15 Boredom Busters for Days You're Stuck Inside

If you’re stuck inside on a summer day because it’s too hot, too rainy, one of the kids is sick, your car got towed, or you’ve just hit every library, swimming hole, and singalong in town, never fear. We’ve got a mega-list of boredom busters that will keep your kids occupied—and getting along for a full day. Consider this our summer time, shalom bayit, or peace in the home, list.

Bored child

For any time boredom busters, stock up on cheap art supplies and games at yard sales or the dollar store, and keep a “tbr” or “to be read” pile of books nearby. If you’ve gone through every idea on this list, you can always grab the art supplies, a deck of cards, or a pile of “new to them” books to keep the kids—and you—from going stir crazy.

TELL A STORY

Family telling a story

Have the kids start with “once upon a time” and then build on the story, sentence by sentence. You can also grab some crayons and paper and illustrate the story or have a grownup or older sibling be the “scribe” who records the family’s collaborative story.

TAKE AN "IMAGINATION VACATION"

Kids packing a suitcase

Just because you’re stuck inside doesn’t mean you can’t go anywhere. Check out our post, The Imagination Vacation, for some fun, travel inspired activities that will have your kids stretching their make believe skills.

BUILD A FORT

Kids in a fort

Use the couch cushions or some blankets and chairs to make a fort. Grab your favorite PJ books and a flashlight and snuggle in for some quality storytime.

PUT ON A PUPPET SHOW

Sibling playing with puppets

No puppets? No problem. You can turn socks, lunch bags, pillow cases, or regular dolls and action figures into puppets. You can make your own “theater” or just hide behind the couch, holding your items above your head.

DANCE

Turn up some music and have a dance party. You can also play “freeze dance,” a game like freeze tag. Take turns pushing “pause” and “play. When the music stops, everyone has to “freeze.” Need some music suggestions? Check out all of our PJ playlists here.

COOK

Cooking with Dad

Even if the cupboards are totally bare, you can play a version of Chopped with whatever ingredients you might find, or see how different liquids react to being in the freezer versus on the stove. Let the kids make up a recipe – after all, if things don’t work out, there’s always delivery. Browse all recipes on the PJ Library blog.

WRITE A WISHLIST

Family writing a wishlist

Sure it’s rainy, or hot, or yucky out today, but it will be nicer soon. Grab a big piece of paper and some markers and draw, or write down, your family “bucket list.” Don’t worry about being too organized, let everyone take over a section of the paper and draw and write to their heart’s content. Then you can all talk about your personal wishes.

PLAY "I SPY"

Kids packing a suitcase

Look out your window, or just around the house, and take turns describing an object within view. “I spy, with my little eye, something that is small, round, and furry.” These kinds of games are great for helping children develop their critical thinking skills and also are great practice at being descriptive.

BUILD SOMETHING

Children playing with blocks

Grab your legos, duplos, or just anything you have handy—cereal boxes, snack boxes, cans. See how tall you can make your structure and then have a blast knocking it down.

PLAY A GAME

Family playing a board game

Grab a board game, fire up your game console, or just go old school with Simon Says, Hide and Seek, or Mother May I?

FREEZE DINO EGGS

This activity is so much fun and you can make “eggs” with just about any small toy that will fit inside a balloon. Prep your eggs and have fun smashing and melting them on the next nice temperate day.

EXPERIMENT

Girls watching homemade volcano erupt

Why do people float in the Dead Sea? How do volcanoes work? How are clouds made? Try some simple experiments using items from your kitchen.

50 Easy Science Experiments for Kids via MommyPoppins
The Dead Sea Experiment via Fizzics Education
DIY Volcano via PBS

START A BAND

Boys playing with pots and pans

Grab some instruments or a stack of pots and pans and have a jam session. Make up songs and take turns playing each part.

DRESS UP

playing dressup

Let the kids raid each other’s closet, the linen closet, your closet, and put on a fashion show. Dress up as people you know, characters from stories you love, or just in fantastic and elaborate outfits.

READ

family reading

Dig into that “to be read” pile, practice your sight words, or, with older kids, read a new chapter book aloud together, trading off chapter by chapter.

What are your tried and true "boredom busters?" Join the conversation with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Don't forget to add #pjlibrary to your post.

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