Blow their minds with indoor Olympics, ice cube art, and a comedy-hour giggle fest
The weather is finally warmer. But now it’s kind of gone overboard, and the novelty of all-day outdoor summer activities has worn off. We’ve got indoor summer activities that will get your child moving, experimenting, and creating in the comfort of your living room, kitchen, or playroom. If it’s reached crazy temps where you live, it sounds like you’ll need some great indoor activities for kids.
Laugh out loud. Stage a little comedy show in your living room. Here are 300+ of our favorite kid’s jokes to get you going.
Create a cool collage. Spend the day (or at least part) drawing summertime pictures. Your little artist can create portraits of the family at the beach, draw the swimming pool or recreate what they see just by looking out the window. Use a large poster board or cardboard as a background and collage the pics into one summer mural.
Have a dance party. Pick a few summer-themed tunes (like anything from the Beach Boys) and dance, dance, dance.
Play store. Set up shop in just in no time at all and play grocery store. Or maybe you’d rather go to the moon or climb Mt. Everest? Here are 27 make-believe prompts that’ll fill those 30 minutes before dinner.
Play a round of “Would you rather?” Would you rather have a pet monkey or a pet porcupine? Inquiring minds want to know! All you need are a few good questions. Here’s a great list you can pull up, so you can dish out questions as fast as your kids can answer them.
Draw a shadow. Set up toys, place books on their short sides, or use any other item that casts a shadow. Place the objects on a light-colored paper and shine a flashlight on it. Your kiddo can draw the shadow. Now move the light, pretending that it’s the sun. Draw the new shadows to see how the sun’s rays change as the day continues
Read together. Try out our favorite new releases in the picture book world. We also love these books that help kids learn about and combat racism.
Sing a song. Choose a favorite family song and sing as a group. Don’t worry if you can’t carry a tune; the goal is for everyone to spend time together enjoying a fun indoor activity.
Make popsicles! Everyone loves to cool off in the summer with a delicious frozen treat, so why not make them yourself? Here’s our list of really yummy popsicle recipes. Which will be your family favorite?
Have an indoor picnic. When the weather gets too hot or rainy, that doesn’t mean your summer day is ruined—just move the party indoors! Lay out a blanket and have a picnic in your living room.
Play animal charades. Can your kid waddle like a penguin? Or maybe hop like a bunny? This twist on the classic game of charades can be as easy or as hard as you want. All you have to do is write down a bunch of animals on cards or paper and have everyone take turns picking a card and acting out the animal.
Connect the dots. Tic Tac Toe is so yesterday. The Dot Game is so today. And it can easily be re-created when you’re in a lurch. You need paper and a pen to make a large-scale dot grid. Then, take turns connecting one dot to the next, trying to complete squares. When you do, don’t forget to claim your property with a big fat initial smack dab in the middle of the box.
Pick a card. Learn a simple magic trick.
Learn how clouds hold water. There may not be a cloud in sight, but that doesn’t mean your science-loving child won’t get a kick out of this experiment. With a few simple everyday ingredients, your child can explore the science of clouds with this fun indoor activity from Learn With Play at Home.
Make crumpled paper art. Explore art in a completely colorful way. Learn how to turn regular watercolor paint into awesome artwork with texture, depth and so much more. Get the full directions from Buggy & Buddy.
Freeze water and oil. What happens when you mix oil and water? Make a few regular ol’ ice cubes and a few with veggie oil. Drip drops of food coloring in before popping the cubes into the freezer. Take them out (after they’re completely frozen), put them onto a piece of paper, and watch what happens as they melt.
Sponge print fun. Take the stack of unused kitchen sponges that you bought at the big box store and put them to use. Cut the sponges into shapes, dip them into tempera, and let your little one paint the day away. They can sponge-paint a pattern, make abstract art, or put shapes together to make a picture, such as a tree or a house.
Create a mailbox and write each other letters.
Go small. Outfit a mouse house, dollhouse, or fairy dwelling with tiny furniture you can make yourself.
Get glowing with ice. This indoor activity is cool—in both senses of the word. Explore the wild world of tonic water, experimenting with its ability to glow (really, it does). Make tonic water ice cubes, pop them out of the freezer, and take them to a dark room. Turn off all the lights, turn on a black light, and watch the glow. Get the details here.
Make slime. This is always a fun indoor summer activity if you’re okay with a mess (it will happen). Add glitter, sequins, craft sand, or small toys for a better sensory experience. If you need a new recipe, get your slime-making steps here. And when they’re done, check out how to get slime out of just about anything.
Make a water-density rainbow. Explore density with this completely colorful experiment.
Ice-Capades! Freeze colored water in ice cube trays and then let the kids paint with their slowly melting watercolors. Check out these other surprising ways you can have fun with ice.
Sink or Float
This basic science experiment is perfect for schoolers or makes for an exciting indoor summer activity for toddlers. And as a bonus, it uses water—perfect for a hot summer day. Fill the sink, tub, or plasticware bin with cool water. Pick a few waterproof items, predict if the objects will sink or float and then toss them in; observe what happens and record the data.
Make sensory bottles. This is an easy indoor summer activity for kids to try; this sensory play idea lasts for more than one day. Fill an old plastic bottle part-way up with water. Add sparkles, colorful craft sand, or anything else your child wants. Drip a drop of food coloring in and pour a splash of baby oil into the mix. Close the bottle, seal the top with tape, and shake to watch what happens.
Set up your own indoor Olympics.
Set up your version in the living room or playroom. Create obstacles to pretend slalom around or set up an indoor aquatic race. Your child, the neighborhood kids, and the rest of the family can act out swimming movements as everyone races around the house.
Make something out of a cardboard box. Give those Amazon packages a second life with one of these fun ideas.
Paint without a brush. If you have finger paints or tempera at home, your kids can get into this art activity from Mini Monets and Mommies.
Make melted crayon shells. Older kids enjoy crafting too. Use those seashells from your beach vacation with this colorful indoor summer activity from Fun at Home with Kids.
Have a beach party. That is, have an indoor beach party. Grab the towels, pull up a paddling pool (minus the water), and pour a few kid-friendly fruit juice drinks. Fill the pool with torn blue tissue paper or a blue sheet. Pretend to splash, all from the cooling comfort of your home.
Sign up for an Outschool course. There are dozens of different courses and classes for every interest. Check out our favorites here.
—with additional reporting by Taylor Clifton and Amber Guetebier