Girl and boy playing in indoor bedroom fort

Top 20 Indoor Activities to Get Kids Up and Moving

  • Play isn’t all fun and games — it’s also an important teaching tool! Through play, kids learn how to interact with others and develop critical lifelong skills. These 6 benefits all play an important role in raising well-rounded children.

    • Physical
    • Emotional
    • Social
    • Cognitive
    • Creative
    • Communication

    Learn more about the benefits of play.

Being cooped up inside with the kids is no excuse not to have fun. No matter the reason for staying inside, there’s still plenty of fun ways to keep the kids active and entertained—and perhaps everyone from going too stir-crazy.

While it’s easy to come up with things to do on day one of staying indoors, if you are running out of ideas by day two, three, or more, check out our list below for 20 screen-free activities that offer completely kid-powered, easy, and engaging ways to play.

  1. Fort Building
    Readily available and guaranteed to deliver some well-padded play, pillows can be used in multiple ways. One of the most timeless indoor activities? Pillow forts, of course! Whether using couch components or ruffled, round, or ultra-plush pillows, building forts bolstered by furniture and covered in blankets can create a creative and cozy cavern for spurring a child’s imagination.

  2. Balloon Ball
    Looking for a wacky way to play ball in the house that won’t breaking any furniture or have the game end in bumps and tears? All you need is a balloon – a blow-up ball can work, too! Line up some pillows to act as a net, and you’re ready to go!

  3. Broccoli Trees
    Many kids can’t stand broccoli, no matter how many times you put it in front of them. So put their raw snack-time leftovers to another use. Dip a broccoli stem into brown paint, press it evenly onto a piece of paper, and boom– happy little trees that will have kids painting like Bob Ross. Let them express their creativity and complete their masterpieces by painting in flowers and foliage with fingers and brushes.

  4. Charades
    A classic game of charades is not only a silly way for kids to be expressive, but it’s also a quiet activity for indoor play that can go on for as little or as much time as you want. Charades gets kids up and moving while helping them become better communicators in a way that’s fun and interactive. Kids can even make up their own categories for the game in addition to the classics: TV shows, songs, sports, animals, professions, etc. All you need is a bit of imagination and a good hat or bowl for shuffling up your ideas to get started.

  5. Crafty Cards
    Card-giving is often associated just with special occasions and holidays. Make it an everyday affair and craft some homemade cards together that let kids feel special, through both giving and receiving. Let them customize the perfect card for friends, family, and even pets using stickers, stencils, markers, and more!

  6. Five Things
    Lists aren’t just for completing tasks or reminders. They can be an engaging way for kids to express their emotions, and let moms and dads know how they are feeling to start a bigger dialogue. Have kids make a list of five things that make them feel silly, angry, grown up, or anything they want.

  7. Housework Hustle
    Turn household chores into a dance party to clean it like you mean it. Dancing and singing together as kids straighten their rooms, put away their toys, make the beds, and more turns daily tasks into a fun and active bonding experience amongst families.

  8. Indoor Baseball
    Any season can be baseball season with a little creativity and the right supplies. Grab a cardboard tube from wrapping paper leftovers to use as a bat, blow up a balloon for a ball – an easier target for kids to hit, and start loading up the bases to play ball.

  9. Initial Game
    Have kids put their brains to work in this word game! Pick an easy five-letter word and write it vertical on a lined sheet of paper. Then select a category and give each child five minutes (or more for younger children) to write down as many words related to that category as they can, beginning with the letters in the vertical word. For example, if the category is animals, kids write one animal for each letter of the word. Score one point for each name the child comes up with; two points for each name no one repeats.

  10. Let’s Roll
    Help practice some big number counting with the roll of the dice. Roll dice and then let kids put the dice in order to make the highest number possible. You can even turn it into a game in which each child rolls and writes down his/her big number; The child with the highest number wins.

  11. Marshmallow Sculpture
    Don’t have any clay or compound on hand for your next art project? Marshmallows will do! Let your little Michelangelos connect toothpicks and marshmallows to “sculpt” their own one-of-a-kind work of art. With easy-to-use supplies, kids can either eat their art or disassemble the pieces and start again.

  12. Paper Pals
    Use those spare paper lunch bags to create a googly-eyed friend! Kids can use art supplies, such as construction paper, glue, markers, yarn, and more, to craft their own paper pal for future play!

  13. Polka Dot Slime
    Slime might be messy but it can provide hours of tactile, sensory play, so why not make your own? Fill a bowl with two bottles of glue and then add liquid starch by the tablespoon. Keep stirring between scoops until the slime is no longer sticking to the bowl or you. Customize your slime by adding pom poms for polka dots, food coloring in your favorite color, or even shaving cream to make your slime extra fluffy! A lot of slimes are made using borax, but not this one!

  14. Runway Ready
    Everyone wishes they could be someone else every once in a while, so why not let kids strut their stuff down their own catwalk. Let them raid the closet or a costume chest, apply masks or makeup, and transform into their favorite characters, walk the runway, or roleplay. You can even extend the play and make it a “guess who?” game where parents must guess who or what a kid is roleplaying.

  15. Self Portrait
    Have each child look in the mirror. Then, using paints, crayons, and markers, have kids create an artistic interpretation of their own faces. This activity not only lets kids flex their artistic muscles and get creative but also express their emotions and how they view themselves.

  16. Simon Says
    Choose one child as “Simon.” Simon then instructs the other kids to perform a physical action by saying, “Simon says…” For example, "Simon says touch your nose" or "Simon says shake like a leaf." Each child must perform the action. If Simon leaves out “Simon says” before giving instruction, anyone who performed the activity is out! This game not only helps develop kids’ communication skills but also helps them learn sequencing skills and how to follow directions.

  17. Sleeping Lions
    Designate one child as the “hunter.” Have all of the other children lie down on the floor in sleeping positions. Once they’re down, they can’t move. Have the designated “hunter” walk through the room and try to make the sleeping lions move by making them laugh, telling them jokes, and so on. BUT, the “hunter” can never touch the lions. Once a lion moves, they’re tapped and need to get up and join the hunters. The last child still on the floor wins!

  18. Straw Sculpture
    Straws are for more than sipping your favorite beverage. They can keep kids engaged for hours! Just cut the long end of each bendy straw about an inch from the bottom so they easily connect. Now have the kids connect the long part of one straw with the short part of another. Consider having the kids build a series of triangles that they can then tape together to make a large sculpture, like a geodesic dome (a structure that looks like half spheres made up of many triangle supports).

  19. Tape Tornado
    Put a 3-feet or longer (depending on child’s age) line of tape on the floor for each child playing. Be sure to leave a few feet of space between each payer. Drop a cotton ball or pom pom at the start of each player’s line. Give the ol’ “on your mark, get set … GO!” and have each child try and blow their cotton ball or pom pom to the end of their line – no touching! The first child to do so, wins.

  20. Two Truths & a Tale
    The first player (the oldest in the group) says three things about him/herself. Two are true, but one is not. The other players must hold up one, two or three fingers to indicate which of the three statements they think is untrue. The person who guesses correctly then takes a turn. If no one gets it right, the fibber goes again!

For more play tips and inspiration, visit

  • Play isn’t all fun and games — it’s also an important teaching tool! Through play, kids learn how to interact with others and develop critical lifelong skills. These 6 benefits all play an important role in raising well-rounded children.

    • Physical
    • Emotional
    • Social
    • Cognitive
    • Creative
    • Communication

    Learn more about the benefits of play.

More Expert Advice