Inside: Stuck in the house and looking for easy activities for kids to do at home? In this post, you’ll find 75+ ideas ranging from science to literacy to social.
Your palms start to sweat. Your breath quickens. A look of panic comes over your face as you read the email you’ve been dreading. “Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, school will be closed until further notice.”
With Coronavirus quarantines and social distancing going into effect and many schools being canceled until the beginning (or middle!) of April, are you about to lose your everloving mind?
The Washington Post created this simulator that shows you how vital it is to distance yourself socially.
You love your children, but they have only been home for 26 hours and have already drained the iPad battery, eaten 1,000 snacks and fought with their siblings about who is more bored.
I got you, mama! I created a list of 75 easy activities for kids to keep them busy (and you sane).
Before you dive into the easy activities for kids…
Before we get to the easy activities for kids, I want to help set you up for success. So here are some basic things to keep in mind:
Create a daily routine
School-age kids are used to having a daily schedule at school and it can be very disorienting if they come home and have no idea what’s happening when.
I prefer to follow a daily routine using large blocks of time instead of trying to micromanage every minute of the day.
Okay, I get it. Some of us work from home, need to get housework done or might find that spending every minute with our children makes us crazy.
You don’t have to spend every minute with your child, but if you can, take advantage of this precious opportunity and soak in some quality time.
Play games, make up stories, or put on dress-ups. Put away your phone and turn off the TV and commit to being fully focused.
The more you are involved with your kids, the less you’ll hear their fights, gripes or complaints about being bored.
Give yourself (and your kids) grace
As cabin fever develops, everyone might be getting a little bit of a short temper. Take a deep breath, and give yourself and your kids grace if there were tears or loud words.
It’s not going to be perfect and you shouldn’t expect it to be. Try your best, learn from your mistakes and do better tomorrow.
The dishes may be dirty. The laundry may pile up. Food may look less gourmet and more PB&J.
And that’s okay.
Kids are only kids for a short period of time. It may not seem like this season will ever end, but it will. Before you know it, your kids will grow up and leave you wishing for the days of chaos and noise.
So embrace the imperfection. Lean in to the season of life you’re in right now.
Does this mean you never wash a dish? No! But also don’t obsess about it. Your kids won’t remember if their childhood home was “social media worthy”…but they will remember warm and fuzzy moments spent with caring parents.
75+ Quick and easy activities for kids to do at home
Easy Science Activities for Kids
- Make soap clouds and find out what happens when you put soap in the microwave.
- Make rainbow soap bubbles.
- Launch a balloon rocket.
- Create DIY Sidewalk foam paint.
- Freeze items in a bowl of ice and use forks to dig for “treasure”
- Part science and part fairy tale, it’s unicorn slime!
- Make your own bouncy balls.
- Create an erupting lemon volcano.
- Make diy paper.
- Ever wonder what elephant toothpaste looks like?
- Make homemade salt dough.
- Or make easy foam playdough.
- This moon sand only uses two ingredients.
- DIY I spy bottles
- Egg geodes (that are as colorful as real rock geodes!)
Fun Building Activities for Kids
- Build a blanket fort.
- Build with marshmallows and toothpicks.
- Combine all building toys to create one giant building.
- Build things out of recycling and masking tape.
- Use popsicle sticks and play dough to build shapes.
- Make a pom pom wall.
- Build with jellybeans and toothpicks.
Activities for Developing Life Skills
- Vacuum (something my 5-year-old loves to do. He’s totally inaccurate, but it keeps this distracted kiddo busy for a good half an hour.)
- Mop the floor by dumping a bunch of water on the kitchen floor, rubberband a wad of paper towels to your kids’ feet, and tell them to skate.
- Write a list of things you and your kids are grateful for. (And yes, silly things like “I’m grateful for my stinky toes” count!)
- Teach your kids the adequate way to wash their hands.
- Learn to take care of the family pets. (feeding, brushing, changing water, cleaning tank, cleaning bedding/crate, etc.)
- Play in the car while helping to clean it out.
- Teach younger kids how to properly use a knife by cutting a banana.
- Teach older kids how to make a simple meal, like spaghetti and tomato sauce.
Simple Technology Activities for Kids (that goes beyond iPad games!)
- Have your child pick a topic they’d like to learn about and search together online to learn more.
- Listen to podcasts for kids.
- Give your child a camera and ask them to take pictures around the house.
- This mom and her 3rd-grade daughter filmed videos teaching kids how to code.
- Learn about animals at Nat Geo for Kids.
- Check out these educational shows on Netflix.
Creative Arts and Crafts Activities for Kids
- Put a dab of washable paint on a piece of paper and let your child drive toy trucks through the paint.
- Upcycle old crayons.
- Make a toy car garage.
- Construct a DIY Galaxy Jar.
- Create shadow drawings.
- Use the shadow drawing instructions to make a DIY silhouette.
- Paint dot paintings using q-tips.
- Paint treasure rocks to hide once social distancing is over.
- Make edible finger paint, then paint away!
- Create your own connect the dots pictures.
- Styrofoam printmaking (the art of making stamps out of foam)
Fun and Easy Social Activities for Kids
- Play board games.
- Play card games.
- Read kids jokes.
- Here are funny questions to ask your kids.
- Play charades.
- Drape a bedsheet over some chairs, grab a flashlight and put on a shadow show.
- Write a play, dress up and act it out.
- Create a photo scavenger hunt. (Some example clues: take a pic of something red or something with the letter B.)
- Learn or create unique handshakes — like this awesome teacher who created unique handshakes for every one of his 5th grade students.
Easy Literacy Activities for Kids
- Read books together.
- Make up your own stories (Check out these printable storytelling prompts.)
- Pick a book and pretend to be the characters.
- Write letters to grandparents.
- Set up a book nook where kids can hide away and read (you can use blankets, sheets or cardboard boxes).
- Make storytelling cubes. You roll the cube and make up a story based on the picture that shows up.
- Want a celebrity to read you (ahem, I mean your kids) a story? Check out Storyline Online.
Active Games and Challenges for Kids
- Play hide and go seek.
- Grab painters table and make an obstacle course or hopscotch on your kitchen floor.
- Set up a balloon tennis match.
- Create an indoor scavenger hunt.
- Grab a broomstick and do the limbo.
- Turn up the music and have a dance party.
- Indoor races – Grab two baskets and put them 10+ feet apart. Put a bunch of items in one basket and time how long it takes to run back and forth, grab and item one at a time and race to the other basket to throw it in.
- Silly races (walk backward, hop on one foot, crab walk, or balance a cookie on your face!)
- Throw couch cushions on the floor and pretend the floor is lava.
- Move the living room furniture to one side of the room and do safe gymnastics or yoga moves.
- Learn trending dances on Tik Tok
- Jump, dodge, and run with Henry Danger (active game by Nickelodeon).
Share your ideas for easy activities for kids!
I’d love to hear what ideas you have for keeping your kids happy and busy at home. Share in the comments below!
Did you try any of the activities listed above? Which was your favorite?