5 Things to Do When Kids Are Stuck Inside This Summer

Updated Aug 02, 2023
5 Things to Do When Kids Are Stuck Inside This Summer

With some preparation and creativity, however, kids can shut off the TV and invent imaginative activities—and ultimately some great summer memories.

Summer Is for Fun

When I was a kid, summer meant fun. But it also meant boredom because although my mother was a stay-at-home mom, she didn't play with me, so I was forced to find my own sources of fun. I would begin my day with games of hopscotch, jump rope, and even a walk to the park. Soon, neighborhood kids that were once friends moved away and I was surrounded by a neighborhood filled with working adults. I spent a lot of time indoors watching TV, reading books, and decorating my room. Although I enjoyed having a break from school, I looked forward to school because it was something I could do throughout the day that wasn't sitting around being bored. 

Outdoor Play Is Not Always Possible

Summer is a great time for fun. But, like me, kids can easily get bored during summer when there's nothing to do. This is especially true when circumstances beyond their control force them to stay inside for the day. Staying inside could be because it's too hot, the air quality is poor, thunderstorms are looming, or working parents don't allow them to do anything outside. Additionally, with the influence of technology, kids are not used to using their imagination to create games or fun for themselves. They simply can turn on a screen and allow it to make fun for them. This can turn an otherwise fun summer into a boring one. It can also turn into an uneventful one. But it doesn't have to be. 

Here are five things to do when kids are stuck inside:

1. Build a Fort

I encouraged my kids when they were little to use their imaginations and play with each other. I have many happy memories playing dolls with my sister or making a fort out of a piece of metal and an old rock outside in our backyard. Forts can easily be built inside as well. Take two chairs and spread them a few feet apart. Gather all the blankets in the house and spread them on top of the two chairs, connecting them but creating enough of a gap so kids can crawl inside when they're done. Once they've decorated the fort with lots of blankets, they can put their pillows and their toys inside and create magical places like caves and castles inside. Turn off all the lights and allow them to use flashlights to make light shows on the ceiling. Allow them to use their fingers to create puppets from the shadows. 

2. Take a Screen Timeout

Challenge the kids to go as long as they can with no screen time. Although it's tempting if they must stay inside, try not to have background noise on such as a cartoon or music. Get a cookie jar or glass jar and have the kids brainstorm all the things they would like to do instead of using screens. Each day, challenge them to take out one piece of paper and do that activity. This may take some preparation, and supplies may need to be bought in advance. But there are many great craft projects they can do not only to unleash their creativity but to bless the community. They can create cards for the nearest nursing home, clean out the kitchen cupboards and donate the food to the food pantry. They can invite a friend over and teach them about Jesus. The possibilities are endless. Although screens may feel like they passed the time, passing the time with more creative activities will be a better use of time in the end.

3. Re-create a Memory

If your children are older, it’s tempting to simply allow them to find ways to entertain themselves. But one great way to bond as a family and relive memories is to remember some of the things they did when they were a kid. Ask them, “What are your favorite summer memories?” Ask them if they will do those activities again. For example, if they like to paint, they can paint rocks and place them in prominent places around their town so people can be blessed by the messages they see in the grass or on a flight of stairs. They can invite some friends over and have a sleepover or a dance contest. They can re-create silly dances and remember the things they used to talk about with their friends when they were little. 

If your kids are still young, help them re-create a memory from their youth. Bring out some of the toys you've kept from when you were a child and allow your kids to experience the same joy. They may have fun going through old clothes, dolls, and other toys. The novelty of having a new toy will outweigh the vintage look and use of the toy. Delight in watching your children play with the same toys you had when you were a kid. Join them in a hula hoop twirling contest or help them learn how to play a new instrument. 

4. Make a Theme

Summer days don't have to be filled with random activities. Create a theme and enjoy activities that support that theme. For example, as a kid, I loved the freedom summer brought, but I hated the heat. I couldn't wait for fall to begin. Create a fall-themed summer day. Some stores start bringing out their fall and Halloween decorations in mid-July and early August. Capitalize on this by purchasing plastic pumpkins, paint, glitter, and glue. Decorate pumpkins for when fall officially arrives. Look up a cookie recipe and bake pumpkin or leaf-shaped cookies in honor of the next season. Try a winter theme and purchase a snow cone maker. Help your kids make snow cones and allow them to go wild with the food coloring. Shave some ice to make snowballs and make snowmen and watch how quickly they melt away. 

5. Have a "Yes Day"

Yes Day, starring Jennifer Garner, is a family-friendly movie on Netflix about uptight parents who, after seeing their kids get upset that they don't have the freedom to make their own choices, decide to allow the kids to dictate every activity for one day. The caveat is the parents must say yes to every activity. Within reason, allow kids to make up a day where they get to make up the rules. It could be as simple as having dessert for dinner, or even choosing the dinner. They can play silly string, have a pillow fight, or stay up as long as they want. They may be bound by having to stay inside all day, but they can experience freedom indoors as well when they make up the day's activities. 

Staying inside on a summer day can be tough on kids. With some preparation and creativity, however, kids can shut off the TV and invent imaginative activities—and ultimately some great summer memories. What might be a boring summer can quickly turn into the best summer ever with some quick thinking and a little help from a parent. 

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Choreograph

Writer Michelle LazurekMichelle S. Lazurek is a multi-genre award-winning author, speaker, pastor's wife, and mother. She is a literary agent for Wordwise Media Services and a certified writing coach. Her new children’s book Who God Wants Me to Be encourages girls to discover God’s plan for their careers. When not working, she enjoys sipping a Starbucks latte, collecting 80s memorabilia, and spending time with her family and her crazy dog. For more info, please visit her website www.michellelazurek.com.