Activities For Kids at Home

Over the years, I’ve managed to keep my kids from telling me, too often, “I’m bored.” While I’ve nothing against extracurricular activities or “go-to” play areas (you know, the stuff you have to pay for), there simply are times when it’s a “stay indoors and play” kind of day.

Depending on why it’s an indoor day, will determine which activities will best entertain, educate, engage your kids and enable you to get some household chores done.

Though having no artistic ability myself, I’ve still been able to provide quite a few arts and crafts projects that the kids seem to really enjoy. Find a container. Several smaller ones work best. Fill these with crayons, markers (washable!), colored pencils. Several types of paint are good to have: acrylic, craft paint, water colors and finger paint. Have lots of white and colored construction paper available. Toss in some safety scissors too. Trash bags with holes cut for head and arms work well for “smocks”.

Add some store bought items such as stickers, ice cream sticks, glue and, for littler ones, glue sticks. Multi-colored glitter is always a hit with girls, but messy. Pom-poms and googly eyes are fun, too. From around the house you can gather cotton balls, foil, string, old greeting cards, ribbons and magazines to add to the mix.

With all these craft supplies in one place, it’s easy to get the kids interested in doing something besides watching TV. While you can offer suggestions such as crafts that fit a holiday or season, or illustrating a school project, creating a collage or painting a masterpiece, what I love about this idea is that it lets kids use their imagination to create whatever they wish.

Perhaps your kids are more into building things rather than “doing art.” The possibilities, though not endless, are quite numerous including the aforementioned ice cream sticks and glue, Bristle Blocks, Playdough, Legos, Lincoln Logs, wooden or plastic blocks. Even dominoes can be used to build SOMETHING.

Fort building is fun and takes nothing more than chairs, benches or tables along with sheets or blankets. What’s more snuggly than filling the fort with MORE blankets and pillows and some favorite books?

If the indoor-day is due to rain or nasty weather, the kitchen is a great place to spend time alongside your kids. Help them set up a sandwich shop so they can make lunch. Your little ones can handle peanut butter and jelly with a butter knife while the older ones can learn the art of egg or tuna salad, grilled cheese or veggie creations.

If cooking is your thing, now is the time to get your kids interested in cooking themselves, from cookie baking to prepping an entrée. Sharing time in the kitchen makes more than food, it creates warm memories.

One of our favorite things to do is “Day at the Movies” at home. This is easy-peasy. Premade popcorn scooped into lunch bags and a drink of choice (in our house it’s water), line up on the couch, close the blinds, turn off the lights and start a movie the kids have picked out.

Games are always an activity we enjoy. These include everything from Candyland to Monopoly, Go Fish and Old Maid to War and, for my 12 year old, Gin Rummy. Twister is fun to play and hilarious to watch. The interesting thing about some games? Kids think they’re just playing. You know they’re learning.

Speaking of learning, playing school is an activity that looks like play but qualifies as learning. When one of the older kids act as teacher, they reinforce what they’ve learned in school by teaching the younger ones. The young ones are little sponges and take in everything. Paper, pencils, books and a table are all that’s needed but grade level workbooks are easy to find and don’t cost much. Gold stars from the art box always help.

From a three piece wooden baby puzzle to a 1000 piece jigsaw, puzzles offer good times. Educational, or just plain silly, worked on by one person at a time, or a group, puzzles are wonderful to have around. Give several kids similar pictures and pieces and provide a prize (a new puzzle?)to the first done.

Reading is one of my favorite things to do. So our home is filled with books and magazines. Reading aloud to little ones is a joyful experience. When they want to read to you, even more so. A kid with a book in hand is hard pressed to feel bored. Create a family book club where each member has to report on a book of their choice. Or everyone, if older kids are involved, can read the same book and have a “dessert and discussion” evening.

When it’s time for a release of energy, start a game of Mother May I?. Add in crazy steps like gorilla and chicken. Funnier than Twister.

With a bit of brainstorming and preplanning, providing activities for your kids to do with you, with siblings or on their own, is not difficult. It’s fun!

MY KIDS NEED THIS

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Kristin Scott
 

Founder, lead writer, and chief product tester at My Kids Need This.