Whether the rain is pouring down from the sky or you just have a weekend without any plans, there are plenty of fun ways to keep the whole family entertained while stuck inside. Having a blast indoors doesn’t have to mean a big expense, and many of the following suggestions are perfect for both kids and adults. Keep your little (and big) ones busy with some of our favorite DIY indoor activities.
Start An Herb Garden
Any time is a good time to start an indoor herb garden. If it’s raining, though, it’s best to leave the outside digging for another day. Instead, start an edible kitchen garden in the comfort of your own home.
All you need is a packet of seeds, some soil, and a bit of patience. If starting from seed sounds intimidating, purchase starts instead (many grocery stores have small potted herb plants in their produce sections). Then spend an afternoon potting-up starts in larger, roomier containers, and craft some handmade plant markers together.
Repurpose Store-Bought Produce
For a gardening experience that’s more akin to a science project, try sprouting vegetables from the supermarket with just a bit of water. Want to try growing a tree? Don’t throw away that avocado pit! Try to sprout it instead.
Try An Online Escape Room
A librarian from Pittsburgh created this amazing Hogwarts-themed online escape room. It can be done solo or as a group. It’s a unique activity for the whole family and suitable for kids and adults. Who wouldn’t want to visit Hogwarts?
This creative activity is meant for kids, but honestly, I could see my adult friends and me having a blast with it. Think of the laughs that would be had! The effort for setup is minimal, and it can be used along with other obstacle course stations to form a longer event.
Learn The Art Of Origami
For a quieter, calmer activity, consider heading to the kitchen table to learn the art of origami. This careful paper folding art requires plenty of focus and is a great way to calm heightened nerves.
Grab a few mixing bowls and preheat the oven for an afternoon of baking. Choose a few kid-friendly recipes to get started and increase the level of difficulty every time you bust out the baking tools. Use the time to teach your little ones about oven safety, the science of baking, and recipe reading.
For older kids and adults, this Lego challenge is a great way to fight boredom when stuck inside. If you’ve got a bin full of Legos and are looking for something to do on a dreary, gloomy day, this game will be a surefire hit.
Family Game Night
Open up the board game cabinet and play those games you haven’t had a chance to try. Learning the rules to new board games can be a challenge, but a rainy day is a perfect time to give that shiny new game a chance. It might become a family favorite!
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If you don’t have a slew of board games at your disposal, fall back on classics like charades and Pictionary. If you want to get other family members in on the fun, here are a few games you can play over Zoom or other video conferencing software.
A Road Made Of Tape
If you need an idea to keep your kids busy, try this painter’s tape idea from Hands on as We Grow. Keep it simple or go for an intricate design — the choice is yours! And the best part? Cleanup is super easy.
Homemade Play Dough
This uber soft homemade play dough is easy to make with things you may already have on hand in the pantry. It makes enough dough for several children, and the base recipe can be customized with the addition of dyes or essential oils.
Create An Art Gallery
Let your child unleash their inner artist and create a series of paintings and drawings for a window art gallery. I bet on sunnier days it’ll make passers-by smile.
Bust Out The Playing Cards
Learn (or relearn) the rules to classic card games. There are so many options. From kid-friendly games like go fish to more complicated ones like euchre.
At-Home Spa Day
Have older kids who are starting to go bonkers cooped up inside? Treat them — and yourself — to an at-home spa day. Create homemade masks, paint each other’s nails (pick fun colors of course), and enjoy homemade gourmet treats (like the ones you baked yesterday during your afternoon baking extravaganza).
You shouldn’t feel the need to make everything educational while you and your kids are stuck indoors, but just because something is informative doesn’t mean it’s not really cool. Tune into the California Science Center website on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. for a live stream video of a science-related activity.
A classic movie night is a surefire way to keep everyone busy and out of trouble. Can’t find a movie that everyone agrees on? Pair fresh-popped popcorn with a series of funny animal videos for a laugh of a time.
Tin Can Bowling
Tin can bowling is super affordable and a great DIY indoor activity for kids and adults alike. Plus, who doesn’t have some recycled cans laying around?
Virtual Museum Visit
Did you know that various museums offer virtual tours? You don’t need to leave your couch to learn about art or space travel. Want to learn about dinosaurs? The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History has online tours available on their website.
Find prompts online or come up with some yourself and get the creative juices flowing. Gather the whole family for a creative writing session and share your finished product with each other. It’s an educational exercise that also promotes family bonding. Our friends at DraftSparks have assembled an enormous database of fun writing prompts including fiction, non-fiction, journaling, and poetry.
There are SO MANY crafts ideas online. A quick search on our sister site, Crafting a Green World, will yield thousands of results. But sticking to specific crafting tutorials can be a bit restrictive, especially if you’re not able to hit the art store for supplies. Instead, take out the crafting supplies you have on hand and go wild. Have a freeform crafting day where there are no rules.
In lieu of face-to-face playdates, set up a virtual meeting where kids can hang out with their friends, and you can connect with parents who might also be struggling to cope with isolation.
Go To The Zoo … Virtually
Hop on a computer and visit the Penguins at the San Diego Zoo. The livestream brings the zoo’s flock of African penguins into your living room. If there’s nothing going on there, try checking out one of the other live-stream zoo exhibits listed at Bird Watching HQ.
Create A Time Capsule
Take advantage of the time together to build a family time capsule. Ask each child to include a few memories and on a sunnier day, head outside to bury it.
Go To The Library (Online)
Most library systems have online resources and catalog items available online. Use your tablet, e-reader, or computer to access titles virtually.
Chat With A Real Scientist
You’ll need to sign up for this (and fingers crossed that you find a suitable time slot) but it’s a really neat initiative. Talk to a scientist via Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Skype and get your questions answered. It’s not just for kids.
Feeling on edge? Whip out an adult coloring book and join your kids in an afternoon of colorful meditation. It’s a soothing activity that’s sure to lower your blood pressure.
Host A Family Trivia Night
Come up with age-appropriate questions for your family unit and challenge one another to a trivia showdown. If coming up with questions sounds like way too much work, try searching for ideas online or use questions from a box of Trivial Pursuit.
Is the noise level getting to you? Are your kids bouncing off the walls? Are your teens feeling anxious and stressed about staying inside? Have a family meditation session. Taken seriously, meditation promotes calm and reduces anxiety. On the flip side, if it turns awkward, you might all end up laughing with one another.
Stick to your weekday fitness schedule by including your kids while they’re home from school. Instead of a complicated, overly bendy session, follow a kid-friendly routine.
Take A Trip To Space
Thanks to Google and Nasa, it’s possible to visit Mars from right inside your home. Show kids the wonders of outer space with this cool virtual experience.
Learn To Code
Are you running out of things for your kids to do? Coding is an engaging activity that requires plenty of time and focus. It’s also a useful skill that has plenty of real-world applications.
Play Minute To Win It Style Games
I’ve spent the last few Christmases organizing group games for my family to enjoy. It keeps everyone happy and entertained. It also gives us a chance to digest our food before we go in for dessert.
Almost all the games I’ve organized throughout the years require very little in terms of equipment, and often I used what I had on hand at home. These games are fun for big families stuck inside and ignite a competitive spirit that burns a whole lot of energy.
Have Fun With Your Google Home Or Alexa Device
Your home assistant isn’t just useful for converting recipe measurements and telling you the weather, it’s also a source of fun and games. Your Google Home can play games and provide you with educational content. Alexa also has a list of available commands that trigger game-like interactions.
Make Homemade Ice Cream
You’ll need a few ingredients for this, but it’s well worth it. Get out the ice cream maker that’s been sitting in your cupboard and challenge your kids to come up with their own ice cream flavors.
Hang Out With Bear Grylls
In partnership with Scouts UK, outdoor adventurer Bear Grylls has launched an incredible list of adventure-based games for children. Ideas range from nature-minded crafts to observation-oriented journaling.
Camp In The Backyard
Camping in a park may be out of the question, so why not set up a tent right in the yard? Make it a weekend event for the whole family. Gaze at the stars, use your patio fire pit to build a campfire, and tell stories as you melt s’mores.