Stuck at Home? The Ultimate List of Indoor Activities for Babies and Toddlers
It’s really hard to be a provider and entertainer all at once. And that’s especially true when you have to hold court at home. Thankfully, we’ve put together the ultimate list of ideas for when you’re stuck inside but got a little mercurial one to entertain. Hopefully, this list will spark inspiration or sanity…or hopefully both.
If you’re going to be cooking in, you might as well involve the kids. It’ll inspire a love of real food and potentially nudge those picky eaters to try new foods, since they’ll have some pride in being part of the process.
Plant herbs, seeds together
Use your old Yumi jars or other used jars and create mini planters for herbs or other seeds. It’ll be fun to chart the progress as they grow!
Pretty self-explanatory, but definitely requires adult supervision.
Butcher Paper Drawathon
Buy a butcher paper roll (you can find them in Home Depot), and affix it to a wall or unroll it on the floor, and let your kids go to town with crayons or washable markers. You can even create imaginative worlds or cool maps for their car toys and other figurines to inhabit.
Throw a tea party
Just because you’re staying in doesn’t mean you can’t be social. Invite your kid’s favorite “friends” to a tea party.
Cheap and easy. Put your overstock of dried pasta to good use. Dye pasta shapes with food coloring and string it together. Requires supervision, but your kid will be so proud of their pasta creations.
There is almost an infinite number of water bin games for babies and toddlers. It’s great sensory play, and if you have a backyard it will be easy to manage the mess.
Have a picnic in the backyard
Switch up the routine and take lunch outside. Set up a picnic blanket and point out items in nature, like a maple leaf or lady bug.
This one is a classic night or day. Use blankets or pillows to create a fun fort and read stories underneath, with a flashlight if at night.
Paint with cotton balls
We always have extra cotton balls in the house. Put it to good use by creating some art with cotton balls and paint.
Stamp with sponges
Same idea, but with kitchen sponges (feel free to cut them out into fun shapes like hearts and stars)
Play Make-Believe with Amazon boxes
Put your old shipping boxes to good use by creating interesting scenes with boxes. Turn a box into a house, a spaceship, a go cart. If your kid can dream it, you can help make it with some markers and some patience.
Put on a play (with used boxes)
Turn a large old box into an impromptu theatre. Create, or have your kid, create a performance with their favorite stuffed animals. Just make sure you’ve hit record on your phone, this activity is bound to be adorable.
Have a lunch facetime with grandma/grandpa
Use Facetime and Zoom, and host a mini lunch with with the grandparents.
Freeze! dance game
Play some of their favorite songs. As you DJ stop the song at various points, participants have to freeze when the music stops.
Backyard scavenger hunt
Hide some household objects in the backyard (pick ones that are easy to clean). Have your kids find them and give them prizes based on how many they can find.
Play with bubbles
Running around the backyard with bubbles, or just blowing bubbles, is always a good time.
Dig for snails and worms
If you’re going to do some gardening, let your kid get in the fun. Give them a small shovel and get digging together. Look for snails, worms or other insects you can point out.
Make art prints with nature (leaves)
Collect leaves, paint, (and some newspaper, to prevent a big clean-up) and make some beautiful leaf prints on paper or fabric.
Play hide and seek with toys & stuffed animals
Play a game of hide and seek with your baby’s toys.
Create sensory bins
Get a bunch of plastic binds and create all sorts of sensory bins (great for cognitive development). Some ideas here.
Play “dress the baby”
Let your older kid help dress up the baby in silly (but safe ways) — with your supervision of course.
Lava lamp experiment
A great experience for older kids as they start to geek out on science.
Dye flowers with food dye
A simple, but gratifying science experiment. Take some simple white flowers, like carnations, and have different pots with water colored with food dye. Let your kid marvel as the flowers change over time.
Oil & Water experiment
This may seem simple to you, but it’s a pretty cool visual trick and a way to introduce the concept of liquids with different densities.
Improvised Bowling Alley
Take used plastic bottles (fill them up with water for stability, more water=more stability and don’t forget the caps), grab a medium sized ball and turn your hallway into an impromptu bowling alley.
Dance party with lil’ ones
Throw on their favorite, most dance like music and have a little dance party. If they are on the young side help them clap their hands to the rhythm of the beat.
Yoga with your kids
Show your kids some basic yoga poses. Depending on their age, your kid can participate and discover their inner namaste.
Teach your baby sign language
Use hand movements along with associated words to teach baby the joy of communicating with gestures.
Baby in the middle
Put your child’s favorite toys in a circle, place them in the middle and let them build their core strength to reach their friends.
Bath time “showers”
Punch holes in plastic food containers and fill with water to make a fun bath time toy
Make pancake batter and then dream up fun mixes and toppings with your kid. Make mini-pancakes with unique ingredients and have fun trying all the flavors together.
Play garbage pail
While you’re cooking set up your kid with their own mixing bowl. As you finish cutting vegetables, give the scraps to your kid so they can have fun making their own “creation.” Goes without saying, but toss when done or add to compost.
Paint in the bathtub
Use washable paint, and let your kid explore their inner Picasso in the tub. The cleanup will be easier inside vs. outside the tub.
Tie-dye some old shirts or rags into cool designs
If you’re willing to get a bit messy and feeling a bit ambitious, get some old plain, white t-shirts and have a fun afternoon creating tie-dye creations with your kid.