Sometimes February can feel like the longest month of the year (even though it’s the shortest!), especially if you live in a cold weather climate! Here is a list of 25 boredom busters that will help cure some of the cabin fever you may be experiencing as you wait for spring to arrive:
- Build a Fort (A really big one)
Get creative. Use items that you haven’t used before (PVC pipes, couch cushions, appliance boxes, etc.), and make the fort big enough for several children to fit inside at once. Fill the whole area with fluffy blankets or pillows.
- Costume Day
Base the theme on the children’s interests. Theme ideas include princess/superheroes, favorite animals, storybook characters, community helpers, or crazy characters. Center some of your activities and meals around the theme.
- Crazy Hair Day
Have children come to your setting with crazy hair. Or, with the families’ permission, have hair supplies and gel on hand to create crazy do’s during the day. (Do not allow children to share combs, brushes, or hair accessories for sanitary reasons.)
- PJ/Movie Day
Invite children to arrive in comfy pajamas. Cover the floor with pillows and fluffy blankets, and choose an age-appropriate movie to enjoy together.
- Stuffed Animal Parade
Have children bring a favorite stuffed animal. Encourage each child to stand in front of the group to show off her animal and describe it. Have children line up. Play some music while the children parade their animals around the room.
- Indoor Picnic
Grab a picnic blanket or bedsheet to spread out on the floor. Have children help you prepare a meal that doesn’t require eating utensils. Gather together on the blanket to enjoy the meal while dreaming about things you’ll do outside this spring.
- Imagination Box
Gather a large appliance box from a local appliance store. Provide paper, scissors, glue, and markers, and invite the children to decorate the box as they wish. Let their imaginations soar!
- Beach Party
Invite children to bring swimsuits, beach towels, and other summer accessories to wear indoors. Plan some indoor beach games using beach balls, pool noodles, sand pails and shovels, etc. Don’t forget to include some lively beach tunes!
- Light in the Darkness
Give each child a miniature flashlight and shut off the lights. Let them take the activity from there.
- Glow in the Dark Party
Provide music and light-up toys, and invite children to dance in the dark!
- Fake Snow
If you don’t have an abundance of snow outside, make your own indoors! Squeeze one can of non-menthol shaving cream into a bowl. Gradually add a 16 oz. box of baking soda and mix until you create a moldable substance that resembles snow. It’s even cool to the touch!
- Window Art
Purchase washable window markers (found in the art aisle), and invite children to take turns decorating glass doors and windows in your setting.
- Favorite Book Play
Have children vote on a favorite children’s book. Read the book, and then provide props so children can act out the story.
- Clean, Clean, Clean!
Most young children haven’t yet realized that cleaning isn’t always a fun chore. Recruit them to help you do an indoors cleanup to pass the time. Preschoolers can help sort toys, throw away trash, wipe down tables and chairs, fold freshly laundered doll clothes and blankets, and dust bookshelves.
- Domino Line
Show children how to line up dominoes in such a way that they can be knocked down in a line. Have children experiment a bit with spacing first so they know how far apart to set the dominoes. (Agree ahead of time who will knock the first domino over.)
- Pin the carrot on the snowman
Cut a simple snowman shape from chart paper, poster board, or bulletin board paper. Draw eyes and a mouth on the snowman’s head, and attach the snowman to a wall. Cut a carrot from orange construction paper, and attach a rolled piece of tape to the back. Gently blindfold each child and have him take a turn pinning the carrot nose on the snowman.
- Indoor Snowball Fight
Invite children to have a friendly snowball fight using rolled up socks or crumpled paper towels.
- Life-Size Tic-Tac-Toe
Use painter’s tape to create a Tic-Tac-Toe grid on the floor. Draw X’s and O’s on paper plates and explain to the children how to play the game.
- Rainbow Crayons
Have children help you sort through all your broken crayons. Peel off the labels, break into additional pieces as necessary, and arrange the pieces in a muffin tin or silicone molds. Preheat oven to 275° and bake until completely melted. Let cool, and pop out of the molds.
- Rainbow Milk Art
Pour just enough milk into a baking pan so it completely covers the bottom. Add drops of food coloring to the milk and invite children to swirl the colors with a toothpick. Gently place a sheet of paper over the milk, and then lift the paper to reveal the swirled print. Repeat for each child. Set the artwork on a tablecloth to dry.
Offer microphones (real or pretend) and play some familiar music. Invite children to sing along! Break out the karaoke machine if one is available. Consider videotaping or recording the children so they can replay their performances later.
- Indoor S’mores
Gather marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate bars. While the children are out of reach, roast marshmallows on medium-high heat over an oven burner. (Place the marshmallows one or two at a time on a pronged grilling fork. Hold the marshmallows just above the hot burner so the heat slowly roasts the marshmallow. Remove the marshmallows and place on a graham cracker.)
- Classic Game Marathon
Provide some classic board games such as Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, Connect Four, Operation, or Guess Who. Observe closely so you can help children manage feelings associated with winning and losing.
- Car Wash
Fill a sensory table or a shallow tub with warm, soapy water. Provide sponges and scrub brushes, and invite children to wash toy cars and other vehicles. Keep towels handy for drying and easy cleanup.
- Face Painting
Provide washable face paint. With families’ permission, draw simple pictures on each child’s cheek. Wash with warm, soapy water at the end of the day. (You can also use watercolor pencils as face paint. Sharpen the pencils, dip them in water, and then draw on the child’s cheek. Reapply water and sharpen as often as necessary.)