Summer break in Scottsdale is upon us and the extremely high temperatures can make for some of the LONGEST days with little ones. Sure, there are amazing local indoor attractions offered in Scottsdale, but outings are not something I’m up for ALL of the time and my three kiddos do not bode well in the dry heat, which means we are often stuck in our home. ALL. DAY. LONG. Here’s ten easy and fun indoor activities we did last summer that are sure to make the rounds in our home this summer.
Shaving Cream Party: Fill up plastic cups with shaving cream, put the kiddos in the bath or shower, hand them paint brushes, let them go wild, rinse and repeat. Be careful, it will get slippery.
Toy Car Wash: Gather up toy cars, trucks, wash cloths, sponges, old toothbrushes, towels and a bottle of soap. I’ve done this a couple of ways. One is to fill up the bathroom or kitchen sinks with the soapy water, another is in plastic containers set on the floor or on a table. They love cleaning and drying the cars over and over again. (Note: a friend of mine did this with baby dolls and six children ages 3-5 bathed their babies for over 30 minutes!!! It was so sweet!)
Kids Cook/Bake Off: My oldest two really enjoy these shows on The Food Network and kept asking me to have a cook off, so we tried it out last summer. At first we started off simple with just decorating sugar cookies, but they have moved up to making mini pizzas, desserts, and creative wraps/sandwiches for lunch. They even do the slicing and dicing now with children friendly knives, like the ones from Curious Chef. The key to this is preparation. I set up the stations with the food, plates, knives, and anything else they will need and turn on a timer. They absolutely love this activity and now they’re so good that it actually is our lunch and/or dessert.
Toothpick Sculptures: For this activity all you need are toothpicks and mini marshmallows. You can guide them by asking them to build a castle or a car, but it’s really fun to see what they come up with on their own.
Straw or Cardboard Tube Blowing Races: Create a start and finish line on a table or on the floor and hand the kids a straw or cardboard tube (empty toilet paper or paper towel roll) and line up an object like a cotton ball and see who can blow it across the finish line first.
Painting, Painting and More Painting: Most children love to paint and keeping it simple with paper is always fun. However, think outside the box and paint rocks, seashells, flower pots, and even garbage like milk cartons or cardboard tubes (that can be used in the tube blowing races) to really “WOW” them.
Shoe Store: My girls started out with simply lining up the shoes and walking around in them, but it’s evolved into a whole customer service exchange. They come in and try on shoes, buy them with real money and pack them up in bags. It’s a great way to include math, money lessons and polite exchanges with one another. Again, this has become something they do on their own and they have changed it up with jewelry store, Target (lol), and to include their baby brother, a toy car store.
Indoor Race Track: Create an indoor race track for small toy cars using Masking Tape or Hot Wheels Play Tape. This something you can set up for young children, but older children have so much fun laying down the tracks on their own and mine even built structures around the race tracks like houses and train stations using blocks and/or Lego sets. I actually got to a point last summer where I would leave the tape race tracks out for many days (I even left the forts and train tracks out.. It was so freeing!!!!) and my kiddos would wake up and race on their own.
Slumber Party: This is my favorite one. We bust out the sleeping bags, stay in our PJs, pop some popcorn, have a pillow fight, turn on a movie and voila, a slumber party in the middle of the day!
What are your favorite indoor activities? Any pointers for older children?