kids occupied on

These mostly free, extremely entertaining activities will keep kids occupied on days you have to stay inside.

Inside days are bound to happen. Whether they're because the storm clouds rolled in, the school closed unexpectedly or you just couldn't get it together to head out into the world, there will be times when you'll be home all day. But that doesn't mean you'll have to succumb to a kid chorus of "I'm bored," or, worse, send them off to their rooms with their tablets.

Indoor days can be just as fun as the get-up-and-go ones, with a little planning and preparation. (First decision: Will you make your family get dressed, or will you just lean into it and declare it Pajama Day? Our vote: If you have matching family jams, these are the days to break them out.)

These are the some of the most fun indoor activities for kids. Some of them are learning and science-based activities designed to give their brains a workout. Others are designed to get their bodies moving, so they can still use up their energy even if they can't run around outside. Some of the diversions are appropriate indoor toddler pursuits, while others are geared toward bigger kids or even teens and tweens. There are ideas for budding chefs, future artists and even performers, too. Stock up on the materials now — though you might have what you need lying around the house already — and you'll never dread an indoor day again.

Time to bring out all your markers, glue, paint, paper places, and whatever other odds and ends you have around the house and let the kids go to town. When you're done, take the 2D works of art and hang them from string or baker's twine with clothespins, display the 3D works on shelves, and host your own pop-up art gallery.

See ideas for 40 fun crafts for kids to try »

You don't even need empty planters to get the garden growing — an old egg carton will do the trick at first. To make it more of STEM activity, give kids journals so they can take notes on what they've planted and keep track of their garden's progress.

They can even draw the heights of their seedlings as they grow. Bonus: Plant basil seeds or other herbs, and you'll have delicious ingredients for a cooking project. (Tip: If you don't want to go the DIY route, Creativity for Kids offers kits for growing sunflowers or a pizza garden that have all the materials you need.)

It's the oldest idea in the book, but if you really want some screen-free family time, old-fashioned board games still do the trick. Get your competitive spirit up and get ready to play.

See our picks for best family board games »

You might not have made a friendship bracelet since your summer-camp days, but the craft is back and hotter than ever. Break out those embroidery threads and teach your kids the art of making stripes, chevrons and spiral staircases. You can get a kit that'll help you make intricate patterns, or just do it the old-fashioned way.

Get the instructions for 20 different friendship bracelet patterns »

Indoor days are the perfect time to try and get creative in the kitchen. Whip up some kind of make-your-own dessert bar by putting out toppings (frosting, sprinkles, M&Ms, etc.) that kids can add to either a cupcake or ice cream sundae.

See 45 different cupcake recipes »

This activity is great for young ones working on their gross motor coordination or older ones who might need to get some energy out. Set up an obstacle course in as many rooms of the house as you dare.

Cardboard boxes can transform into tunnels to crawl through. You can tie strings around furniture and pretend that they're laser beams that kids have to step over or crawl under. (Pool noodles also work.) And you can use indoor stepping stones, pillows or cushions and invoke The Floor Is Lava rules. See who in the family has the fastest time getting through the obstacles, and then see if anyone can break the record.


Whether it's forts made of blankets and pillows or pop-up tents, you can approximate the camping experience without having to deal with mosquitoes or mud. Don't forget to make s'mores (or at least pretend to make s'mores with Fisher-Price's pretend camping set).

See 14 s'mores recipes »

Pretending the day away not only a method to fill an indoor afternoon — it's essential for kids to flex their imaginations.

"Play is important because it's a laboratory for children to learn, explore and process the world around them, which can feel so overwhelming," Rebecca Schrag Hershberg, a clinical psychologist and parenting coach at Little House Calls, told the Good Housekeeping Parenting Summit. "It's a chance for them to experiment with relationships and concepts that they're curious about."

Pretend play, especially, helps kids with the development of self-control, self-regulation and social-emotional skills. So, set up an imaginary store, put out a pretend tea party, attend a fake school, transform into super heroes, act out your favorite fairy tales or enter into a new world of their own making. They'll be better off for it.

Jigsaw puzzles are great because everyone can do them on their own schedules — just leave one out on the table, and the family can float by and try to fit in a few new pieces whenever they have a few minutes to spare. Plus, studies show that puzzles improve collaboration and cooperation skills.

See some of our favorite puzzles »

Then spend the day inside it reading, snoozing or having snacks. If you really want to take your structures to the next level, Crazy Forts is a set of rods and connectors that let you build higher, more intricate works of architecture. You can either use them for buildings of your own imagination, or use their guides to domes, castles and rockets. You just have to put your own sheets over the rods. It even glows in the dark!


You can do a ton of at-home science experiments with very little prep and set-up, often with items you can just grab from around the house. For example, if you sit a "cloud" of shaving cream on top of a jar of water, then add drops of blue water one-at-a-time, when the "cloud" becomes saturated, you get blue rain — and the water cycle in a jar. (Good Housekeeping Amazing Science book offers even more at-home ideas.)

Hey, they need to move their little bodies even if they can't go to the playground. Choose a playlist together, blast the music, and let them shake the sillies out.

See the 15 best dance songs for kids »

It's easy to rig up an indoor finding game. You could come up with scavenger hunt-style list of items your child has to find all over the house, or put together a series of clues that lead to one big prize at the end. On Etsy, you can find customizable clue cards that you fill in and print yourself.


Get more ideas for scavenger hunt themes »

Yoga is another indoor activity that gets the body moving. If you don't have your own favorite routine, Cosmic Kids Yoga on YouTube has "Yoga Adventures" that incorporate kids' favorite characters like Anna and Elsa from Frozen, Pokémon, Sonic the Hedgehog and Harry Potter.

Learn more about Cosmic Kids Yoga »

Take out your old makeup, nail polishes and hairbrushes, and "experiment" with a new style. If you really want a laugh, take a page from the internet and do it ... without looking! (Search for "blindfolded makeup challenge" for examples of the hilarious results.)

See the our picks for the best non-toxic nail polishes »

Or a storage room, or a toy chest, or anywhere else that clutter has been accumulating. They may balk at first, but on an indoor day, you'll have a captive audience — and then they just might get into it. Put out three boxes: one for items to keep, one for items to toss and one for items to donate. In the end, they might feel good knowing that some of the stuff they don't use anymore will get a second life in a new home.

Learn about the best places to donate toys »

Otherwise known as indoor activities that make kids go, "Hmmm." You can buy a book of kids' brain teasers to keep in a drawer and deploy as needed, or try to untangle some of the most head-scratching problems that have made their way around the internet.

See 12 viral brain teasers that have made the rounds online »

Get the whole family in the kitchen, whipping up an all-you-can-eat brunch. If you're stumped for breakfast recipes, Good Housekeeping 123 Cook! has recipes that chefs as young as 4 can help make, including the beaver pancakes pictured here. In addition, it's got recipes for "Ooey-Gooey Cinnamon Rolls," "Challah If You Love French Toast," "Chocolate Chip Pum-Kid Bread," "Egg-stremely Cheesy Sammies" and many more.

BUY Good Housekeeping 123 Cook!

We think of reading as a solitary pursuit, but the truth is some kids never get too old to find pleasure in being read to. Whether it's the Runaway Bunny or Lord of the Rings, snuggle up on the couch together for a read-a-thon.

See the winners of GH's Kids' Book Awards »

If you don't have the time to read out loud to your own kids, let someone else do it for you with a great audiobook. The Hobbit narrator Rob Inglis probably does a better job of coming up with different voices than you could, anyway. Podcasts work, too!


Get recommendations for the best podcasts for kids »

Marisa (she/her) has covered all things parenting, from the postpartum period through the empty nest, for Good Housekeeping since 2018; she previously wrote about parents and families at Parents and Working Mother. She lives with her husband and daughter in Brooklyn, where she can be found dominating the audio round at her local bar trivia night or tweeting about movies.

The Best "Dad" Jokes for Corny Parents

Top Japanese Baby Names for All Genders

150 Popular Gender-Neutral Baby Names

200 Amazing Indian Baby Boy Names

Parents Are Being Asked to Substitute Teach

The 1,000 Most Popular Baby Boy Names Right Now

The 1,000 Most Popular Baby Girl Names Right Now

These Are the 2023 Baby Boy Name Trends

These Trends Rule Over 2023 Baby Girl Names

Parents Should Buy Narcan for Their Teens

What Does It Mean to "Rust Out" as a Parent?

The Best Themes for a First Birthday Party

the most fun indoor activities for kids.