Too hot to go out and play today? That doesn’t mean you have to stick to LEGO bricks and iPad games. We’ve got 20 ways you can keep the play going even when the sun is blazing. Scroll down to get going.

photo: Jen Kossowan via Mama Papa Bubba

1. Play store. Set up shop in just in no time at all and play grocery store. Or maybe you’d rather vend faux froyo or play post office? Here are 9 pretend play scenarios you can set up and play all afternoon.

2. Ice-capades! Freeze colored water in ice cube trays and then let the kids paint with their slowly-melting water colors. Check out these other surprising ways you can have fun with ice.

3. Play a round of “Would you rather?” Would you rather have a pet monkey or a pet porcupine? Inquiring minds want to know! Ask your mini-me to answer this and other thought-provoking pairings when you play a few rounds of Would You Rather. All you need are a few good questions. The Family Dinner Project has a great list of kid-friendly ones you can pull up on your device, so you can dole out new questions as fast as your Little can answer them.

4. Teach your teeny Houdinis a trick or two.

photo: thomasland via flickr

5. Read together. Here are our favorite new-releases in the picture book world. We also love these new and forthcoming chapter books.

6. Make a rad animal mask.

7. Go small. Outfit a mouse house, dollhouse or fairy dwelling with some tiny furniture you can make yourself.

photo: CK, Carl, Carlo, Carlito via flickr

8. Laugh out loud. Stage a little comedy show in your living room. Here are 50 of our favorite kid’s jokes to get you going.

9. Write a story.

photo: Myrmi via flickr

10. Pick a card. Learn a simple card game or trick.

11. Make magic. Transform your countertop into a wizard’s apothecary with pretend potions.

12. Connect the dots. Tic Tac Toe is so yesterday. The Dot Game is clearly today. And it’s one that can easily be re-created when you’re in a lurch. All you need is a paper and a pen to make a large scale dot grid. Then, you and your mini-me take turns connecting one dot to the next, trying to complete squares. When you do, don’t forget to claim your property with a big fat initial smack dab in the middle of the box.

13. Create a mailbox and write each other letters.

14. Act like a total pig


15. Pop up! Make a batch of homemade bubbles and see who can blow the biggest one.

16. Bake some blueberry muffins.

17. Spark a thought. Let your little’s wishes come true with a simple shooting star craft.

photo: Evan Long via flickr 

18. The truth is out there. Ever feel like your kid is kinda strange? Embrace it and turn them into a space alien.

19. Handcraft your own instruments and then have a dance party.

20. Get over it! And under it, and through it when you set up an obstacle course around the house for your kiddos to complete. Use what you’ve got (hello, boxes from holiday deliveries!) to set one up. Then have your munchkin stretch a bit before she sets out to test her ninja warrior skills on the course that gives her a totally legit reason to climb around the furniture. That’s a win-win!


What are your favorite indoor boredom busters when it’s too hot to go out? 

—Amber Guetebier