2. Get tactile with a sensory game
Try these imaginative DIY sensory games for babies and tots.
Escape reality with an Escape Room kit! Photo courtesy of Escape Kit
3. Make an Escape Room at home
Create an Escape Room at home in a few steps with a downloadable Escape Room kit.
4. Make slime
Whip up a batch of slime or Oobleck and challenge your young scientist to define its state of matter.
5. Make a scavenger hunt
Get everyone together for an indoor scavenger hunt. Maybe they can find those missing socks.
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Have a Magna-Tiles building challenge. Photo by Sara Marentette
6. Turn STEM-learning into play
Build, create, and invent with STEM-inspired toys.
7. Turn your paintings into 3d Works of sparkling art
Create colorful salt paintings—watch our how-to video to get started.
8. Listen to a story
Gather the family to enjoy a story podcast.
9. Play marching band
Make instruments; then, lead a marching band parade through the living room.
10. Work out indoors
Burn some energy with one of these 25 indoor exercise games.
11. Play school with workbooks
Crack open those activity books you have piled up.
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Curl-up with popcorn and a movie or a good book. Photos by Rose Gordon Sala
12. Curl up with a movie
Pop some kernels and watch a classic movie. We’ve got 50 family-friendly picks!
13. Get tactile with a sensory game
Try these imaginative DIY sensory games for babies and tots.
14. Bake a cake in one minute
That’s the beauty of mug cakes.
15. Dance party!
Play a game of freeze dance using a playlist inspired by these kindie bands.
16. Make your own candy
Satisfy your sweet tooth and DIY some rock candy.
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Get decorating with this easy and delicious activity. Photos by Rose Gordon Sala
17. Decorate cupcakes
Buy pre-made frosting (and even cupcakes) and set up a cupcake decorating station with whatever candies, nuts, and sprinkles you have on hand.
18. Play balloon tennis
Blow up some balloons, toss ’em in the air, and don’t let them touch the ground, or grab some paddles for balloon tennis.
19. Learn to code
Check out our favorite affordable learn-to-code games and programs for kids.
20. Get active with video games
Keep your heart rates up with Wii Fit or Xbox One games.
21. Make a marshmallow catapult
See who can catch the most marshmallows in their mouth.
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Even if it’s cloudy and raining outside, you can create sunshine and rainbows inside. Photos by Rose Gordon Sala
22. Get crafty, without much effort
Try these easy at-home crafts for preschoolers, or whip up a set of fairy wings for more imaginative play.
23. Fashion your own clothes
Have a tie-dye party or opt for an easier tie-dye alternative (with a built-in science lesson!).
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Set up science experiments and let kids come up with their own, too! Photo by Sara Marentette
24. Get a jump on that career in science
Embrace your inner Einstein with cool science experiments.
25. Make butter
Whip up a little butter to slather on tomorrow’s toast. All you need is a lidded container and some heavy cream.
26. Watch a classic TV show
Can’t take another episode of Paw Patrol? We’ve listed 100 of the all-time great TV shows that kids and parents adore.
27. Play ‘Would You Rather’
We rounded up the hardest questions, like ‘Would you rather listen to “Baby Shark” for 24 straight hours or the Peppa Pig theme song for 24 straight hours?’
RELATED: The Best Free Kids’ Music Playlists from Breakfast to Bedtime
How many orange toys can kids find in your home? Photo by Liz Baill
28. Play a low-effort game with your toddler
These are games where the kids expend all the energy, and parents can just watch. Brilliant!
29. Ask Alexa something silly
Alexa keeps kids busy, and laughing, for hours.
30. Make a toy parachute
This easy project leaves you with a fun, homemade toy kids can play with for hours.
31. Listen to some music
We’ve found the best playlists for kids that range from sleepy music to sing-alongs.
32. Have a push-up contest
These 10 push-up challenges will get the blood (and competitive juices) flowing.
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Learn some random fun facts that will leave your kids laughing. Photo by Sara Marentette
33. Entertain each other with these fun facts
We’ve rounded up 101 funny facts that leave kids roaring with laughter.
34. Make a rain cloud in a jar
On a rainy day, you can bring the rain inside when you make a rain cloud in a jar.
35. Have a Netflix party
Set the kids up with Netflix and either grandparents or a friend, while YOU chill.
36. Play chess
If you’re not a chess master, you can learn together with these online chess games for kids.
37. Make a snow globe
Create a winter wonderland in a jar with whatever tiny toys you have on hand.
38. Create a tornado in a bottle
Bring a tiny twister into your own house with this science experiment for kids.
39. Fit an egg in a bottle
This science experiment feels like a magic trick.
40. Make ice cream
No need for a trek to the grocery store (or fancy equipment) to make your favorite frozen treat.
41. Make a watercolor masterpiece
42. Pull out the Legos
It doesn’t matter if you’ve lost half the pieces and all the directions, we’ve got over 100 suggestions for things you can build with Legos.
43. Play “I Spy” or “20 Questions”
44. Make puppets and put on a show
You can craft your puppets out of clothespins, paper bags, socks, or anything you have handy.
45. Make a bird feeder
Craft the easiest bird feeder ever with pipe cleaners.
RELATED: 30+ Toddler Activities to Keep Little Ones Busy (and Happy) at Home
Learn the Japanese art of paper folding. Photo via Bigstock
46. Become an origami master
Learn the Japanese art of folding from the master.
47. Make a fort
Grab some sheets and make a good old-fashioned fort. Perfect for playtime—and naptime!
48. Turn the sink into a sudsy ocean
Fill the kitchen sink with bath toys, give them a bottle of soap, and let them have at it.
49. Tackle a challenging puzzle as a family
These brainy puzzle games and jigsaw puzzles keep everyone thinking.
51. Explore the world without leaving home
Take a trip in a book or with a virtual field trip or tour!
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From mixing to rolling and painting, salt-dough ornaments keep kids busy for much of the day! Photo by Rose Gordon Sala
52. Make non-Christmas ornaments
Bake simple salt-dough ornaments and then paint them into seasonal designs, such as Easter eggs, or use whatever cookie cutter shapes you have available.
53. Challenge your brood to a game of charades
54. Build a sensory bin
Sensory bins aren’t just for toddlers—they’re soothing for kids of all ages, and parents, too.
55. Make granola bars
56. Play a classic game in the house
Use hallways for classic games like “Red Light, Green Light” and “Leapfrog.”
57. Make a lava lamp
Channel your inner Greg Brady, get groovy, and make your own lava lamp!
58. Go bowling at home
RELATED: 99 Sensory Activities for Any Child
Set up an obstacle course or gym mats and let kids burn off some energy. Photo by Sara Marentette
59. Build an indoor obstacle course
You’re just seven easy steps away from a fun obstacle course that keeps kids entertained.
60. Do anything that involves bubble wrap
Try one of these 10 clever ways to let kids play with it, get messy with it, and generally have some fun with bubble wrap.
61. Get all dressed up and host a fancy tea party
Be sure to invite the dolls and stuffed animals.
62. Play “Simon Says” or “Follow the Leader”
Cuddle up with a pile of books.
64. Play cards
Grab a deck of cards and teach your kids the simple joys of Rummy, Spit, or Slapjack.
65. Have an indoor “camp out”
No need to go outside, just gather up sleeping bags, a tent, board games, and s’mores right in your living room.
66. Make a pinata from a paper bag
Turn any day into a party when you whip up a pinata from a paper bag. You can decorate it and fill it with any treats you happen to have handy.
67. Try these light experiments
Cut the lights and grab your flashlights for some light experiments that delight little scientists.
68. Get crafting with toilet paper rolls
Toilet paper rolls can be used by everyone from preschoolers to make simple animals and mummies, all the way through tweens and teens to make more advanced projects like desk organizers and wall art.
69. Make seashell art
Use last summer’s seashell collection to get crafty.
70. Tell ghost stories
Kid-friendly, non-scary ghost stories, that is.
71. Make a duct tape wallet
72. Make wildflower seed bombs
You can plant these seed bombs now or save them for spring.
73. Do some magic paper towel art
74. Write secret crayon messages
75. Learn some magic tricks
Lead photo by Yan Krukov via Pexels
This article was first published in November 2008 but has since been updated.