There are always a few ‘staying in’ days during the summer holidays. If the sound of CBeebies and irritable kids rowing with each other is driving you crazy, this is a must-read! Here are 15 brilliant indoor activities and games for your kids to play…

  1. Play numbered train stations

Make playing trains a bit more interesting. Write numbers on pieces of paper and lay them around the living room as if they are train stations. The children have to set up the train track and visit the stations in order. Numeracy boosted through play … and some points for you.

  1. Painting in the bath

Want to do crafts with your kids but can’t stand the idea of getting the paints out because the mess? Set them up in the bath. The children will love the sheer bonkers-ness of it. And for you, the advantages are clear – a quick spray around with the shower, and voila. Mess cleared. (Just make sure you use water-based paints).

  1. Get gloopy

Another idea that would work well in the bath is making gloop. If you’ve never heard of it, gloop is basically a mound of home-made messy stuff your kids can model and shape.

  1. Play ‘Hide and Treat’

Hide treats, such as sweets or toys, around the living room. You could encourage your kids with clues or shouts of ‘getting warmer’, when anyone gets close.

  1. Sleeping bag races

We’re not recommending they try this down the stairs. Instead, get your kids to race in the bags as worms. The first to make it across the room wins.

  1. Learn some lingo

Give your child the task of learning to say phrases in foreign languages. (Unless you’re a language buff, Google is very useful for this.) Get her to practice, and then you could film it on your phone so she can hear herself. You could give prizes for best accent, or delivery, or pronunciation.

  1. Crepe lasers

Get some crepe paper and stick it criss-cross across a hall corridor or a narrow room. The idea is your children have to get through the crepe paper via careful manoeuvres in the same way Tom Cruise dodged lasers in Mission Impossible.

  1. Spaghetti slotting

If you have a todder, get some dried spaghetti and an upside down colander. It’s her job to shove the spaghetti through the holes. That’ll keep her quiet for five minutes. (Although just make sure she doesn’t try and eat the dried pasta).

  1. Furniture bingo

Place random numbers on pieces of furniture that the children have to run and touch when the number is called out. This is a perfect way to tire out children who are full of beans but it’s too wet to play outside.

  1. Cut out a shopping game

Draw and cut out pretend money. Then cut out pictures of food or toys out of magazines, and get your child to play a shopping game, where she ‘buys’ and ‘sells’ goods. Great for preschoolers.

  1. Newspaper fashion show

Give your child newspaper and Sellotape and ask her to design and make outfits for a fashion show. Primary school-aged children will think this is a real hoot. You’ll be the audience for the show, of course.

  1. Spaghetti towers

Give the kids spaghetti and masking tape. The mission? To build towers – the strongest and tallest wins the game.

  1. Freezing toys

Freeze little plastic toys, or figurines, in ice cube trays. Then give your kids the job of excavating them. Hours of fun chipping away at ice, so you can get on with something far more interesting … like having a cup of tea. (Just make sure you don’t leave younger children unattended with ice.)

  1. Front garden sale

Help your child organise a front garden sale. She has to sort though all of her tat, with the idea that she can be a shopkeeper and ‘sell’ everything to the neighbours’ kids. Obviously, you’ll need to be watching her, (and you may have to bribe a few neighbours with the promise of cake to walk past and buy something for a few pennies), but at least you might get a toy clear out.

  1. Peg it

Place coloured dots on clothes pegs and place around the house. Assign a number of points to each colour. For example, yellow could gain the player the most points. Then challenge the kids to collect as many pegs as possible – the most points wins. Cue much dashing about. And time for another cup of tea for you …

This article was originally posted on Netmums.