Stuff We Like: Ideas for the Great Indoors

Whether you’re hunkered down in the wake of Hurricane Sandy or stuck inside for some other reason, fend off your kids’ case of cabin fever with these creative ideas for indoor fun.


Play These Games by Heather SwainNot-So-Ordinary Household Items

Cure boredom and turn everyday objects into a vehicle for inspiring children during playtime. A Brooklyn mother of two, former third-grade teacher, and an award-winning author, Heather Swain offers 101 games that anyone can create with simple household items in Play These Games (Perigee Books; $14). Take turns stacking different-sized plastic or paper cups to build a Leaning Tower of Cupsa, use buttons and masking tape to create a simple board game, or compete in a match of balloon tennis.


On Stage Theater Games and Activities for KidsAction!

Transform your living room into a stage with short scripts and story ideas from On Stage: Theater Games and Activities for Kids  (Chicago Review Press; $16.95). Created by Lisa Bany-Winters, the cofounder of educational theater company “Play On” who is also on the faculty of Chicago’s renowned “Second City,” the 200-page book for kids ages 7-12 covers topics like improvisation, character development, and scenes and monologues for kids to act out. Plus, it teaches simple stage-makeup techniques and basic theater terms.


The Sand Bucket List: 366 Things to Do with Your Kids Before They Grow UpFamily Bucket List

Did you know there are 940 Saturdays from the time your child is born to the time she is 18 years old? Take a cue from writer David Hoffman’s book The Sand Bucket List: 366 Things to Do with Your Kids Before They Grow Up (Running Press; $12.99) and make the most of family time. From the spontaneous (ice-skate down a city street that has frozen over) to the silly (use a pogo stick as a means of transportation) and more elaborate (ride an ostrich), this 127-page hardcover is full of one-sentence suggestions that will help you create lasting memories with your family. Sure to be one of your children’s favorites: Let them plan the dinner menu, even if every course involves chocolate!


Hand in Hand Crafting with KidsProject: Creativity

“The word ‘creativity’ often gets pigeonholed as activities pertaining to the arts, but every child is creative in one way or another,” writes one mom blogger in Hand in Hand: Crafting with Kids by Jenny Doh (Lark Crafts; $19.95). Photo-rich with simple step-by-step instructions, this 160-page book features 20 parent bloggers who share the projects they use to spark their children’s imaginations. One awesome creation is a motion toy from yesteryear, the thaumatrope—a stick with two images on opposite sides that seem to merge when twirled.


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