When it's too cold for your children to play outside, you may find yourself wracking your brain for engaging indoor activities before they're glued to the television or flushing towels down the toilet. Indoor activities should provide a balance of physical activity and creative outlets. The top five activities depend on the age and interests of your children, as well as your tolerance for the noise and mess associated with certain activities.
Regardless of your kids' ages, you can find plenty of culinary creations to do together. Let toddlers and preschooler help by pouring pre-measured ingredients and "stirring" the mixture. Older children will enjoy rolling and cutting cookie dough, and all your kids can participate in the decoration with colored frosting and sprinkles. For healthier, no-cook options, make a fruit salad and let your little ones tackle dividing peeled orange slices, pulling the stems off cherries and using the melon baller.
Build the indoor clubhouse of your children's dreams using a range of everyday items from couch cushions to blankets and cardboard boxes. Help them choose a safe location, away any radiators or large groups of electrical wires. Let them take the lead on construction, but offer assistance if they need help keeping blankets taunt between two points or they want to move a chair that's too large. When they finish construction, enjoy a snack together inside the fort.
Create an indoor kids gym with different activity stations, each featuring a different recreation item. Depending on your kids' ages, these fitness items could include a jump rope, a hula hoop, a sit-n-spin and stilt cups. You don't need to have a ton of space, but you should place the stations far enough apart so that your kids aren't at risk of accidentally hitting each other. Act as an announcer and every few minutes shout out directions for everyone to go to their left or right, or the station that's furthest away.
A wall covered in white paper makes the perfect canvas for you and your budding artists to decorate. Tape white paper over an entire section of the wall and ask your kids to help color it in using washable crayons or markers. This approach works best if you're kids are old enough to reliably stay within the boundaries of the paper. For younger children, let them draw a series of pictures at the table and then tape them to the wall in a group mural once they're finished.
Dance the day away by staging an indoor dance party. Turn off the regular lights and bring out the flashing holiday lights, along with any blinking toys and flashlights. Choose a short playlist of dance music from your computer and lead your kids in different dance movements for each song, such as fast, slow, slithering on your belly on the floor or ballet. After you run through your list of dance moves, give each child a chance to make up their own dance move that everyone else follows for that song. Do the dances with your kids to keep up the momentum and excitement.