We hear it all the time – outdoor play is crucial for kids development. But what about when then weather doesn’t cooperate? When it’s too hot, too cold, too rainy, or maybe everyone just needs a break from the sun for a bit…that’s when it’s time to play some fun filled indoor games for families.
We’ve got more than 55 ideas for indoor games and activities that the whole family can enjoy together. So don’t forget to bookmark this page for those days when you need some inspiration – because with these ideas, there’s no excuse for anyone to be bored!
Families with kids of all different ages can benefit from playing indoor games together. It’s a low stress way to bond together as a family, and can be a good way to get a bit of fun exercise. And, of course, it’s a great way to beat the boredom blues!
To make things easier for you, we’ve separated this list into 5 different types of games:
So, no matter what kind of mood your family is in, or what kinds of games everyone enjoys, you’re sure to find something on this list that will work for you!
‘Calm’ Activities for Families
We’re starting with ‘calm’ family activities because some of the more exciting and active games we’ll share later can lead to things getting a bit out of hand. Which is why it’s important to have a plan ready for those moments when everyone just needs to take it down a notch.
These activities are still a lot of fun to play together…they’re just not as high energy.
Playing bingo can be a fun way to spend some time together as a family. It’s easy to learn, low-stress, and can be a great way to teach younger kids about numbers, patterns and letters.
Ready to get playing? Grab your favorite printable bingo sets here, or let me know in the comments section if there’s a theme you’d like to see.
2. Mad Libs
Playing mad libs is a classic way to have some laughs together as a family. If you’re not familiar with the game, one person asks the other player(s) to provide different types of words (nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.), which are then used to create a hilarious story.
It can be a great way to teach younger kids about words, sentences and story-telling. Plus, it’s just plain silly fun!
Do you remember playing Tic-Tac-Toe as a kid? Doodled on some napkins at a restaurant, or in the margins of your school notebook, it’s a simple way to have some fun.
While you don’t technically need any equipment, this is a fun way to use your kids magnet drawing boards, chalkboard easels, or a spare dry erase board.
4. Coloring pages
Coloring is a great way for kids to express their creativity, but it can also be a relaxing way for families to spend some time together.
Don’t worry if you don’t have any coloring books on hand – you can find tons of printable coloring pages online, including a few fun designs right here.
5. Dots and Boxes
Dots and boxes is a simple game, where players connect dots on a grid with the goal of completing as many boxes as possible. The best part is that you don’t need anything more than a sheet of paper, some pencils and maybe some markers. Easy peasy!
6. I Spy
Playing I spy is a fun game that can be played anywhere, anytime. It’s also a great way to hone your kids’ observational skills! There are a couple ways to play:
In the classic I Spy game one player starts by saying “I spy with my little eye something that is (color, shape, etc.)”, and then the other players take turns guessing what it is. The first person to guess correctly gets to go next.
If you’re looking for something a bit more structured, you can also download printable I spy games for all different age ranges. Turn it into a family game by seeing who can find the most items in a set amount of time.
7. Block Building Competition
Building competitions are always a lot of fun, and they’re a great way to get kids working their creative sides and spacial reasoning skills.
Lego building blocks are the most common, but there are plenty of other options out there too:
- Magnet Tiles are great for toddlers and little kids just learning to build.
- K’nex building sets are my 7-year-old’s favorite. You can get incredibly creative with them!
- You can even use marble run sets to see who comes up with the most interesting design.
8. Tea Party
Plan a tea party as a family and turn it into a whole day event! Kids can help bake the goodies and even help set the table with linens and china (or play china for little ones.)
Don’t forget to play dress up and play some tea party games while you’re at it.
9. Build a house of cards
Looking for a game that uses all your kids thinking skills but requires them to be calm and patient? Build a house with playing cards!
They’ll have to use their problem solving skills to figure out how to make their house stable, and will be amazed at how thin little cards can create something so three dimensional.
10. Create a Cascading Dominoes Design
This is another one that’s great for problem solving and fine motor skills. Plus, it’s just really cool to watch all your hard work pay off in a chain reaction of toppling dominoes!
11. Build Paper Airplanes
I remember loving paper airplanes as a kid…and I’m pretty sure my 7-year-old has me beat.
You can look up all sorts of paper airplane designs online, but my son’s favorite is definitely this paper airplane book. It shows a wide variety of airplane styles and includes plenty of cool looking paper to make your planes too.
Don’t forget to have a flying competition when you’re done, too!
Games to Play with Little Kids
Many board games and card games have complex rules or require reading that is far too difficult for little kids to handle. This can make it difficult to find games that everyone in the family can play together.
That’s why I’ve included here several games that my family has played together – all of which are fun for even the youngest.
12. Indoor Hopscotch
Talk about a fun indoor activity for little kids that need to burn off some serious energy at home. With the help of some tape, kids can help make their own indoor hopscotch design on the floor and then take turns jumping from square to square.
13. Zoo Rescue
With items around the house and just 5 minutes of prep time, you can have a fun toddler activity that also helps your little one work on fine motor skills. Zoo Rescue is a fun, low-stress activity that’s perfect for when you’re stuck indoors.
14. Simon Says
Want a game to help reinforce rule following and listening skills? You’ll definitely want to play a game of Simon Says. It can also be used to help teach other concepts like body parts, colors, and shapes.
15. Duck, Duck, Goose
Kids love playing Duck, Duck, Goose! It’s easy to set up (no supplies necessary!), and the perfect activity for when you need your kids to burn off some serious energy fast.
16. Red Light, Green Light
Red light, green light is a fun game to play with little kids. When mom says green light, you get to move. When mom says red light, you have to stop.
Usually it’s a great game for outside so kids can run around, but you can adapt the rules indoors to be specific movements like wiggling on the floor, or sneaking down the hallway.
17. Letter Learning Game
Help little kids learn their letters with this fun gross motor skill game. All you need to do is cut out large letters from paper or card stock. Next, place them all over the floor and then have your children jump or move around to get to each one.
18. Sensory Bucket Game
Sensory buckets are great for kids because they can be customized to each child’s individual sensory needs while helping children develop fine motor skills.
To make a sensory bucket, fill a large container (rubbermaid storage tubs, shoe boxes, etc.) with items that stimulate different senses.
Classic options are often rice, sand, or toys, but do a quick online search for sensory buckets and you can find a wide variety of themed bucket ideas to keep things interesting too.
Then let your child explore the contents of the bucket using their hands.
Minute to Win It Games
The great thing about Minute to Win It games is that most of them use items that you’re likely to already have…or at least are very affordable. There are also dozens of different games to choose from. Here are a few of our favorites:
19. Hut Hut Hike
You don’t have to be a football fan to enjoy playing this silly football themed minute to win it game. All you need are a few baskets, some balloons, and a countdown timer. Then you’ll be ready for some fast paced, balloon tossing fun!
20. Freezer Bum
We adapted the classic minute to win it game Junk in the Trunk to create a winter-themed version dubbed “Freezer Bum“. Best of all, it actually help your kids use up most of an afternoon.
Everyone from our toddler to our tween thought this was the best funny game. All you need is tissue boxes, some paper and scissors, and spare ribbon.
21. Rudolph Race Off
This is another minute to win it game that we adapted to make it even more fun for the kids. This time, we gave the game Nose Dive a Christmas spin and renamed it Rudolph Race Off.
To play, you’ll need some small bowls, Vaseline, red pom poms, and maybe some fun holiday music to use instead of a timer. No doubt, this is one game that will have everyone laughing.
Active Indoor Games
Mixing in a few active games to play as a family is a good way to help kids burn off some extra energy – especially if they’re wound up and having a hard time settling down. And it’s not just the kids that will benefit from a little extra physical activity – parents can get in on the fun too!
Some of our favorite active indoor games for families include:
Charades is a great game to help families get everyone up and moving in a way that is sure to also get everyone laughing. You can come up with ideas on your own, or you can find printable charades cards with prompts already written on them.
23. Musical Chairs
Do you remember when you were in school and you’d play musical chairs? You can do the same thing now with your kids.
Don’t have room to line up actual chairs indoors? You can play our small-space adaptation. We call it Touchdown Tango, but you could truly adapt the name and marker to be anything you want.
24. Hide and Seek
Have you ever played hide and seek with a toddler? It’s one of the cutest things ever. But it’s not just a game for little kids. Older kids and adults can get in the fun too.
I love seeing my older kids help the little one find a good hiding space, and as the parent you probably know the best places to go when you play along. Most of all, there’s just no better sound than the giggles as they find each other.
25. Indoor Scavenger Hunt
I love playing scavenger hunts with the kids. It’s a great way to get them up and moving, and you can make the game as active or low-key as you want depending on what you’re hiding.
Just remember, for younger children and early readers you’ll want to avoid text based clues. Here are some options:
- Show them a picture of the object to find from your phone,
- Give verbal clues (e.g. tell them the object’s name, and maybe provide a short description), or
- Have an older sibling help them read the clues.
26. Homemade Obstacle Course
You don’t need an expensive equipment to set up an obstacle course for kids. Just grab a few paper plates to act as stepping stones, maybe add in a play tunnel or a ball pit, and let them jump through a hula hoop. They’ll love it!
Of course, make sure it’s a safe obstacle course so that the kids can enjoy themselves without breaking anything in the house or getting hurt.
27. Hot Potato
I’m sure you remember this from when you were a kid. Grab a stuffed animal, or another small object and pass it around while music plays. Whoever is still holding the object when the music turns off is out of the game.
If you really want to make it silly, you can grab this fun plush hot potato toy. The music speeds up as it progresses, which really ups the antics. Everyone in our house loves to play with it (even the 13 year old!)
If you’ve got enough space to spread out the mat, Twister is a great option for some family fun. We don’t play it as often as some of the other games on this list because we have to move furniture around the play. But when we do break it out everyone always has a blast.
29. Pin the Tail on the Donkey
Who says pin the tail on the donkey is only for birthday parties? This is a great game to play as a family. It’s perfect for young kids who are working on their motor skills, and it’s also a lot of fun for older kids and adults too.
Plus, it’s just really funny to see everyone trying to pin the tail on the donkey while blindfolded and slightly dizzy. You’re sure to get some laughs out of this one.
30. Laser Tag
Did you know that you can play laser tag at home? With a set of laser tag guns, you can play anytime you want. Let the kids set up forts with the sofa cushions, turn off the lights, and watch them have fun trying to ambush each other.
It’s a bit more expensive than most toys, but it’s a lot less expensive than paying for everyone to go out to a laser tag center.
31. Nerf Gun Battle
If you don’t want to spend the money on laser tag, then a family nerf gun battle is the next best thing. They’re relatively safe, and can be used indoors without causing too much damage.
It’s a great way for kids to get out their energy, and they always have a blast. Just make sure you set some ground rules before you start (e.g. no shooting in the face, avoiding rooms with valuables, etc.)
32. Mini Basketball
If you’ve got a mini basketball, then this is a great game to play as a family. You can set up teams, or just play one-on-one and see who can score the most baskets.
It’s a great way to get everyone moving, and it’s also a lot of fun.
33. Indoor Bowling
Played in teams, or one-on-one, indoor bowling is one of those activities that gets everyone up on their feet without being to crazy or hyperactive.
While there are plenty of indoor bowling sets available, this is a game that you can probably create with leftover water bottles you already have at home. You can make it even more fun by adding glow sticks for a game of glow-in-the dark bowling.
34. Ring Toss
Ring toss is a relatively simple game that young kids can learn quickly, but it’s still challenging enough for older kids.
For a homemade version of ring toss, you can cut the centers out of paper plates to create the rings and use water bottles as the pegs. Or you can just buy a set and have it ready whenever you feel like playing.
If you’ve got an indoor dart board, then this is a fun way to have some friendly competition. Just remember, if you have little kids it’s probably best to use suction cup darts. And, honestly, it’s a good idea to remind older kids how to play safely as well.
36. Bean Bag Toss
Playing bean bag toss together is a great way to keep kids entertained. It’s simple enough that young kids can learn how to play quickly, but it still provides a challenge for older kids.
If you have some mini bean bags at home, Set up an indoor target area with tape on the floor and have fun trying to get mini bean bags in the target.
DIY Tip: If you don’t have any bean bags, you can easily make some by filling small zip-lock bags with rice or beans.
37. Hamper Toss
Looking for a sneaky way to make cleaning up fun? Turn your hamper into a basketball hoop. Put the hamper at the far end of the room, and see how many shots your kids can get with all that laundry all over the floor.
Don’t forget to offer a prize for the kid who can get the most ‘points’ in a set amount of time.
38. Ping Pong
Did you know that you can purchase a portable ping pong set? That means you don’t need to purchase a giant ping pong table to enjoy this game with the family.
Set up a folding table in the garage or basement, add the portable net and have a family ping pong battle. It’s a great way to get some exercise while also having a few laughs.
39. Indoor Tag
If you don’t mind hyper kids running all over the house, there’s nothing simpler or more fun than a game of tag.
Just make sure you establish some ground rules before you start playing. You might want to consider setting up an obstacle course, or designating safe zones where players can take a break.
40. Plastic Horseshoes
Indoor horseshoes is a great choice for young children who aren’t ready for the real thing. It helps develop hand-eye coordination and is a lot of fun.
You can grab an indoor/outdoor set of horseshoes for fun in any weather.
41. Cops and Robbers
You can play the simple version of Cops and Robbers where one person is the ‘cop’ and the other players are the ‘robbers.’ The robbers try to get from one side of the room (or yard) to the other without getting caught by the cop.
For a more creative version, kids who love Toy Story movies can use their imagination to create their own little Cops and Robbers skits including getaway chases and epic captures.
42. Wrestling Competition
Wrestling is a great way to let out some energy, and has some social benefits as well. It helps kids learn how to control their bodies, and is also a good way to teach them about personal boundaries.
Just be sure to supervise any wrestling match, and set some ground rules before kids start playing. For example, no hitting below the waist, biting, or hair pulling.
43. Ninja Skills
Turn your living room into a ninja warrior training ground with this fun indoor activity. Use chairs, cushions, and pillows to create an obstacle course for kids to navigate.
Time each child as they go through the course, and see who can make it through in the quickest time. You can even add in a few challenges like 10 jumping jacks or 20 sit-ups.
44. Air Balloon
This is a classic game that never gets old. Simply fill a balloon, toss it into the air, and work together to keep it from hitting the ground.
You can even add in a few challenges like keeping the balloon in the air for a certain amount of time, or seeing how many times everyone can hit the balloon before it hits the ground.
45. Animal Hopping Game
Another fun game that you can all enjoy is an animal hopping game. In this game, everyone takes turns hopping like different animals from one side of the room to the next.
It’s a fun way to get everyone moving, and it’s also a great way to teach little kids about different animals.
46. Balloon Volleyball
This is a fun mashup between volleyball and Air Balloon (discussed above). In this game, you set up a ‘net’ using painter’s tape on the floor or yarn tied between two chairs.
Then you use bounce a balloon back and forth, trying to score points by getting the balloon to hit the ground on the opposite team’s side.
47. Indoor Hockey
Clear out your garage or basement, grab a plastic puck and some sticks, and play a spirited game of indoor hockey. You can make it even more fun by wearing socks so you slip and slide around the room while you play.
48. Balloon Hockey
If you don’t have a plastic puck, and don’t want to buy one, you can even play hockey with a ballon! It’s actually a bit more difficult, which will help kids practice their focus and problem solving skills.
49. Floor Is Lava
My kids went through a long Floor is Lava phase a couple years ago. They would throw cushions all over the floor and hop between them, seeing who could stay off the floor.
It was a fun way for them to play together and burn off massive amounts of excess energy.
Board Games and Card Games
You can never go wrong when you pull out a fun board game or card game. Between classic games from your own childhood, to new games guaranteed to make you laugh, there’s a game here for everyone.
It’s amazing how a game as simple as Jenga can be so much fun to play together as a family. Our kids love to create the craziest, most unstable bases when we play together – just so they can see it tumble down in the most epic way possible.
If you haven’t played together in a while, grab a box, and have some fun.
Your kids don’t have to be older to enjoy playing Chess. Our oldest started learning when she was in 1st grade, and really enjoyed it. It’s one of those games that you can keep playing as kids get older and build on knowledge of the game as well as strong strategic thinking skills.
If you have a Chess board, then you’ve also got a checkers board! The nice thing about Checkers is that the rules are so simple, but there’s still some strategy that can make the game more exciting.
For example, once your checkers piece reaches the first row on the opposite side of the board, you can ‘king’ it with a second checkers piece on top. Now you can move that piece backwards as well as forwards.
53. Dixit Jinx
This fun card game is very simple: A grid of 9 cards is set out on the table. The selected player is secretly given one card and has to give a clue to help the other players figure out which card they’re thinking of. The first player to find the right card gets a point.
One of the best things about Dixit Jinx is that it doesn’t require any reading, so technically it can be played with young kids and early readers.
We started playing this game with our youngest when he was only 5, and while it was a challenge to figure out clues that would work for him, it was also a great way to help him develop some creative thinking and problem solving skills.
This is a classic whodunit game that’s perfect for rainy days with older kids. The concept is simple: You have to move around the board, making guesses about who committed the murder, what weapon they used, and where it took place.
The first player to correctly guess all three elements wins the game. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon, and you can tell your kids stories about playing the game when you were a kid too.
Monopoly is one of those games that can either bring your family closer together, or drive you all apart. It’s definitely not a game for everyone, but if you have the patience to sit through a long game, it can be a lot of fun – especially if you’re playing with kids who are old enough to really understand and enjoy the game.
56. Taco vs Burrito
If you’re looking for a simple game that kids as young as 6 or 7 can enjoy playing too, then you’ll love Taco vs. Burrito. The whole point is to fill your taco or burrito with the most points…but be careful! Other players can steal your whole order, reduce your points value or take your cards.
I love trying to figure out a strategy to the game, and the kids think the gross ingredient combinations are just the funniest thing out there.
You probably remember UNO from your childhood, too. It’s a favorite with our family because it’s easy to learn, and you can play it with kids as young as 5 or 6.
There are a lot of different variations of the game now (including Marvel versions and Sports Team spin offs), so you can find one that’s perfect for your family.
There’s No Shortage of Indoor Games for Families
As you can see, there are tons of great indoor games for families to enjoy together. Best of all, they all have one thing in common: they’re perfect for family bonding.
Whether you need an activity to help release pent up energy, or something to help them quiet down a bit, these activities will keep everyone entertained and help you strengthen your familial relationships.
So, next time you hear the dreaded words “I’m bored!” just pull out one of these games and have some fun!
If you know anyone else who could use a few new ideas for fun filled indoor games for families, share this post with them so they can enjoy some quality family time too!
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