Cheaper Alternatives for Kids Indoor Activities

Keeping kids entertained is a tough task that can quickly become expensive. I’ve compiled this list of cheaper alternatives for kids indoor activities. During my childhood I was raised by a single mom and two older brothers. We weren’t necessarily well off but somehow my mother made ends meet. Living paycheck to paycheck as a family didn’t leave much in the budget for entertainment expenditures. So my two brothers and I came up with some awesome ways to keep ourselves entertained and out of trouble.

Flashlight Tag

Flashlight tag was easily my favorite game that my brothers and I would play together. All you need is a flashlight for each kid and a little bit of imagination. The rules are really simple. Turn off all the lights in the house, arm the kids with flashlights and set them free. Your kids are free to make up whatever rules they like. For example, we had 4 simple rules.

  1. No turning on the house lights.
  2. No physically tagging with the flashlight, you MUST use the beam to tag.
  3. Once you’re tagged you join teams with the tagger to find the other others.
  4. Jumping out of dark corners to scare the other players is HIGHLY encouraged. (If you spook them well enough they’ll drop their flash light and give you an opportunity for escape)

Air Tent

These things are the best invention in the world and I like to think that I personally came up with the idea. I may be wrong, but hey, I’ll take any speculation. The premise is simple. Gather up a large sheet (or other very lightweight fabric). Grab a fan that is moderate to high powered. Using safety pins, attach the end of the sheet to the rear (the part that sucks air). Turn the fan on and the sheet will start to inflate. It looks like a little dome in the living room. A word of warning though: I used to do this by putting a fan in my window and creating an air tent over my bed. Now, older brothers are tricksters so they decided it would be hilarious to throw flour in the fan and cover me and my bed with baking goods. Not fun.

Cardboard Fort

Step aside blanket forts, your cooler cousin the cardboard fort is in town. You can find tons of clean used cardboard boxes at department stores. If you just go in and ask an employee if they have any that they’re throwing away, they’re usually happy to hook you up. Construct a fort using the boxes, cutting them as necessary and taping them together. All that’s left is to make up a story, like defending the castle from dragons!

Hide the Thimble

Oh man this game is great. All you need is a thimble or another relatively small item. One person hides it and the others try and find it. Our rules were simple as follows.

  1. The item must be hidden inside the house.
  2. You may ask if you’re “hot or cold” once every 30 seconds.
  3. The player to find it is now the one to hide it.

Follow the Riddle

Follow the riddle is my favorite game on this list. It requires a big imagination, and great ideas. The riddles can be as complex or as simple as you like. You hide riddles around the house to be found in a sequential order, leading to some sort of prize. We usually used an action figure or something similar. Here are some basic instructions to get you started.

  1. On index cards write basic or complex riddles leading to a specific location. For example, something like “I get more wet the more that I dry” points to towels, so the hunters would need to where the towels are kept. Once they figure out that location, there’s another index card with another riddle leading to another location.
  2. They can make this as long or as short of a game as they’d like. We usually stuck to about 10 riddles per game.
  3. We only had two rules: nothing leading outside, and nothing leading to a dangerous spot (like in the oven or inside the toilet)

Being a kid is one of the best parts of life. Some kids aren’t able to afford the latest video games or the coolest new toys. We were those kids so we made the best of what we had. I cherish all of these memories I have with my older brothers, and I’ll never for get them. If you like the games I’ve shared with you, feel free to tweak the rules. The beauty of these activities is that they can be tailored to any kids, any house, and any day. Which one of these did you like the best? Is there a game you used to play as a kid indoors that you want to share? Let me know down below!


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