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8 Indoor Activities for Kids That Help Build Outdoor Skills

We all love being outdoors in the fresh air, but sometimes there are weather-related reasons or school closures that mean staying put inside. To avoid any cases of cabin fever, you can use this list of indoor activities for kids to help build outdoor skills that they can use later on.

1. Practice tying new fishing and boating knots.

Learn how to tie fishing knots at home with an extra spool of line, or use a piece of rope to practice tying different boating knots. You can turn new skills like knot-tying into fun indoor activities for kids by creating a list of simple to advanced knots and assigning points to each type of knot. Keep track for a one-week period to see who earns the most points for new fishing or boating knots that are tied correctly.

2. Learn how to identify different fish species.

You can use the "Explore Fish Species" section, look for online fish identification graphics from your state fish and wildlife agency, or buy species identification guides that cover both saltwater and freshwater fish. When kids learn more about the traits of each species and what they feed upon, it can help them become better anglers.

3. Put together a 45 to 60-minute routine of indoor exercise for kids.

Turn exercise into one of the fun things to do with family by adding some energizing music. Include push-ups, sit-ups, using steps or stairs, jogging in place, squats, yoga poses (such as tree pose for balance), use soup cans as weights to do a few sets of bicep curls, jump rope, hula hoop, jumping jacks, crabwalks, and rowing an imaginary boat.

4.Paint pet rocks or make crafts from seashells.

Indoor family activities, such as painting pet rocks or using shells for crafts, can be teaching moments too. Encourage kids to identify the type of rock (igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic) or shell (cockle, olive, murex, etc.).

5. Use a compass app (or a real compass) to teach kids how to read a compass.

Have kids take turns giving other family members directions to a specific place in the house using only compass points. In other words, tell them to remember not to use "right" and "left" because they are relative directions and differ depending on your location and direction, but the cardinal compass points are constant. This is one of the fun indoor activities for kids that they can practice, and then use outdoors the next time you go on a family hiking or fishing trip.

6. Practice setting up a tent or building blanket forts indoors.

Of course, you can't use stakes, but encourage kids to be resourceful about considering which everyday household objects might be used for anchors (for example, a stack of books).

7. Plant an indoor vegetable garden or container garden project.

One example is growing celery in a dish of water. All you have to do is place the bottom from a bunch of celery in a shallow dish of water. In a few days, you should see it start to root.

8.Use a telescope to keep a log of the moon phases

Or track the daily temperatures on graph paper. These indoor activities for kids can encourage them to be more aware of how moon phases and temperature fluctuations can influence wildlife activity.

In addition to these eight ideas, don’t forget that you can always head over the "Places to Fish & Boat" section to make a list of spots you want to visit when it's time to get back outdoors.


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Debbie Hanson

Debbie Hanson

Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit shefishes2.com or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.