Looking for activities for kids at home?
Coming from a mom of 4 over here… we all just need the kids kept busy for a few minutes during these long days at home (too much to ask??).
Here is where I am at during these trying times. I am trying to be a “yes” mom right now. Not like in a “super mom” kind of way – more like a “pretty chill Quarantine Mom”. I am making life easier for all of us by doing all the crappy crafts, letting the kids consume more TV, saying yes to cereal for dinner – etc!
9 Activities For Kids At Home…. Games They Can Play Alone Because You Just Need 5 Stupid Minutes To Yourself…. and Things To Do With Your Kids Now That We Are All Bored Together
Here are our fav games to play alone and together, and all the activities for kids at home.
1. Make paper chains
Don’t make paper rings to count the days, for obvious reasons! I love making paper chains of people holding hands, or hearts, animals… etc. Name them all, give them outfits, or make them your family.
To do this, fold paper into thirds (to make three people) and draw a person, making their arms outstretch all the way to reach the fold / sides of the paper. Cut them out, but don’t cut the sides of the paper where their arms touch the fold.
2. Have PE Class… With a Bouncy House in Your Garage / Basement / Backyard
We finally placed our order for the world’s most popular bouncy house and I can’t wait for it to arrive. This thing has over 3,000 happy reviews on Amazon – it’s a popular favorite for families with young kids. The ONLY reason we didn’t buy this years ago was our good friends have it and our kids would bounce with them.
The funny thing is, they bought it for their kids when my 11 year old, our oldest, was just a babe. It is still going strong 11 years later! Unbelievable, right? The best part is it is small enough to fit inside in bad weather if you have a playroom / rec room!
Is there even a better purchase for kids stuck at home for an extended period of time?
3. Busy Time For Preschoolers So You Can Get Stuff Done
Our youngest child is 4 – so we have had a 4 year old 4 times. Our favorite activities for her are:
Reusable Sticker Set Camille is not even overly into regular stickers, but she plays with these reusable sticker books a lot, because they are different than your typical stickers. They all have cute interesting scenes, so she creates little imaginary fun with them! They are all reusable, so they can use the stickers around repeatedly.
Highlights Search and Find Books These actually are books they can do WITH OUT YOU! (OMG YES. Especially now with homeschooling our school age kids). We buy these books again and again – even repeating books they have already gone through – because they are such a hit with our younger ones.
Pro tip: buy the books that say “with stickers” for younger kids, ages 2-6 – like these sticker book! This is what makes them so much fun for little hands. The books without stickers like this one are good for 6-9.
Zingo has been my children’s first game. We have also bought this game a few times over the years, as it gets a ton of use. But this game is really a gem because there is the option for her to play by herself. It’s not necessary to win to have fun – she thinks of it more like matching. Great for kids who are just learning how to play a real game! Age 3+
4. Make Stress Balls / Sensory Balls
I have made these stress balls with the corn starch and water method, and I didn’t love the texture/mess. Now we make them by just stuffing a ballon full of pure play dough. It seems to have just the right texture.
I didn’t want to waste our good play dough, so we made the home made play dough first (it’s EASY, I promise!). And then we played with it. And the next day, we stuffed it into small balloons and turned it into a stress ball. A two-for-one craft!
- 2 cups of flour
- 1/2 cup of salt
- 3/4 cup of hot water
- 1.5T tablespoon of vegetable oil, baby oil, or coconut oil even
- 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar
- food dye if you want to color the play dough
- small balloons
- Add all dry ingredients into a bowl, and create a little well in the center.
- Add oil to the well. Becuase we are not baking, the oil plays an important role!
- Add the water and knead it vigorously for a few minutes to rid it of all the stickiness.
- To Make Stressball: When the play dough is cooled (and you are done playing wtih it!), you will stuff it into the balloon. This goes much easier with a second person - even a child. Stretch the mouth of the deflated balloon open on one side with a few fingers, and have the other person stretch the other side. While holding it open with your one hand, stuff in little pieces of play dough at a time until the balloon is comfortably full but not spilling out. Squeeze the air out and tie the balloon up.
If the playdough is still sticking to your hands after it is fully mixed and kneaded, let it sit for a few minutes to firm up. If it still looks runny and sticky, add a 1/4 cup of flour.
5. Play Dough
Using the no cook play dough recipe above, make play dough. This time separate the play dough into a few different lumps, and add a few drops of food coloring to each lump to make several colors.
It feels like everyone in the world owns these, but there is a reason for that. Magna-tiles are the BEST boredom busters for kids to play with solo. We keep ours out because I’m not kidding when I say they get played with daily! These are magnetic blocks in the form of shapes. They fit together in all sorts of ways, so it is easy for little kids to create really cool castles. They are just fun to play with! This is the set my kids own, but you can click around as they sell various sizes of sets.
7. Make Low Effort Crafts / Play Easy Games
Given the current obsession we need to have with washing our hands, I bought this simple DIY soap craft with my daughter. It’s not a one time craft – there are enough soaps to do this project several times. It was a little pick-me-up for her mood!
Whenever I am looking for a new craft for her, I search through the Klutz Craft Kits on Amazon. They tend to be high quality and clever.
For cheaper, quick crafts (and for the younger kids especially) I like searching through any of the Alex Little Hands Craft Kits(also on Amazon). These are easier and fun for preschoolers!
Shop the Klutz Craft Kit Here
Shop any of the Alex Little Hands Craft Kits
Our favorite games we play here as a family are:
I Spy Racing Game is our newest family obsession, because it is actually interesting enough for adults to like the game. Although the game is marked for ages 5+, our 4 and 6 year old LOVE to play with each other. It’s actually great for kids who might need a little speech therapy. The objects are colorful and fun to pick out. No adult necessary to play with the kids.
8. Box Fort
There is something about a box that brings out the creativity in a kid. The ultimate activities for kids at home can be free!
Be lazy – leave them a box with some crayons and tell them to have at it! Or, if you have a burst of energy, get really creative and break out the paints. Pinterest has plenty of inspiration for your cardboard house!
Instructions for this crazy cute house at: At Home With Ashley
9. Send Your Kids On An Indoor Scavenger Hunt
I first discovered a few of these activities for kids at home last winter when my husband Jose was out of town for a week last year. Making the hunt individually for each child is even more fun, because the other kids get to cheer them on! My kids will usually take the lead and start setting these up for each other when I’m tired of it. Major benefit right there!
Make a set of clues on scraps of paper (“your favorite breakfast cereal” “where daddy likes to take naps”). Each clue leads to the next clue, so hide them in order. They love leaving a treat at the end… usually something small we happened to have in the house, like a stick of gum or a few Tic Tacs.
If you liked this article, you might also like my DIY page of projects and crafts!
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