Keeping your kids entertained and preoccupied can be a struggle, especially if you’re stuck at home. You want them to be having fun and staying entertained, but they can only play with those same old toys for so long before they start losing interest. And you don’t necessarily want to just plop them in front of a screen all day long. So how do you keep them happy and busy in your own home? Banish the “I’m bored” complaints and read on for ideas on fun ways to keep your kids entertained and preoccupied for hours.
30 At-Home Activities For Kids
Photo by Andres Ayrton
1. Build a pillow fort.
There’s truly nothing more fun than making a pillow fort to play and hide away in! Gather up your pillows, cushions, and sheets and help your kids rearrange the living room into the pillow fort of their dreams. You can even put a mattress in the middle for the ultimate cozy hideaway.
2. Play dress up.
Let your kids use their boundless imaginations by getting all dressed up in extravagant costumes. Raid all the closets in your house and help them put together the most ridiculous outfits they can, or hit the thrift store for cheap accessories to complete the look.
3. Set up a scavenger hunt.
Who doesn’t love a good treasure hunt? Hide a “treasure” (think: new toy or favorite treats) somewhere in your house, then think up a series of clues or draw up a treasure map that the kids can use to find it. Then hand it over and let your little pirates puzzle it out!
4. Put on a play.
Let those acting chops shine by putting on a production. Get inspiration from your kid’s favorite movies, stories, and books, and work together to create the “script” for your play. Then call the rest of the family together to be your audience and put on a show. Don’t forget the costumes and set design!
5. Host a karaoke night.
Sometimes, all you need is a little sing-a-long. Grab a toy mic (even a hairbrush will do when you’re playing pretend), put on their favorite soundtracks, and belt it out. Then switch up the music and play the entire family’s favorite songs so that everyone can get involved.
6. Do some (indoor) camping.
If your kids are dying for an adventure in the great outdoors but a real camping trip in the wilderness is out of the question, simply bring it into your living room. Set up an air mattress and a tent (or a makeshift one with sheets and blankets), turn off the overhead lighting in exchange for flashlights, and pass around the oven-roasted s’mores. Bonus points if you can light a fire in your fireplace for a more authentic bonfire experience.
7. Let their inner scientist experiment.
Science projects are a great way to get messy and learn something in the process, and there are a ton of different ways to explore. Teach them about chemical reactions by building a classic baking soda-vinegar volcano, learn about weather patterns by creating a liquid tornado in a water bottle, or see what happens when you try to mix water and vinegar. Yes, learning can be fun!
8. Play a board game.
Board games have been a staple for indoor fun for centuries, and for good reason. From classics like chess and checkers to family favorites like Candyland and Monopoly, they’ll keep the kids occupied and working on their reasoning and strategizing skills for good measure.
9. Create a chalk masterpiece.
If you have sidewalk chalk and a sidewalk, you have the perfect canvas for creating art. Make a beautiful, colorful mural that the whole neighborhood can enjoy whenever they walk by your place.
10. Make paper bag puppets.
For an easy crafting project that you can make with stuff you already have in your house, make puppets out of paper bags, markers, and any other art supplies you have lying around. Then, when the kids are done customizing their puppet characters, have them put on a puppet show!
11. Tell a story together.
Spin a tall tale and help your kids flex their storytelling skills by collaborating and creating a story together. Start it off with a “once upon a time” and say one full sentence, then have everyone else take turns adding one sentence at a time to the story. You’ll probably end up with an epic tale full of twists, turns, and probably a little bit of hilarity as well.
12. Build a cardboard castle.
If you have a ton of large cardboard boxes around, don’t throw them out: let them become the bases for a fun DIY project! Have them cut out windows, turrets, and doors to create an epic cardboard castle (or plane, or imaginary treehouse, or spaceship, etc.)
13. Bust out the paints and easels.
Let them unleash their inner Picasso by creating works of art with their paint sets. Experiment with different mediums like watercolors, fingerpaints, and more so that they can find their favorite way to paint.
14. Make DIY slime.
Slime has become super-popular with kids in the past couple of years -- who doesn’t love getting their hands dirty? So let your kids experiment and make their own slime creations. All you’ll need is glue, baking soda, and some saline solution to create sticky toys that are perfect for fidgeting.
15. Go on a safari.
Gather up your kid’s favorite stuffed animals, hide them around the house, then go on a safari to discover them all! Bonus points for hiding the toys in “realistic” places (stuffed monkeys hanging from the ceiling, foxes hiding in dens, etc.) and looking up some fun facts about each animal beforehand to make it an educational experience.
16. Make some crafts out of paper.
You probably have some paper lying around, and it’s a great tool for crafting! Look up some origami tutorials or help your kids make paper airplanes, sailboats, and hats for an activity that’ll keep their hands busy and mind occupied.
17. Read a really good book together.
Reading with your kids is always a great activity when you’re in need of an activity that helps everyone wind down. Grab a new book (or one of their old favorites) and read it out loud. If they can read themselves, you can also do “popcorn reading” and switch off reading sections, or assign them to speak for certain characters.
18. Throw a dance party.
If it’s been a while since your kids got to let loose and go crazy, give them a dance party to get some of that energy out. Simply put on their favorite tunes, crank up the volume, and get dancing.
19. Make a glitter jar.
Making glitter jars is an easy crafting project that’ll leave you with a beautiful toy and art piece at the end of it. All you’ll need is a mason jar, water, glitter, glitter glue, and food coloring. The resulting glitter jar is a beautiful and calming tool that your kids can reach for when they’re feeling fidgety or anxious.
20. Play hide-and-seek.
Another staple for bored kids for centuries, hide-and-seek is especially good for households with multiple families. You’ll love seeing how creative they can get, even in the smallest apartments and houses!
21. Plant an indoor garden.
Test out their green thumb by planting some seeds and teaching them the basics of watering and sunlight. They’ll get to see their plants grow day by day and learn some of the basics of responsibility and caring for something living.
22. Give their bedroom a makeover.
For a longer-term project, work together to give their bedroom a fresh new look. You can simply rearrange what they currently have, or give it a full refresh by putting a fresh coat of paint on their furniture, creating new pieces of art to hang on the walls, whatever expresses them best!
23. Get a pet (rock.)
Even if getting a real pet isn’t feasible, a rock is a great substitute. Find the best rocks in your backyard or neighborhood, then bring them home. You can even make it a crafting project by gluing on googly eyes, hair, etc. Then make a terrarium for their new friends to live in!
24. Bake cookies.
If your kid has a sweet tooth, have them join you in the kitchen and help you bake their favorite cookies or other desserts. They’ll love helping you mix and stir everything -- just make sure that they don’t sneak too much cookie dough!
25. Arrange a virtual playdate.
If your kids can’t be with their friends in real life, virtual is the next-best option! Arrange a Zoom or Facetime playdate with their best friends and let them talk, show off their toys, and play together, no matter how physically far away they are.
26. Have a movie night.
With more and more movies being released online, it’s easier now than ever to catch those movies your kids have been looking forward to from the comfort of your own couch. Make your routine movie night something special by making fake “tickets” and completing the scene with popcorn and their favorite treats. Bonus points if you hang a sheet and use a movie projector for a real theater experience.
27. Make some cards for your loved ones.
Everyone loves receiving heartfelt snail mail, so gather up some of the art supplies and have your kids make DIY cards that their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends will hang on their fridge and cherish for years to come.
28. Cook dinner together.
Turn a nightly chore into your new favorite bonding moment! Have your kids come up with a “menu” then find simple recipes that they can help out with. They’ll learn some kitchen basics and get to celebrate with their favorite meals at the end of it all.
29. Teach them some card games.
Bust out that old deck of cards and teach them some classic card games they’ll turn to for years to come. Some kid-friendly favorites include Go Fish, War, Old Maid, and Solitaire.
30. Have an indoor picnic.
Being stuck indoors is no reason to not enjoy special meals! Turn their everyday lunch into a precious memory by packing it into a picnic basket, setting up a blanket in the living room, and eating together. Bonus points if you pick some flowers together and use them to decorate the scene.
Being stuck inside doesn’t have to be a sentence for bored, restless kids. Let their natural creativity shine by doing some of the activities on this list -- it’ll turn the everyday routine into precious core memories that they’ll cherish for years to come. Image credits: Pexels Featured image