Looking for some home activities for the kids? Finding yourself in isolation or quarantine and housebound? It's hard work trying to keep those kids occupied or to make sure they burn enough energy during the day (without wrecking the house!).
Our wonderful teachers and schools are sending home assistance for homeschooling. They've got the hard stuff covered (seriously… it's been forever since I had to remember what a noun was!). Many of us, however, are finding gaps in things like art, music and physical education.
I've created a list of ideas for some at-home activities for the kids. Most of them are just plain fun but there are also some educational options too. And hey, sometimes it's actually difficult to have fun and not be learning something at the same time, right?!
You will also find some useful links with tutorials, resources and ideas. In addition, I have included some places to find printables if you don't have time to make some of these activities. Or just for convenience, to reduce your prep time.
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ARTS + CRAFTS
- Leaf Rubbing. Place leaves underside up then cover with a piece of paper. Pull the wrappers off your crayons and rub long ways to produce a picture!
- Flower Pressing. Now you do require some patience, waiting for your flowers to flatten. But I used to love this as a child and you really don't need much. Once you've pressed your flowers you can create another craft from them.
- Pasta Craft. Create jewellery from dried pasta. You can also add food colouring to the pasta for a little difference. The threading is great for the little one's fine motor skills.
- Popsicle Stick Crafts. Find a range of popsicle stick crafts from Messy Little Monster.
- Puppets. Where do I start, with so many possibilities on how to make puppets! Laura from Lalymom has created a list with a bunch of puppets that you can make or download these Sea Story printable finger puppets.
- Pom Poms. There are plenty of tutorials online for these. I'm keen to give this a try… Once you're finished you can then turn into another craft like jewellery, key rings, garlands, pom pom animals and so much more. My eldest would love these Angry Bird pom poms.
- Magic Milk Science Experiment. Check out this tutorial from Little Bins Little Hands using milk, food colouring and soap.
- Science Experiment creating a Rocket. Check out this tutorial from Steam Powered Family.
- Special Deliveries. Make crafts, draw pictures or write letters to friends and family. Then post or hand deliver.
Painting + paper craft activities
- Origami Folding. Get started with some kiddo origami basics or you could also try this printable farm animal origami.
- Paper Planes.
- Paper Plate Crafts. Oh my goodness… where do I start?! Ok… for example – this roundup on paper plate crafts from The Peaceful Nest.
- Recycled Creations. Hold onto household packaging and boxes to create a scene. Perhaps you create a building or an entire city from boxes. The kids can then paint or draw things onto their creation.
- Rock Painting. For some inspo, you'll find some great rock painting ideas from I Love Painted Rocks.
- Shaving Cream Painting. Add food colouring to shaving foam.
- Paint a Scene or Family Portrait. Using photos, the kiddos can paint a picture of the family, landscape or any scene you can find really.
INDOOR HOME ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS
- Indoor Obstacle Course. Create an indoor sensory obstacle course from objects around the house or this easy laser obstacle course made from streamers.
- Marble Run. Here are a few ideas from Life as Mama to get you started on what you can use around the house for your marble run.
- Time Capsule. At the moment we're in lockdown or isolation. Documenting the current climate will be interesting to read about down the track.
- Create a Family Tree. Have your child draw a big tree. Cut out some leaf-shaped pieces of paper and write out the names of your family members on them. During the activity talk about each family member, their traits and memories.
- Build a Fort. Use cushions, pillows, blankets, sheets, pegs etc. The kids can then fill the fort with all the fun things like colouring, pretend play or even setting up a bed for the night.
- Duplo. Lego has a great video with 50 ways the kids can play with Duplo if you're a little stuck for creative ways to incorporate it into your playing.
- Lego. Head over to Lego Academy for some new things you can build with your Lego.
- Boardgames. Pretty self-explanatory?!
- Playdough Printable Mats. A fun educational activity with these beginning sounds playdough mats or I also love these adorable dress-up playdough mats.
Indoor activities for the drama queens
- Puppet Show. Once you've made your puppets (above) it's time to sit the family down and put on a puppet show! Have younger kids re-enact nursery rhymes or their favourite books.
- Charades. I love this free charades printable for the older kids. Or grab this 72 card download with pictures, making it easier for the little ones.
- Dance Off. Get your friends or family together to out-dance each other. Create your own routines or look for some ideas online. Add props like streamers, scarves and pom poms.
- Dance Party/Disco. A little less competitive than the dance-off, turn the music up and the lights down then dance to your heart's content. Add some balloons on the floor for extra fun.
- Skit or Stage Show. Have the kids set up a stage, use dolls, stuffed animals and puppets (even make their own). Don't forget to record on video so that they can watch it back or you can share with friends and family.
- Make a Movie. Use an app like Stop Motion Studio to create your own movie. Ask the kids to plan the movie first, draw/write the story and the scenes. After the planning, set the stage using toys, lego, playdough characters or anything around the house.
- Pretend Play a Scenario. Perhaps it's the movies (make tickets, popcorn etc) or a grocery store (create a checkout, use food products, bring a little math into it etc).
- Chalk Drawings. Free drawing on the pavement or a game like Hopscotch. Then let the rain wash it away or clean with a hose.
- Chalk Drawing Scenes. Draw a scene with chalk incorporating the kids into the scene. Then snap a photo.
- Shadow Drawing. I saw a great example of this done with dinosaur toys.
- Scavenger Hunt. Make up your own. Or, I even created a backyard scavenger hunt in the Freebies Library that you can download and print.
- Camping in the Backyard. Play flashlight shadows or a couple of board games.
- Water Play. Most parents have water play toys already but it could be as simple as throwing the kids out under the sprinklers.
- Teddy Bear's Picnic. Just a little more fun than a regular picnic!
- Cloud Shapes. Lay outside and spot shapes from the clouds.
- Egg & Spoon Race.
COOKING ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS
- Make Playdough. I've made this no-cook recipe from How Wee Learn that I loved.
- Make Slime. There are so many slime recipes around, check out Pinterest.
- Bake Cookies/Muffins/Cakes and other Yummy Treats. Look… I could write a whole post on the things you could bake or cook. And that's coming from someone who hates cooking! If you're like me and cooking isn't your thing… you could even have them “make” something like jelly. Guaranteed they'll love eating it come snack time! Whatever you make, you can freeze leftovers for lunchboxes. I'm going to see if I can get the kiddos to make dinner for me…
- Bake Off Challenge. Just as it sounds, a cooking competition judged at the end. Make a theme or provide them with a range of ingredients to come up with something themselves.
- Create a Story Recount Book. Read a book then have the kids recount the story. Or have them recount something they did over the weekend/the day before. On each page, they should draw what happened and write a brief description (little ones may need help). Use Who, What, Where, When, Why, How if they need prompting. Staple the pages together, create a cover page with a title and picture. Now they have their own book!
- Busy Book. Create a busy book to keep little ones occupied. I'm definitely saving this article on how to make one for later. If you don't have time to craft one from scratch, check out this printable Yummy Food Quiet Book.
- Audiobooks. You can find these on many websites or apps, available to listen to. Find free audiobooks on Storynory or the International Children's Library. Audible is a popular Amazon site with a 30-day trial.
- Educational Apps & Websites. There are some amazing apps out there dedicated to teaching children. Some of these you may have heard of from your children's school.
ENTERTAINMENT ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS
Listen to a Podcast
Be sure that you listen first to ensure the content is what you want your children exposed to. Some of my favourites include:
- Brains On: Educational science delivered in a fun way.
- Circle Round: Adaptations of folklore often with a valued message.
- Fierce Girls: All about amazing Australian women from aviators to scientists to spies. Be sure to check out their colouring pages.
- Stories Podcast: Classic stories, folktales, myths and original stories from around the world.
- Story Pirates: Stories and fun songs with special guest voices. Also, their website has so much more fun for the kids to explore.
Youtube Channels for Children
Be sure that you watch first to ensure the content is what you want your children exposed to. Some of my favourites educational channels include:
- Blippi: Learn colours, shapes, numbers, letters, the alphabet and so much more with Blippi's nursery rhymes and educational songs.
- Free School: Expose children to famous art, classical music, children's literature, and natural science in an age-appropriate and kid-accessible way.
- It's Ok To Be Smart: Science delivered by Joe Hanson for older kids.
- National Geographic Kids: Some great imagery and shorter lessons for younger kids with a smaller attention span.
- Soul Pancake: Created for the joy spreaders, deep thinkers, and change-makers. Covers social sciences – history, philosophy, and psychology. One for the older kids.
- TED-Ed: I love TED Talks and this is the kid's version. Known to help explain some of the stranger questions that your children may have.
- The Spangler Effect: Steve is a science teacher using inquiry-based science and strategies for making science fun.
There are way too many of my favourite kid's movies to list here. An overwhelming amount of them in fact! I did however find this list of movies that help to explain essential life lessons and promote a growth mindset for kid.
PHYSICAL EXERCISE ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS
- Workouts for Kids. Check out youtube for some kid's exercise channels. My kids are currently onto Go Noodle, PE with Joe, and The Learning Station.
- Outdoor Obstacle Course. You may wish to use a playground for this, bring your own equipment or just use your backyard.
- Animal Walk Movements. These are heaps of fun, you can even make a game of it. Write each animal on a piece of paper, fold and then take turns picking out of a hat. Check out the graphic further below for some animal walk ideas.
- Sack Race.
- Three-Legged Race. In groups of two, tie each partner's inside legs together and have them race together to the finish line.
- Yoga. Teach the kids some yoga moves! I love these printable yoga dice. Get the kids to cut and glue them together, then make a game of it.
You got to the end!
Hopefully, I gave you some inspiration for home activities you can do with the kids! I try not to put too much emphasis on overloading the kid's days at home. I find the more I try to squeeze things in, the more frustrated we all get. Typically I make myself a small list of things I would like to do with the kids. Then I make sure I have any supplies I need and we complete them one by one. They don't always happen on the same day. Many sit on my list for weeks or even months.
Be sure to take the pressure off yourself during these times. Being in isolation at the moment, the days seem long and very repetitive. Don't forget that kids need to be able to think of things for themselves and to be able to take the lead. This is how all great leaders and creators are made!
Don't forget to grab your free printable checklist. I'd love to see your creations and home activities for the kids. Oh hey, what about a pic of you relaxing whilst the kids are busy?! You can tag me @avisualmerriment on Instagram or Facebook.