Kid Powered Indoor Play Activities


By: Jennifer Stein

Jennifer is a communications expert, active play enthusiast, and proud mom to two.

“I know it is wet and the sun is not sunny, but we can have lots of good fun that is funny.”  -Dr. Seuss

Turn off the TV, don’t reach for the tablet- we have some fun activities that are completely kid powered and will keep them engaged for hours!

Sometimes all you need is a simple invitation or play prompt to get your kids’ imaginations geared up and ready to play – and we are here to help with that! All these activities are super easy to set up and all the materials are most likely in your home already.

Fort Building

Let’s be honest, both kids and adults, love forts and building one together is a great way to bond with your child and have a little fun yourself!

First, look for an area where there are items that can support the weight of your sheet and blanket architecture, such as chairs, a table or the couch to hold up the fort. Once your fort is constructed, fill it with some pillows and more blankets to make it cozy.

Now your kids can decide what they want to bring into the fort. My kids like to bring books, board games, flashlights, and their favorite toys inside and will play in there for hours. It becomes their own little space where they make up games and tell stories to each other.

Box of Scraps

 If you don’t already save your scraps from previous craft projects – you should start now! I saw this idea a while back and it has been a to-go at my house. As soon as I hear the words “I’m Bored” I will break out this box filled with scraps, hand them glue sticks and construction paper, and let them have at it. You will love seeing the designs they come up with. This activity will keep them engaged and is a great way for them to explore their creative side and practice their fine motor skills.

Shoebox Craft

Shoeboxes are the perfect size for all kinds of fun projects – and they’re pretty durable too. So, before you toss that shoebox in the trash, why not try this activity out first.

Do you remember having a diorama project when you were in school? This is similar! Have your child create their own little story-telling scene. All you need is a shoebox, a little imagination, and some basic craft supplies; glue, construction paper, scissors, markers, or crayons – to get you started.

My daughter created a butterfly box, and she did have an entire story to go along with it. She didn’t know it, but by creating her themed box and telling me a story about it she was improving her creative thinking, developing language skills and presentation skills – she just thought she was playing!

You can find some more ideas for shoebox crafting and design examples here to get your creative juices flowing.

Cardboard Box Fun

Do you know how many amazing crafts and toys you can make with cardboard boxes?  Big or small, you can use them all – the possibilities are endless! I was inspired to try some carboard box crafting with my kids after seeing some pretty awesome ideas on Pinterest.

My son loves cars, so we put together a little car garage with ramps, and tunnels that he could push his cars down and through. It was constructed with cardboard boxes, tape (a lot of tape) and paper towel rolls. Let me tell you he played with this car garage for months!

For my daughter, who was obsessed with butterflies at the time, we made a ‘Butterfly light Catcher’. This was so cool. We cut cardboard out to make the butterfly body and wings. Then we cut out shapes in the wings and taped colored cellophane sheets over the cutouts. When the sun was shining again she had fun running around and playing with the shadows!


There are so many incredible benefits of painting for children, including development of motor control, eye-hand coordination, spatial attention, creativity and so much more – it would be a shame if you only painted when you were outdoors.

Painting indoors can be a little scary- impulsive children with paint around carpet and furniture… But painting indoors will help teach your children self-control, while teaching you some parent patience.

When painting indoors you will need:

  • Waterproof paints
  • Tablecloths to cover table and floor (I grab these at the Dollar Tree)
  • Smocks or old clothes – I will put my kids in old clothes that have already been stained with paint.
  • Paper towels for drying our brushes.
  • Paint trays or plastic plates work just as well (also from Dollar Tree)
  • Baby wipes – for quick clean ups
  • Something to paint.

You don’t always have to paint on paper or canvas. We live by the beach so we collect a lot of sea shells and my kids love to paint them. We have also painted rocks, jars, my son’s old toy cars, my daughter’s little ponies – see what you have around that might be fun to paint.

Color Scavenger Hunt

Send your kids on an adventure inside your house with a color scavenger hunt! This is a fun way to get them moving around while practicing sorting and organizing.

Grab some colored construction paper and put a few sheets on the floor; blue, purple, green and yellow for example. Then let your kids work together searching rooms for items that match each color.

OR… Switch it up and instead of working together you designate a color to each person playing and see how many items they can find that match their color in 5 minutes.

Being stuck indoors is an opportunity for both parents and kids to get creative. What are some of your favorite indoor play activities?