The Best Indoor Toys, Books, and Games for Kids
Likely you’ll be spending more time at home this winter as we continue to battle the COVID pandemic, which means it’s essential to have a variety of indoor activities on hand. We suggest a variety of games, activities, toys and books both for independent play as well as fun for the whole family as you are spending extra quality time together.
Look for activities that:
- Promote learning - With many children spending more time at home than at school, we want to keep their brains working while making sure that we are keeping learning fun.
- Offer sensory engagement - During the winter your children might not be able to spend as much time outside, so look for games and materials that can stimulate their senses while remaining indoors. (These are our favorite sensory toys).
- Are fun! - You want your children coming back for more. While we want to promote learning, we also want to offer opportunities for our children to relax, tap into their creativity and use their imagination. Don’t forget to look for activities and toys that allow your children to kick back and be a kid.
Our Top Picks
- The Best Educational Game: Qwixx at Amazon
- The Best Strategy Game: Sequence at Amazon
- The Best Game for Little Kids: Zingo at Amazon
- The Best Hands on Learning Game: Osmo Genius Starter Kit at Amazon
- The Best Movement Game: Throw Throw Burrito at Amazon
- The Best Game of Questions: Guess in 10 at Amazon
- The Best Card Game: Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza at Amazon
- The Best Game for the Whole Family: SKYJO at Amazon
- The Best Fine Motor Activity: Jewelry Making Kit at Amazon
- The Best Coloring Activity: Play House Fairy Tale Castle at Amazon
- The Best Open Ended Activity: LEGO at Amazon
- The Best Imaginative Play Activity: The Original AirFort at Amazon
- The Best Science Activity: Dino Eggs Dig Kit at Amazon
- The Best STEM Activity: Obuby Kids Construction Fort at Amazon
- The Best Mess Free Activity: ORSEN LCD Writing Tablet at Amazon
- The Best Learning Through Play Toy: BlueZoo Alphabet Robots at Amazon
- The Best Sensory Toy: Squishies Squish Toys at Amazon
- The Best Creative Toy: Magna-Tiles at Amazon
- The Best STEM Toy: Elenco Snap Circuits Jr. at Amazon
- The Best Art Toy: Aqua Magic Doodle Mat at Amazon
- The Best Fantasy Series: Harry Potter Series at Amazon
- The Best Teacher Recommended Series: Diary of a Wimpy Kid at Amazon
- The Best Poetry Collection: Dr. Seuss Beginners Collection at Amazon
- The Best Action and Adventure Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians series at Amazon
- The Best True Story: The One and Only Ivan Series at Amazon
What to Consider When Purchasing Indoor Activities and Toys
- Child Age - If you have multiple children finding toys and activities that will engage a range of ages can be a challenge, but our goal is to keep everyone entertained for longer periods of time. Pick materials that are age appropriate, but that leave room for growth and extension over the long winter months.
Vidya Sundaram, co-founder and CEO of Family Engagement Lab, says “I love reading books in the winter. If your kids are younger, try reading books to them that are a few grades up in difficulty. They will learn new vocabulary and hear what fluent reading sounds like from you. With older kids, ask them to pick a book for you both to read and discuss together.”
- Mess Factor - Some days kids need to just get down and dirty and make a mess, but if the thought of this makes you squeamish (think slime!) then pick your activities carefully. This is also a great opportunity to create responsible kids who are capable of cleaning the mess they make, but chances are they will still need support from you.
- Space Required - If you don’t have a designated playspace, make sure you inventory your breakable and valued furniture or decorations before letting your children engage in a rounding game of Throw Throw Burrito. Creating a safe place during designated times will definitely help your children get those winter wiggles out without worry of breaking your valuables.
How We Chose Our Favorites
We consulted with experts, parents, and special education educators to get the lowdown on what you need to know to choose the indoor games and activities for kids this winter. We also tapped into these experts' advice to find out which brands were best and easily available on Amazon.
The Best Games for Kids
The Best Activities for Kids
The Best Toys for Kids
The Best Books for Kids