Looking for fun ideas to keep kids busy indoors? Here are 10 free ways to entertain kids at home. Find more ideas on our Summer Camp activities page and visit our Home Learning hub for free printables.
Create a boredom-busting activity jar
There’s often plenty of good fun to be had at home, but sometimes kids need a little prompting to come up with an idea. Here’s a way to inspire them. Write down activities on ice cream sticks or strips of sturdy card, and pop them inside a jar. When they next complain about being bored, let them choose an activity to do that day from the jar. Blogger, Chloe from Life Unexpected, has some fun ideas for her ‘I’m bored’ jar – read more here.
Paper aeroplane test flights
Who is the family paper aeroplane champ? There’s only one way to find out! Making paper aeroplanes is a fun, cheap way to not only keep kids occupied, but work on basic concepts such as folding and geometry, all the way through to more complicated ones like aerodynamics. Plus, it’s just plane fun, too. Check out how to make a paper aeroplane in six easy steps.
Set up a home theatre
Ladies and gentlemen, if we could have your attention please! Encourage imaginative play and creative thinking through your own home theatre. Clear a space for the stage, hang up a sheet as a backdrop or get them to construct a stage from props at home, and invite the kids to put on a talent show.
Build a blanket fort
Who doesn’t love building a blanket fort? They’re tonnes of fun and as long as you have a steady supply of blankets and cushions, can keep kids busy for hours. What’s more, they learn valuable skills about their world while doing so including problem-solving and negotiation.
Listen to an audiobook or podcast
Listening to a podcast or audiobook keeps young imaginations engaged and away from screens. Podcasts and digital radio stations such as Fun Kids, Wow in the World and Brains On are as entertaining for adults are they are for kids. Episodes are short and packed with fun facts and learning.
Audiobooks are another option. Listening to a book is engaging and helps build vocabulary and imagination. Looking for ideas? Mumsnet members came up with a list of audiobooks that will keep the whole family entertained.
Make a marionette
Here’s a fun way to repurpose toilet roll inners: make a marionette. Painting, sticking and stringing will keep your child busy for a while and they’ll have a puppet to play with afterwards. Why not make a few and stage a marionette show? Head over to Red Ted Art for other creative craft projects like these giraffe marionettes and check out our free crafty collaborations with Red Ted Art.
Make dragon eggs
Eggs and gel food colouring is all you need to make these cool dragon eggs featured in Whizz Pop Bang! magazine. Hard-boil some eggs. Allow the eggs to cool and then roll them on the kitchen counter surface to crack the shells all over. Fill a cup with water, add a generous dollop of gel food colouring, and mix well. Pop an egg in the cup and leave overnight in the fridge. Carefully peeling off the shell the next day will reveal where the dye seeped through and created the interesting crackled pattern on the egg white. Try it with different colours.
Get up and dance!
The only equipment needed for dancing is your body and music. It’s an uplifting mood-booster that’s fun, free and helps everyone in the home expend some pent-up energy. There are no rules or fancy footwork required – just freestyle it to your favourite tunes!
Go on a rainbow scavenger hunt
Set your children a challenge to find objects in and around the home that match each colour of the rainbow. They’ll need to find red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Once they’ve located several objects, have them group items into their colours. This fun activity is an engaging way to encourage children to learn about colours, matching and sorting.
Keep a dress-up box
Have a rummage through your clothes and shoes and build up a dress-up box. Children love pretend imaginative play and enjoy dressing up and mimicking grown-ups. Hats, clothes, shoes, costumes and accessories all become props for open-ended play opportunities.