The winter school holidays are almost here. That means a gloriously long break from school for the kids and a messy house for parents when the cold weather makes playing outdoors impossible. In light of maintaining yours and your children’s sanity during the days when you don’t want to risk anyone getting the flu, here are 15 activities to keep everyone entertained and indoors.
Act it out
Turn your home into a movie set and let your children film their own movie. Have their act out their favourite story or write their own script. A costume box with wigs and simple accessories is handy but they can easily design costumes from existing clothes.
Once everything is set up, film the scenes on your phone and edit them together using your phone’s video editor or download a free video editing app.
Once the movie is edited make some popcorn and have a premiere.
A Recipe for Fun
Make chef hats from paper, grab aprons and make memories while teaching valuable cooking (and cleaning up) skills. Depending on the age group, children can help wash, measure, mix or prepare ingredients. Find a recipe that works for you and have fun.
Let your children become detectives looking for clues, pirates following a map to a secret treasure or adventurers looking for ancient artifacts. Hide clues and treats around the house and let them explore. Use secret codes or their favourite songs with missing lyrics to create clues that challenge their brains.
A popular alternative is to create an escape room filled with puzzles and clues to solve in order to “unlock” the door. This way, everything is kept in one room in the house.
Grab some blankets, blow up a camping mattress and have a popcorn and movie day. You may even want to build a special movie screening blanket fort to cosy under on extra cold days.
The day may turn into watching the same movie on repeat but it can also be a chance to share some classic Disney titles that your children may have missed out on.
There’s a reason “old-school” games like pass the parcel, musical chairs, simon says, freeze dance, bingo, building lego and charades have managed to stand the test of time. They’re guaranteed to be entertaining for a range of ages.
Technology has come on board with phone apps for games like charades and customisable bingo cards that you can design to suit your child’s age.
Smash a Piñata
You may prefer a siesta but a winter holiday fiesta will keep children entertained for a few hours. No fiesta is complete without a piñata. You can either buy a ready-made from the store or make your own. Piñatas are great fun and can be made to suit any theme.
Avoid indoor bat swinging by making a pull-string piñata out of cardboard, tissue paper and ribbon. If you have a few children over, fill it with pre-packed bags so that everyone gets a treat.
Push the lounge suite back, throw down a blanket and some pillows to have an indoor picnic. Light a fire if you have a fireplace and keep warm while enjoying some snacks and hot chocolate. It’s a simple and fun.
Board games and puzzles
Turn off the TV and enjoy some quality time while playing a board game or building a puzzle together. Whether you go for competitive board games, cooperative board games, a puzzle or a simple card game, they are a great way to laugh together and improve cognitive function.
If you have the space, have some friends over for a games day. Just ensure there is enough space around the table for everyone.
For all the little Einsteins, have fun with some simple science experiments. From lava lamps and slime to invisible ink and exploding volcanoes. There is so much you can do with household substances such as water, bicarb, vinegar, lemon juice, oil and food colouring. The bonus is that your future scientist can learn while having fun.
Paper aeroplane testing
Test the laws of aerodynamics with a paper aeroplane competition. Make different paper aeroplane designs, clear a “runway” and see which design flies the farthest. You can make it a competition to see who makes the best paper aeroplanes or which design works best.
Relax by having a home spa day. Make some natural, child-friendly face masks from ingredients such as oatmeal, yogurt, bananas, honey, orange cucumber, egg white or avocado. Get some child-friendly nail polish and spend the day relaxing in the comfort of your own home.
Put away the breakables, divide into teams and launch an epic nerf gun battle in the house. Use couches to hide behind, sneak around corners and make up your own rules of engagement. Although nerf guns use foam darts, necessary precautions should be taken to ensure no one is injured while playing.
Have your children sing their heart out with some karaoke. Use Youtube or a karaoke app so you have the music and lyrics at the same time. Although microphones are fun, the set up can be complicated and a karaoke machine may be out of your budget. Sing as loud as you want over the music and make it more fun with a DIY prop microphone from a toilet paper roll, styrofoam ball, paper and foil. Your neighbours will probably thank you.
Create a culture of reading by having a book day. Visit the local library or bookstore, find a book to read and spend some time in your own literary world. If your children are too young to read, let them choose a book and create a reading corner where you can read their favourite story to them.
Indoor obstacle course
Get some energy out and get children active with an indoor obstacle course. Use existing furniture, toys, buckets and string to make a 10-activity course. From crawling under chairs, stepping over ropes, jumping in and out a hula hoop and throwing balls into a bucket, there are a lot of simple activities you can include.
Adapt for a Party
These ideas can also be adapted for a winter party. Remember to limit the guest list so you everyone can move around or sit comfortably. For younger children plan an afternoon party timed between naps and meals to avoid tired children and potentially messy situations. Adjust the activities to match your party theme and voila!
In the words of Dr Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat, ‘I know it is wet and the sun is not sunny but we can have lots of good fun that is funny!’ Whether it’s to pass some time during the holidays or ensure a fun party, there are a range of activities to do when the cold weather sets in that will keep your children entertained.
Need some more ideas and inspiration? Join us at Toast Event Festival from 20 – 22 September at Sun Arena Time Square.