6 Frugal and Fun Indoor Activities For Kids

Kiwi CrateI spent over 5 years living in a state where the weather rarely changes. Now that we’re in the midwest, I’m learning to love the change of season, and Fall is definitely upon us!

With the temperatures vacillating between 50 and 80 degrees (and wreaking havoc on my sinuses in the process!), there are still lots of days where playing outside doesn’t pose a huge problem, other than making sure Smalls layers and I remember to grab my coat.

But on the days where it’s increasingly cold, rainy, or just plain gray, we turn to indoor activities to keep us entertained in the afternoons.  Because Calvin is in school all morning, I try to make sure that our afternoons are relaxed and fun.

Over the summer, it was easy to just go outside and play soccer, dig for worms, or play “tag” (in which one taps another person, screams “you’re it!” and runs away, only to repeat the process 5 seconds later. It’s a fun game. You should try it.).

Indoor activities for kids require less explosive movement and more concentration, which is why I have a few favorites that are always hits around here:

6 Frugal & Fun activities to get through the colder months that you can play again and again.

Kiwi Crate

I LOVE Kiwi Crate. We’ve been getting it in the mail since Smalls turned 3, and it’s always a huge hit every month.

You know you’ve got a winner when your child jumps up and down clapping and screaming: “KIWICRATEKIWICRATEKIWICRATE”!


Each month contains a different ‘theme’, and Kiwi Crate also offers additional “special” crates occassionaly, like their Halloween crate (I cannot wait to do this one!).

All of the items that you need are included, which means that if you need glue, tape, paint, or paper, it’s there. We’ve yet to encounter a Kiwi Crate that we didn’t absolutely love.

Babba Box

Babba Box is similar to Kiwi Crate, but offers more subscription options. And, quite honestly, often our favorite item in our box has been the book. There’ve been a few hits (their science kit seriously rocked my socks off), but mostly misses for us, and as such, I would recommend this for kids ages 5 and up.

Most of the activities (and some of the books) are geared toward older kids, and while I do my best to make it fun, often we only get through one activity before Smalls is ready to move on.

Dance Party

We put on some Joe Scruggs CDs (if you haven’t checked him out, it’s a definite must) and dance our pants off. It’s so much fun twirling and spinning through the living room, and we usually end up dissolving into giggles either from our awesome dance moves or the silly songs after about 10 minutes.


Smalls loves puzzles. Although he rarely lets me play, he likes to have me watch him dump them and put them back together.

Our current favorites are from Melissa & Doug:

Of course, any puzzle will do!

One of our favorite games is to take the puzzle apart, and then Smalls counts to 15 (our current high) while I “hide” the pieces. Then he has to find them and put them into the puzzle. It’s lots of fun for both of us, and he’s entertained for hours.

Science Experiments

We love to watch baking soda and vinegar do their thing. We also like to see what happens when oil mixes with water, and just about anything that makes a mess (okay, do not enjoy that part. Smalls, however, does.). I get most of my ideas from Mudpies to Magnets, which is a very cool preschool science curriculum.

When you do science experiments, it’s a lot more fun to have a science kit. While you can absolutely use what’s in your kitchen, we absolutely love the primary science set that Smalls got for his birthday. His face never fails to light up when he gets home from preschool and his table is all set up!


Smalls received The Toddler Cookbook for his birthday, and we’ve been using it regularly. He loves to bake cookies (we made brown sugar oatmeal cookies this week…so yummy!), make snacks, and even cook our lunch. Of course, this is a rather messy experience, but so enjoyable.

If you’ve mastered the basics, you can let your kids help with larger tasks, such as peeling carrots, slicing (softer) veggies with a butter knife, or even stirring a sauce on the stove.

You can make your fall fun even more frugal by using items you have around the house in place of the items that we have here.

What other indoor activities for kids can you think of?

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