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Favorite indoor games: what's yours?

DSC03445 Some of us are more creative than others with indoor kid games, and I'm way on the low end of the scale.  Art, legos, forts, books, my repertoire is fairly uninspired.  But after all this time indoors, we've gotten a wee more creative (see 'bowling' pic).  

How do you wile away the hours indoors with your kids?  Bowling with cups?  Soccer with paper balls?  Memory?  Go-Fish?  Ballet lessons and shows? 

Do tell, because I'm sure there's a whole lot more creative game playing going on around town than right here in our family room.  And I need ideas!  More rain, and apparently snow, on the way.  Best be prepared with more than a month's supply of coffee and 1/2 & 1/2. 

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That's too funny, we had that exact same bowling configuration going on in our living room this morning, exept with red cups. We do a version of musical chairs where the kids have to freeze when the music stops. The last kid to freeze gets tickled (or kissed all over...). We play a lot of hid and seek inside our house too. I also like the game Hullabaloo. By Cranium, it kind of combines twister and musical chairs with shapes and colors.

I broke all house rules and brought in his scooter (wiping it off as well as I could first). I'm sure the hardwood floors, carpets, and walls/furniture hate me now, but, we were both desperate! Fortunately, only 80% of the time is he riding it into things; 20% is slow-paced play.

Easter egg hunts were one of our favorite indoor activities during the snow lock-in. We probably ruined the thrill of Easter for the kids, though. Dance parties with scarves and instruments are also good.

I hear that Nintendo DS can create that state of quiet catatonia that some may be seeking.

We cleared some space in the unfinished basement and the kids can ride their bikes/trikes. We also build rather incredible trains (wooden set, LOTS of pieces) that cover the bulk of the living room. Enough room for more than one person to not interfere with eachother. A big piece of paper (easel type, from Ikea) on the kitchen floor for drawing racetracks for the cars is also a hit. Christmas brought us some board games (the balancing cactus from plan toys and a Yahtzee, Jr, which I could take or leave but my 4 year old loves.) My husband has had luck with a giant box.

We put a twin mattress next to the couch and the kids would roll from the couch to the mattress to the carpet. They came up with other games revolving around our new living room piece, and they never got tired of it.

I'm not proud to admit it, but my children have become Wii junkies during all this time inside. But the bright side is they've been happy---and so have I! At least they're up and moving a bit.

We too have a new Wii... bowling is a hit, also golf, boxing for the parents :), and this great running game that has my son sweating and red-faced.

Couple times this week when they get to that end-of-day-when's-dinner-antsy-pantsy phase I have armed both kids with giant flashlights, raincoats, boots, a paper bag each, and a scavenger hunt list and kicked them out the back door into our fenced back yard. I can see their little lights bobbing around the backyard from my command post window in the kitchen. Its so quiet in the house then. :P

We have a blow-up jumping gym which is used for jumping and making HUGE forts.

We did the fort thing today. Also encouraged the kids to jump on the minitramp as they watched the Razor Scooter promo DVD, which is my 5 year old's favorite thing in the world to watch. Baking usually is my go-to, we never tire of cookies (yum). We painted a bit. Boys did like beading one morning, wonder if that 2-hour attention to one (non-tv) thing could ever be replicated? That was amazing. Dance parties, those are great too but I have to save them for my last resort. Can't get too tired early in the day! ha. My guys really love their mattresses on the ground and play their usual before-bed wrestling game here and there throughout the day. Setting up Playmobils is something I genuinely like to do...I have found if I simply start sorting out all the little pieces from the drawer the game gets going without me!

I bought a dart board for my husband for Christmas as a bit of a joke, but it has been a HUGE hit in our house! My 6 year old loves it and we have played darts for hours over the last week. The dart tips are plastic so they just bounce harmlessly off the wall when my son misses the board (which happens a lot!)

Forts, baking and lot's of play dates....ohhhh and I tried to create a new game...the dusting game...but it didn't take very well! :)

treasure hunts. draw little picture notes to discover at each new hiding place, or make a map. it's fun for the adult to do the first, then the kids like making them after that. picture notes if they can't read, but words if they can.

you tube fun things like "face painting". then do face painting. or "how potato chips are made".

We have been playing light saber with the cardboard from two empty wrapping paper rolls.

My little guy loves to put food coloring into little jars of water and then mix them all together. I use a roasting pan to contain the experiments, and I have to dump and refill his water jars a lot, but it is fun.

For the younger set (<1 year) I would offer:

1. Drawer Rummage - take out a drawer that needs organizing, let your child rummage, and teach words as you sort into discard/give piles or put things back in an orderly fashion. Important note: place drawer out of reach when putting things back, or this could be an infinite loop...

2. Obstacle Course - gather pillows of all sizes and create a good old fashioned obstacle course. Tuck favorite toys in the spaces in between as motivators/rewards. This was a big hit when my daughter was learning to crawl.

3. Cooking Show - put on a cooking show for your little one, with opportunities to hold and taste along the way. Regardless of whether you make the bulk of your own food, this is a great way to get your child interested in new flavors. Plus, if you're a jarred-food kind of person, you may just discover how easy and economical it is to make your own!

4. Kitchen Instruments - gather pots n'pans, spatulas, spoons, fill small jars with beans, etc. Put on some music, and strike up the band!

I'd also encourage all moms to use bad weather as an opportunity to teach independent play. Have baby "read" while you're reading - even if you're just pretending, you're planting the seed of an idea that baby and mommy can do the same thing in different ways, together.

My little gal likes to play in the tub on rainy days. We are also doing a lot of puzzles. Hide and Seek + any chasing game have helped get some energy out too.

My 5 and 2 year old love to play obstacle course. The five year old pre-draws the course and then we set it up. The two year old loves to climb through it. We use a bouncy ball with a handle, mini trampoline, pillows, couch, a skateboard ramp, and even roller skates to make it fun. It is all about movement for my kids. Another favorite we have is creative time making concoctions in the kitchen. I give them 4 or 5 ingredients (that are not to gross together) and let them go to town. A favorite creation has been tortillas with bananas,peanutbuttet, and chocolate sprinkles(a perfect pizza for them).

We play boats! My 2 year old loves to sit in a luandry basket or any empty box/container. I will puch him around, he makes all kinds of great motor sounds or swish (the wind- so cute!) And we come up with all kinds of great places to go. He will bring supplies into the boat, a blanket, flash light, books aka his maps, etc. We play all the time. I will be sad when he out grows his boat game!

I boiled five packages of spaghetti, let it cool a bit, then poured it all into the bathtub. In went the two kids. They still talk about it four years later. One lesson learned: think about draining/plumbing issues before pulling the plug. (arghhh!)

More recently, we've done forts, played outside daily regardless of weather, created make-believe school, house, and Harry Potter, and enjoyed talent shows.

Our older girls pulled out a couple science books to create rock candy and disintegrate an egg shell in vinegar. Plus play dough...lots of play dough.

My boys (4 and 5) loved this easy "science experiment". I gave them 3 medicine droppers, an ice cube tray, and 3 very small spoons. Then provide small bowls of baking soda, cornstarch, salt, water, vinegar (can add food color to one so you can tell the difference) and dish soap. Let them mix and match to see what happens!

One of my favorite indoor games is shuffleboard. I just like how
the game is played and what it requires. It doesn´t asks for a ton
of money like golf.

We like to play sumo wrestling by stuffing the kids shirts with pillows. They can "gently" (which sometimes is the hard part) bump each other until one falls down. Human dominos is fun as well. We place 1 kid then couch cushion, the kid then couch cushion, etc. I will do the ready, set go thing and they topple into the cushion bumping the next kid down and so on.

We also make our own playdough (recipe online) create a scupltor and put on display like and art gallery for anyone who may visit. They write their name, date and title of their piece.

Lastly we make marble mazes. One with wrapping paper / paper towel tubes. Set each one on an angel so they race down the verticle track. Directions online. Or we get a disposable aluminum tray. Find things that will make good walls (twigs, q-tips, popsicle sticks). Glue them down in a crazy patten in the pan like a maze. At the end of the maze make a hole just big enough for your marble or bouncy ball to fall out of. Then drop in your ball and wind your way thru the maze thill the ball pops out at the end.

Indoor soccer is mine. Aaaahh, it doesn't get any better than that. Well, unless there's cookies.

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