15 Indoor Activities for Kids That Need Little to No Prep Work

Simple activities to keep kids busy when they're stuck inside.
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Simple activities to keep kids busy when they're stuck inside.
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One of my worst nightmares is having a house full of cooped up kids who are stuck inside and bored out of their minds. Since I don’t want to spend the winter with little zombies who are tied to screens 24/7, I put together a list of some fun things kids can do inside that don’t require hours of prepping—because, honestly, who has time for that???

1. Marshmallows + toothpicks = a lesson in engineering when kids build things using only these two objects.

2. Let them paint with homemade paintbrushes—just use clothespins to hold things like sponges, muffin liners, pipe cleaners, pom poms and feathers to see their different effects.

3. Or let them create a scratch and sniff painting—all you need are packets of Kool-Aid and water!

4. Blanket forts are always a win! Challenge older kids to build extensions to a simple fort.

5. Turn dress up into a fashion show, complete with music and a makeshift runway.

6. Let them stack up some plastic cups and play a Q-Tip blow dart game.

7. Turn off the lights and have a glow stick balloons dance party.

8. Kids love playing with water. You can let younger ones transfer it to different vessels or clean their toys (my daughter loves cleaning her play kitchen stuff). Older kids might like to do sink or float experiments.

9. You can also throw on their bathing suits and go for a “swim” in the bathtub.

10. Make a zen tray for kids with rice and paintbrushes. Have the kids trace designs in the rice with the brushes.

11. Make a rainbow collage using old magazines.

12. Have any boxes left over from the holidays? Give them crayons, markers and stickers and see what they can do with it.

13. Challenge them to put together a marble run with cardboard tubes and painters tape.

14. Let them create their own potions and science experiments. Put out a baking sheet, muffin tin, and ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, flour, and water to see what the different combinations create.

15. Let them tear up paper and create something totally new with it.

JENNIFER GARRY is a writer and the mom of two girls who talk as much and laugh as loud as she does (just ask her husband). She writes about motherhood with humor and brutal honesty on her personal blog, Cuddles and Chaos. Read all of Jennifer's posts.