Indoor playtimes: 5 terrific ideas for homemade games

Over the coming weeks, we are going to have to get ever more creative on how we make indoor playtimes both stimulating and fun.

To help, we’ve scoured the internet for some of the best solutions for indoor playtimes. We’ve also tried to make the building of the game as important as the game itself. So, you can also consider these part of your at-home schooling too!

But before we get into indoor playtimes…

How you set up your day at home is really important. Make a day plan with your kids so they know what’s planned for the day ahead.

Bringing them into the planning process gives them a better chance of buying into what you want to do across the day. And that should help manage those moments of frustration that we are all going feel.

#1 The epic marble run

Image and Idea Cred: Frugal Fun 4 Boys (Although I might add ‘and girls’!)

Set your highest score or challenge your friends – this is a great homemade game. And the beauty of it being homemade is that it also develops dexterity and encourages creativity. And it can be easily folded away until the next playtime.

What’s needed: 1 cardboard box, scissors, craft sticks, sticky tape or glue and paper cups and marbles.
Set up: This takes quite a bit of set up time but if your child is old enough and once they get going, they’ll be able to do a lot of it by themselves.

#2 Mini Marble Maze

You’ve got to love this: It’s like a 70’s version of an iPad.

It’s a twist on the first idea but a handier size. So simple and you can create more than one to race friends or just different skill levels to master against the clock. It’s great for hand-eye coordination and dexterity in the building.

What’s needed: 1 shoe box lid, scissors, straws, sticky tape or glue and marbles (or do a Lego version).
Set up: Quick to build and get playing.

#3 Good old fashioned hoop

A homemade version of a classic game that takes very little to set up. And this is also great for creativity and hand-eye coordination. But the game comes with a warning: you may get sucked into playing!

What’s needed: Some paper plates, kitchen roll tube, glue or sticky tape, paint and scissors.
Set up: So easy – the image says it all. Plus the bonus of being able to personalise the hoops for extra interactivity.

#4 Hallway track days

Kids love pushing things along tracks, so get them into the driving seat by building a course that lets their imaginations go off-road. From driving trucks to cross country courses for horses (or even indoor hockey with hoops and a stick) – there are loads of variations which will make your hallway a happy place to contently play.

What’s needed: Masking tape, card, a selection of random bits and bobs and lots of imagination.
Set up: Simply lay out a track and make it up as you go along – knock things down, go through tunnels and add ‘against the clock’ to heighten the challenge.

#5 Giant shape match

A big jigsaw for toddlers, this is great for problem-solving and hand-eye coordination and keeps little ‘uns busy for quite a while. Over time, you can also easily build in more shapes and complexity.

What’s needed: A big sheet of paper, marker pen, shapes and a box to put them all in.
Set up: Get a load of toys, draw them out on the paper, pop them in the box and let the challenge begin. While you’re at it, do a couple of them with different toys so you have another challenge boxed up and at the ready.

And there are LOADS more…

From target golf to balloon tennis, we did a quick search on Pinterest and found a ton of great indoor game ideas. With just a little bit of prep, you can create inspirational indoor playtimes. (and get your iPad back!).

Our favourite board was Indoor Games – it has got some ideas for all ages and at various degrees of set-up.

And remember, you’re not a bad parent or nanny if they watch movies for an afternoon or more, especially if it’s raining. There’s going to be A LOT of downtimes to fill over the coming weeks and finding the right balance of activities is going to be essential!

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