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8 Things to Do With Your Family When You’re Stuck Indoors

Man reads a book to his children in a blanket fort
Evgeny Atamanenko/Shutterstock

Whether it’s a rainy day or it’s the middle of winter, there are fun things you can do together as a family. Here are eight fun activities—no phones involved.

When the weather keeps you inside, it’s a perfect time to fit in a little family time. Family activities are a great way to bond with your kids, learn together, and even work on social skills or new talents. If you’re busy though (or just caught off guard by a sudden day stuck inside), we’re here to help with some great ideas.

Watch (and Discuss) a Documentary

Documentaries are fun and educational if you pick the right ones. Find something that is kid-friendly (or age appropriate depending on how old your children are). Sit down as a family to watch it and have a discussion about what each of you learned afterward.

Watching documentaries about food, animals, and lifestyles can teach kids a lot (and teach you something too) and will offer up plenty of topics for discussion. You may even want to give everyone a notebook to take notes on things they may have questions about while watching the video. If you want to add a little structure to the notetaking, you can even crib a technique popular with school teachers, the KWL format. KWL stands for “What I Know,” “What I Want to Know,” and “What I Learned.”  If the “want to know” questions don’t get answered by the documentary, you have a handy list of questions to explore.

Watch a Movie Based on a Book You’ve All Read (Or Vice Versa!)

There’s a good chance that you’ve read a book or two with your family that has been made into a movie. Pick one you’ve never watched before and watch it. Once the show’s over, discuss the differences you noticed between book and film. Talk about which one you liked better, and why.

Conversely, if you’ve watched a movie based on a book, it can be just as fun to work in reverse and read a book based on a film you all watched. The constraints of film require directors to make careful choices in what to include and exclude in adapting a book—comparing the two is an interesting exercise.

Make Up Stories and Act Them Out (or Act Out Some Plays You Find Online)

Creativity is great for the imagination, and children are often better storytellers than they’re given credit for. Make up stories with your kids and let them act them out. You can come up with a theme for the stories, like unicorns or superheroes.

Not feeling creative enough to make things up? Grab some one-act plays off the internet and act them out as a family. You don’t have to memorize your lines, just print copies out for everyone so they can read their lines as they go.

Play Games

Family playing a board game
Leszek Glasner/Shutterstock

There are tons of fun games to play as a family, and you’ll easily be able to find ones catered to the ages of your kids. Board games and card games give you all a chance to sit around a table together and fun. If you want to get up, play some Twister or a game of charades).

For families that like their games hi-tech, pull out the old Wii and play some games that still get you up on your feet. Don’t have a Wii? Play a multi-player game of your families choice on the system you do own.

Teach Your Kids to Cook

Cooking is an important life lesson, and most schools no longer have home economics classes where kids learn to cook, bake, and sew. As soon as your children are at an age where they can listen when you advise them not to touch a hot stove, they’re ready to start learning.

You can start with easy things, like grilled cheese sandwiches and macaroni with cheese. Once they begin to get more skilled, up the game with fancier dishes, like lasagna. Cooking and baking are also great ways to work on adjacent skills, like planning and math. When you’re working on a recipe, for example, you can talk about planning a party (and how to figure out how much of each ingredient you’d need).

Teach Them Some Other Skill You’re Experienced In

Good at sewing, carpentry, plumbing or some other workable skill? Teach your kids (and your significant other). If it’s something you can do in the house on a rainy day, why not?

By teaching your children a skilled trade at home (or a few of them), you open them up to a world of possibilities when it comes to their future.

Do Some Arts and Crafts

Arts and crafts are fun and educational. Whether or not you’re experienced in a particular form of art or craft, you can still do some projects with your children. Stock up on paints, crayons, markers, paper, and canvases.

Hit up the local dollar store for craft supplies and office supplies you can use when you do arts and crafts with your family. You may find some good deals, as well as some fun kits for the holidays.

Play Music Together (or at Least Listen to Some)

Musically inclined families can share their love of music and the instruments they play with their kids. Not everyone has the drive or skill to play an instrument, but it can be fun to mess around. Studies have shown that there may be a link between playing music and having increased executive function.

If you don’t have any musical instruments in your home, have a music listening party with your family. Sing along, dance to the tunes, and share generations of music. Take turns playing your favorite tracks, each of you. Songs from your childhood and teenage years may offer up some music your children haven’t heard before, and they just might like it.

Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow has been a professional writer for almost two decades. Yvonne has worked for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and much more as a writer and editor. She's also a published poet and a short story writer. Read Full Bio »

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