Inside: Whether school’s been canceled, or you’re making plans for the upcoming holiday break, here’s a helpful list of the best at-home activities that will have you excited to spend some quality time with your kids!
This year, it seems like my kids have been home from school a LOT. From little virus’s making them tired and giving them a high temperature for days on end, to teacher in-service days, to holiday breaks—we’ve gotten the opportunity to spend a lot of time together.
Coronavirus… making waves across the nation. Schools and workplaces all across the nation are being shut down in an effort to snuff out this nasty beast of a virus, which is great. But has left many parents wondering…
What are my kids and I going to do with all that time?
Aside from the school work that will come home with my daughter, this unexpected break from school provides an opportunity out of the norm for mid-March. Under less than ideal circumstances, it still offers a welcome opportunity to celebrate staying home, slowing down, and enjoying the simpler things.
Since it’s out of the ordinary, I’ve had to do some outside the box thinking to figure out how we’ll spend that time together. A lot of this is back to the basics, and a walk down memory lane from our childhood.
And who doesn’t love a good throwback to childhood?!
Here’s my list of the best at-home activities for kids.
- Finger paint This fun for kids of all ages! Strip little ones down to the diaper and set up camp in the backyard, kitchen or garage and get ready to have some fun! Older kids will love the opportunity to get a little messy and creative simultaneously. Crayola’s Super Art Tub has everything you need for coloring fun, including the perfect storage container! We love this one at our
housebecause we can throw it in the car and take it with us on family trips.
- Color a Picture From the youngest ages all the way up to motherhood, who doesn’t love to color?! It’s therapeutic for both me and my children to color together. The same Super Art Kit from Crayola that worked for finger painting also works here! It has everything you need for coloring fun, including a great container to store everything in! It’s great for travel too. Photocopy the coloring sheets that come with it for extra fun.
- Paint rocks. Rock painting has become REALLY popular in Virginia Beach. So much so, that there are actual Facebook groups dedicated to it! On a recent
playdate, Emerson’s friend brought over supplies to paint rocks. And it kept the kids entertained for an hour! No small feat for five-year-olds! When the rocks dried, we finished the play date at a local park, where the kids hid the rocks for other children to find. Emerson talks about how much fun she had EVERY time we pass that park. There are so many great kits that are moderately priced on Amazon. I’m partial to the ones with built-in storage, like this Crayola kit. Although, this kit by Creativity Kids has a TON of great reviewsand an awesome price point!
- Bake something tasty. Children LOVE getting to indulge their inner creative side by helping mom bake a tasty treat. Rice Krispie treats are easy and fun, as are chocolate chip cookies or personal pizzas made with English muffins. If you find that your little one REALLY loves to cook, they may really appreciate a Kidstir box subscription or a cookbook just for them! The Disney Princess Cookbook is adorable, and the Kid’s Chef Junior cookbook is great for kids ages 4+, and is FREE with Kindle Music Unlimited!
- Read your favorite books. Whether choosing from your childhood
favoritesor re-reading your child’s go-to books, this is a simple, fun way to spend a rainy afternoon.
- Make-believe play. Playing house, dinosaurs, and superheroes are the favorite choices in my house! And, I’ll admit, as a fully-grown adult, this one took some time for me to embrace. I LOVED make-believe play as a kid! But somewhere along the way as an adult I became boring and sensible. I finally embraced it and was so pleasantly surprised to see that, it not only entertains my kids, but I learn so much about them in the process too!
- Have a dance party. We love us some KidzBop and Disney music in our house! Crank up the tunes through your phone, or through an awesome mini speaker in your house, and dance your hearts out. We find this is the PERFECT thing to do around 4:00 in the afternoon when everyone is feeling a little bit stir crazy, and I’m about to make dinner. Heck, sometimes we have the dance party in the kitchen WHILE I’m cooking dinners. And those are honestly the best ones. Amazon Unlimited is amazing, and is running a 30-day free trial offer now!
- Do a video interview with your child. This can be done on your phone or a video camera. Kids change SO much from one day to the next, and sometimes the only way to see how much they’ve changed over a period of time is through hindsight.
- Make slime. So, this one is definitely more for the kids—but they have so much fun making it, I couldn’t leave this off the list. You can check out a tutorial I’ve found on Youtube by clicking here.
- Make Play-Dough. Similar to the one above, but may be a better choice based on the age of your kids and if they like to create things out of the play do. Click here for a great recipe from I Heart Naptime.
- Paint her nails. Nothing says “love” to a little girl like taking the time to pamper her and paint her nails. I’m so happy that, in this day-in-age, there are health-conscious, non-toxic formulas available that are safe for use on kids. My favorites are Ella + Mila and Piggy Paint. The colors are fantastic, and they stay on great!
- Play a board game. These are great options for children that are 3+! Candy Land, Connect Four, Chutes and Ladders are a few of our family favorites.
- Sing or do karaoke. I love just finding sing-alongs on YouTube or even just cranking up KidzBop or Disney songs! I love that I can dial up exactly what I want to listen to on Amazon Music Unlimited at any time! And what kid doesn’t love singing into a microphone?! I love the one we ordered from Amazon.
- Cuddle in and watch a movie together. All you need here is your favorite movie, a rainy or snowy day—some good snacks and great company. Some of the simplest and best times with your kids happen right in the comfort of your own home.
- Do a craft together. There are millions of great craft ideas on Pinterest. But the main way that we enjoy crafts is with a subscription to Kiwi Co. Each month, we receive a box with three super fun crafts for Emerson and me to do together. Click here to check Kiwi Crate out for yourself, and get 30% off your first month’s order.
- Play “I spy” or “Simon says”. I was SO happy when I discovered that this game was something that both my 5-year-old AND 1-year-old loved equally as much!
- Paint pottery. Go to a local shop and paint a piggy bank or picture frame! Bonus points for getting their handprint placed on whatever you make.
- Create cards to send to relatives & friends. All you need for this is paper (construction/card stock/printer paper), markers, kid-friendly scissors, and some glue.
- Go to the park. Sometimes the simplest joys truly are the best. Slides, swings, and teeter-totters. It is so much fun to indulge your inner child while you play with your own.
- Go for a walk. Seeing the world through your child’s eyes is an amazing thing. Just take a walk with them and see the trees, the grass and animals the way your child does! Depending on the time of year, you can focus on looking for pretty leaves that have fallen to the ground or looking for the prettiest flowers.
- Ride bikes. Whether this is something you can do around your neighborhood or something you can visit a local park for, riding bikes is just fun.
- Play in the rain. Run into the street and stomp in those rain puddles with no abandon. Watch the joy on your child’s face as they get lost in this moment with you.
- Scavenger hunt. One rainy day, Emerson and I ended up at the library. As it turned out, they had a scavenger hunt for the kids to do there! We had SO much fun. There are a TON of great indoor and outdoor scavenger hunt ideas on Google. All you need to do is a simple search!
- Draw with sidewalk chalk. Just like coloring in a book, this is such a fun and therapeutic thing to do on a nice warm day!
- Have a picnic. A gorgeous Spring or Fall day is the perfect time to get outdoors and enjoy a light meal with your littles! I wrote a post on how to create healthy meals for on-the-go when you’re on the road. Many of the same ideas apply to a conventional picnic.
- Plant flowers or start a garden. There’s been a little bit of a theme throughout the last three items—but it’s because it is truly important! Whether it’s a single tomato or pepper plant grown in a pot on your porch or balcony or a full-blown garden—you and your children will cherish the memories of growing your own fruits and veggies for years to come. I still remember picking radishes and cucumbers in our backyard with my Dad when I was just 4-years-old!
- Play catch or kickball. Playing catch is fun to do with toddlers, and playing with older children also offers up a valuable opportunity for conversation.
- Watch the sunrise or set. I took Emerson to see the sunrise at the beach the day before Daylight Savings Time ended. It was nice because it was early, but not crazy early. Watching the sunrise is such a valuable reminder of how magnificent God is—and that each new day is such a gift—so spend it wisely. Watching the sunrise with Emerson was one of the most beautiful and special things we have done together.
- Play hopscotch. Grab that sidewalk chalk and create a hopscotch board on your driveway!
- Make dandelion bouquets. Is there anything sweeter than a beautiful dandelion bouquet picked specially from you, out of pure love, from your littles? Place the yellow flowers in a bud vase. Make wishes on the white ones.
- Blow bubbles. Blowing bubbles has a calming effect, and can be so much fun. The key to it is to get good quality bubbles that are actually FUN to play with! My favorite brand is the Gazillion Bubbles.
- Stargaze. Nothing can make you feel quite as small (in a good way!) as getting lost in the universe above you during a night of star-gazing. So, go ahead and grab a cozy blanket to lay across your lawn or driveway, and get lost in the universe together!
- Plan a special outing to take pictures just of them! Dress them up in a cute outfit, do their hair, and take them to a picturesque area of town. Break-out the DSLR if you have one. And, if you don’t? Well, smartphone cameras are doing some amazing things these days as well!
- Fly a kite. This Best Delta kite is perfect for novice kite-flyers—to keep your outing fun and your kite in-tact.
Whether you’re dealing with a last-minute school cancellation or planning your upcoming seasonal break, this list offers plenty of fun ideas that kids of all ages will enjoy. Now…if you only knew what to feed them all day… be sure to check out my post on How to Create Healthy Snacks Your Kids will Love!
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