Activities for Little Ones | Catch the Latest | Living Winter

15 Cheap & Easy Indoor Activities for Energetic Children

February 26, 2017
Activities for energetic kids

Cold weather lasts for a long time in the Midwest. Usually from October – April we can expect blustery, rainy, icy, snowy or just plain freezing weather. Even though we do get a ton of sunshine out here in the winter, it’s still really cold. My kids have never been outdoorsy kind of kids in the winter. They get excited when there is a big snow storm or fresh rain puddles and they bundle up and go adventuring in the backyard for a total of…10 minutes before they come hurrying back inside. They don’t like the cold and I don’t either.

That means we have at least 6 months a year where they are cooped up inside and usually staying at home with the cabin fever rising fast. So here are some of the activities I’ve found over the last few years that have helped to ease the heat of the dreaded cabin fever. Most of these involve easy setup and cleanup, include items and toys we already have around the house, (save for a few crafts items) and they entertain my energy filled children! Since I have only daughters, some of these activities are probably more suited to little girls.

(Affiliate links included below which means if you click through and/or purchase something through my links, I’ll receive a small commission at no cost to you, see full disclosure here).

15 Cheap and Easy Indoor Activities for the Energetic Children

Blanket Tents

Supplies needed:

  • Blankets and a place to drape them
  • Other blankets and pillows to cuddle with inside
  • An open space with minimal in and out traffic

Indoor Picnic

Supplies needed:

      • Picnic Blanket
      • Toy Basket and dish cloth to cover the basket

    • Snacks and sandwiches wrapped in napkins
    • Drink cups

Beauty Parlor

Supplies needed:

      • Hair brush
      • Mirror
      • Hair ties, bobby pins, bows
      • Play earrings

      • Mommy’s jewelry
      • Nail polish for kids

    • Willing clients


Supplies needed:

  • A hands-on recipe, try this monkey bread recipe for fun with dough
  • Ingredients
  • A step stool
  • Wooden spoons for little hands to use
  • Patience


Picture and Video Selfies

Supplies needed:

  • Cell phone
  • Sing along Spotify playlists for singing home videos
  • Our current favorites are the soundtracks from the Trolls movie and the Moana movie
  • Also the Snapchat filters are fun to play on with kidsIndoor activity selfies Indoor activity selfies

Cardboard Dolls Houses

Supplies needed:

  • Cardboard Boxes
  • Scissors
  • Dollhouse people and furniture
  • Scrapbook paper and stickers to decorate the interior

Indoor Activity doll house

Indoor Snow

Supplied needed:

  • A plastic container
  • Measuring Cups and spoons
  • Snow from outside
  • Plastic tablecloth

Indoor snow Indoor snow


Floor Mazes

Supplies needed:

      • Small toy pieces that can be placed end to end
      • We use Magna Tiles

    • Or memory card game pieces
  • Let your kids get creative with making mazes, roads and “train tracks” on the floor


Puff Ball Sorting

Supplies needed:

      • Puff ball pom poms

    • Kitchen tongs
    • Muffin tin
    • Small boxes or other containersIndoor activity puff balls

      Dress Up

Supplies needed:

    • Dress up clothes
    • For Girls:

    • For Boys:

Colored Rice

Supplies needed:

  • Uncooked white rice
  • Food coloring to make the different colors (let it dry before using)
  • Kitchen bowls, pans, measuring cups, ice cream scoop
  • Plastic Tablecloth

    Winter Gear

     Supplies needed:

  • Winter coats, mittens and boots
  • Toy figurines and dolls to put in them for pretend play
  • A good imagination

    Cutting Practice

Supplies needed:

    • Kid-friendly scissors

  • Paper or Cutting Practice Printables
  • Thin Ribbon
  • Trash can to clean up the tiny pieces of paper on the floor

    Letter  and Color Recognition

Supplied needed:

      • Fridge space
      • Alphabet Magnets

    • Construction paper
    • Fingerpaint to practice letters (favorite letters around here are “H” and “S”


Indoor Activity letters

Button Names

Supplied needed:

    • Construction paper
    • Modge Podge or some other craft glue
    • Paint Brushes
    • Assorted Buttons

Other Easy Crafts with Simple Materials

Check out my kids’ crafts board on Pinterest:

Check out the parties I’m linking up with here.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

  • Do you have this as a single page printable? I love these ideas! 🙂


      No I didn’t make a printable but I will now 😉 Thanks.

  • These are great! Thanks for sharing!! It’s so easy to forget some of them. Like pom pom sorting, I need to do that again soon! It always lasts wayyy longer than I think it will! 😂


      You are welcome, yeah sometimes the simplest things are the most fun for kids 🙂

  • You have some fun ideas here! I’m pinning this for later. 🙂


      Awesome, thanks.

  • This is super helpful!!!



  • There are some really good ideas here, Hannah! Thanks for sharing all of these. Scheduling to share on Pinterest. 🙂


      Thank you for sharing and commenting 🙂

  • ashton358

    I love these ideas! They are so cute and easy and I can’t wait to use them!


      Thanks so much, hope they keep your kid entertained 🙂

  • livewellplaytogether

    Great ideas! We love blanket forts and picnics around here!


      Thanks, my kids ask for a picnic on a regular basis 🙂

  • I loved this post! Blanket tents and indoor picnics are a regular in our home on the frequent rainy days 🙂


      Thank you! Tents are so cozy on rainy days.

  • These are great ideas. I need to try them with my granddaughter.


      Awesome 🙂 Enjoy!

  • Love these great ideas! We’ve all been cooped up too long as well (in Iowa). 🙂


      Thanks, yep the end of the winter gets to be so long.

  • Bethany Shields

    Great list! We’ve done some of those, but I think we may have to bust out the beauty parlor one of these rainy days soon! 🙂

    • That’s a great way to spend a rainy day 🙂

  • Beka | Grace to Soar

    These are great!! We’ve had a few rainy days in a row and I’m needing this list!

    • Great, I’m glad you could find some helpful options 🙂

  • Olu Afolabi

    What a great list you have here. Shared the pictures with my kids and they are yearning to try some. Thanks for sharing.

    • You are welcome. Enjoy.

  • Pingback: Keeping Your Kids Active Without Leaving the House - Lovely Little Lives()

  • Pingback: To Each of My Children on Mother's Day - Lovely Little Lives()

  • This looks like a great list of activities. I love the idea of an indoor picnic!

    • Yes! My girls love doing that.

  • Robbi Bittle

    Love these ideas. It’s gotten pretty cold here and I have been looking for ideas to keep the kids busy!

    • Awesome. The cooped up winter time is definitely a struggle with kids.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial