With the start of winter break just around the corner, I’m sure it won’t be long before parents will be hearing “I’m bored…” and “I don’t know what to do!”
I’m here with a fun list of boredom buster activities to keep the kids entertained but also challenge their minds, muscles, and creativity to help release pent-up energy.
I’ve broken this list into 6 categories; exercise, messy play, experiments, family play, and cooking with kids. Each of these activities are sure to keep your little ones busy and happy!
Let’s get moving!
- Yoga– Yoga not only helps with balance and focus, but controlled breathing also promotes a calming and relaxing effect. Because of this, yoga is a favorite wiggle-relieving activity in our house. There many great online yoga classes for kids, but our favorites are Cosmic Yoga and 5 Minutes ABCs of Yoga for Kids
- Ninja Obstacle Course – Create an obstacle ninja training course and time each other to see who is the fastest.
- ABC exercise
- Action, Action 1,2,3!
- The Floor is Lava – A favorite in our house when everyone is a little wiggly. To play, have players jump on “safe zones” before the timer runs out (we count down from five).
- Scavenger Hunt – Using a scavenger hunt is a fun way to get out and discover what treasures the winter world holds. Here are a few of our favorites we’ve recently discovered for older kids and younger kids. Also, enlist your family in making your own!
- Go on a Hike – Make it a themed event like a popcorn hike, hot cocoa hike, or flashlight hike…the unique themes are endless!
- Geocaching – As I love to refer to it, hiking with a purpose! Young or the young at heart will love to go on a treasure hunt!
- Fun with Tape – Not only do kids love to play with tape, but it also is the perfect makings for games to get kids moving! On the floor, put 5-10 lines of tape, each about a foot apart, then let the fun ensue! We love doing long jump (how many lines can be jumped over), take a running leap (with a running start see how far they can jump) and stretch it out (how far can be stretched with one foot on the “start” line).
- Balloon Ping Pong – Grab paper plates, balloons, and get ready for fun! If you don’t have paper plates, no worries. Have the kids hit the balloon like a volleyball. Feeling a bit crafty? Grab a poster board, popsicle sticks, and washi tape. Cut the poster board out in the shape of a paddle, decorate, and attach the popsicle stick for a handle.
- Cloud Dough – A quick and easy two-ingredient activity that is a crowd favorite in our house. Mix 2 cups of flour to ½ cup of oil (vegetable or baby oil) and add small toys, sand toys, cookie cutters, or just instruments from the kitchen. The play options are limitless!
- Edible Finger Paint – With only minutes of prep, this activity will keep the kids occupied for an hour or more! From my experience, this is a great activity for kids, from babies to big kids! Whether it’s on paper, cardboard, or in an empty bathtub, just add paint brushes and let the creativity flow. When they’re done, have them rinse down the tub and themselves…it’s a two for one!
- Magic Foaming Snowman – Though the snowmen are winter themed, this is a fun activity all year round. My 5 year old also loves when we hide mini dinosaurs inside to discover.
- Oobleck – This is one of the most popular messy play recipes. What makes it so popular is it’s easy to make! With equal parts water and cornstarch mixed with food coloring, you can add a theme or just let your children explore the non-Newtonian fluid. For added fun, put into a large container and let the kids try to walk on it! A favorite in our house is coloring it green and adding dinosaurs!
- Rubbery Goop – I love calling this “Playdough’s cousin,” because it looks and feels like playdough, but the texture is much different and more stretchy.
- Homemade Fake Snow – Start by mixing equal parts baking soda to cornstarch in a bowl or tray, then add just enough water that the mixture can be formed into a ball. Loosen any clumps and enjoy! Like with cloud dough, add any play instrument or even makings for a snowman; the play options are limitless!
- Homemade Playdough – A classic kid favorite that will keep them busy for hours. If you’re feeling creative, this is my favorite homemade playdough recipe, but we also love adding essential oils in for a “relaxing dough”.
- Soap Dough – Mix together cornstarch with soap. If it’s too wet, add more corn starch, and if it’s too dry, add more dish soap. I find that a bit more than ⅓ cup cornstarch makes the best consistency. You can also switch this recipe up with shampoo instead of soap.
- Sensory Bins
- Colorful Spaghetti Worms
- Dancing Raisins – Fill a glass with soda. Drop raisins into the glass, then sit and watch the dance party start! A word of caution, sometimes it takes a bit for them to start “dancing.”
- Melting Snowmen
- Magic Milk – Pour milk into a flat bottom dish then drop in varying amounts (and colors) of food coloring. Using a cotton swab dipped into dish soap, gently touch the swab to the surface of the milk and watch the magic happen! For added fun throw in some glitter!
- Elephant Toothpaste – Even elephants need to brush their teeth, right? For this experiment, you’ll need a 20oz bottle, dish soap, yeast, food coloring, and warm water. Pour 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide solution, 1/4 cup dishwashing soap, and a few drops of food coloring into the bottle. Swirl the bottle to mix the ingredients. In a cup mix a packet of yeast with a little warm water. Give the yeast about five minutes to activate. Then pour the yeast mixture into the bottle and watch the fun!
- Make Your Own Rock Crystal Candy – This classic experiment is not only a fun scientific experiment, but also a tasty treat!
- Build with Marshmallows – What better way to beat boredom than by getting creative with this classically fun STEM activity of marshmallows and toothpicks. Put them together and make a house, bridge, or just spell out your name!
- Magic Foaming Snowman – Though this is winter themed this is a fun activity all year round.
- Stained Glass Oil and Water – This is a mess free favorite in our house that never gets old. In a shallow dish or pan pour in vegetable oil. In a separate cup per color mix together water and 4 drops of food coloring. Then using pipettes or a dropper of some sort let the kids go to town dropping in the various colors into the oil. Since water and oil don’t mix, the results are gorgeous dancing colorful bubbles! Not only is it pretty to look at, but the science behind it makes for a fun teachable moment!
- Fizzy Ice
- Snowflake Observation – On a snowy day, take a magnifying glass and a black construction paper outside. Catch snowflakes and observe the differences.
- Fishers Rocks – This is a local chapter of the Kindness Rocks project. The purpose is to bring smiles to all so this activity is as easy as grabbing some rocks, paints, and just letting the kids go crazy with their decorating. Whether it’s an inspirational rock or just a colorful design, all will bring smiles to everyone’s face. Once dry, write #FishersRocks on it and hide somewhere for another person to find.
- Paint with Ice- Color water with food coloring, freeze then let the creativity run wild. I suggest using cardboard or thicker paper.
- Pinecone Weaving – With just yarn and pinecones this fine motor activity will keep your littles busy! Using the yarn weave it through the pinecone adding as much or little yarn as you’d like, letting the kids’ creativity run wild!
- Salt Dough Ornaments
- Cheerios Bird Feeder – String Cheerios or other cereals onto string then tie to a branch outside for the birds.
- Penny Spinners – Using cardboard, cut out any size circle. Then, make a slit in the center for the penny and decorate. Attach the penny in the slit of the circle with hot glue and spin!
- Bath Bombs – In our house, I’m not sure who loves them more, my boys or myself. After finding this recipe, we’re hooked on making them. Not only does it make for a fun crafting time, but also your kitchen will smell amazing!
- Salt Painting – Draw a design onto cardstock, then using glue draw over the creation. Be generous with the salt as you pour it over the glue, and pour off the excess salt. Allow the salted glue to dry before painting. Then using a pipette drip drops of food coloring colored water onto the salted glue.
- Homemade Microwave Puffy Paint – This super easy four-ingredient craft comes to life before your eyes with just 30 seconds in the microwave.
- Make your family into toilet paper roll Penguins or Snowmen.
A Family That Plays Together…
- Play boardgames as a family or compete in a family board game contest.
- Marshmallow Tinker Toys – Who can build a marshmallow house, bridge, or car? Using only marshmallows and toothpicks, challenge your kids to see what they come up with.
- Have an indoor snowball fight using cotton balls, rolled up socks, or make snowball poppers.
- Spider Web Course – String up a web using string, crate paper, or tape and challenge the kids to move through without touching the strings!
- Pom Pom Race – Create a tape track then find some pom poms and a straw. Who can make it to the finish line first only by blowing?
- Family Trivia Night – Have each family member create their own questions and answers about themselves for the rest of the family to guess. Or, have each family member submit three facts into a bowl, and each person randomly pulls a fact and everyone votes who the fact is about.
- Lego building competition – Set a timer and build! A fun addition to the competition is participating in a 30-day Lego challenge.
- Indoor Campout – Build a blanket fort then grab pillows, a flashlight, and jump into your tent! Pretend you’re on a campout, and to add to the camp feel, make s’mores in the microwave.
- Pictionary with a Crafty Twist – It’s as easy as setting a timer for 2 minutes, drawing a word/phrase from a bowl, then using pipe cleaners to mold the selected word or phrase.
- Emotional Animal Game – This is a twist on the traditional charades game.
Cooking Up Some Fun!
- Banana Bites
- Snow Cream – This is a super fun and easy three-ingredient recipe perfect for any snowy day. A word of caution, make sure you’re using nice WHITE snow before making snow cream. In our family, when snow is predicted overnight we make sure to put out a bowl to catch snow as it falls. To make snow cream, use fresh snow, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract, and sprinkles. Add all ingredients except a few cups of snow and mix. If it appears soupy add more snow in and enjoy!
- Oat Bites
- Ice Cream In A Bag
- Nutella Brownies – This delicious three-ingredient snack is a quick and easy favorite in our house. All you need is 1 ¼ cup of Nutella, 2 eggs, and ½ cup of flour. Mix all ingredients together and pour into a 9×9 greased pan, then bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
- Muffin Tin Lasagna Bites
- Bake your favorite cookies and decorate a card for friends and neighbors.
- Greek Butter Cookies
- Taco Pizza – What kid doesn’t love tacos and pizza? This is the best of both worlds when we cannot decide which favorite to have. Rollout pizza dough on a cookie sheet and cook according to directions, tjem top with your favorite taco toppings. I then like to return it to the oven for 5 minutes. Enjoy!
- Maple Syrup Snow Candy – If you like snow cream, you’ll love this fun and simple three-ingredient candy.
Don’t forget to share all your winter break boredom buster fun on social media using the hashtag #AroundFishers.
Megan Gamble was raised in Fishers and has lived here for over 20 years. She lives in the Geist area with her husband, Zane, and two active boys, Miles (4) and Nolan (1). A former teacher and child developmental therapist, she loves finding new adventures with her family in Fishers Parks, as well as attending the city’s family-friendly (and date night perfect) events throughout the year. Her hobbies include photography, coffee, DIY projects, wine, traveling, helping others, and fashion. She loves Fishers’ small town feel though it’s a growing, thriving city and being able to visit and attend festivals, events, and activities with her family that she also attended as a child. Follow her on Instagram at @MilesofAdventures.