10 Best Fun and Kid-Friendly Summer Indoor Activities

When it comes to busting kids’ boredom, lists have saved me more than once. And although outdoor activities are wonderful, it’s nice to have a list of items to pull out on rainy, gloomy, or just-too-hot days. Here’s a list of 10 kid-friendly activities to do indoors!

“Mom, I’m bored.” As my daughter’s groan echoed through the house, I couldn’t contain an internal eye roll.

Bored, really? With sisters available to play, a room full of toys and books, and a beautiful sunshiny day—bored?! I stifled a sigh as I gently reminded her: Did you check the list?

I’m a list-maker, even when it comes to the fun stuff in life. Travel bucket lists, summer bucket lists, kindness bucket lists—no matter the topic, I adore making lists as much as I like crossing items off of them. So when it comes to busting kids’ boredom, lists have saved me more than once. And although outdoor activities are wonderful, it’s nice to have a list of items to pull out on rainy, gloomy, or just-too-hot days. Here’s a list of 10 kid-friendly activities to do indoors:

  1. Make it a Backwards Day. Everything is reversed on Backwards Day, including meals. The day starts with dessert, followed by dinner, then a snack, then another dessert, then lunch, then breakfast. I can’t usually bring myself to make dinner at 8 a.m., so my kids typically eat something easy like oven-baked corndogs. Clothes, routines, and anything else we can think of are also included in the day’s backward festivities.

  2. Rainy day? Turn it into a pajama party. I don’t mind sending my kids out in the rain—they are big fans of puddle-jumping—but sometimes it’s nice to avoid the dirt. Our rainy day parties always include pajamas (worn all day long) along with a family movie and board games. If your kids are participating in a summer library reading program, rainy days provide the perfect opportunity to cuddle up with a book or two. Or, if you’re looking for more hands-on activities, here’s a great roundup of rainy day indoor activities. Other ideas: Make an epic blanket fort or set up a pretend “shop” using Monopoly money.

  3. Be adventurous in the kitchen. With a few supplies you likely already have on hand, it’s easy to make fun treats at home like ice cream or even strawberry soda. If adults aren’t able to help, simple recipes for smoothies can often be tackled by kids. Or, if the whole family wants to cook, try something like an “everything is new” dinner one evening in which all the recipes are new. If those ideas sound like too much work, simply pull your kitchen table to the side of the room, throw a blanket on the floor, and turn the day’s regular meal into an impromptu picnic.

  4. Try out a Theme Day. Game Day, Movie Day, or even Italy Day (in which you listen to Italian music, eat spaghetti or lasagna, and watch “Roman Holiday”)—anything is possible with theme days. Another idea is to let each child in the house have their own day. For instance, last year’s Noelle Day included painting nails and wearing mud masks, eating Subway for lunch, and watching a movie while eating “fancy” popcorn topped with chocolate and marshmallows.

  5. Host a tea party. For a fun spin, try a “Bad Manners Tea Party.” It starts out like a normal tea party (complete with fancy outfits and good manners), but partway through a designated person hollers out, “Switch!” At that point, everyone gets to put their feet up on the table and let silliness reign. After yelling “switch” again, everyone returns to a proper, well-mannered party.

  6. Learn something new with home science experiments. Here’s a great roundup of ideas, including launching a two-stage rocket, making your own rock candy (this was a huge hit with my kids last summer), creating a solar oven (to make your own s’mores!), or sending secret messages with invisible ink.

  7. Eat breakfast in bed. Despite its simplicity, this is a perennial favorite in our home; I simply surprise the kids with a plate of food on their bedside table. They love the fact that they get to eat in bed since it’s usually taboo, although I always choose a day when I’m planning on washing sheets to avoid crumb issues. Over time, my kids have gotten more involved as well—last summer, my 10-year-old got up early to make toast and chop fruit to surprise her younger sisters.

  8. Get crafty. There are lots of ways to encourage indoor creativity. Some of our favorite activities include painting kindness rocks—smooth rocks that feature sweet sentiments that can then be left at local parks or on neighborhood walks—painting a self-portrait (cheap packs of canvases are available from any big-box or craft store), or trying out drawing tutorials on YouTube. It’s also fun for kids to paint peg dolls and then play with them afterward. One time, they created peg dolls that resembled Disney princesses; another time, they patterned them after themselves and their friends. The painting can be simple or intricate, but usually entertains my kids for hours, as they finish the dolls and move on to creating mini houses for them.

  9. Eat ice cream for dinner—or, if you’re feeling especially dangerous, for breakfast. This is another easy, fun way to change up an otherwise normal day. I usually buy ice cream in smaller quantities so that we can try out a few options and pick up a couple of toppings to round out the “meal.” Banana splits are another option, and the use of fruit always makes me feel a little better about the sugar rush.

  10. Host a treasure hunt. Searching online for premade treasure hunt clues has saved me more than once for this activity (simply type “free printable treasure hunt clues” or something similar in your search bar, then click over to images). Once I’ve printed off the clues, I hide them—along with a little treat at the end, like a piece of candy or an IOU for a trip to the dollar store to choose one item—and let them take off. Once we begin with one treasure hunt, my kids will often get into the spirit of it, creating their own clues and hiding stuffed animals or beloved toys as the prize at the end.

    Now, we’d love to know—what are some of your favorite indoor activities to do with kids?


    Kristin Demery

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