By Emily Morrice (bio)
We’ve been waiting for these beautiful sunny days all year, and they’re finally here, but on rare occasion, staying in is just the ticket. Sometimes it’s forced on us with pouring rain, dangerously high humidity, or sunburned skin that needs some refuge. Other times, it’s simply therapeutic for you and your kids to spend a day at a slower pace, especially if you’ve had a lot of outings recently or are just returning from a summer vacation. The odd day indoors is par for the course, even in the summer, but that doesn’t make them easy! Below are some ideas to occupy your crew if you find yourselves needing a day indoors this summer.
If weather is the only thing stopping you, here are five high energy indoor activities to do while you wait out the rain:
Lunch in a Fort!
Help your kids build a fort and then serve them a picnic lunch inside. We usually use our dining table as a base and build out from there. I suggest thin sheets for your “roof” instead of heavy blankets as they hold better and can tie around supporting chairs easily.
Hide a few objects around your home and give them clues to guide them to their whereabouts. They can even be objects that you’ll use once the weather cooperates to get them excited (bubbles, a tennis ball, etc.). Who says the only time they can play treasure hunt is for eggs at Easter?
Make Your Own Ice Cream!
Using frozen bananas as your base, blend up your own healthy ice cream with your kids. All you need is 2-3 frozen bananas, a high powered blender or food processor, and a small amount of the milk of your choice to help it blend smooth. Once you have your ice cream, add in any additional flavours (peanut butter or cocoa powder are our favourites!) and top with your favourite toppings.
Play Game Show!
I loved doing this as a kid! The parent acts as the host and asks a variety of trivia questions to their kids (lists upon lists of questions are available online). They can win prizes such as 10 extra minutes of swimming time, an extra scoop of ice cream, or inexpensive gifts like a jump rope or beach ball.
Make an Obstacle Course!
This can be tricky to do indoors, but I’ve done this with my three kids in our 900 square foot condo, so I think that means it passes the test! Have them climb through hula hoops, jump over “water” (blue paper on the floor does the trick!) and jump on to pillows. Time them and let them try to beat their time!
If you’re stuck indoors for the day because of an illness or injury, it’s harder to pass the time. Your little one might not be able to do much, but you still want them to be comfortable and enjoy a restful day in. Here are a few indoor options for sick days.
A Word on Screens
Paediatricians recommend no more than two hours of screens per day for children , and that includes TV, computers, tablets, and phones, so we make sure to still be well within that recommendation. We actually began “No-Screens Summer” last year and found we barely missed them once we formed the habit and with so much to do outside. But one exception is when one of the children is sick – on such days we allow 20-40 minutes of screens, be it an iPad game or an educational TV show.
Activity Books and Colouring
Even when my kids are low energy or ill, they still love to colour or play with activity books. I set them up with a pillow on their lap and something hard to write or draw on. Since we usually only draw at the table, it’s also a bit of a treat being on bed or on the couch.
Like the banana ice cream mentioned above, popsicles are another fun way to get some healthy ingredients into your sick kiddo. If you don’t have a popsicle form, don’t worry – an ice cube tray and popsicle sticks will do just fine. Blend together some Greek yogurt with their favourite summer fruits (peaches and berries are our favourites!) and freeze for several hours. These are just the ticket for sore throats and fevers.
Bring the Library to Them
Hit up your local library and grab a big stack of books so your little one has tons of options to choose from. For some added fun, number each book with a sticky note and roll a dice to see which book to read first.
Audiobooks have become a real obsession in our home, especially on sick days when kids have maxed out their screen time and aren’t in the mood to read themselves. Audible, a free app, offers thousands of books in the public domain. Our kids usually doze off to sleep after a few chapters, but it’s a really peaceful activity that we all enjoy, sick or well.
With any luck, you’ll be back in the sunshine before too long. In the meantime, I hope these tips help you when you’re cloistered inside this summer!
Emily is a freelance writer, blogger, and mom of three little ones. When she’s not traveling the world with her family, Montreal is home, where you can find her exploring the local markets, making a mess in her kitchen, and brewing a cup of tea. Find her on Instagram (@emmorrice) and check out her lifestyle blog, Our Nest In The City, where she documents it all.