17 Things To Do When You Are All Cooped Up

(with kids that is!)

a special feature from Leslie Zinberg & Kay Ziplow, founders

“Grannnnnnnddddmmaaaaa, I’m bored!”

This phrase can make any grandparent or parent break out in a sweat or hives!

If you are stuck inside and can’t find something to keep your toddler or preschooler occupied besides Paw Patrol, and the older kids want to be on their devices, here are a few ideas that don’t require a lot of money or creativity. Often times we tend to forget that the most fun ever is when we just use our imagination… spontaneously!

Make homemade playdoughThis recipe is beyond easy and so inexpensive! Keep cream of tartar in your pantry and whip up the dough whenever you need it. Use that food coloring (buy food coloring with no artificial dyes!) and make batches in various colors to mash and knead to everyone’s delight.

Play grocery store: Find a few items around the house (spoons, books, socks, apples) and set up a store in your living room. Ask your toddler to ring up your purchases and switch roles.

Play ball. Set up little goals in your living room or playroom and take turns being the goalie. If your child is little, roll the soft ball into the goal or gently kick it if they are preschool age.

Hide and seek. This is a classic that can easily be forgotten. So much fun- but be sure to set boundaries so it’s clear as to what areas are acceptable to hide in. We guarantee there’s a bunch of giggles coming your way. You can also take a pack of old playing cards, and let the kids hide them all over the house. This activity is good for all ages.

Tower building championships. With Legos or blocks, or plastic cups, have a tower building challenge. Who can make their tower the tallest before it falls over?

Bake muffins or cookies. Depending on the age of your child, invite them to help measure ingredients or mix the dough. Then, enjoy your delicious treat.

Family chores. Yes, it’s on the list as something to do, but amazingly, kids love sweeping and the vacuum cleaner, setting the table, and decorating the table. Ask them to help with age-appropriate tasks.

Make a pizza. If it’s dinnertime, make some easy homemade dough and ask your grandchildren to help you top the pizza. Choose new ingredients like pineapple or hamburger to make it exciting.

Experiment with colors. Using simple food coloring, give each child water in a clear cup. Ask them to choose which colors to drop into the water, as you teach them about how mixing colors creates new colors.

Balloon volleyball. Blow up a colored balloon and bounce it around. Watch their amazement when they can ping it across the room.

Bathtime fun. Sometimes the best place to have fun is in a warm bath. Fill it up with their favorite bubble bath and throw some non-bath toys in there for a surprise.

Make a countdown chain. What’s coming up for your child that’s exciting? Birthday, family member visit, or holiday? Cut out strips of cardboard paper (or even computer paper they can color!) and make a chain by taping the ends together and looping the next one through it.

Produce painting. Find veggies or fruit in your pantry (apples, green peppers, carrots) and use them to stamp new shapes on paper. Simply slice them in half to get a size they can grip and dip in paint.

Embrace the elements. Regardless of the season, whether it’s raining, snowing or sleeting, your child will probably find it enjoyable one way or another. Bundle everyone up and jump in the puddles, make a snowman or listen to the pitter patter of rain on the window.

Have a dance party. Throw Pandora on your phone (either kid-friendly or kid station will work) and ask them to show you a new dance move. Let them take the lead and express themselves.

Look at baby pictures. Find your child’s photo album and talk to them about your memories of them as a baby. Tell them about how meaningful those moments were to you and watch their face light up! Create conversations and stories this way.

Make a loved one a card. With paper around the house, ask the kids to decorate a card for a parent, another grandparent or family member, or neighbor who you know would love some new refrigerator art. Use stickers, crayons, and markers to make a new masterpiece they’ll be proud to give.