We are coming up on our fourth week of isolating at home. Some parents are relaxing their schedules and limits on screen time, while others have decided to take a tighter grip. I think it all comes down to whatever makes you feel the most sane. The pressure is great to keep our families afloat while we all navigate this “new normal,” so if it works for you, it’s the right way to go.
Whatever approach you are taking, I thought it would be useful to have a list of ideas for activities to do with your kids at home. Nothing academic. Just the fun stuff. Nothing fancy or high tech, just simple ways to break up the monotony.
Some ideas are for older kids, some for younger ones. Some ideas have more adult involvement and a lot can hopefully be done independently. For kids who can read, you can even have them refer back to the list the next time they tell you they are bored.
Which should be in…. about five seconds.
87 Easy Activity Ideas for Kids to Do While Isolated at Home
1) Bake! (In addition to creating something tasty to eat, teaching measurements is a great math skill)
2) If they are feeling entrepreneurial, have them create a shop with their baked goods like Harlow would!
3) Organize a “window hunt” around town – each family puts an item like a rainbow drawing or a teddy bear in their window for other kids to find on car rides or walks
4) Dump salt onto baking sheets and let the kids draw
5) Pick a family portrait and have the kids each paint their own version of it
6) Use streamers to create a hallway “laser maze”
7) Write a short script, then film a mini movie
8) Build with Magnatiles (try it on your garage door)
9) Make a family photo album out of prints you have sitting around
10) Paint cardboard boxes
11) Follow a make-up tutorial
12) Learn a mother daughter tiktok dance
13) See how long you can keep a balloon in the air using different parts of your body
14) Conduct a blindfolded taste test (Mazzy and Harlow made up their own version by guessing lip balm scents)
15) Make a giant game board on the driveway with chalk
16) Create an indoor obstacle course
17) Have a skipping or relay race in the yard
18) Make tie dye t-shirts with old clothes
19) Build a marshmallow and toothpick tower
20) Freeze toys in ice using a muffin tin. Then give the kids a bowl of warm water and a paint brush to “paint” the toys out
21) Work in the garden
22) Have an indoor family picnic for dinner
23) Have an at-home “spa day”
24) Teach the kids how to do laundry
25) Play “the floor is lava”
26) Create a face painting station
27) Teach the kids how to cut vegetables
28) Make DIY slime (there are approximately 8 million tutorials for this on Pinterest)
29) Draw each other’s portraits (try it with and without looking)
30) Read! To your kids or alongside your kids, maybe create a scheduled time each day to read aloud from a chapter book
31) Set up “laundry basket skee-ball”
32) Try some cooperation games to help siblings work together
33) Take family hikes – the world may be closed, but nature is open!
34) Have your kids create a meal plan for the week
36) Play restaurant and have your kids take orders and serve dinner
37) Dust off the Halloween costumes for dress-up
38) Have the kids do some chores – make the beds, set the table, clean up the playroom, etc.
39) Make some rainbow spaghetti for sensory play
40) Organize a virtual take-your-kid-to-work day
41) Basic workbooks to practice handwriting are great for the Kindergarteners
42) Have your older child read a book and give a book report to the family
43) Ride bikes and scooters
44) Play “heads up” on your iPhone or make your own by fastening celebrity names on a hat, kids have to ask questions and guess who they are
45) Do some old-fashioned paper-plate crafts
46) Give STEM Challenge Tower Building a try, stacking with cups, cards, popsicle sticks, etc.
47) Ask the kids to create a dance routine that they can perform for you (or relatives and friends on FaceTime)
48) Wave to the neighbors – from the sidewalk!
49) Have FaceTime playdates with friends and cousins
50) Have the kids write, direct, and shoot a commercial on the iPhone
51) Organize a scavenger hunt in your house (just make a list of items that kids need to collect)
52) Go on a nature walk and collect your findings
53) Have a family game night
54) Let your older child re-decorate, or even paint, their bedroom
55) Create a reading nook with lots of pillows, blankets and stuffed animals in a random corner
56) Have a family olympics with relay races like dizzy izzy (you have to spin ten times with your head on a bat on the ground and then run to the finish line) and the three legged race
57) Write letters to grandparents or long distance friends (it’s great way to connect and practice handwriting!)
58) Lead a backyard exercise class
59) Make sidewalk art at the end of your driveway
60) Do a YouTube challenge with your kids (our favorite is the exact instructions challenge)
61) Have kids create a snack or charcuterie plate for the family
62) Make a treasure hunt in the yard with a map (parents can make the map, or an older sibling can design the hunt for the younger one)
63) Set up “bubbles” stations on the deck
64) Make “family movie nights” special with popcorn, candy and make paper tickets
65) Dance parties, dance parties, dance parties!
66) Make “life boats” to watch “films” (basically just screen time while they sit in a toy bin)
67) Family sleepover in the TV room
68) Backyard camping or indoor camping if the weather isn’t ideal
69) Cut scraps of paper and make rainbow collages
70) Try some easy homemade play dough
71) Make your own target golf course
72) Watch some intricate snowflake making tutorials
73) Put out some pots and pans and have the toddlers go nuts
72) Take the kids fishing
73) Start a story chain with a small group of friends over email (you write the first paragraph of the story, email it to a friend and they add on a paragraph and send it to the next person, and so on)
74) Create a “quiet box” for your child
75) Cosmic Kids Yoga on YouTube is so good for Kindergarteners!
76) Paint a fence (or shed or whatever needs to be spruced up in your yard)
77) Play charades
78) Make a tent city in the TV room
79) Make a pouring station if you’re home with toddlers
80) Check out some new podcasts for your tweens
81) Have a Family talent show, open it up to relatives over Zoom
82) Experiment with a Walking Water Rainbow
83) Play nail salon and give mani/pedis
84) Make a giant sensory bin with Cheerios, rice or sand (throw some toys in for more fun)
85) Brown bag skits (put random items around the house in a bag; teams pick out three items to use in a skit that they have to perform for everyone)
86) Family massage chain
87) Make s’mores in the backyard or over the stove
If you have some favorite activities that aren’t on the list, leave them in the comments! It’s always nice to see what other people are doing to keep busy.