While we all love getting out and about in our beautiful city of Ann Arbor, sometimes you get stuck inside. Whether it’s due to bad weather, school closure or a nationwide pandemic—once you’re indoors, kids can get cabin fever quickly if you’re not prepared.
To help, we rounded up a list of some of the best indoor activities you can do with kids, from reading a book together to virtually touring some of the country’s best museums. Plus, some of these ideas include ways you can support your community during this difficult time without having to leave the comfort of your home!
Make a Simple Recipe
Many people are using this self-distancing time to learn a new skill—and we can’t think of a better one to hone than cooking! Teaching your kids how to cook simple recipes can be a fun activity that everyone can do together. Check out this list from Taste of Home that outlines 30 easy recipes to try with your family, from peanut butter and banana sandwiches to cheesy quesadillas and ice cream in a bag.
Throw a Netflix Party
Ask any kid—one of the worst parts of having to stay home all day is not being able to get out and play with your friends. Thankfully, Netflix parties exist to help keep people connected over our love of bingeable television! Head to Netflix Party, a Chrome extension that allows you to open an online party on Netflix with your friends, “hang out” with them via online chat, and watch your favorite film. Paste Magazine has a list of the best kid-friendly movies on Netflix right now to help you narrow down your options.
Read a Few Books
When you can’t venture outside, why not pick up a book and escape into a story for a while? Reading out loud can be a fun activity for the whole family—no matter how old your kids are! Whether it’s Harry Potter or Clifford the Big Red Dog, you can snuggle up on the couch together for an all day reading marathon.
Even if you can’t leave your house, the library is still a great option for those looking to support the community. Just download the Libby app, input your library card information and voila—you can download free ebooks and audiobooks directly from your local library. And if you want to support a local business, many local bookstores in the Ann Arbor area have online stores where you can order new physical books or ebooks that you can download to your digital device.
Break Out the Board Games
It may not be the most original idea in the book, but board games are a classic family indoor activity that we just couldn’t leave off of the list. You can’t go wrong with Hungry Hungry Hippos for little ones or Monopoly for the older kids—but if you are looking for some more recommendations, Good Housekeeping has a fantastic list of board games for the whole family.
Learn Something New
Now that schools are closed—you’ve probably found yourself doing a little homeschooling. Luckily, Scholastic Learn is here to take some of that off your plate. On their website, kids can do a new learning experience built around a story or video every day. And the best part is, you can choose to do these together as a family or your little ones can do the activities on their own if you are working from home.
Do a Craft
When all the books have been read and all your movies have been watched, it’s time to switch gears to arts and crafts. Grab your markers, glue, paint, paper, and whatever other odds and ends you have lying around the house and let the kids go to town! After they’ve finished designing their masterpieces, hang them up around the house and host your own DIY pop-up art gallery. Here are a few simple crafts they can do on their own from Happiness is Homemade.
Have a Self Care Afternoon
Even kids need to #TreatThemselves now and again. Put on some face masks and watch their favorite show. Order a few bars of fancy soap from The Little Flower Soap Shop and have a luxurious bath. Have a picnic in the living room, eat a sweet or give yourselves foot massages—the possibilities are endless!
When kids are in school, teachers know that the best way to keep them well-behaved and focused is to get them outside for recess or to the gym for P.E. at regular intervals. When school is out, we sometimes forget that they need some activity to expel some energy. There are several ways to get them up and moving, from spontaneous dance parties to following an online yoga tutorial! Check out this guide from She Knows, which outlines some of the best virtual resources for getting your kids moving and grooving (including Cosmic Kids Yoga that even you will want to take part in!).
Draw a Doodle
Mo Willems is an American writer, animator, voice actor and creator of children’s books. During this weird time in our country, Willems is virtually inviting kids into his studio to participate in Lunch Doodles! Kids can practice their creativity by drawing alongside Mo in these fun, interactive videos. If you post your art to social media, be sure to hashtag it with #MoLunchDoodles!
Virtually Tour a Museum
Just because we’re stuck at home, that doesn’t mean we can’t explore some of the best museums our planet has to offer! There are hundreds of world-class museums that you can tour virtually, from The Louvre to the Guggenheim. Mental Floss put together a spectacular list of the very best museums offering virtual tours so hop online and let your kids wander!
Or Virtually Go to the Zoo
If museums aren’t your kids’ jam, why not take them to the zoo instead? Zoos all around the country have closed their doors for the time being and are instead posting live streams of their adorable animals online! Visit the Cincinnati Zoo as they showcase their famous hippo, Fiona, in her natural habitat. Check out the San Diego Zoo’s nine different live streams of everything from koalas to elephants. Or head to the incredibly adorable Kitten Rescue Sanctuary’s Kitten Cam where you can “Oo” and “Awe” all afternoon long. You can find a master list of these streams here.