As much as I complain about them, I absolutely love spending time with my kids, and would probably do it 24/7 if I could (don’t quote me on that). We’ve spent countless hours at the playground and local swimming pools in the summer, but what I find really crucial is having a list of tried and true (and yes, awesome) activities we can do when the weather is gross and we’re stuck indoors. It’s not always easy, though. My kids are ages 2 and 6, so their attention spans differ, but that’s why I have a wide range of activities for us to try. From hunkering down with a movie to stream on Hulu, to detail-oriented craft projects I can do with my budding fashionista daughter, or letting my 2-year-old son roll out pizza dough (I hope you like it uneven!), I’ve got a great list of super fun things you can do to bond with your kids at home. Check it out, and hopefully you’ll find a few new ways to create memories with your kiddos.
1. Start a band. One of my favorite things to do with my kids is play music. We’re seriously like The Partridge Family 2.0. My daughter loves to pass out instruments (or cooking supplies), and then we all take turns making up lyrics and letting loose with our funky dance moves. It’s really fun, as long as you check your ego at the door!
2. Watch a movie. Cuddling up on the couch watching flicks on Hulu is one of my favorite ways to bond. Even if it’s some silly cartoon that I’d never pick on my own, the fact that I’ve got kids in my lap, burying their heads in my neck when they’re scared or slapping my knee when they’re laughing — well, it’s priceless.
3. Get crafty. My daughter and I love working on craft projects together. We’ve done everything from paper mache and beading to sewing our own matching skirts and decorating picture frames. It’s a great way to let your creative juices flow, make gifts for others, and maybe even squeeze a meaningful conversation in while you do it.
4. Tell a story in turns. Making up stories is a great way to bring families together and flex your creative muscles in the process. Have one family member start a story out, then, after a couple of sentences, pass the baton on to another family member. It’s super fun (and funny) to watch how a story will twist and turn, depending on who is telling it.
5. Look at photos. It’s always worthwhile to take a trip down memory lane. Show the kids some old photo albums — either from when they were babies, or going further back in time — and let the stories unfold. You’ll be surprised what kind of interesting questions your kids might come up with.
6. Cook together. I find that my kids are much more willing to be adventurous with their food if they’ve had a hand in making it. Plus, my 2-year-old is obsessed with “helping” so he loves to crack eggs and stir the batter. Then, the whole fam watches the oven like it’s a TV as our cookies bake or lasagna bubbles.
7. Make a blanket fort. Not only is it fun to make a blanket fort, but it can get seriously involved and possibly make you want to go back to school for architecture. Once you’ve built your masterpiece, layered in blankets and full of comfy pillows, you and your kids can hide inside, telling secrets and reading stories for hours.
8. Let them call the shots. I love coming up with fun ideas to keep us occupied and having fun together, but sometimes you just have to let the kids call the shots. Yes, it can get a little monotonous playing baby birds for hours on end, but it’s my daughter’s favorite game, and I like making her happy.