How to Keep Kids Busy When You’re Stuck at Home

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Snowed in? Buses canceled? Schools closed? Sick day? Our Canadian winters can bring a rollercoaster of reasons for a change in our routines. And this unpredictability can be stressful for both kids and adults. 

If you find yourself faced with a day inside with the kids, wondering how you’re going to care for them while working from home, we’ve got some simple tips, tricks, toys, and games for keeping everyone happy and healthy.

So, instead of stressing about the next ‘snow day’, you might find yourself actually looking forward to it.


Team Up!

The best way to get kids to buy into the day’s activities? Get them involved with the planning! 

By including kids in the planning process, you’re empowering their ideas and building their confidence. Most kids need some sort of structure and predictability in their days and allowing them to see how the day will unfold decreases their stress.

This step can decrease your stress too! You’re less likely to have your meeting or work time interrupted with “I’m bored, hungry, etc.,” if your child can refer to the schedule they helped to make! They can feel assured that work is a priority for you, but that time with them is your most important focus for the day.

Using a chalkboard, piece of paper, or whatever you might have on hand, map out the schedule for the day with your child. Encourage your child to use colour, pictures, stickers, and other craft items to make it fun. As a team, you can brainstorm activities and time ranges for the day ahead.

For example, your snow day routine might include:

  • School Work/Your Work (screen time)
  • Body Breaks (indoors or outdoors)
  • Quiet Time (reading, puzzles)
  • Games (board games, cards)
  • Creative Time (role-plays, building, drawing)

The beauty of outlining the day’s routine together is that you get to plan for the time that you need for work and your child feels like they’re part of the ‘Family Snow Day’ team. 

Stuck at home for a few days in a row? No problem! You can use the same framework for multiple days, simply changing up the activities for each day.

This scheduling activity reinforces your child’s understanding of time and assures you that you’re giving them a day that is balanced by indoor, outdoor, creative, and focused fun! 

Quiet Time

If you’re looking for an activity that will keep your kids engaged in something more meaningful than watching TV but need a quiet background for your Zoom meeting, puzzles are a perfect fit!

Choosing puzzles that appeal to your child’s personal interests and are designed for their age are important considerations when selecting puzzles. Animals, favorite movie characters and puzzles with large, easy to move pieces are safe bets for younger children. 


For children 12 and up, more challenging puzzles like this 1000-piece puzzle will invite longer periods of quiet concentration (or they can have their earbuds in while they put together their puzzle!).

To keep the puzzle fun going and/or to display the final piece, check out Eurographics Smart Puzzle Glue Sheets. With 8 sheets (each sheet measures 7”x 10”)  in each package, your child can showcase their completed puzzle and even hang it on the wall! 

Game Day!

It’s time to roll the dice and deal the deck! 

Having a deck of cards and a few board games on hand is a great idea for cozy, indoor fun. Not only do board games reinforce math and language skills, they allow you to interact as a family in a way that is refreshing for both child and parent! 

If you’ve played ‘Go Fish’ or Monopoly more times than you can count, UNO Remix is here to up your game!

With this spin on the classic game, players get to personalize their UNO deck! At the beginning of each round, each player adds an instruction to the write-on cards which can change how the game is played moving forward. Better yet, each card can be personalized with specific instructions. Imagine how much fun your child will have being able to instruct you on how many cards to draw and so on!

To extend the fun and learning even further, encourage your child to design and create their own board game! They can use one that you have as inspiration or create one from their own imagination. Take it even further— encourage them to design the ads that will be used to market their amazing game!

Follow Your Imagination

It’s no secret that children learn best by doing. Play is one of the most impactful ways that they make sense of the world as they grow. But imagination is not something you have to leave behind in childhood! Let your child see your playful side! 


Together you can put together some costumes for a scripted play or a more free-flow role-play. Create a video you can share with other family members. Not only will you be igniting your child’s imagination, you’re giving your child the gift of seeing you in a new way and creating memorable moments to cherish.

To spark the imagination, consider having a dedicated space for daydreaming and discovery. Whether it’s a corner of the living room or a full playroom, having a space where children can go to act things out or curl up quietly sets the scene for happy memories and great ideas.

What could be more perfect for imaginative play inside on a cold, wintry day than this Winter Igloo? If the wintry weather has you stuck at home, chances are that it’s not a great day for outdoor play.  This smartly designed tent offers kids a safe and fun space to enjoy the magic of winter from the warmth and safety of the great indoors.

Similarly, the Violet Castle Playhouse is the perfect place to “play, dream and make magic come true”. Not only is it lightweight yet durable, this playhouse features walls that your child can draw on! Your child can let their imagination take flight across the walls of their very own castle!

Whether it’s using blankets and cardboard or one of the tents above, creating space for the imagination to roam free has benefits for both you and your child that you can only begin to imagine!

Go with the Flow

Both you and your child can benefit from some physical movement when you’re stuck at home. 


Schools have recess breaks built-in to their day to allow for kids to burn off some steam. Scheduling in some time to stretch your muscles and get the blood flowing is important for you too.


Body breaks can take the form of a winter walk (if the weather allows), a game (e.g., ‘hide and seek’), or even a video that has a workout or yoga routine that you can do together.


Some fresh air and stretching will help you both get back to your work or activities with renewed focus and energy. And you’re setting a healthy example of how movement is part of daily life and of how we can adapt to new or unexpected situations.


Snow Day Success


When the only thing predictable about a Canadian winter is its unpredictability, having a plan in place for being ‘snowed-in’ with the family is essential.


By getting the kids involved in the planning, you’re setting yourself, and them, up for success. A schedule that allows for a balance of work, movement, learning, and play will keep everyone safe, snug, and sane on your next snow day.


With some simple tips, tricks, toys, and games, you don’t have to feel ‘stuck’ inside. Instead, you can get things done and have some fun!


Happy Winter Canada!



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