Simple Indoor Activities to Keep Kids Busy

Living in North Dakota, we have to be creative in the winter to keep our kids entertained indoors. Some winters are longer than others, and this spring has proven to keep us on our toes. As we prepare for possible quarantines and spend more time at home than what we were planning, I wanted to share a few super simple ideas with you for indoor activities.

Easter Egg Hunts

My son spotted his Easter bucket (which he knows is filled with eggs) a few weeks ago and hiding/finding them has become one of his new favorite pastimes. There’s nothing in them; he just enjoys both hiding and finding them around the house. If you have some, break ’em out! They don’t make a mess and you can play over and over. Trust me, we certainly have.

Sensory Tubs

We have a Kinetic Sand sensory tub that my son loves. One bag of Kinetic Sand and some construction trucks and he loves it! Again, not messy (as long as they keep the sand in the tub) and it can keep him busy driving trucks, building castles and stamping in shapes (we use stamps and cookie cutters) for a long time.

If you Pinterest or Google “sensory tubs” you will get plenty of ideas for all ages, but here are some other simple items you can use (depending on the age of your child and your comfort level with some mess):

  • Dry beans
  • Dry rice (make it even more fun with color!)
  • Regular sand
  • Ice
  • Soapy water/bubbles (again, more fun with color!)


My son is three and likes to help clean (let’s hope my love for cleaning has been permanently instilled in him). We each throw on a dusting mitt and he “cleans” everything; his toys, his kitchen set, the walls, and even the furniture. He walks all around the house finding things to clean. You could do the same with a little duster or something that doesn’t involve spraying chemicals (even baby wipes work!). Kids like to help and it gets them up and moving around. 

Scavenger Hunts

Depending on the age of your kids, this can be done in a number of ways. You can handwrite clues and hide around the house. You can have the kids figure it out on their own or it could be an activity you do with them (if they are pre-readers). One of my favorites is to draw a list of items for them to find (trust me, they are simple; I’m not an artist).

I also like the app GooseChase, where you can use picture and video clues. They would need a smartphone and or tablet to participate. They can take pictures or videos or even tag GPS locations showing they have found the clues. It’s fun both inside and outdoors.


Throw on a kid-friendly YouTube/KidsTube video of a dance or sing-a-long. They can dance and sing around the living room while you get a meal ready, finish laundry or do some sanitizing. Or you can always dance along with them. 


If you need a quieter, more stationary activity, remember that the local public libraries have eBooks and free online subscription services available. Your child’s school may also have some eBook subscription options (TumbleBooks, for one example), as well as other online resources to be used at home. Many educational sites are offering free services for the next month you can take advantage of as well. And I am seeing more and more authors planning daily, live “read-alouds” of their books.

Enjoy play time!

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Nikki Hillman
Nikki is a mom to five (two living, three angels), wife, educator, library media specialist, high-school coach, writer, church go-er, and beer drinker. Born and raised in western North Dakota (where the buffaloes literally roam), she now lives just outside of Horace, ND. Nikki will always be a small-town girl at heart, but loves experiencing Fargo area events; including sporting events, bars, breweries + wineries, restaurants, and shops.


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