Mumbler has some great ideas for fun indoor activities to keep the little ones busy, meaning you can have some fun at home, especially on a rainy day!
1. Build a fairy garden
Box or large dish, soil, grass seed, modelling clay, coloured stones, shell, sticks and some string…. Fill the dish with damp soil and lay out a path with stones. Decide which bits are grass and soil the grass seeds. Perhaps use a shell as a pond…then let your imagination run wild. Model toadstools, make bridges from sticks, perhaps blue stones for a river? Use lolly pop sticks, coloured paper and glitter to make fairies?
2. Lolly Stick People
My kids love using lolly sticks to make people, at this time of year, fairies and princesses (they can live above!). Its really easy and lots of fun. All you need are some lolly sticks, glue, paper and pens. We also use cotton wool which is a big hit, plastic eyes (but could draw on) and some pipe cleaners for decoration.
3. Create A Time Capsule
Use a Tupperware or old biscuit tin. The children can imagine who might find the time capsule in the future. They can write letters, draw pictures, find photos etc to let this person of the future know all about life as it is now for them.
4. Make A Den
I loved this as a child. Get out some sheets and create a fabulous den behind the sofa or between some chairs. Fill with all kinds of things to keep them busy… Lego, reading and drawing activities, a torch, dress up clothes, snacks, books on CDs….
So it might be a bit windy outside but if the wind and rain die down there will be lots of puddles left for the kids to splash in. They can take toy boats to sail in the puddles or make mud pies. If it’s still too windy to get outside try creating an indoor puddle jumping activity for little ones by sticking paper ‘puddles’ to the floor for them to jump between. It’ll keep them moving and using their imagination. If you are heading outside the Nature Detectives website has some fun activity idea’s!
7. Make Your Own Scented Playdough
Henry and Eliza’s Granny June has an excellent play dough recipe which is fun to make and never fails to provide amusement on a rainy afternoon! It is also in the recipe section of the website.
1 cup plain flour 1 cup water 1/2 cup salt 1 tbs cooking oil 2 tsp cream tarter (available from most supermarkets or online) Few drops of food colouring 1 teaspoon vanilla essence (optional but it makes the play dough smell nice!) Mix flour, salt and cream tarter then put into a large saucepan with the water and the food colouring (and vanilla essence if using) Stir over a medium heat until the dough thickens and forms a ball. Allow to cool, and then knead until smooth. Store in an airtight container (a Ziploc bag with the air pressed out is good). Small bags of pre-made play dough also make a good “going-away” present for a toddler’s birthday party – make up some large batches in different colours and divide it up. NB: We have been advised that homemade play dough is a potential danger to household pets and must be kept safely out of their reach at all times.
8. Make Your Own Invisible Ink
Write secret messages to each other in invisible ink. When the ink dries you can heat it over a light bulb (adult supervision required) to reveal your message.
What you’ll need:
Half a lemon, Water, Spoon, Bowl, Cotton bud, White paper, Lamp or another light bulb. What to do:
Squeeze some lemon juice into the bowl and add a few drops of water. Mix the water and lemon juice with the spoon. Dip the cotton bud into the mixture and write a message onto the white paper. Wait for the juice to dry so it becomes completely invisible. When you are ready to read your secret message or show it to someone else, heat the paper by holding it close to a light bulb.
9. Make Some Oobleck
Warning: this can be a messy activity! It’s lots of fun for little ones though and a great sensory activity. All you need is cornflour, water and food colouring (optional).
Recipe: – 1 cup water – 1.5-2 cups corn starch – a few drops of food colouring of your choice
10. Build A Spaghetti And Marshmallow Tower
This activity can be as complex as you want. The basic idea is to build a tower using just a few marshmallows, 20 sticks of dry spaghetti and some tape. This is a good activity to keep older kids entertained and you can always use any left over marshmallows in hot chocolate when they’re finished.
11. Bang Goes The Theory Science Activities
The BBC website is full of lots of fun Science activities from this TV programme aimed at kids. Definitely worth a look if you’re struggling to keep the older ones entertained.
12. Hide And Seek
Always a good, easy game. I find that if you start the kids off hunting for you at the top of the house you have just enough time to make a quick cup of tea for yourself in the kitchen before they ‘find you’.
13. Scavenger Hunt
Of course, this takes a little longer to set up than hide and seek but you might create enough time for yourself while they are engaged in this activity to actually drink that cup of tea. For ideas of what to put on the list for the scavenger hunt take a look here.
14. Box Modelling
This requires nothing other than a pile of recycling – boxes, plastic containers etc – and some glue or tape and paint (depending on how much mess you’re willing to create). This is and easy one, let the kids make anything they want from the materials available.
15. Fluffy Paintings
If you have these two ‘ingredients’ then I definitely suggest making this. You’ll need some white, school PVA glue – the runny kind that you can squeeze out of a bottle or that kids use the glue spreaders for and some shaving foam. Adding food colouring is optional. This mixture will dry to become soft and fluffy to the touch. A really good recipe is
3+ cups of shaving cream (foam not gel) 1 cup flour 1 cup white glue Food colouring or paint Ziploc-style sandwich bags Sturdy paper or board (poster board, tag board, cardboard, watercolour paper, or paper plates) INSTRUCTIONS
Measure out all the ingredients, except for any colouring, into a large mixing bowl. Mix the shaving cream, flour and glue together without over mixing. (You want to keep the air bubbles in the shaving cream.) Divide the white puffy paint mixture between 3 to 4 small bowls and add a few squirts of food colouring or paint to each bowl, stirring in, but again being careful not to over mix. Spoon the puffy paint into sandwich bags. Seal each bag (add duct tape as well to help keep it closed if your kids are extra vigorous squeezers), then cut a small corner off. Squeeze the foam paint through the small hole on to your paper or board, making puffy lines, dots, and designs as desired. Let dry overnight. You’ll notice the foam paint gets even puffier over time then sets, but is still puffy to the touch even after it dries. * try using sandwich bags to squeeze the paint onto the paper but paint brushes and fingers work well too!
16. Laser Beams
Stick some cotton or string in a zig zag pattern across the hall or landing to create ‘laser beams’ the kids have to climb through without touching to win some treasure on the other side. Yes, of course you have to have a go first to show them how it’s done!
17. Home Cinema
Close the curtains, get the dvds out, popcorn a the ready and enjoy some home cinema, with the advantage of being able to press pause for a cuppa / loo break.
18. Shadow Puppets
You can make anything you want really from animals to shapes to faces. The kids will have hours of fun making and playing with these. The BBC website has a clip teaching children the science behind it all.
19. Make musical instruments
Get noisy and creative! With bottles / containers / boxes / rice / pasta you can quite easily make something, not necessarily in tune but to provide lots of fun!
20. Messy Tray
Fill a tray with something like shaving foam/ rice/ slime/ flour/ jelly/ ice/ sawdust and hide things in it for them to hunt out or just let them play with it, explore, or get messy! (Ideally do this on a laminate/tiled floor or pop a tablecloth down. Have a towel handy and wipes ready for operation clean up!)
21. Ice Play
Put dinosaurs or small toys into balloons, fill with water, freeze and then let them dig them out or watch them melt to discover what’s in them.
22. Wallpaper Drawing/Painting
Get a roll of lining paper, this allow for large scale drawings, drawing round each others bodies or making paint footprints. The possibilities are endless!
23. Card Making
There’s always an occasion on the horizon, someones birthday, anniversary, valentines, easter, a christening or wedding, Plenty of opportunity to make cards and no harm in making a few “just incase” to save any last minute panic.
24. Teddy bears picnic
A nice easy one and one of our favourites. Everyone needs to eat lunch, so throw in a blanket, some teddy bears, some books and you have yourself a teddy bears picnic!
25. Indoor Olympics
You’ll need a score card and at least 7 really stupid events. One of our lovely Mumbler’s house favours the standing jump, the cushion balance and the ever popular, who can make a chocolate button last the longest on their tongue. Let us know what you like….
I hope you like all of these ideas and have fun trying them out with your Mini Mumblers. If you have any more ideas to add I’d love to hear from you. Contact me here