Right now all over the world, many parents have been given an unexpected, sudden gift: the gift of time. So often in today’s world, we wish for more time. More time with our spouse, more time with our kids, time to just slow down and do what we want. I always look forward to the time we got with my husband on weekends, and counted down the minutes until he could go on leave and take a few days or weeks off. Never would I have wished for something like this to happen, and I won’t sit here and say that what is happening around the world is all fun and games… with that being said though, my kids and I are absolutely loving this unexpected family time.
Now that more of us are staying home with our kids for longer periods of time, it is easy to lose motivation and run out of ideas to keep our little ones entertained throughout the day. In this article, I have compiled a list of 33 activities that can keep the whole family entertained, and that give you something to do during these slower days of staying at home!
33 activities for at-home family fun
1. Build a blanket fort
Grab some chairs, sheets, pillows, blankets- anything that could make a cool fort in your living room! Use it for imaginary play or a family movie night. Super easy and fun, and everything you need is already in your house!
2. Bake cookies
Have your kids pull a chair up to the counter and let them help! Have them crack the eggs, stir up the dough, and scoop out the dough with a spoon. You can even let them help you measure ingredients, which turns it into an educational activity as an added bonus!
3. Do puzzles
Small children’s puzzles, or 500 piece masterpieces- the choice is yours! Younger kids may not be able to help much with the big puzzles, but it’s still a fun engaging activity for the whole family. If you’re getting tired of house projects and binge-watching Netflix, this is a fun one for the adults too! It’s weirdly therapeutic and rewarding.
4. Read books
Read out loud to your kids! Children’s books, poetry, classics, (the Harry Potter collection is a favorite in my house) find something that you enjoy, and get reading.
5. Movie marathon
Find a few movies that the whole family would enjoy and have a movie night. Make popcorn, collect up some snacks for the coffee table, make it an event!
6. Do an art project
You can order canvases and some paint and brushes online, or if you have paint laying around your house you can even re-do some decor that you’ve outgrown! DIY artwork is so fun to do with kids, and it’s so sweet to see the piece of art up on the walls and know that you created it together. It’s a great way to re-vamp your space and have fun doing it.
7. Color in coloring books
Most parents I know have coloring books laying around the house, so this is an easy one! My toddler doesn’t really enjoy coloring in the books by himself, but if my husband or myself start coloring with him, he loves it. Grab some crayons or colored pencils and create a masterpiece together. If you don’t have coloring books at home but have a printer, print out pages that your child can color and create your own coloring book!
8. Do yoga together
Youtube is great for this! You don’t even need yoga mats if you don’t have them (if you do, that’s great too!). Our absolute favorite on Youtube is Cosmic Kids yoga. It’s such a blast- a great way to get out some energy, and the whole family can do it together!
9. Sensory bins with rice, sticks, rocks, etc.
Grab a rubbermaid container and throw stuff in there! It can be dry rice or beans, some sticks or acorns from outside, small toys, rocks… really anything you want can be thrown into sensory bins. This is a great activity for kids 1.5-4 years old!
10. Dance parties
I know it may sound silly, but this is a daily activity in our house. I can’t even tell you how many times a day I hear our toddler say, “ALEXA! Play ‘I’m a gummy bear!’” and then hear my son singing in the next room over. We put on happy music or a dance music playlist, and dance for 5-10 minutes! It’s an awesome mood booster, and great for when kids are feeling super energetic.
11. Play outside in your yard
This may seem like a no-brainer, but getting outside (if you have a yard) has been our favorite activity for social distancing. We throw a frisbee to our dog, have races, kick tennis balls, hunt for rocks and flowers, and throw boomerangs (completely unrelated- we’ve also become experts on retrieving boomerangs from the roof). There are so many fun activities to do outside, and that extra dose of vitamin D is great for increasing mood and keeping your family healthy.
12. Play dress up
Superhero costumes, dresses from your closet, scarves, fun hats- put a bin together with fun dress-up pieces and go ham with the kiddos.
13. Watch YouTube tutorials
Youtube is so great for so many things. From learning languages to learning how to draw to conducting science experiments at home, Youtube has videos for nearly anything you could want to learn about! Find something that interests your family and learn together from Youtube.
14. Have a tea party
Make a pot of tea (or pretend to), and set up a cute little tea party for your kids. If you have tea at home, you can pull out milk, sugar, cookies- the whole nine works- and have a full-on fancy tea party!
15. Make hot chocolate
It’s 90 degrees outside where we are today, but if you’re anywhere that still has cooler weather, you can make fun hot chocolate with your kiddos! Pull out the works- sprinkles,, whipped cream, cinnamon, marshmallows- dress up your hot chocolate and let the kiddos help. Tasty and fun!
16. Board games
We recently saw CandyLand on a grocery trip to Aldi and on a whim of nostalgia, decided to grab it. It’s been our 4 year old’s favorite thing the past week! Board games are such a fun activity for the whole family.
17. Magic tricks with cards
Pull out your deck of cards and show your kids all of those tricks we learned in middle school. They’ll be amazed! (If you don’t know any cool tricks… back to #13! Youtube has a ton of easy-to-learn card tricks.)
18. Play I-spy
You can do this in your house, in the yard, out the window… Pretty much anywhere and anytime, you can play I-spy with your kids!
19. Let them do your makeup
I mean it’s quarantine… who’s gonna see you anyways, right? Pull out your brushes and your inexpensive makeup products and let them get creative with it. Make sure to have baby wipes or makeup remover on hand for afterwards, though!
20. Go for a walk
If you live in an area where you can take a neighborhood stroll, this is such a great way to get out some energy, let everyone exercise, and soak up some vitamin D. When my family starts to get cabin fever, going on a nice walk as a family or doing a family workout in the garage have been absolute mood savers.
21. Scavenger hunt
Easter eggs, little prizes, painted rocks… There are so many scavenger hunts you can create right in your backyard and even in your house!
22. Make an obstacle course
This can be with whatever you have on hand. Pillows, couch cushions, big toys, books, pool noodles, blanket ladders, you can even make one out of chalk! There are so many simple and fun ideas for obstacle courses you can make for your kids at home with things you already have laying around the house.
23. Stargaze before bedtime
If you live somewhere with a clear view of the sky, step outside together and take a look before bedtime. We just started doing this last week, and it’s been such an amazing way to end our days. We search for constellations, planets, and shooting stars. (We thought we saw like 20 shooting stars in a row the other day… turns out they were just SpaceX satellites. Still cool though!)
24. Have a spa day
Pull out that old foot bath they got you for mother’s day a few years back, make some DIY face masks, (you can use avocado, cucumber, yogurt, oats, honey… there are lots of great DIY recipes that are kid-friendly!), put on some relaxing music, and have a relaxing spa day at home!
25. Help with chores
This might seem like an obvious one, but it can be so fun to have kids help with chores. It takes me about 5 times longer than normal to load up the dishwasher if my toddler is helping me, but he absolutely loves doing it! (And it’s not like we’re in a rush these days, right?)
26. Make fresh lemonade
Put some lemons and extra sugar on your next shopping list, and make a big ole pitcher of it with your kiddos! Let them squeeze the lemons and stir everything up. Here’s a recipe I found for “the best lemonade ever”.
27. Water plants
If you’re a houseplant hoarder like I am, have the kiddos help you water or mist your plants once a week! I love to bring mine out onto the back porch when the soil gets dry, give my son a spray bottle, and ask him to help me water them. He loves it!! I also show him new leaves that are popping out and growing, and I try to teach him a little bit about plants while he waters them. It’s fun, and a great learning experience for them.
28. Go through old photos on your phone/computer
This is a favorite at my house! Pull out your phone or computer (or scrapbooks) and sort through old pictures and videos with them. I love looking at videos of the kids when they were babies, and it’s so sweet to see their reaction when you show them all the cute things they did when they were tiny!
29. Learn a new language
Practice a new language with your kiddos! You can watch YouTube learning videos, or even subscribe to a language learning site for free during this time. Here’s a great article that lists 6 ways that you can learn a language for free right now! https://www.fastcompany.com/90486395/6-ways-to-learn-a-foreign-language-for-free-while-youre-sheltering-in-place-for-covid-19
30. Easy science experiments
There are so many easy science experiments you can do at home with your kids! Think baking soda and vinegar- back to the basics we learned in middle school (but remember how cool everything seemed back then?). You can even make slime with common household items. There are plenty of fun easy experiments you can do with things you have around the house, and it will seem like magic to your kids! Thinking back on #13, YouTube is a great resource for this.
31. Make pancakes
My son loves to mix anything, so if I hand him a bowl and let him pour in the pancake mix and water, he goes to town stirring it up. Every part of pancake making is so fun for kids- mixing, measuring, pouring, flipping (under close supervision, of course, so they don’t get hurt), and of course- eating! It’s so much fun to let your kids help you cook, and it’s a great learning experience for them as a bonus.
32. Dig up weeds in the yard
Even if you’re just plucking up grass from between the sidewalk cracks- this is surprisingly fun for kids! A few weeks ago we were gardening and I started pulling weeds, and without even being asked for help, my 3 year old bent down with me and started plucking away. He had a total blast doing it! It’s a great way to get outside, be productive, and have fun together at the same time!
33. Wash the car
Grab some car sponges, microfiber towels, a bucket of car soap and water, and let the kiddos wash the car with you! This is another way to do something productive that is also fun for the whole family. My husband is a total car dude, so this is one of his favorite activities to do with our son.
And there you have it! 33 activities to keep your family entertained at home. I hope this gave you some fun ideas and inspiration. Make sure to take pictures while you do some of these fun things- one day your kids will learn about this whole ordeal and ask what you did during this global pandemic. Taking pictures of all the fun things you were doing together during this time will definitely be something that your kids will look back on.