Give these activities a try the next time you need to keep your kids indoors. They'll keep the kids happy and keep you from tearing your hair out.
Freeze Dance. This activity is fun for all ages and really gets kids moving. Pick a favorite song or CD and then instruct your children to dance around. Fast music usually works best for this game because of the contrast between their movements and the freezing. Stop the music at intermittent times. You can either play with an elimination portion (where people who don't freeze are "out") or you can keep everyone involved for the length of the game.
Collages. This is a great way to use up old magazines and newspaper ads. Give each child a large piece of construction paper and then let them go through old ads and magazines. They can cut out shapes (little ones may need assistance) and group them together in a variety of ways. You can have them create a rainbow with the different colors that they find. They can create a food pyramid with different pictures of foods. You can also have them create a collage of their favorite things. Use glue sticks or rubber cement for quick dry times.
Obstacle Course. This is another activity that really gets the kids moving. Build a course inside the largest room in your house. It can even go down the hall if you want it to. Your obstacle course items will depend on the age of your children. You can have them crawl under chairs and tables, hop over stacks of folded towels and toss bean bags into a bucket. You can time each child and have them try to beat their own record.
Build a Fort Together. The fine tradition of fort making is perfect for those days when everyone needs to stay inside. You can use a card table and a few sheets or use packing boxes to help your child create the pirate ship, fairy castle or medieval fortress of his or her dreams. Let their imagination run wild with this one and they'll be occupied for hours.
Family story time. Days inside are perfect for reading together. Pull out one of your favorite chapter books from childhood and read it to your child. If your children are old enough, have each of them read their favorite story book out loud.
Put on a play. Take story time to the next level by putting on a play. You can make your own costumes and write out a short script. At the end of the afternoon, the kids can perform before their Dad before dinner.
Guess the Item. Put lots of different shaped items in a basket and cover it with a towel. The kids have to hold the item under the towel and guess what it is without looking at it.