When the temperature starts soaring, I’m always on the lookout for indoor activities near me. From the pet store to the library, here are eleven fun things to do indoors with your kids!
I love being outside.
There’s nothing like going on walks, visiting parks with my girls, and enjoying a cool breeze.
Unfortunately, in an Arizona summer, a cool breeze is basically nowhere to be found and you only go for a walk if you enjoy melting into the pavement.
It’s just too hot to go outside during the day for any period of time, unless you’re in the pool and I don’t ALWAYS want to be dealing with swimsuits, wet towels, floaties, and goggles.
Which means that I’m always on the lookout for indoor things to do near me.
Over the years of living in Texas and now Arizona, I’ve created a good little list of indoor activities near me that we can easily visit in a morning or afternoon when my children start getting restless and asking what to do when it’s hot outside.
These indoor activities for kids have been my secret weapon for stir-crazy children for the last eight years and are still favorites at our house!
11 indoor things to do when it’s hot outside
This is such a no-brainer from me, of course, and in the summer, with no school schedules, it’s even easier for us to hit weekly story times or special summer events. Or, it’s nice to just go and browse, play with the Legos or blocks in the kid section and read somewhere besides our own living room. I also like visiting other library branches and checking out their selections – this summer one of the indoor activities near me on my bucket list is to visit the Scottsdale Public Library, which usually is listed as the best library in the state.
If you have an IKEA nearby, it’s a fantastic place to spend an hour or two. Three of my four girls are big enough to go to Smaland (which they love), and many of the stores do free kids meals (usually with the purchase of an adult meal) once a week, which makes it an easy way to do a morning outing and have lunch at the same time, then come home for naps and quiet time.
The Pet Store
Hallelujah for pet stores. My girls all love animals and my interest in owning our own animal is zero, so this is a great outing. They can look at the frogs and fish and cats for as long as they want. I’m pretty sure for the first three years of her life, Ella thought a pet store was a zoo. When I’m looking for indoor things to do near me, a pet store is always top of my list because they are EVERYWHERE.
A Music Group
When we lived in Texas, I started a music group for other toddlers in our neighborhood. It was a huge hit and one of our favorite weekday afternoon activities. Now, because I don’t want to commit to doing it every week, we just do it on our own when we’re searching for fun things to do indoors. My two little girls LOVE it and my two older girls are surprisingly into it too. You can see all the songs (with links to them on YouTube) we use here.
Standing Play Dates
One of my best friends in Texas suggested we set up a standing play date. We both had husbands who worked late hours and it broke up those long days to know that every Tuesday I’d have some adult interaction while our children played. We switched back and forth between our houses and it was a great chance for our toddlers to practice sharing and also play with some new toys. Plus, we got to chat for 90 minutes.
A Sports Store
The first time Bart took Ella along, I thought she’d be bored stiff. Two hours later, she came back gushing about the bikes they’d ridden, the helmets they’d tried on, and the mini-golf they’d played at a display stand. Who knew that this would be one of the most popular indoor activities near me?
When it’s 106 outside, going somewhere you need a sweater seems like a complete luxury. Lots of theaters do free or $1 movies during the summer for children (Harkins here, AMC here, and Cinemark here), so it’s inexpensive and burns up a few morning hours.
Chuck E Cheese
I rediscovered the joys of Chuck E Cheese this year and it’s seriously so fun, even as a grown-up. $20 of tokens and everyone is happy for more than an hour. It’s one of the easiest indoor activities for kids when it’s searing hot outside.
A Toy Store
If you can find a local toy store near you, it’s a great place to check out new toys and many of them host little activities (like a library does story time). Plus, it’s good practice for not always getting something you want.
Fast Food Play Place
We don’t eat a lot of fast food, so this is a special treat for my girls when we need to get out of the house but are looking for things to do indoors. Of course, they’re almost always more interested in playing on the indoor play equipment than the actual food itself. And I can sit in the air conditioning and read a book while they go up and down the slides four million times.
Barnes & Noble
Almost every Barnes & Noble I’ve ever been to has a train table in the children’s department, plus a robost toy section. They also usually have Saturday story times which is especially handy if you’re a working parents and can’t attend library story times during the week.
And, of course, Target
Of all the indoor activities near me, none of them is easier than Target. My girls could stay all afternoon in the toy aisles, plus they have free cookies or fruit in the bakery section for kids. Now if only there were chairs in those aisle for parents to sit with their Kindles. . . .