The next time you have a houseful of restless kids tired of snowy or rainy days, try one (or more) of these fun activities:
Paper airplanes have been around for ages because they’re fun. Instead of just making paper airplanes, have the kids decorate them, too. It can inspire creativity and kill a little time. Once the airplanes are made, see whose plane can fly the farthest, straightest, or highest. You could even set up targets like hoops, bullseyes, or maybe an empty wastebasket.
If your kids love jigsaw puzzles, working together to assemble one can be a great way to spend an afternoon. For a slight twist, assemble a fairly easy puzzle and turn it upside down over the picture of an animal or one of their favorite movie characters. Remove pieces one at a time until someone correctly guesses what’s underneath.
Blow up a balloon for each child and see which child can use their hands, head, or feet to keep the balloon bouncing and off of the floor the longest. Alternately, have the kids work as one group or two teams to keep multiple balloons in the air. This one can improve dexterity and concentration and also involves some running around, which is a great way to burn excess energy.
Split kids up into two teams. Put them on opposite sides of the room with a clear line halfway between the teams. Next, take wadded paper, balloons, sock balls, or anything else small and throwable (without being dangerous or breakable, of course) and split the items evenly. At your signal (a whistle or maybe music starting), each team starts tossing anything on their side of the line to the other side of the line. Whoever has the least amount of “garbage” on their side when time is up (another whistle or music stopping) is the winner. This is another simple activity that will burn some energy.
Gather up a bunch of clothespins or extra pens and pencils and a mason jar or similar container. Taking turns, have each child stand on a chair and try to land the clothespins (or whatever) in the jar. Whoever lands the most is the winner.
Have the children all take off from a starting line and run to a predetermined line or point. When they reach this line, have them lie down on their backs with their hands folded across their chests. Once in this position, the challenge is to return to a standing position without moving their arms and then run back to the start/finish line. Another great energy burner that also helps with coordination and focus.
Use fly swatters or improvised paddles made of paper plates and popsicle sticks to bat a balloon back and forth (sort of like badminton). You can either award individual points ping-pong style, or have two or more teams competing to keep their balloon in the air the longest.
It can be hard to keep kids from making each other and you bonkers when they get bored after being stuck inside for too long, so keeping a few tricks up your sleeve to keep them occupied, especially if your activity inspires creativity or physical activity, can be a great way to make some memories as they learn great lessons.