Category: Indoor Activity Ideas & Places

Purge alert! Enlist the kids in sorting and donating unwanted stuff

Chicagoans don’t need to wait for spring cleaning time to come around. With months of cold, inhospitable weather, there’s plenty of time to fit in a January purge beforehand. After the abundance of the holidays and the resolutions of the New Year, this is the perfect time to clear out the old.

I enjoy this enforced home time to reassess what our family has and needs, and to get organized. However, while clearing out can seem like a great idea when you start, it can quickly become overw...

Posted on January 07, 2019 at 1:54 PM by Fiona Royer

Cabin-fever busters your kids will love

It’s that time of year: shortened days of sunlight, exhaustion from all the holidays and we’re stuck inside with little ones, ready to pull our hair out. How could anyone survive this, let alone enjoy it? Yes, these are tough days, but with a few helpful hints, we are going to have fun! It may just be changing up the same old routine with a few new and different things. Enjoy the time together and know spring will eventually return.

Turn on the tunes. I always put on music, as it chang...

Posted on February 01, 2018 at 7:08 AM by Laurie Empen

How to survive a Chicago winter with kids

Photo credit: John W. Iwanski/Flickr

The holidays are behind us and the long Chicago winter stretches out ahead. This leaves all parents and caregivers with the same question: How the heck are we going to entertain our kids for the next three months?

Having lived through eight Chicago winters with at least one child, I give you my top activities and favorite things to do to kill time—I mean, educate and stimulate—your little ones. The best thing about most of these tips is they work...

Posted on January 03, 2017 at 12:38 PM by Cate White

6 sensory activities to try at home |



As human beings, we’re hard-wired from birth to explore the world through our senses. The way we receive and respond to sensory stimuli has a powerful impact on our experiences. Creating opportunities for children to explore sets them up for long-term success with essential skills including problem solving, decision making, curiosity and perseverance.

Long before they become proficient with language, young children discover through their senses. It...

Posted on June 29, 2016 at 8:24 AM

Easy science projects to do with your kids |



Whether it's a rainy weekend or a day (or summer) off of school, it's hard to come up with engaging and fun activities for your kids when you're stuck inside. Mad Science of Chicago is here to help with exciting science experiments you can do with your child at home, and on the cheap!


Catch a bubble

How many times have you caught a bubble in your hands without breaking it? We're guessing not that many. That's because dirt or oil on your...

Posted on April 01, 2016 at 11:21 AM by Norman Mick

Cabin Fever Busters: Shaving Cream

For this week’s “Beating Cabin Fever” blog I have two words for you: SHAVING CREAM. Yes, that’s right, good ‘ol white, foamy shaving cream. I’m talking the cheap stuff. I was reminded of it’s simplicity and perfection when cruising Pinterest when I saw someone’s pin about Sand Foam (which is a mix of sand and shaving cream). Personally, I have issues with anything as messy as sand in my house (even when I was teaching in preschools, I dreaded the weeks when sand was in my sensory table—I c...

Posted on December 17, 2014 at 8:00 AM by Beth Cohen Dorfman

Cabin Fever Busters: Water Beads

Hi all! I’m back with another amazing, do-it-yourself indoors project to do with your kids. Now, this one has a lot of steps and it is likely that you’ll need to get the main “ingredient” but I can tell you first hand that the result is totally worthwhile.

Check out this post by Blog Me Mom on how to make these super cool Water Beads.  My kids, who are nearly eight and five and a half, LOVE these. They have a really fascinating texture, are fun to play with, non toxic and edible (thoug...

Posted on December 10, 2014 at 8:00 AM by Beth Cohen Dorfman

Cabin Fever Busters: Homemade Playdough

My kids, who are 5.5 and almost 8 will still play quietly (and sometimes even collaboratively)  with play dough for hours on end.  We have a bin full of cookie cutters, rolling pins, old silverware and other accessories.

As a former kindergarten teacher, I’ve tried ALL KINDS of homemade play doughs and found THIS to be THE recipe you want.  Something about the cooked recipes makes them last longer—and I mean longer.  Properly sealed, this dough can last you for months.  I also highly r...

Posted on December 03, 2014 at 7:00 AM by Beth Cohen Dorfman

The Case for Play!

I'll be honest. I'm a play advocate. I co-founded Playdate Planet, an online playdate scheduling site, and I write and speak frequently about the importance of play for children. I know that unstructured play for kids has declined drastically in the last two decades. I know that many schools have reduced, or eliminated, recess. I read stuff that depresses me about play, or the lack thereof, all the time. But, recently, I saw a news story that shocked even me. The NY Post reported that rich...

Posted on November 18, 2013 at 9:25 AM by Meryl Neiman

When your child says "I'm bored"

Children spend much of their time either being entertained or in scheduled activities.  Structured activities such as day care, school, camp, classes, sports and other activities involve adults providing the format and directions.  Increasingly, downtime involves electronics and screen time where children are plugged in being entertained and stimulated by something other than their own imagination.  Children today have fewer opportunities to sit in solitude, to daydream, to use their imagi...

Posted on September 25, 2013 at 7:00 AM by Karen Jacobson