Fun Indoor Activities for Tweens

tween drawing picture with colored pencils
Matteo Canessa/

There's nothing like getting children outside to play, but sometimes the weather doesn't cooperate. If your tweens are stuck indoors due to weather, illness, or other circumstances, you'll need a few enjoyable indoor activities to keep them busy. These ideas help tweens stay active and engaged inside (no more cries of "I'm bored" or "Just one more YouTube video!").

Get Moving

Even if your child is stuck indoors, that's no reason to be inactive. Many game consoles offer children the chance to dance, move, and burn a few calories. If you don't have one of these consoles, find how-to videos online or on a streaming service. Your tween can take a dance class, do yoga, or even create their own workout.

Make a Fort

There's just something fun about grabbing couch cushions, sheets, and blankets and making a fort. And tweens haven't yet grown out of the fort phase. Help your child create a really cool fort by clearing out a space for their creation. Use brooms and furniture to hold up the bed-sheet ceiling. Once it's ready for use, kids can throw pillows and blankets inside and cozy up with a good book.

Get Reading

Children have to read for school, but if yours isn't reading for fun, they're missing out. One of the best indoor activities available to a tween is a good book. If your child doesn't have a book that she wants to read, visit the library or a used bookstore for economical selections. Need inspiration? Search online reading lists for book suggestions. Your local library's website probably has several.

Write a Letter

Yes, a real letter. Not an email. Grab a pen and some stationery and have your tween write a letter. They can write to grandparents who live far away or to your congressional representative or a local politician about a cause that's important to them. Another option is to find a pen pal that your child can write to regularly. Writing is a great opportunity for your child to learn how to communicate and share thoughts and feelings with others.

Get Creative

Crafts are great activities to keep kids busy when it's cold or rainy outside. Keep crafting supplies in stock so you're ready. It also helps to have a how-to book or two on hand so your child can learn a new skill, such as knitting or crocheting. Craft kits are also a must-have for your supply closet. Or maybe your child would love to write their own comic strip or film a stop-motion video with their phone or tablet.

Be a Helper

Tweens like to help out, and you can use that enthusiasm to get a project or two completed. Have your tween organize a closet or clear out the toy chest, or teach them a task like laundry, making a repair, or cooking one of their favorite dishes. Your tween will be busy, you'll check a job off your list, and your tween will have learned a valuable life skill.

Go Somewhere

Pack a lunch, pile the kids into the car and take off for a nearby destination. Ask your tween if they'd like to spend the day touring a museum or trying something new, such as ice skating or bowling. If you're on a strict budget, keep an eye out for coupons and freebies. Many museums offer free admission on certain days of the week, movie theaters offer student discounts, and malls are always a free destination if you're willing to just window shop.

Play a Game

Board games, cards, and puzzles may be old-fashioned fun, but they still keep tweens busy when they're stuck indoors. Keep them on hand for when your child needs something to do, and consider taking a break from your responsibilities to join in the fun. An active family game night is also an option that will get the entire family off the couch for some fun.

By Jennifer O'Donnell
Jennifer O'Donnell holds a BA in English and has training in specific areas regarding tweens, covering parenting for over 8 years.