With the world in lockdown and families in isolation, it can be so hard not to worry about what the impact will be on our kids. On the one hand, we don’t want their education to suffer. We also want to keep them active, entertained, engaged, and busy! The challenge is finding enough activities when you’re not allowed to leave the home! To help, I’ve compiled a list of the 31 Best Activities for Kids at Home!
For more information on continuing your child’s education when they’re at home, check out my post on 9 Easy Ways Parents Can Teach Kids When They’re at Home.
This post is all about the best ways to keep your kids busy during lockdown to make this time easier and less stressful! These list of 31 activities for kids at home will help you to do just that.
Note: Some of the links below are affiliate links, so I may get a small commission at no extra cost to you if you choose to purchase these products. They are all products I know and love. Thanks for supporting Happier With Tea!
ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS AT HOME ONLINE
1. Join an Online P.E. Class with Joe at The Body Coach TV on YouTube. All of these workouts are designed for young people to do at home without any equipment needed. He says he will get kids moving, feeling energized, positive, and optimistic! With a true community feel, lots of parents are posting pictures and videos of their kids taking part. And some parents are even feeling inspired and joining in alongside their kids! Whether it’s for the whole family or to let the kids burn off some energy, don’t miss this great opportunity!
2. Listen to Stories: Lots of companies have stepped up to offer resources to give parents ways to keep their kids busy during lockdown. Audio books are educational as well as entertaining- normally it’s something you have to pay for though. The great news is that Audible have released some free audio books for streaming- they don’t even require an account to play them! Just click here to start listening.
3. Use Online Teaching Tools. Scholastic Learn At Home is an educational publisher that offers daily lessons for individual grades. Just select the grade relevant for your child and delve into topics such as nature, music, and robotics. Everything is presented in an engaging and entertaining way. You have to register but it’s totally free to use. Other online education tools that are worth checking out include: Switchzoo, Turtlediary, Khan Academy, BrainPop, and Kids Learning Tube.
4. Learn Computer Programming with Tynker, an online tool for kids older than 5 to learn computer programming in a super fun way. You can select from three age groups. They make it highly engaging and interactive with lots of options to capture kids’ interests.
5. Learn to Draw Online with Art for Kids Hub, a family YouTube channel who produce art lessons for kids. Many lessons are suitable for kids of any age. The lessons are exciting and colorful and there are endless options of what to draw.
Maybe you can’t go on trips like you normally might, or even let your kids out to play in the street with friends, but using your garden and getting your kids involved could be one of the very best activities for kids at home.
6. Go on a Nature Walk: There are different ways to do a nature walk and make it fun. You could send your child around the garden with a list of things to collect (e.g. a leaf, a twig etc), a list of things to take photos of (a bug, a bird, a tree, a flower), or even just give them a list of items that they can tick off as they see. You could let them stick some of the things they collected into a scrap book. They could even draw something that they saw (e.g. a bug,a flower or a spider’s web).
7. Make an Obstacle Course: Let your child design their own obstacle course, giving them a hand if they need it. You could bring chairs outside, use crates and balance a plank across them, use cardboard boxes, hoops, string, balls, cones and pretty much anything that you have lying around! When they’re finished, you can help them to ‘beat their time’ as they complete the obstacle course as fast as they can. You could also call out different instructions for them to follow (e.g. ‘hop around the cone three times, crawl under the chair, run backwards to the fence, and kick the ball into the box.’) Adapt the level of your instructions to the age of your child. This builds your child’s listening skills and attention as well as being fantastic exercise.
8. Have a Picnic: As soon as there’s a hint of sunshine, why not head outside for a picnic together? Depending on how old your child is, you could make this a Teddy Bear’s Picnic! For older kids, why not throw down a blanket, have your food together outside, and then play cards or read?
INDEPENDENT ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS AT HOME
9. Build a Fort: One idea to keep their imaginations active is to allow them to pick a room and transform it into an awesome fort. They could use bed-sheets and pegs to form the structure, use pillow cases for dividing rooms, and make the whole thing comfy with blankets and pillow. Use torches to help make it feel magical (never let them bring candles inside). Let your child have ownership of this project and just give a hand when needed.
10. Learn Magic Tricks: These 9 Magic Tricks from Positive Parenting Ally have step-by-step instructions and are printable. Why not encourage your child to learn one or do (help if they get stuck) and then put on a magic show for other members of the family? Making a performance of it can help to break the tedium of life stuck indoors.
11. Object Hunt: An indoor hunt for kids doesn’t have to be a full-scale Scavenger Hunt which takes a big amount of preparation. A simpler idea is to make a list for your kids of things to find and then let them head off to hunt the objects. These could be texture related (something smooth/rough), color (something that’s dark blue/ something that has two colors on it), sound related (something that’s begins with a ‘sss’ sound) and even function related (something that you use to stick things). It can be anything that you choose. You could reward your child for finding everything on the list.
12. Bop It!: It can be hard to find an electronic game that doesn’t increase screen time, but Bop It! is one of the best. It’s a lot of fun and boosts memory and brain power.
13. Smart Choice Indoor Basketball Game: This indoor basketball game is a dream toy for a child if you have the space for it in the house! Not being able to do sports or just play basketball or other things with friends is one of the hardest things about this lockdown. And it’s only getting more difficult as the weather improves! This one isn’t cheap, but if you want to invest in a sports toy, this could be the one for you.
IDEAS FOR ACTIVITIES YOU CAN DO TOGETHER
14. Baking: This is one of the best ways to keep your kids busy, and lockdown can be seen as the perfect opportunity. With shortages in the shops, you’ll need to find a recipe that’s simple and easy to do. Baking Mad has a whole section on Child Friendly Baking that has great ideas to inspire you.
15. Cook a Meal: If you want to go a step further and spend even more time in the kitchen, you could teach your child to cook a meal. You could even put them on a regular slot for cooking (start with once a week). Reading and following recipes can develop attention and language, and preparing food can improve motor skills. You’ll also be improving their independence and giving them skills for life. With all of the benefits, this is one of the best activities for kids at home.
16. Make Your Own Play Dough: The Imagination Tree have a no-cook play-dough recipe that takes just 4 minutes to make. There are an abundance of recipes on the internet so you’re covered even if you can’t get cream of tartar. You can color the dough and even add sparkles so it can be exactly as your kids want. This play dough will last for months so it can provide hours of fun!
17. Get Crafting: There are so many craft projects you and your kids can do together. Hop online to Creative Bug for easy tutorials on almost any craft you could imagine.
Adventure Girls is an incredible book with crafts and activities for curious, creative, courageous girls.
Low Mess Crafts for Kids is another amazing book with 72 low-mess craft projects, allowing kids to ‘create their own magical world.’
18. Set Up Role Plays: Since your kids aren’t getting out and about in the world, set up role plays at home.
Kids love trying out ‘adult’ world things such as playing shop, school, doctors, or vets. It’s actually a time where they learn a lot!
Don’t be scared of getting involved and playing alongside, or even suggesting the game in the first place! You might need to help your kids to plan the steps on how to do it. Help them to assign roles, and also gently teach social skills if you have more than one child (e.g. taking turns and sharing). You could also playfully introduce a problem (‘oh no! We’re out of eggs! What should we do?”) to develop your child’s problem-solving skills.
19. At Home Science Experiments: Science experiments are one of the most exciting parts of lessons, and many of them are surprisingly easy activities for kids at home. For some ideas, have a look at these 8 Simple Science Experiments You Can Do at Home.
20. Learn a New Skill: Use the opportunity of time indoors to engage your child in learning a new skill. This could be absolutely anything you can imagine. The internet is an incredible resource and you can cobble together resources to learn almost anything in the world.
If you want something to grab and go, these are my top 3 New Project Picks.
BEST GAMES FOR KIDS AT HOME
21. Basic Pack of Cards: There are plenty of simple games you can play with just a deck of cards. Try Snap, Memory, Go Fish or Jack Change It. Have a look at these 12 Classic Card Games to Teach Kids for more ideas.
22. Pandemic: This game is for 2-4 players, and, ironically, is a game about a pandemic. The game board is a map of the world, and the job of players (playing the role of researchers, quarantine specialists, medics, and more) is to stop the spread and find the cure. This game is a little close to home but might also be a way to deal with the current pandemic.
23. Codenames: This is a fun game with secret identities, rival spymasters, and of course, code-names. The teams compete to see who can make contact with all of their agents first.
24. Bananagrams: This game is quick, snappy and fun. It’s a little like sped-up scrabble where players race against each other to incorporate their letters into interconnected webs of words.
25. Articulate for Kids: This game is suitable for kids ages 6+ and is for 4 or more players. Geared for just children, it’s fun, quick and amazing for language skills and brain development.
26. Dobble: This is an amazingly simple but highly addictive visual matching game. It’s a game of speedy observation for 2-8 players. Each game takes about 15 minutes to play. It’s brilliant for building the reflexes of both adults and children!
27. Jenga: This is a classic game that is a perfect balance of skill, suspense, and luck. You can play with any amount of players- it’s easy to practice by yourself.
28. Finding Nemo Operation: I love this Disney-Pixar Finding Nemo edition of one of my all-time favorite games. In this version, players use tweezers to collect fish and avoid getting buzzed. Great for building manual dexterity and motor skills.
29. Catan: If you have slightly older kids, this is an amazing game to fill an evening. For 3-4 players, this is a multi-award winning game in which players control their civilization by settling, building and trading resources with other players. It’s one of my favorite board games because of how interactive it is.
30. Spontuneous: this song-themed game is for older kids and is aimed at aged 8 and above. It’s highly entertaining and always gets everyone laughing.
31. 4 in 1 Game Table: This 4 in 1 table top game includes pool, air hockey, foosball, and table tennis. It works really well to entertain kids during the day, but why not try it as a whole family game in the evening? You could run a tournament with a running leaders’ board or knockouts. A little healthy competition always makes things more interesting and could be perfect for your time in lockdown and isolation.
Looking after a family and keeping everyone active and entertained is exhausting! Hopefully some of these ways to keep your kids busy will make lockdown a little bit easier.
Also make sure you take some time out to look after your own wellbeing during this time: 13 Creative Ways to Boost Your Wellbeing when in Self-Isolation.
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Thanks for reading!
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