Family time is always great, but when everyone has to be stuck at home, that togetherness can get old—fast. Indoor fun for kids doesn’t have to mean screen time, either. Here are 16 terrific games and toys that will keep house-bound kids busy, active, and happy so parents can tackle what needs to get done (or take a break).
Get the Energy Out, Inside
Regardless of what’s going on outside, kids still need to jump around, move their bodies, and blow off some steam. These picks can all help them do just that.
Built by kids
A Bilderhoos 2.0 building set is handcrafted in the U.S. and made to be easy for kids to assemble on their own. Little builders get to put together a fort, house, store, or whatever their imaginations can dream up and then play in it for hours.
Ball in the house
Playing ball indoors almost always causes damage. Ollyball’s super lightweight, shock-absorbing core is made to be living room-friendly. Kids can kick it, spike it, toss it, you name it—and it won’t wreak havoc in your home. It can even be colored in with markers or crayons.
Farm Hoppers help promote coordination and balance while also helping antsy kids burn some energy by bouncing around the house. Unlike some other bouncy toys, these have a tough exterior skin, and the ears and legs act as grips.
While so many ride-on toys have their own power source, these animals run on kid power. It’s easy for little riders to get the hang of the gentle galloping motion and get some exercise indoors.
Make and Listen to Music
Indoor activities aren’t always going to be quiet ones. These music-makers will keep kids busy, if not in tune, while they’re playing inside.
She’s got the beat
Every little rock-and-roller wants a drum set. Instead of dedicating a lot of money and space, unroll this portable drum kit to play anywhere. The good news for parents is that kids can use headphones to practice, then hook up to an external speaker once they get the beat down.
For the aspiring guitarist in the family, this three-string acoustic guitar has a slimmer neck to make learning easy. Little rock stars can use its companion app to learn how to play with video lessons.
Explore the Universe from Home
60,000 stars on the ceiling will certainly keep a kid engaged. This high definition planetarium‘s ultra-bright LED bulbs display a brilliant, star-filled sky that rotates in the same direction as the Earth, allowing for the study of the Northern Hemisphere.
To the moon and back
With an augmented reality app, AstroReality weaves together an unparalleled way to experience the moon through a smartphone. It makes it easy (and exciting) to learn facts and simulate Moon missions from home.
Brain-testing Ways to Pass the Time
Stack it up
Sometimes it’s the simplest games that can be the most captivating. TrueBalance was created as a rehabilitative tool to help hone fine motor skills, but it’s engaging for anyone who picks it up. All you have to do is neatly stack the discs. It sounds simple, but it takes concentration and coordination.
A new dimension
Another great puzzle game is the Perplexus. Little hands maneuver a small marble around barriers inside the sphere. Unlike flat-surface mazes with only one path to the end, Perplexus houses various challenging tracks.
Flat puzzles can feel a little tired, but a Boneyard Pet is like a stylized, at-home version of a museum exhibit. These 3D dinosaur models are fun for anyone to put together.
Coloring can ease stress in kids and adults, and it’s certainly one of the quietest activities any child can do indoors. Check out these colorful finds for kids a few more hands-on creative activities.
If you’re looking for a new take on the classic coloring book, go for a continuous 15-foot canvas with the Longest Coloring Book. Kids can tackle a section at a time or make it a group endeavor—the books accordion-like design unfolds as you go.
If your child is looking for another big project, this is the one. Pirasta makes enormous coloring posters that are filled with intricate details. Hang it on a wall or roll it over a floor and spend hours coloring.
Squish, squeeze, repeat
Thinking Putty comes in wild colors and types, including glow-in-the-dark, heat-sensitive, and electric-colored. It can stretch like rubber and bounce like a ball, and because it’s silicone-based, it won’t dry out or crumble over time.
This DIY Cooking Making kit provides everything you need, from dry ingredients to a recipe, to whip up tasty treats. Just add butter, eggs, and milk and you’ll be eating delicious confections in no time.
Drop it like it’s hot
If it’s a cold, wintry day, this is the indoor gift idea to end them all: hot chocolate on a stick. Swirl a block of Ticket Kitchen’s finest Belgian chocolate into steaming milk and you’ll have a cup of delicious hot chocolate guaranteed to bring smiles.