Fun and Engaging Indoor Activities to Keep Kids Busy During Downtime

As parents, we all know that keeping our kids entertained during their downtime can sometimes be a challenge. Whether it’s after school, on weekends, or during school holidays, finding activities to keep them engaged and stimulated indoors is essential. In this blog post, we’ll explore a variety of indoor activities that are perfect for after-schoolers and can also be enjoyed by campers at Fitness by the Sea Beach Camp.

Arts & Crafts

Arts and crafts are a fantastic way to unleash your child’s creativity and keep them occupied for hours. Set up a designated craft area with supplies like construction paper, markers, crayons, glue, and scissors. Encourage your child to let their imagination run wild as they create masterpieces, from simple drawings to intricate sculptures. You can also incorporate themed crafts such as Pirates, Ninjas, Outer space, Olympics, Oceans, etc. The opportunities are endless. Here are some specific craft ideas to get your creative juices flowing…

Paper Plate Animals: Use paper plates to create animal faces by painting or drawing features like eyes, noses, and mouths. Add ears, tails, and other details using construction paper or pipe cleaners. After creating your lovable creatures, you can turn them into masks or even puppets.

Tissue Paper Flowers: Cut out flower shapes from colored tissue paper and layer them to create vibrant and textured flowers. Secure the layers with glue in the center and add a pipe cleaner stem. These are particularly fun to make around spring time. If you have a garden at home, let the kids add their creations to it!

Toilet Paper Binoculars: Decorate two empty toilet paper rolls with paint, markers, or stickers. Tape or glue them together side by side, and punch holes on either side to attach a string for carrying. After I made this craft with my kiddos, we went outside and engaged in some bird watching. Tying in an activity to the end of craft time always helps extend the fun you and your children can have together.

Toilet Paper BinocularsPasta Jewelry: Paint different shapes of pasta (like penne, bow ties, or shells) with acrylic paints. Once dry, string them onto yarn or elastic cord to make colorful necklaces and bracelets. After you’re done with the jewelry, put on some music, make a makeshift runway and hold a fashion show!

Sock Puppets: Use old socks to make puppets by gluing on googly eyes, felt mouths, and yarn hair. Kids can use fabric markers to add details and personality to their puppets. Naturally once their characters are finished drying, they are going to want to put on a show. This can often times be the most fun part.

Homemade Playdough: Mix together 1 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of salt, 1 tablespoon of cream of tartar, 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, and food coloring (optional). Add water gradually until the dough reaches the desired consistency. Kids can knead and shape the playdough into various creations. Heads up, this activity might need to take place in the kitchen. I made the mistake of doing this one in the living room and am still picking pieces out of the carpet.

Nature Collage: Take a nature walk and collect leaves, flowers, sticks, and other natural materials. Use these items to create a collage by gluing them onto a piece of paper or cardboard. These creations are often called, Found Object art and the results can turn out to be quite beautiful.

Egg Carton Caterpillars: Cut out individual sections of an egg carton and paint them in bright colors. Once dry, glue on googly eyes and pipe cleaner antennae to create adorable caterpillars.

Shaving Cream Marbling: Spread a layer of shaving cream onto a tray and drip liquid watercolors or food coloring onto the surface. Use a toothpick or skewer to swirl the colors together, then press a piece of paper onto the surface to create a marbled effect. ALERT: This is definitely a kitchen activity.

Sock Snowman: Fill a white sock with rice or beans and tie off the top with a rubber band or string. Decorate the sock with buttons, felt, and ribbon to create a snowman. Use markers or paint to add a face and other details. I have made these a couple times and it may sound ridiculous, but the quality of sock you use does matter… unless you are a fan of rice or beans scattered all around the house.

These crafts are not only fun and easy to make but also encourage creativity and imagination in kids. Plus, they can be made using simple materials that you likely already have at home, making them budget-friendly options for arts and crafts activities.

Indoor Scavenger Hunts

Create a scavenger hunt around the house or in a designated indoor space. Write out a list of items for your child to find, such as a favorite book, a stuffed animal, or a specific household object. You can also hide clues that lead to the next item on the list, adding an extra element of excitement and challenge. For campers at Fitness by the Sea Beach Camp, you can tailor the scavenger hunt to include items or clues related to beach activities or marine life.

Color Hunt: Create a list of different colors and challenge kids to find items around the house that match each color. For example, find something red (a toy car), something blue (a pair of socks), something green (a plant), and so on.

Letter Hunt: Write down letters of the alphabet on small pieces of paper and hide them around the house. Kids have to find all the letters and put them in order from A to Z.

Number Hunt: Hide numbered cards or objects around the house and create a list for kids to find them in numerical order. For example, find the number 1 (a toy block), number 2 (a book), number 3 (a spoon), and so on.

Themed Hunt: Choose a theme for the scavenger hunt, such as animals, shapes, or household items. Kids have to find items related to the theme and collect them in a basket or bag.

Rhyming Hunt: Create clues that lead kids to items around the house based on rhyming words. For example, “I’m something you use to sleep at night, I’m fluffy and comfy and usually white.” (Pillow)

Texture Hunt: Give kids a list of different textures to find, such as smooth, rough, soft, and bumpy. They have to touch and feel items around the house to match each texture.

Alphabetical Hunt: Create a list of items around the house starting with each letter of the alphabet. For example, find something that starts with the letter A (apple), something that starts with the letter B (book), and so on.

Scavenger Bingo: Create bingo cards with different items or tasks for kids to find or complete around the house. They have to mark off each item or task as they find or complete them, and the first to get bingo wins a prize.

Treasure Hunt: Create a map or series of clues that lead kids to a hidden treasure somewhere in the house. You can hide small prizes or treats as the treasure for kids to find at the end of the hunt. For an extra genuine feel, burn the edges of the map and come up with a fun story about how you found it.

Photo Hunt: Give kids a camera or smartphone and a list of items to take photos of around the house. They have to find and photograph each item on the list, and the first to complete the list wins.

These indoor scavenger hunt ideas are sure to keep kids entertained and engaged while also encouraging them to explore and use their problem-solving skills. Feel free to customize the scavenger hunt to fit the age and interests of the children participating! Happy hunting!

Cooking & Baking

Get your children involved in the kitchen with some cooking and baking fun. Choose simple recipes that are safe and easy for kids to follow, such as homemade pizzas, cookies, or fruit skewers. Not only will they enjoy the hands-on experience of measuring and mixing ingredients, but they’ll also feel a sense of pride and accomplishment in creating something delicious. For an extra twist, you can theme your cooking adventures around beach camp snacks or treats.

Fruit Kabobs: Provide a variety of bite-sized fruit pieces (such as strawberries, grapes, pineapple chunks, and melon balls) and let kids thread them onto skewers to create colorful fruit kabobs. Serve with a yogurt dip for extra fun!

Peanut Butter and (Blank) Sandwiches: Spread peanut butter on whole wheat bread slices, then add sliced bananas and/or experiment with other toppings…add another bread slice on top to make sandwiches. Kids can help spread the peanut butter and assemble the sandwiches. Nutella seems to be kids’ best friend these days so don’t forget to get your hands on some of that hazelnut gold.

Homemade Pizzas: Set out pre-made pizza dough or English muffins, along with pizza sauce, cheese, and assorted toppings like sliced vegetables, pepperoni, and olives. Let kids customize their own mini pizzas before baking them in the oven.

Ants on a Log: Spread peanut butter on celery sticks and top with raisins to create “ants on a log.” Kids can help spread the peanut butter and place the raisins on top. While this one can get quite messy, it appears to be a favorite in my household and one I remember doing with my parents as a child.

Trail Mix: Set out a variety of ingredients like nuts, dried fruit, pretzels, and chocolate chips, and let kids mix and match their own trail mix combinations. Store in individual bags for a healthy snack on the go. This can also be a lesson in meal prep and how nice it can be to pre-make meals/snacks to have ready for any occasion.

Fruit Smoothies: Blend together frozen fruit, yogurt, and a splash of juice or milk to make delicious fruit smoothies. Kids can help measure and add ingredients to the blender. Just ensure that the top is on snug tight when starting the machine. This activity can quickly “spin” out of control. (Pun-intended)

No-Bake Energy Bites: Mix together rolled oats, peanut butter, honey, and mini chocolate chips in a bowl. Roll the mixture into bite-sized balls and refrigerate until firm. Kids can help mix and roll the dough.

Apple Nachos: Slice apples thinly and arrange them on a plate. Drizzle with melted peanut butter or caramel sauce, then sprinkle with toppings like granola, chocolate chips, and shredded coconut. Kids can help slice the apples and arrange the toppings.

These cooking and baking ideas are not only super simple and delicious but also provide a fun opportunity for kids and their parents to bond and create memories together in the kitchen. Enjoy and bon appetite!

Indoor Obstacle Course

Set up an indoor obstacle course using household items like pillows, cushions, chairs, and blankets. Create a series of challenges for your child to complete, such as crawling under tables, jumping over cushions, and balancing on a makeshift balance beam. Time them as they navigate the course and encourage friendly competition by challenging them to beat their own personal best. This activity not only helps to burn off energy but also promotes gross motor skills and coordination. Just make sure that all fragile items such as lamps and figurines are far enough away from the play area.

Couch Cushion Maze: Arrange couch cushions and pillows on the floor to create a maze-like path for kids to navigate through. They can crawl under, jump over, and weave between the cushions to complete the course.

Tape Line Balance Beam: Use painter’s tape to create a straight or zigzagging line on the floor for kids to walk along as if it were a balance beam. Challenge them to walk heel-to-toe without stepping off the line.

Furniture Hurdles: Arrange chairs or other sturdy furniture items in a row with enough space between them for kids to jump over. They can leap over each hurdle one by one to complete the course.

Tunnel Crawl: Set up a tunnel using chairs and blankets or purchase a pop-up play tunnel. Kids can crawl through the tunnel as quickly as they can to reach the other side.

Hopscotch Mats: Use colorful mats or pieces of paper to create a hopscotch grid on the floor. Kids can hop or jump from square to square, following the traditional hopscotch pattern.

Jumping Jack Station: Place a designated spot on the floor where kids have to stop and do a certain number of jumping jacks before continuing on with the obstacle course.

Laser Maze: Using yarn, tape, and a hallway, tape up strands of yarn in every which angle to create a course that the kids must maneuver and contort their way through. At the end, possibly put an object that they must collect and then turn around and make their way back through. If they hit any of the yarn, you can either ignore it or sound an alarm. Timing this activity can turn it into a fun competition if you have multiple children involved.

Balloon Obstacle Course: Scatter balloons around the room and challenge kids to navigate through them without popping any. They can crawl, duck, and tiptoe their way through the balloon maze.

Pillow Path: Arrange pillows in a straight line or zigzag pattern on the floor for kids to walk or balance on. They can hop from pillow to pillow or try to walk across without touching the floor. This one resembles the “Floor is Lava” idea.

Bean Bag Toss: Set up a target (such as a laundry basket or cardboard box) at the end of the obstacle course and have kids toss bean bags or soft balls into the target from a designated throwing line.

Limbo Station: Use a broomstick or mop handle to create a limbo station for kids to bend and duck under as they make their way through the obstacle course.

These indoor obstacle course ideas are perfect for keeping kids active and entertained, especially when outdoor play is limited. You can mix and match these elements to create a customized course that suits your space and your child’s interests.

DIY Science Experiments

Turn your home into a makeshift laboratory with some fun and educational DIY science experiments. From making slime and volcano eruptions to creating homemade lava lamps and rainbow milk, there are endless possibilities for hands-on learning and discovery. You can tie these experiments into the beach camp theme by exploring concepts like buoyancy, ocean currents, and marine biology.

Homemade Lava Lamp: Fill a clear bottle with water and add a few drops of food coloring. Pour vegetable oil into the bottle until it’s almost full. Break an Alka-Seltzer tablet into pieces and drop them into the bottle. Watch as the colored bubbles rise and fall, creating a mesmerizing lava lamp effect.

Homemade Lava Lamp

Magic Milk Experiment: Pour a thin layer of milk into a shallow dish. Add drops of food coloring to the milk. Dip a cotton swab in dish soap and then touch it to the milk. Watch as the colors swirl and mix together as if by magic!

Baking Soda/Vinegar Volcano: Create a volcano by molding clay around a small plastic bottle. Fill the bottle halfway with water and add a few drops of food coloring. Add a spoonful of baking soda into the bottle. Pour vinegar into the bottle and watch as it reacts with the baking soda to create a bubbly eruption.

Balloon Static Electricity: Inflate a balloon and rub it against a piece of fabric or your hair to create static electricity. Hold the balloon near small pieces of paper or confetti and watch as they stick to the balloon, demonstrating the power of static electricity.

Rain Cloud in a Jar: Fill a clear jar with water and add a layer of shaving cream on top to represent clouds. Use a dropper to add drops of food coloring to the shaving cream “clouds.” Watch as the colored drops sink through the shaving cream and create “rain” in the water below.

DIY Slime: Mix together equal parts of school glue and liquid starch in a bowl. Add food coloring and glitter for extra fun. Stir until the mixture becomes slimy and stretchy. Store in an airtight container when not in use.

Walking Water Experiment: Place empty glasses or jars in a row on a table. Fill every other glass with water and add food coloring to each glass. Use paper towels to create a bridge between the glasses, with one end in the water and the other end in an empty glass. Watch as the colored water “walks” along the paper towels and fills the empty glasses through capillary action.

DIY Invisible Ink: Mix equal parts of lemon juice and water in a bowl. Use a cotton swab or paintbrush to write a secret message on a piece of paper. Allow the paper to dry completely. To reveal the message, hold the paper near a heat source such as a light bulb or iron. The lemon juice will oxidize and turn brown, making the message visible.

Egg in a Bottle: Peel a hard-boiled egg and place it on the mouth of a glass bottle. Light a piece of paper on fire and drop it into the bottle. Quickly place the egg back on top of the bottle. As the fire burns, the air inside the bottle will heat up and expand, creating a vacuum that sucks the egg into the bottle!

Exploding Baggie Experiment: Fill a sealable plastic bag halfway with vinegar and add a few drops of food coloring. In a separate small cup, mix together baking soda and water to create a paste. Seal the baggie most of the way, leaving a small opening. Add the baking soda paste to the baggie and quickly seal it completely. Toss the baggie onto a flat surface and watch as it inflates and eventually pops, demonstrating the chemical reaction between vinegar and baking soda.

These science experiments are not only fun and educational but also use materials that you likely already have at home. They’re perfect for sparking curiosity and encouraging kids to explore the wonders of science! Now put on those lab coats and get to work!

Indoor Camping Adventures

Transform your living room into a cozy indoor camping retreat. Set up a tent or build a fort using blankets and pillows, then gather around for some campfire stories, sing-alongs, and shadow puppets. You can even roast marshmallows over a pretend fire (using a flashlight) and enjoy some camping-themed snacks like s’mores or trail mix. This activity is not only fun and imaginative but also provides a great opportunity for quality family bonding time.

Pitch a Tent Indoors: Set up a tent or create a makeshift fort using blankets, pillows, and chairs in your living room or a designated indoor space.

Campfire Stories: Gather around a “campfire” and take turns sharing spooky stories, funny anecdotes, or tales of adventure.

Stargazing: Turn off the lights and lay down with your family to gaze up at the “stars” (glow-in-the-dark stickers or constellations drawn on the ceiling) while discussing the constellations and sharing stories about the night sky.

Indoor S’more’s Bar: Create a DIY s’mores bar with graham crackers, chocolate bars, and marshmallows. Use a microwave or mini stovetop to roast marshmallows for indoor s’mores. I love using our little s’mores maker we found on amazon.

Nature Sounds Playlist: Play a nature sounds playlist featuring sounds like chirping birds, rustling leaves, and crackling campfires to create a relaxing camping atmosphere.

Campfire Sing-Along: Sing classic campfire songs together while strumming a guitar or playing along with a ukulele or tambourine.

Flashlight Tag: Play flashlight tag in the darkened room or hallway using flashlights to tag and hide from each other. A version of this game that I find particularly satisfying for kids is “Night @ the Museum”. Here’s how it is played… Everyone is going to be a statue, and they can’t let the “janitor” catch them moving. The janitor will move slowly around the room, pointing his/her flashlight at the statues. If s/he shines the flashlight on a person and that person moves/laughs/etc., s/he will have to go to the designated area and do 5 jumping jacks (or consequence of your choice) to get back into the game. Encourage kids to be sneaky when they’re moving around.  You do not want the janitor to hear you moving!

Campfire Cooking: Cook campfire favorites like hot dogs, foil-wrapped potatoes, and foil packet meals using a grill or stovetop.

Board Games/Card Games: Bring along your favorite board games and card games to play together as a family. Or better yet, bring a multitude of them and host a tournament of games, tracking the winner of each one. One of my current favorites is a card game called, Skyjo.

Nature Crafts: Get creative with nature-themed crafts like leaf rubbings, pinecone bird feeders, or rock painting.

Star Projector: Use a star projector to create a realistic night sky indoors, complete with twinkling stars and moving constellations.

Campfire Movie Night: Set up a movie projector or TV screen and watch camping-themed movies or documentaries together while snuggled up in sleeping bags or blankets.

Indoor Camping Olympics: Organize a series of indoor camping-themed games and challenges, such as tent-building races, marshmallow toss, and sleeping bag races.

Campfire Treats: Make campfire treats like popcorn cooked over a campfire (or stovetop) and roasted marshmallows for a cozy evening snack.

These indoor camping adventures are perfect for creating lasting memories and enjoying quality time together as a family, even when you can’t venture outdoors. So gather your camping gear, set up camp indoors, and get ready for a fun-filled adventure!

Virtual Field Trips

Take your child on a virtual adventure with some online field trips to museums, zoos, aquariums, and other educational destinations. Many institutions offer virtual tours and interactive exhibits that allow kids to explore and learn from the comfort of home. For campers missing the beach camp experience, you can find virtual tours of beach destinations, marine life exhibits, and even virtual snorkeling adventures. I have included several links below.

Explore National Parks: Take a virtual tour of famous national parks around the world, such as Yosemite National Park, Yellowstone National Park, or the Grand Canyon. Many parks offer online tours and interactive exhibits that allow you to explore the natural beauty and wildlife from your computer or smartphone. Here is an extensive list of parks you can tour virtually. (Take a Virtual Visit to a National Park  (

Visit Museums: Explore world-class museums and art galleries virtually, including The Louvre in Paris, The British Museum in London, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Many museums offer online exhibits, virtual tours, and educational resources for visitors of all ages. If you want to check out the Smithsonian, here is the link. (Virtual Tour | Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (

Aquarium Tours: Dive into the depths of the ocean with virtual aquarium tours from places like the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Georgia Aquarium, or the National Aquarium in Baltimore. Watch live feeds of marine life, explore interactive exhibits, and learn about conservation efforts from marine biologists and experts. Here’s a great site to check out the National Aquarium! (National Aquarium in Washington, DC Virtual Tour (

Zoo Cameras: Tune into live animal cams from zoos and wildlife sanctuaries around the world to observe animals in their natural habitats. From pandas in China to penguins in Antarctica, you can watch a wide variety of animals in real-time and learn about their behaviors and habitats. Here is the famous San Diego Zoo Cams… (Live Cameras | San Diego Zoo)

Historic Landmarks: Take a virtual tour of iconic landmarks and historic sites, such as the Taj Mahal in India, Machu Picchu in Peru, or the Great Wall of China. Explore ancient ruins, architectural wonders, and cultural heritage sites from the comfort of your home. This website offers a variety of landmarks for you to check out. (Virtual Tours of America’s Greatest Landmarks | Reader’s Digest (

Space Exploration: Embark on a virtual journey through outer space with online resources from NASA and other space agencies. Explore the surface of Mars, visit the International Space Station, and learn about the mysteries of the universe through interactive simulations and multimedia exhibits. Here is the aforementioned NASA resource. (NASA at Home: Virtual Tours and Apps – NASA)

Botanical Gardens: Wander through virtual botanical gardens and arboretums to admire beautiful flowers, plants, and landscapes from around the world. Many gardens offer online tours, virtual exhibits, and educational resources for plant enthusiasts of all ages. This link provides multiple botanical gardens within the United States. (Take a Virtual Tour | United States Botanic Garden (

Cultural Festivals: Experience the sights and sounds of cultural festivals and events from different countries and cultures. From Chinese New Year celebrations to Diwali festivals of lights, you can immerse yourself in cultural traditions and festivities through virtual events and live streams. While I do not currently have a solid resource for these, they seem to pop up around the times that events are taking place.

Historical Reenactments: Watch virtual historical reenactments and living history demonstrations to learn about different time periods and events. From medieval knights and Renaissance fairs to Civil War reenactments, you can experience history come to life through online videos and interactive experiences.

Outdoor Adventures: Embark on virtual outdoor adventures such as hiking, kayaking, or wildlife safaris in scenic locations around the world. Many outdoor enthusiasts and travel bloggers share their adventures through virtual reality videos and immersive experiences that allow you to explore remote landscapes and natural wonders from your home.

These virtual field trip ideas are perfect for exploring new places, learning about different cultures and environments, and sparking curiosity and imagination from the comfort of your own home. So grab your computer or smartphone, and embark on an exciting virtual adventure today!

With a little creativity and planning, there are plenty of indoor activities to keep kids busy and entertained during their downtime. Whether it’s arts and crafts, cooking and baking, or indoor camping adventures, the key is to provide opportunities for fun, learning, and exploration. And for campers at Fitness by the Sea Beach Camp, these indoor activities offer a great way to continue the excitement and adventure of camp even when they’re at home. So grab your supplies, get creative, and enjoy some quality time together indoors!

Want even MORE ideas? Take a look at these 101 summer activities for kids!