We’ve all heard the old saying: “If you don’t like the weather in Texas, just wait five minutes.” And no one understands that sentiment quite like a parent. Especially when it comes to indoor activities for your kids. Some days it can be simply too hot for outside summertime fun. Other days, too chilly. And more frequently? Rain. Not just a mild, cooling mist but torrential downpours. Lightning. Thunder. And the tornadoes Texans have learned far too well to endure. It’s always surprising to see how many parents confine activities for kids to the outdoors. It seems more often than not, parents are simply content to plop their kids in front of the TV or hand them an iPad and simply pray for the weather to stop. But it stifles their imagination. It staunches their energy. And it’s detrimental to their health. While plenty of fresh air and sunshine is fundamental for your kid, indoor activities aren’t just for rainy days. There are going to be days where you simply need to be at home. And there’s no sense in having your kids glued to a screen if they don’t have to be. Here are ten of the best indoor activities for kids you can try at home the next time you’re all cooped up!

Indoor Activity # 1: Charades

One of the most beautiful things about charades is the fact that you don’t need anything more than your imagination to play it. Not only will it exercise your child’s imagination, it can help them develop word association as well. Simply write down the words you’re going to act out on index cards and mix them up. One player takes turns acting out their words while the others try to guess. The player with the most correct answers wins. This is a great way to stretch those mental muscles while having fun!

Indoor Activity # 2: Musical Chairs—Without The Chairs

One of the biggest problems with indoor activities can be a lack of space. And while you may remember musical chairs from your childhood, it isn’t always effective in a cramped room. In fact, it can be downright dull. But with chairless musical chairs, you can teach musical appreciation to your kids and give them plenty of exercise as well. Simply use large pieces of colored construction paper in lieu of furniture. Spread them out throughout multiple rooms in your home. Each time the music stops, each kid will either freeze or collect the nearest piece of paper.  Whoever collects the most, wins.

Indoor Activity # 3: Hot And Cold

What’s surprising for many parents is how educational a game of Hot and Cold can be. It’s not just a fun way to while away half an hour. It actually teaches your kids logic and deduction. And while you’re probably used to playing it in the backyard, your house is just as suitable—in fact, it can be more so. Simply have one player close their eyes for 30 seconds while the others hide an object. The player with their eyes closed has to find the object, encouraged by the others with either a shout of “hot!” when nearby or “cold!” when distant.  Set a three minute time limit to discover the object. You might find that there’s no such thing as winning or losing in this activity—just discovery.

Indoor Activity # 4:  Who Stole The Fruit?

A healthier way of playing the classic “cookie jar” game, this combines both valuable math skills with one of your preschooler’s favorite activities—snacking! Have your kids count out the pieces of fruit in a bowl. Have one player close their eyes, while another grabs random pieces. The first player not only has to guess who stole the fruit, they have to accurately guess how many pieces were stolen and how many are left over. The winner with the most correct answers gets all the fruit.

Indoor Activity # 5: Stretch, Don’t Compete 

Indoor activities for kids don’t have to be about competition. In fact, for more extended at-home periods, it’s a better idea to let them get some natural exercise without having to worry about winning a game. But exercises such as yoga don’t just teach your kids balance and coordination. There’s a growing body of research linking yoga with increased focus, attention span, self esteem and academic performance in both developing children and adults. Just keep that in mind the next time you’re racking your brain trying to come up with indoor activities.

Indoor Activity # 6: Create An Art Studio At Home

We all have that one space in our homes we almost never use. Maybe it’s a guest room. Or a walk-in closet. Or a storage room. It’s virtually empty, bare, and just right for your child to let their imagination run wild. Keep it stocked full of construction paper, paste, crayons, fingerpaints and other craft items to encourage your child’s creative side. It doesn’t just instill the value of self expression. It gives your child their own little corner of the home they can call their own. And that, in itself, can be more valuable than any video game.

At Handprints Academy, we know the value of learning, the value of play and how both can nurture your child. Find out more by visiting handprintschildcare.com or call (214) 484-1018 for more information