Indoor Activities for Children this Summer

Children playing in Guardian Marsfield

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Summer is great for heading outdoors to play, but sometimes it’s just a little too hot.

Here we’ve put together a collection of great indoor activities for your family to enjoy together, or for them to engage in while you enjoy a little time to put your feet up (in the shade, of course!). We’ve also divided it by age group to help you find the most appropriate activities for your little ones this summer. 

Indoor Activities for Babies (birth-2) 

Build a Block Family 

Gather photos of your loved ones and people familiar to your baby. Safely sticky tape the photos to the flat side of a chunky block. You might wish to laminate the photo first – but be sure to trim and round off any sharp plastic edges. Glue might work too, but as your baby is likely to mouth these blocks, ensure the glue is safe and non-toxic. 

When your child looks at the photo or picks up a block to examine it further, continue your discussion and use or introduce words or names of people and talk about who they are and what they do. This will help your baby to develop language skills and it gifts them with a greater sense of identity and meaning about themselves and their family. 

block family

Build a Cubby House Castle 

Making an indoor playhouse, fort or cubby house out of old boxes is a creative activity that can absorb your child for hours. And it’s a great form of recycling! With your child, plan the design of their cubby house – you can even suggest they draw their design before they begin. Decorate the outside of the cubby house with crayons and paint, and cut out openings for windows or doors. Once built, suggest your child finds things to make the inside inviting – pillows, cushions and blankets can be added to make it cosy. If your child will enjoy it, you can even make the house completely dark and encourage your child to play with a torch inside.   

Finger Painting Fun! 

Finger painting is an art many of us remember from our own childhood. So why not recreate the magic with your own child? Invite your child to enjoy the sensation and texture of sliding their fingers through paint and watching as colourful patterns emerge! And at the end they will have a beautiful souvenir of their efforts. 

Check out our toxic free paint recipe! 

Indoor Activities for Toddlers (2-3) 

Create a Shadow Puppet Theatre 

Retelling stories encourages children to use their imagination, expand their ideas and vocabulary and create visual images to carry the meaning of their story.  

Things you will need 

  • A cardboard box to create your stage 
  • Translucent paper such as tissue paper or baking paper 
  • Dark coloured heavy paper or light card 
  • Sticks, tape, scissors, pens 
  • A lamp or torch
  • A camera 

To make the stage 

  1. Cut most of the bottom out of the cardboard box. Leave approximately 8 cm of the base all the way around to provide structural support and a place to attach your paper screen. 
  2. Attach the translucent paper over the hole you have made. Tape in place. 
  3. Place the box on its side and your stage is ready. 
  4. Draw outlines of the characters and essential objects such as trees, houses or vehicles on the heavy paper. Cut them out. Attach stick handles with tape. 
  5. Place the lamp or torch behind the box screen, lighting up the translucent paper from within. 
  6. Place the puppets between the light and the paper screen an invite your child to tell their story. 
  7. Ask questions along the way to prompt further thinking: What happened next? How did the character feel? What did the character say? What does their voice sound like or what noises do they make? 

Indoor Camping 

When the heat outside gets too much, retreat to your own private camping ground – inside! All you need is a little bit of space and a big imagination… 

Choose a night that suits your family and make a tent by throwing a sheet over the back of a couch or a big blanket over the dining table. Put mattresses or large cushions down to make a soft bed (make sure there’s enough room for all campers and a safe sleep environment for all). 

Add some sleeping bags, pillows and blankets. Turn off all or some of the lights and use torches to create a camping effect. You can snuggle up, look at family photos, read or tell stories, sing songs, and maybe even have a ‘midnight feast’. Otherwise, you can just spend time cuddling up and drifting off to sleep! 

Make your own Crazy Crayons 

The leftover odds and ends of old crayons can take on a new life with this fun and sustainable indoor activity.  

What to do 

  1. Rummage through your many crayons pieces and inspect these with your child. 
  2. Remove wrappers – any that are stuck with glue will loosen in a little bit of hot water.  
  3. Sort and categorise based on the crayons your child would like to create e.g. all one colour, shades, rainbows etc. If you would like rainbows you can achieve this by layering the colours – but break the crayons into small pieces if you can. 
  4. Lay pieces into a non-stick muffin pan, silicone works best, and novelty shapes are fun! (If you need to, you can use muffin cases and peel these of once the crayons are completely cooled). 
  5. Melt the crayons in a preheated oven at 150 degrees. Bake until the crayons have melted, after approximately 15-20 minutes.  
  6. Be careful removing the tray, particularly if it’s silicone as the shapes bend and will be full of hot, melted wax. 
  7. Place out of reach to cool completely – overnight or in the fridge if you have room.  
  8. Pop them out once completely cooled. (Tip – If you have difficulty removing them, place the tray in the freezer for a further hour and they should pop out more easily). 

Indoor Activities for Preschool/Kindergarten Children (4-5) 

Make Your Own Lava Lamp 

Your children will love exploring coloured water and oil and a surprise element will make this science experiment even more exciting.  

Things you will need 

  • A clear plastic bottle, try and use one with smooth sides. 
  • Water 
  • Baby oil (or you could use vegetable oil instead) 
  • Alka Seltzer tablets 
  • Food colouring
  • Funnel

How to Do It 

  1. Fill the bottle approximately one quarter with water 
  2. Pour the baby oil or vegetable oil in the bottle until it is almost full. It might be helpful to use a funnel and you may have to wait a few minutes for the oil and water to separate before commencing the next step.  
  3. Add a few drops of some food colouring and watch as the colour sinks through the oil 
  4. Break the Alka Seltzer in half and drop part of it into the bottle 
  5. The magic then begins! This step can be repeated again and again. 


Slippery Slime 

Slime has a fascinating texture and can make for hours of fun for children of all ages – and adults!  

Things you will need 

  • 3 cups warm water 
  • A few drops of food colouring (optional) 
  • l cup soapflakes 
  • Large bowl 
  • Electric beater or hand beater 
  • Measuring cup Large, deep container or bucket 
  • Old clothes or waterproof apron for your child 
  • Plastic cups, bowls, funnels, jugs Spoons, sieve and a whisk 

How to Do It 

  1. Encourage your child to measure three cups of water and add these to the bowl.  
  2. Add food colouring (if using) and the soap flakes, then beat all the ingredients together until the soap flakes have dissolved and you are left with a foamy mixture. (You can use straight away but for better results, let sit for an hour or overnight). 
  3. The next day you will discover a really slimy mixture. Pour into a large container or bucket. It will keep for up to a week.  
  4. Place cups, bowls, spoons and other kitchen utensils next to the container so your child can fill, pour and mix.  

This is a messy activity, so be prepared for a bit of a clean-up!  

Ice Paints 

The perfect indoor activity to help you and the children cool down on a hot day. 

Things you will need 

  • An ice cube tray 
  • Water 
  • Food colouring or tempura paint 
  • Paddle pop sticks (or anything sturdy to pop in and hold) 
  • Paper or another surface for painting on 
  • Space in your freezer. 

How to Do It 

  1. Fill an ice cube tray with water. Don’t overfill 
  2. If using tempura paint, mix to the instructions provided. If using food colouring, add a small drop of to each cube 
  3. Cut a paddle pop stick in half. Use the snapped edge to mix the water and food colouring 
  4. Leave the sticks inside, pop in the freezer and leave overnight. 

Prepare an area for painting to best avoid a big clean up, and nd make sure you keep the paddle pop sticks and reuse them next time! 


For even more at home and Indoor Activity ideas for summer, check out our Learning Exchange. 

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