Summer means lots of time spent outdoors; camping, swimming, biking, hiking, and all the other things that families love to do during the warmer months in Metro Vancouver. But with smoky skies and scorching heat, sometimes we need to stick it out indoors for a while. We’ve got a few awesome ideas on how to keep kids busy inside, so no one gets cabin fever.

Indoor Camping

A tried and true classic for a reason; kids and adults alike get a kick out of seeing a tent set up inside! So grab your camping gear, set up your tent, craft a pretend campfire (a battery-powered candle with construction paper ‘logs’ tends to get the job done), and get your best ghost story ready, it’s time for a campout — indoors!

indoor camping
photo by Biagio Azzarelli / CC BY

Balloon Tennis

This simple activity requires a few paper plates, a balloon, a couple rulers (chopsticks, spatulas and wooden spoons also work), and some tape. Create your rackets by attaching a paper plate to one end of a ruler with some tape. Blow up the balloon and hit the balloon back and forth. How many times can you hit it to each other without it falling on the floor? We love this game because it will keep kids busy for ages, and the balloon is not likely to do as much damage as an actual tennis ball would.

Topple Dominoes, Explode Popsicle Sticks, or Build a Rube Goldberg Machine

If you’ve got a mini-engineer or a kid who is crazy for building things on your hands, this is the activity for them. Grab a set of dominoes and show your kids how to stand the dominoes on end so that when you knock down the first one, the rest tumble. See how many you can set up. What designs and patterns can you make?

To increase the difficulty, try making exploding popsicle sticks, or a cobra weave stick bomb. Start by weaving the sticks into a big long snake. How many can you attach? What happens when you let go of the end? This video created by a kid does a great job explaining how to weave the sticks together.

Once they have mastered toppling dominoes and the cobra weave, why not try creating a Rube Goldberg Machine? It’s a ‘machine’ intentionally designed to perform a simple task, like ringing a bell, in an indirect and overcomplicated fashion. There are tons of examples on YouTube, but we love Andrew’s example for his Grade 2 science project where he uses a series of levers and pulleys (and a toy car) to pop a balloon.

Write a Book

If your kids have wacky imaginations, and we bet they do, get them to put pencil to paper and come up with a super fun story together. Canadian author, Alice Kuipers, gave us some great tips on how to write a book with your kids. Check it out for pointers on how to inspire your kiddos to create their own masterpiece.

Build a Fort or Pillow Mountain

Grab some chairs, a sheet, and a flashlight and make yourself a fort. Cozy up with some books, board games, or even a movie. Kids not too keen on fort-building? How about making a mountain out of pillows? We throw all couch cushions, pillows, and everything else soft we can find in one big pile in the family room and let the kids run and jump and climb all over. See who can get to the top of Pillow Mountain first!

indoor summer fun pillow mountain

Laser Maze

Crepe paper or yarn and tape plus a little imagination are all you need for this fun game. Tape lengths of crepe paper or yarn at angles going down your hallway and challenge your kids to get through the maze without knocking down any of the ‘lasers’ aka tripping the alarm. Place a fun prize like some gold chocolate coins, or maybe a stuffed animal they need to rescue at the other end for your kids to try and get to!

Photo via Pinterest

Yogurt Smoothie Popsicles

When your kids are after a sweet treat, try making some yogurt smoothie popsicles together. These are always a hit in our house, even more so when the kids help make them. We even serve them for breakfast on extra hot days! Get the how-to here.

yogurt breakfast ideas

Armed with these awesome ideas for indoor summer fun, you and your kiddos will have a blast, even if you have to hide inside during the extra hot or extra smoky days! What’s your favourite family-friendly indoor activity? We’d love to know! Leave us a comment below.

Yo, mama! On the hunt for more great indoor fun? We’ve got you covered:

Featured photo by Steven Depolo / CC BY

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