Melissa & Doug Indoor Fun Ideas Puzzles

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Indoor Play Ideas for Kids

October 01, 2022

Engaging Indoor Activities for Families That Your Kids Will Love

It’s a predicament every parent and caregiver faces at one point: Your children are full of restless energy, but going outside to play isn’t an option.

And while it can feel daunting to come up with activities to entertain your kids inside, indoor play actually makes for a great opportunity to engage with them in new and creative ways. There are so many options for indoor family fun that are unique, memorable and full of learning. If you’re in need some inspiration, here are some tried and true indoor activities for families that will help your kids tap into their imagination, motor skills and critical thinking—and be a whole lot of fun in the process. 

Bake Together 

Girl playing with Melissa & Doug La Patisserie Bakery

Recipes for cookies, cupcakes and other sweet treats are perfect for long days indoors because the fun is twofold: children get to enjoy both the baking process and the decorating experience. Baking with your kids is not only a great way to make happy memories, but it’s also an engaging activity that’s good for their development because using the correct amount of ingredients and doing things in the right order are crucial to success. Having them help you read the recipe strengthens their reading skills as well as their ability to follow directions. And while baking can get messy, it’s often the mess that’s part of the magic and indoor family fun. Have your kids try measuring and mixing ingredients for a hands-on activity they’re sure to love.

Conduct a Science Experiment

Melissa & Doug Indoor Play Ideas Scientist Role Play Set

Need an unforgettable activity to inspire your kids and keep them busy while they’re inside? At-home science experiments are a fantastic way to teach your kids resourcefulness, planning and problem-solving in a safe and non-competitive environment. Scientific exploration is perfect for indoor family fun because the options are limitless, which means it’s an activity you can do as often as your kids want. Whether it’s making putty, creating a tornado in a bottle or building a rocket balloon car, there are countless ways to engage your child’s mind in a way that’s both educational and enjoyable.

Do a Treasure Hunt

Melissa & Doug Indoor Fun Ideas Let's Explore Indoor Outdoor Scavenger Hunt Play Set Play Set

When in doubt, treasure hunts are always reliably entertaining indoor activities for families. Hide simple riddles or hints in different rooms and search for them together. With each clue leading to the next, a treasure hunt is an interactive and enticing way to encourage your child to practice problem solving and critical thinking. And be sure to put an unexpected treat or surprise at the end of each hunt to reward them for their effort—it can even be another activity for you to enjoy inside together, such as a game or a coloring book.

Play Board Games or Work on a Puzzle

Melissa & Doug Indoor Play Ideas 48-Piece Dinosaur Floor Puzzle

If you want some screen-free quality time with your kids, board games and puzzles are fun indoor family activities that are great for bonding. They also have the added benefit of helping your children practice key skills, such as taking turns, problem solving and strategic thinking. Another way to get your child’s imagination rolling is to switch from playing a game by its rules to playing it with new rules that you and your child create. It’s an effective way to include them in the process and make them feel invested.

Go Camping Indoors

Melissa & Doug Indoor Fun Ideas Let's Explore Campfire S'Mores Play Set

If you can’t go outside, no problem—bring the outdoors in! Help your kids set up camp by putting up a tent or using pillows and blankets to make a fort. Once you’ve erected your indoor shelter, grab some games and books for you to enjoy together. To spark their creativity and imagination, take turns telling campfire stories. You can even bring campfire snacks and flashlights for added fun or replicate the experience of roasting s’mores over a campfire for the full effect. 

Get Crafty

Melissa & Doug Indoor Fun Ideas Created by Me! Striped Fleece Quilt

Anytime you and your children are stuck inside, arts and crafts will never disappoint. From making a cozy blanket together to decorating model airplanes to creating sand art masterpieces, you and your kids can have a fantastic time creating something together. Plus, they get the added bonus of being able to show off their masterpiece when it’s done. A time capsule is another great arts and crafts project for rainy days. Figuring out what to put in it is a fun and interactive way to engage with your little one and learn more about their interests. Have them pick out a hiding spot and spend some time decorating it to make it extra special. In a couple of years, you can unearth it and relive the joy you experienced making it together. 

Play Indoor Sports

Melissa & Doug Indoor Fun Ideas Monster Bowling

Kids have a lots of energy and indoor sports are the perfect release. If your children enjoy soccer, set up two goals using water bottles or paper towel rolls and play with a foam ball – or even balled-up tin foil or rolled up socks. If basketball is their thing, you can use the same foam ball and set up two hoops using laundry baskets. Another great option is indoor bowling. Use a bowling game like this one or make your own using water bottles or plastic cups and a foam ball. Modifying sports and outside athletics for indoor play is a quick and easy way to get your kids to burn off energy while having a blast.