Ten Ways to Tire Out the Littles Without Leaving the House

entertain kids with a ball pit

Baby it’s (still) cold outside. When playing outdoors isn’t an option — or you just don’t want to visit the trampoline park again because [insert any number of reasons] — what’s a mom to do with restless kiddos? With two preschoolers of my own, I have some ideas.

Here are ten ways to entertain kids and make your home a fun house for maximum energy expenditure so bedtime actually = sleep time/Mommy and Daddy time:

  1. Pillow fort– It’s the simple things, really. Couch cushions and all the throw pillows my husband said we didn’t need become a mountain, cave and all around pile of fun.
  2. “Snowball fight”– A tub of kid-safe faux snowballs won’t break the bank or your 4K OLED. Warning: You may enjoy these more than they do.
  3. Obstacle course – Create your own stations around the room(s), even label them with numbers or letters for educational value. Climb over pillows, crawl through a tunnel, shoot a basket, limbo under a broom, jump in a hoop, etc. — the possibilities are endless. You can even time the kids.
  4. Ball pit– Get your summer inflatable mini-pool on sale now and fill it with plastic balls for indoor use. I did this as a party game for our gumball-themed birthday bash last fall, and it’s been in use since. We even put the kiddie slide into it and voila!
  5. Charades– Guess what animal I am? You get the point.
  6. Dance party! – Nothing gets the G-rated party going like a little Trolls
  7. Family Olympics – Create your own events like freestyle hula hoop, carpet snow angels or couch luge. Add a craft like DIY medals or Olympic rings.
  8. Hop-a-thon – Gather the Rody, hippity hop, jump rope, squeaky foam pogo stick, and all the other bouncy toys you can find. Count how many times they can hop, see who does it longer/faster or bounce to the beat of music.
  9. Bear hunt– Print out the words to “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” if you don’t have the book and chant along as you follow the leader through the wilderness (house) acting out the story.
  10. Fashion show– Runways are everywhere; even in our basement. Break out the silly, fancy or spooky costumes, walk the runway, strike a pose and snap a photo. Even name your characters then laugh and score the looks.

entertain kids boy and girl in family room

Movies and board games abound this season, but those are low-key. Sure, you can hit the slopes, toboggan chutes, local Y/rec center or ice rink if the kids are old enough, but I find it’s nice to have active options in the comfort of my home.

How do you beat winter boredom? May your indoor fun levels be high while the outside temps are low.

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Lindsey Geiss

Lindsey Geiss is a public relations and crisis communications planning professional turned stay-at-home mom and writer. When she’s not handling local early childhood PTA publicity, she’s getting crafty with the kids, researching allergy-friendly toddler snacks, or finding and wrapping that perfect gift. Lindsey is a shoe-lover, jump rope enthusiast and recovering perfectionist. She lives on the West side of Cleveland with her husband and two young children.

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