Hello, mamas! Thank you for clicking over to the PeelyPack blog, where we talk about easy crafts and activities for kids, as well as ideas to get the most out of #momlife. Today I’m sharing with you some ideas for inside activities to do with your kids on snow days, or rainy days, or I-don’t-want-to-put-on-a-bra-so-I-can’t-go-outside days.
You know, be prepared and all that.
Whatever the reason for your shut-in situation, we’ve got your back. No judging, promise. 😉
We’ll get to the activity ideas below, but first I want to tell you about how I came upon these ideas: my mom’s group.
Moms groups are the best. Do you have one? The lovely ladies in mine got together to talk about ways to entertain the kiddos on the inevitable snow days in our area, and came armed with supplies to make busy bags to take home. This is gold, people. Here’s how you can do it, too.
Play date idea: The Busy Bag Swap
This concept is analogous to a cookie swap, but instead of bringing the baked cookies, you’d bring the ingredients and bake the cookies at the get together. But way more simple than that. Because baking seven types of cookies at a play date would be insane.
To do this, ask your mom friends to pick one “busy bag” or independent play activity to share with the group. Each person should come with enough supplies for everyone attending to make one or two of that activity to take home. The idea is to make a variety of inside activities to take home and use as you like with your kids.
During the get-together, each mom explains the activity and how to make it. Then everyone gets to work and makes one or two of each activity. We had one or two activities set up at each table, so we could rotate around the room, chatting and assembling the inside activities.
Major disclaimer: this was a kid-free event. We do not mess around with our mom’s group. We hire babysitters. This is amazing and I highly recommend it.
But if you’re just having a regular old playdate with the kids running around, you can still do the busy bag swap. Make one room “kid-free” for busy bag assembly. Keep the toys, snacks, and rowdiness out of the busy bag room and take turns assembling the crafts while your dear friends keep an eye on your children.
Now let’s get to the meat and potatoes. Here are the inside activities we made for our busy bag swap….
Color Matching Clips
- Paint chips
- Clothes pins
- Paint stir sticks
Cut out two squares of each color from the paint chips. For each color, glue one square on the stir stick and one square on the top of the clothes pin. Voila! You have a fun color matching game with clips.
For big kids, make a strip with different shade of the same color. For little kids, stick to the primary colors. Your little ones can either clip the pins to the stick, or tear off the glued-on paper. Both ways are fun. 😉
- Paper quarters with squiggly lines
Both my two year old and four year old adore cutting. Cutting with scissors has the allure for them of being a slightly dangerous “big kid” activity that they’re allowed to do.
All you need is some paper with different squiggly lines drawn on it. The mom who brought these trimmed the paper into quarters and drew three squiggly lines on each sheet. Brilliant.
- Post-It notes
This idea came from a mom of three who is a former preschool teacher. She knows that simple is usually best. Take a stack of post-its and two crayons. Bam. Done. The kids can color the post-its and stick them on the walls. Or on each other.
- Sponges cut into sticks
The idea here is to put a bunch of these cut up sponges in a bag and let your child use them in any way they like. The mom who brought these said her two boys love to build with them like blocks, or play Jenga. Or, ya know, just squish them all around and stomp on them.
When I showed these to my two year old his face lit up like I had a bag of gold. And I bought him all those toys for Christmas….sigh.
Alphabet Matching Tubes
- Paper towel tubes
- Dot stickers
For this activity, write the letters of the alphabet on a paper towel tube. Then snag a sheet of dot stickers and write the alphabet on those. The idea is to have your child match the letter sticker to the corresponding letter on the tube.
You can do all uppercase, all lowercase, or mix it up. If your child is too young for letter recognition, then just give them the tube with stickers. I promise it will be just as fun.
- Penne pasta
- Ribbon cut into approximately 24″ lengths
Threading beads or pasta is hugely popular in my house. To assemble the bag, put in one section of ribbon and about 20 pieces of pasta.
For a truly independent activity, be sure to tie one piece of pasta to the end of the ribbon. That way, when your child begins threading, the pieces won’t fall off the end. Tie into a necklace when complete.
One last activity…
Can you guess what I brought to the busy bag swap? PeelyPacks! Our sticker packs are independent play packs of fun, with tons of cool stickers and a big, fold-out activity sheet.
Each pack is a different theme, like On the Farm or Outer Space Adventure. A PeelyPack in your mailbox is about as easy as you can get for screen-free, independent play. My friends were all super psyched to get one to take home.
Other Real mom Tips & Ideas for inside activities
One of the biggest topics of discussion in our group was the amazing difference cleaning the play room makes. Most moms attested to the fact that their kids will spend hours playing in an organized play room, but will completely ignore all the toys when they’re strewn about.
Here are some of our other ideas for inside activities:
- Homemade playdough
- Water table filled with kinetic sand instead of water
- Digging in pasta/beans/rice/etc to find coins or dinos
- Shaving cream or bath paint in the tub
- Pop-up tunnels
- Water beads
- PVC or paper towel tubes to race balls or cars
- Cutting carrots or other real food
- Placing the sensory bin inside a kiddie pool for easy clean-up
- Sticking painter’s tape to the walls
- Using real screws, screwdriver, hammer, etc with plywood
- “Face painting” with washable markers before bath time
- A sticker banner
- Measuring things with measuring tape
This mom get-together was so much fun, and we all got some great ideas and encouragement from each other. I hope you’ll try it out with your friends. The materials for each busy bag activity, aside from the PeelyPacks, cost maybe $0 to $5 for each person, and we had a big group (about 18 people).
If you need a fun activity RIGHT NOW, download our free printable coloring book. This 20-page book features adorable illustrations by two of our PeelyPack artists. You can print out individual sheets or multiple copies of the entire book. I hope you enjoy! Stay warm, mamas!