Fun indoor activities for kids

Use these ideas to keep kids entertained indoors this winter.

Snow and cold temps are likely to lead to days "stuck at home." While some television or movie time may be fun for a little while, it's great to have a few tricks up your sleeve for some engaging activities you can do with your kids when you're all stuck inside on a dreary day. Play to your kids' interests and help them learn while they have fun.

Here are a few ideas to get you started!

1. Visit a community center
Help the kids get out of the house by stopping by the community center. There you can teach them to play pool or hold a family video and arcade game competition in the game room. It's a great place for you and your kids to have fun without having the cooped-up feeling that comes with not leaving the house all day.

2. Play board games
In the event that a heavy storm knocks out your power, or if you just feel like unplugging for a while, these classics can always be counted on for some family fun. Many board games can challenge kids' critical thinking skills and can help them to learn while they play, which will help if they are stuck home from school. Board games can also teach important social skills as kids learn to follow rules, foster a healthy competitiveness and develop good sportsmanship practices.

3. Treasure hunts
Parents can also entertain and mentally stimulate their children with an indoor treasure or scavenger hunt. Leave clues around the house for the kids to follow to lead to a prize and watch their creativity at work as they try to decipher the puzzles left for them. You can also give them a list of things they need to find around the house that they can then check off. Once they find everything, reward them with a special treat.

Activities like these are great because they keep kids' minds and bodies active and engaged, which is as good for them as it is fun.

"Let them use their imaginations."

4. Arts and crafts
Creative kids will have a blast sitting inside when they can make fun art projects. This can be as simple as handing them some paper and crayons, markers or watercolors, or can involve more elaborate crafting plans. For instance, kids can take a stack of colored paper and start cutting shapes. Then, those shapes can be glued onto a full page to create interesting art – texture can be added in the form of popsicle sticks, googly eyes and other household crafts. Whatever your children's interests, there are plenty of crafts that can keep them entertained on a day inside.

5. Act it out
For the really outgoing types, play an engaging game that can let them use their imaginations. Charades is always a classic option for keeping theatrical kids entertained. You can also put on a paper bag play, where you put different household objects in a paper bag and tell your kids to put on a play using those things as props. Have older children sit down and write out a script first, or ask them to improvise a scene on the spot.

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