We’re in unprecedented times. I’ve never stayed home so much in my life!! For families with young children I believe this is an especially hard & challenging time. It’s hard to find things to do and keep the kids busy/occupied day after day and the longer this goes on, the harder it gets. “I’M BORED!” is probably heard now more than ever! Let’s go mommy is supposed to be the solution to boredom, but now we can’t go to any of the fun places, events or story times that you typically find on let’s go mommy. Hopefully this blog will help, at least a little. The next time your child says “I’m Bored!”, try out one of these activities to do at home during the “Safer-at-Home” order. It should help cure boredom…at least for 5 or 10 minutes. 😉 Scroll through the list and pick an activity or revisit it daily and do one a day. I tried to include ideas that can work for all ages groups, though some may need to be modified slightly for littler ones. Most of these ideas come from either “The Siblings’ Busy Book” by Lisa Hanson & Heather Kempskie or “Toddler’s Busy Play Book” by Robin McClure. Here are 61 Daily At-Home Activity Ideas for you. (More may be added, but it’s 61 for now!)
Daily Activity Idea #1: BOUNCE TO THE BEAT!
This works for all ages from baby to toddler, preschoolers and school age. You just need music, medium-sized balls (about 12″ in diameter) and an exercise ball, if you have one.
In a large open space, have your kids each sit on a ball. You can sit on the exercise ball while holding the baby on your lap (or just do it in a chair if you don’t have an exercise ball). Play a variety of music with different tempos and challenge your children to keep their balance as they bounce to the beats. For preschoolers and up, they can also try clapping their hands or slapping their knees while bouncing.
Daily Activity Idea #2: BUMBLEBEE ROCKS
Go outside on a “rock hunt” to find some rocks that you can transform into Bumblebees! After you find some rocks, wash and dry them. Once dry, the parent can draw the head and stripes on the rock with permanent marker and then the kids can paint the rest. Acrylic paint would probably work best. Paint/draw on eyes. Yellow and black are great colors to use, but if toddlers want to use other colors or make other bugs/animals like a ladybug, turtle or etc, that works, too! When they are done painting & the rocks are dry, if you have it, put a coat of modge podge over them to protect the final paint and give them a bit of shine. Kids can paint this on as well. Keep the rocks, or better yet, hide the rocks around your yard, neighborhood, in a park or etc to brighten someone’s day when they see/find them.
Daily Activity Idea #3: PIN THE PETAL ON THE FLOWER
Have your children do as many of these steps as they can or help you if they are too young:
1) Draw a flower stem on a large piece of paper (poster size if you have it).
2) Draw and then cut out large flower petals (cut them out of colored construction paper or draw and color them and then cut out) You could cut out leaves as well.
3) Put tape on the back of the petals/leaves.
4) Play the game. Blindfold your child or have them cover their eyes, spin them around and have them place the petals/leaves on the paper and see how close they can get to making a flower!
Daily Activity Idea #4: GO ON A LISTENING HIKE
Take a silent hike/walk outside and listen to the various sounds around you. Write them down together when you get home. Compare notes, count them up and see how many different sounds everyone heard.
Daily Activity Idea #5: SIDEWALK CHALK MESSAGES.
Write encouraging messages on your driveway/sidewalk and draw fun pictures for neighbors to enjoy when they are going for walks (one of the few things people can do right now!).
Daily Activity Idea #6: PLAY LIBRARY
The libraries are closed, so make one at home and have the kids visit and check out books. All the kids can join in the fun. Have all the kids gather a variety of books from around the house to create their library. They can display the books on tables, chairs, shelves or the floor. Set up a checkout station and give each patron an index card or a slip of paper as a library card.
Toddlers can help place a post-it note checkout card on the inside cover of all the books. Preschoolers can play librarian and do the checkout with a stamp to make “due dates” on the post-it notes/checkout cards. School age kids can decide how to display and organize the books in the library. They may want to group them by age range, topic or alphabetical by author or title. They may want to take a turn doing checkout/playing librarian as well. There are lots of ways to be creative, learn and have fun with this game!
Daily Activity Idea #7: QUESTION GAME
On slips of paper, write up questions that you can discuss as a family during mealtime. Some examples would be:
-What was the best thing about your day?
-What was the worst thing about your day?
-What do you like about being your age?
-What would be the perfect day for you?
-Who is your favorite friend and why?
-If you could have any animal as a pet, what would it be?
-If you could choose a family vacation to anywhere in the world, where would it be?
The kids can help you come up with some of the questions if you would like. Put the slips of paper in a box, jar or other container that you can set on or near the table and then enjoy the discussion at your next mealtime. Everyone can give an answer to each question or you can take turns picking questions and giving answers. The kids could also help decorate the container if they want to be extra creative.
Daily Activity Idea #8: PHONE BOOK FUN
Grab an old phone book and let the kids have some fun with it. You can rip it into sections by opening it flat and ripping along the spine and giving a section to each of your kids to explore it in different ways.
-Babies 6 months and younger can crumple it up and/or rip it. They will like the texture and sound.
-Your toddler will like ripping out some pages. Then you can have them find certain letters…maybe a letter from their name…and circle all of those letters they can find.
-Your preschooler can find numbers that you say and use a highlighter to mark them. This is also a good time to practice learning phone numbers and addresses.
-School-age kids can learn about and practice alphabetization by ripping out pages, mixing them up and then putting them in alphabetical order.
Daily Activity Idea #9: WRAPPING FUN
Get out wrapping paper and different sized boxes. Then let your kids find objects/toys from around the house to put in the boxes and wrap them up. Then they can have a party to exchange “gifts” and have fun unwrapping!
-This activity will help kids with spatial relationships.
-You will probably have to help younger kids with wrapping, but let them do what they can. If you cut the paper to the correct size for the box they will probably be able to figure it out/do a pretty good job with it themselves.
Daily Activity Idea #10: WEATHER WATCH
This is a fun way for your kids to learn about the weather and give them a daily activity to enjoy.
Discuss the weather conditions for your area (sunny, cloudy, windy, rainy, snowy, etc). Get index cards for each of the weather conditions. Have the kids cut out pictures of these conditions and paste or draw them on the index cards. Write “Today’s Weather” at the top of a large sheet of paper/posterboard. Cut sticky back velcro pieces to attach to the back of each index card and the opposite side to the posterboard(or use tape if you don’t have velcro). When you’re done making your Weather Station, have them stick the appropriate card/s to the board. This can be a daily job for the kids that they can take turns doing. You can also make index cards with temperatures if kids would like to add that as well. School-age kids may want to make predictions about weather for the next day and watch the news to find out what it’s supposed to be. (NOTE: You could make the weather station out of flannel or do it on a chalkboard or white board if that works better for you/your family.)
Daily Activity Idea #11: PLAY GROCERY STORE
Have the kids set up a grocery store in your kitchen or dining room using real boxes and cans of food from your pantry. They can set up the store and take turns shopping. They can have a check out area, a bagger to load them in bags and then pay with play money. This could also be a good time to have them learn about money–the value of different coins and etc. They can also put everything back when they are done, which can be just as fun for the kids.
Daily Activity Idea #12: BACKYARD PARADE
Make some fun, easy musical instruments with your kids and then have them march around your yard playing them.
One of the easiest instruments to make is a shaker. Just use an Easter egg, fill it with dry rice or beans and tape it shut. Other ideas are a drum using a bucket or round container and a stick, a maraca using a plastic bottle filled with pebbles, cymbals using 2 plastic or paper plates (they will need to make the noise with their mouths) or a trumpet, flute or clarinet using a paper-towel tube. They can paint, color, and decorate their instruments as well for additional fun!
Daily Activity Idea #13: WATER PAINTING
This is a fun, easy outdoor activity! Send your kids outside with a few buckets of water and clean paintbrushes. They can have fun “painting” the steps, sidewalks, driveway, side of the house, rocks, outdoor toys and etc. The water will leave a nice sheen to objects with no mess or clean-up required! For babies, have fun brushing their feet with a bit of water and maybe brush up their legs and back down to their toes. They will enjoy the sensation and might even be a bit ticklish. Older kids could draw pictures or games of tic-tac-toe. School age kids could write a secret, evaporating message with a paintbrush and then have you read it–but you’ll have to get there fast before it’s gone!
Daily Activity Idea #14: FLASHLIGHT FUN
Grab a flashlight (or one for everyone) and dim the lights! Have your kids face a wall and then flash/shine the light on it. Make the light dance across the wall and ceiling while the kids dance along with it. Then everyone can have fun casting shadows with their hands and other items and see how it changes when they are closer or farther away. They could also take turns guessing what shadows are made. Kids could also cut out various shapes from black paper to hold in front of the flashlight and project those as well.
Daily Activity Idea #15: HULA HOOP BALL TOSS
Set a hula-hoop upright on its side by sandwiching it between 2 couch cushions on the floor (or whatever works to hold it up). You could also do this outside if that works better. Have the kids collect as many balls as they can. Then take turns trying to throw the balls through the hoop. If you have more than one child, kids can take turns tossing and standing on the opposite side of the hoop to collect the balls. Teach preschoolers how to toss a ball underhand, overhand and sideways.
Daily Activity Idea #16: JUNK MAIL FUN
Gather up all of your junk mail and let the kids play mailman. If you have some empty shoeboxes or kleenex boxes available, these can serve as the mailboxes. The kids can divide and conquer or take turns making their mail deliveries. You may want to get a bag for the mailman to carry their mail in. You could also write names or numbers on each of the mailboxes and pieces of mail so the kids have to match up the names or numbers with the right mailboxes. This could be a great way to reinforce learning their address, phone number or etc. When they are done playing mailman, all the kids can help rip it up! Little ones will love ripping and crinkling the paper. If you have some clear contact paper, have the kids stick the ripped up paper to the sticky contact paper and then put another sheet of clear contact paper over it when they are done making their “collage”. Older kids could cut out pictures from the magazines, flyers or mail to make their own collage. Toddlers may want to stuff all of their ripped up pieces into an empty shoebox for some added fun.
Daily Activity Idea #17: CRAZY SHEET
Get a large flat sheet and some stuffed animals. Spread the sheet on the floor of a room with lots of space and have your children gather around it. Here are some fun games you can play:
1) Making Waves. Have everyone kneel on the floor and hold a corner of the sheet. Then have them wave their arms to create movement.
2) Low Pops. Have everyone hold the sheet close to the floor and quickly make little, low pops with it.
3) Parachute. Have everyone start at the floor holding the sheet and then stand up, raising their arms with the sheet and take a few steps forward/inside before lowering the sheet behind them to turn the sheet into a parachute.
4) Popcorn. Put stuffed animals in the middle of the sheet while it’s on the floor. Then have everyone stand up and start shaking the sheet until all the animals pop off the sheet.
5) Astronaut. Choose one stuffed animal to launch. Have a countdown “3, 2, 1, blastoff!” and then, all together, raise the sheet up to launch the astronaut into space!
Daily Activity Idea #18: SCAVENGER HUNT
Create a scavenger hunt for the kids. This doesn’t have to be too difficult for you. It can just be things like “find something that is yellow”, find something that is “square”, “find three small toys” or etc. You can write each clue separately on index cards and pass them out to the kids or you could type up a list or write them down on a sheet of paper and give each child the sheet of paper with a clipboard, if you have one, so they can cross them off as they go. For little ones who can’t read, you may have to draw simple pictures of what they need to find. (I’m sure you can also find plenty of scavenger hunt lists online to make it even easier for you. Here’s one example I found: https://thesavvysparrow.com/neighborhood-scavenger-hunt-free-printable/) As for finding, they can either collect the items and bring them to you or take pictures of them if they have a camera or electronic device they could use. This game could be a great way to reinforce colors, shapes and numbers with toddlers and preschoolers! It could also help them start to recognize the spelling of color words. It could be done indoors, outdoors or both. If they collect the items and bring them to you, make a game out of putting everything away. Set a timer and see how quickly they can return everything to where they found it. (If you plan to do this you may want to let them know before they start the scavenger hunt so they know they need to remember where they found things and pay more attention to that.)
Daily Activity Idea #19: ANIMAL HOSPITAL
The kids can set up an animal hospital at home and have fun giving check-ups to various stuffed animals. They could create a waiting room with chairs and magazines and then use another room for the office with a bed or table covered by a soft blanket. They can gather as many hospital/doctor supplies as they have or can find like: bandaids, Q-tips, cotton balls, a brush, spoon or fake medicine, eyedropper, gauze, stethoscope, otoscope, thermometer, flashlight, etc. If they have a mask to wear and/or a jacket for the nurse/doctor, that could be fun, too. They may also want to have a notepad and pen to take notes about each animal. They will also need to collect all the animals that they want to have visit the hospital. You may want to use boxes as “pet carriers”, too. The nurse or doctor could ask things like: “What is your pet’s name?”, “Is your pet sick or just here for a check-up today?”, “What is wrong with your pet?” Then the doctor/nurse can do the check-up on each animal and give them what they need to get better. Kids can take turns being the doctor/nurse and customers.
Daily Activity Idea #20: PLAY RESTAURANT
Many kids have play kitchens, but if you trust your kids to use “real” stuff, it could be fun for them to turn your actual kitchen and dining room into their own restaurant for an afternoon. They could still use their play food, but use real plates, silverware, cups and etc. To prepare they could create a menu. Depending on ages and abilities they could draw, write or type it up. They may also want to think of name for their restaurant and create a sign. If you or they have aprons, the waiters/waitresses and kitchen workers can wear those. They will also need a pad of paper to write down the customer orders. If you have a tray or large cookie sheet that can be used as a tray, they can use that to serve the food. Depending on how many kids you have, you may also want to have a hostess who seats the guests at their table.
Daily Activity Idea #21: SHAKE IT!
Help your kids create a variety of percussion instruments that they can shake to the beat. You will need empty containers with lids like: plastic bottles, plastic tubs, coffee cans, plastic eggs, etc. For the sound makers you will need at least one of the following: dry pasta shells, rice, beans, coffee beans, pebbles, beads or etc. Have them pour the sound makers into their instrument and then secure the lids with tape. Then they can decorate their instruments by either painting or coloring directly on them or coloring paper to tape around their instrument. They could also use stickers, puffy paint, glitter glue, decorative tape or whatever works to decorate their instruments. Then it’s time to shake and make their own beats/rhythm or play along to the beat of their favorite music.
Daily Activity Idea #22: AQUAPELLA
Make music with water and see how the amount of water and container it’s in changes the sound! You can do this in your kitchen or bathroom. It shouldn’t make too much of a mess, but you will want to have some towels handy for drying. Fill a plastic cup half full with water and have your child use a straw to blow into the water to create bubbles and silly sounds. Fill 3 glasses with water to different levels: one almost full, one half full, one with only 1/4 or 1/3 full. Place the glasses on a table or counter. Have the kids gently tap the side of the glass with a metal spoon and note how the sound changes depending on how much water is in each glass. They might even be able to play a tune with the glasses. Finally, fill 3 plastic bottles (they can be the same size or different sizes) with varying levels of water. Then have them blow gently on the edge of the bottle opening and see how the sound changes depending on the water level and/or size of the bottle. For a baby that is six months or older, you could put them in their high chair and then put some water in a baking pan and set it on their tray so they can splash and play in the water. You can show them how to slap the water and make sound. (You will want to stay close by and supervise so they don’t push the pan off the tray or put their head/face in the water.)
Daily Activity Idea #23: WALK IN MY FOOTPRINTS
Trace each child’s feet on a sheet of felt (or paper, if you don’t have felt). Trace 4 feet for each child, then cut them out (or have them cut them out). Then place all the individual footprints in an open space on the floor to create a path of footprints. You can make the path a line, circle, square or etc and they can be close together or spread out. Turn the feet in different positions/angles. Now all the kids can line up and follow the path, moving from one footprint to the next, placing their feet in the proper positions. Turn on some music while they do it to make it even more fun. Everyone gets a turn making a path with the footprints and then everyone lines up and does it again.
Daily Activity Idea #24: NATURE WALK
Give each of your kids a bag and then take a walk around your yard, neighborhood, park or nature trail and collect a variety of items like flowers, rocks, leaves and pinecones. When you get home, they can make an art project with their collection. They could glue all of the items to a piece of paper and label them, they could paint the rocks or pinecones, they could create a “leaf rubbing” or a “rubbing” of various items depending on their shape and size.
Daily Activity Idea #25: HUNGRY WOLF TAG
This is a great game to play outside in the yard. For this game, each child takes a turn being the “wolf”. The wolf stands with his/her back to the other children. The rest of the kids stand in a line facing the wolf about thirty feet away. Each child will take a turn asking the wolf “What time is it, Mr/Mrs Wolf?” The wolf responds each time with whatever time he chooses. For instance, if the wolf says “one o’clock”, everyone takes one step forward. If the wolf says “twelve o’clock”, everyone takes twelve steps forward. But if the wolf says “It’s time to eat!” everyone has to run back to their starting places to be “safe” before the wolf tags them. Whoever is tagged is out of the game until it is over (or they could just be frozen in their spot–you decide). The last person left becomes the wolf for the next game/round.
Daily Activity Idea #26: BOTTLE BOWLING
Collet empty water or soda bottles (ideally all the same size) and fill them with a bit of water to give them some weight to hold them down. You will also need a round ball. Set up the bottles side-by-side in a line on a flat outdoor surface (or somewhere inside if you have the space). Each child gets 3 tries to roll the ball and knock down as many bottles as they can. Have one child stand behind the bottles to retrieve the ball and toss or roll it back to the other player. If playing outside you may want to draw lines with sidewalk chalk to show where each child should stand when rolling the ball depending on their age and size.
Daily Activity Idea #27: GO ON AN ADVENTURE
This is like the modern-day geocaching, but before that, apparently people did letterboxing. You can visit www.letterboxing.org to find lists of clues to letterboxes hidden in your area. After you decide which letterbox you want to try to find, gather your gear and your hunters and head out on your adventure, following the clues. You may want to take along a notepad to log your find. The box may have a logbook and/or stamp of its own, which you can write in and/or stamp with your “family” stamp or “trail name”. If there is a stamp with the letterbox, you can stamp your notepad with it to log the find. (Since this website is rather old you may not find anything, but it could still be a fun adventure to try and you could take something to hide in the spot in case it’s no longer there.)
Daily Activity Idea #28: STORYBOX
Make a storybox and then tell fun stories with the kids. You will need a cube-shaped tissue box and magazines with pictures. Have the kids look through the magazines to find pictures of animals, toys, people, cars or other objects that they like. Decide together which 6 pictures to cut out and paste one picture on each side of the tissue box. (For the top of the tissue box, tape an index card over the opening before gluing the picture on that side.) When the storybox is complete, everyone takes a turn “rolling” it to see what picture lands face-up. The storyteller must then make up a story and tell it to everyone based on the picture. Encourage everyone to let their imaginations run free and see what funny, interesting and unique stories everyone can tell.
Daily Activity Idea #29: COIN SORT
For older kids (who won’t put coins in their mouth), get 4 plastic cups and label them Penny, Nickel, Dime & Quarter. Then give them a pile or jar of change (everyone has one of these, don’t they?) and have them sort the coins and put them in the appropriate cups. This will be a fun activity and help them learn or reinforce the difference between coins. For additional learning and fun, to help them remember how much each coin is worth, they could count the money that is in each cup after it is sorted. Finally, if you’re feeling generous, maybe you could have them take the money to the bank or a coin machine to get money for the change, deposit it into their own bank account or put some or all of the coins into their own personal piggy bank.
Daily Activity Idea #30: WINDOW OR DOOR PAINTING
Choose a large glass window or door in your home that the kids can reach so they can paint on it. Paint will wash off the glass, but you will want to protect the walls and floor around the glass so they don’t get paint on them. Have a variety of colors, give each kid a paintbrush and bowl of paint, assign them a section of glass and let them start painting. They could paint pictures, write words or just do blocks of colors. For a clean, mosaic look you could use masking tape to create a design and have the kids paint the untaped areas and then remove the tape when the paint is dry. You could use crayola washable paint or mix 1 part powdered tempera paint and 1 part clear liquid dishwasher detergent to create window paint.
Daily Activity Idea #31: FAMILY TREE
Make a literal family tree. In your yard or neighborhood, find an approximately 12-inch branch with several small twigs. Get a small clay pot, plastic cup or vase and put modeling clay at the bottom. Stick the branch upright into the modeling clay to secure it in place. Draw a leaf pattern on paper, construction paper or cardstock and cut them out. Have each child write their name on a leaf and decorate it. They could decorate with stickers, coloring, glitter or etc. Use paper clips to attach each leaf to a twig on the branch to create your family tree.
Daily Activity Idea #32: TIME CAPSULE
If there ever was one, now seems like the perfect time for this activity! Create a time capsule with your family to capture this time in your lives. Choose a container as your capsule and have each person in the family fill it with things that are fun and unique mementos that describe them and what is happening and the community and world right now. After it is filled, seal it shut and decide on a date in the future to reopen it (at least a year but ideally even longer). Stash it away in the attic, basement or a closet until it’s time to open it. (You may want to write down where you store it so you don’t forget.) Some things you may want to include in the time capsule are: family pictures, trace hands on construction paper, cut them out and label with each child’s names, newspaper headlines, write information on notecards like each person’s current interests, latest skills, books they are reading, etc. You could also record kids’ heights and weights on notecards. You may also want to write down the most popular or favorite movies, shows and songs along with prices of gas, movies, milk, bread, stamps and more.
Daily Activity Idea #33: FAMILY SHOW & TELL
Who says show and tell has to be just for kids? Have everyone in the family pick something special to them. Have everyone take turns showing their item, telling about it (what is it, when/where did you get, etc) and why it is special to them. Kids will probably be surprised and enjoy seeing what parents share during show & tell!
Daily Activity Idea #34: SURPRISE DESIGNS
Have your kids draw, color and/or scribble on a piece of white construction paper or cardstock. Encourage them to fill the entire sheet with color using crayons. While the kids are coloring and drawing, dilute some black tempera paint with water. When the kids are finished with their sheets have them paint their entire sheet with the diluted black paint. As the paint dries, their designs will reveal themselves. Since the paint is water-based it is less dense than the crayon markings, allowing the colors to pop through.
Daily Activity Idea #35: WHAT’S IN THE BOX CHALLENGE
Get a box and fill it with different items from around the house. Then, without looking, have the kids reach in and feel the items and try to guess what they are. Everyone can take turns filling the box and guessing what the items are. Whoever gets the most correct guesses wins.
Daily Activity Idea #36: FINGER PAINT PUDDING
What could be more fun than painting with edible finger paint!? Make a small package of instant pudding in the flavor of your choice. Or, better yet, make a large batch of vanilla and divide it into several small bowls and add food coloring to create some fun color choices. Kids can help make the pudding. Let the pudding set until thick. Then let the kids fingerpaint with the pudding on clean cookie sheets, parchment paper or etc. They can also use a spatula or other cooking utensils to make interesting shapes and patterns while they paint and they can do some licking as they go!
Daily Activity Idea #37: PAINTED COOKIES
Use your favorite sugar cookie recipe and make sugar cookies with the kids. Use cookie cutters to cut them out into fun shapes and then let the kids paint the cookies with egg yolk paint before you put them in the oven to bake. The paint will bake the design right into the cookies! (To make egg yolk paint, crack an egg and separate the yolk from the white. Add 1/2 teaspoon of water to the yolk and mix. Add food coloring. Make a few batches using different colors.)
Daily Activity Idea #38: PUDDLE HURDLE
Turn the next rainy day into a fun “puddle hurdling” event. Have everyone put on their rain boots and go outside for a walk or to play in the driveway and jump over the puddles. See who can jump the farthest over a puddle and who can make the biggest splash? Why not let them have some fun, be kids and get wet, once in awhile!?
Daily Activity Idea #39: MAKE A RAIN GAUGE
Spring is a great time to make a rain gauge and can help teach kids about measuring. Use a glass jar and have the kids help you measure with a ruler and make markings with a permanent marker. They could decorate the jar, as well, if desired. Place the jar outside where it won’t tip over. Anytime it rains have the kids check the rain gauge to see how much it rained. Help your kids make a chart to keep track of the rainfall measurements.
Daily Activity Idea #40: ICE CREAM IN A BAG
Have the kids make their own individual, serving size ice cream with very little mess! You’ll need a 1-quart resealable bag, a 1-gallon resealable bag, several spoonfuls of rock salt, ice, 1 cup milk (white or chocolate), 2 tsp sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract for each child/serving. Place milk, sugar and vanilla into the small bag and zip the bag securely. Put the small bag into the larger bag. Add ice and salt. Have the kids shake their bags gently for about 5 minutes. When it’s done, the ice cream will have the consistency of soft serve. Eat & enjoy!
Daily Activity Idea #41: FAMILY GOALS
This is something people would typically do for the New Year, but given the unique and unprecedented situation that we find ourselves in with COVID-19, it seems like a good time to revisit or make some goals for ourselves and our families. Most of us have a lot more time on our hands than usual and more time than ever to reflect on life, our priorities and what we want to accomplish! Goals for younger kids will be much different than those of their older siblings or you, as parents, but it’s a great time to discuss as a family and set some goals. Each family member could set three goals for the rest of the year. One goal could reflect something they want to continue or improve on from the previous year. Another could be something new they want to try, learn or accomplish. The third could be something family-related. It could be things like reading a certain book, being more patient, learning to play an instrument, taking a class on certain topic, having a weekly family night, planning a family vacation or etc. Write them all down on a sheet of paper and put them somewhere they can be seen or easily accessed. At the end of the year, review the goals and see what you accomplished and what you still need to work on!
Daily Activity Idea #42: AIRPLANE ADVENTURE
Have the kids pretend they are going on a trip in an airplane. Let them pack a suitcase and help them make paper tickets. They can set up some chairs in a room to be the airplane. They can present their tickets to the gate agent and then board the plane, fasten their seatbelts and get ready for take-off! You or one of the older kids can pretend to be the pilot or flight attendant, letting them know when it’s time for take-off, when they can remove their seatbelts, the scenery they are seeing outside the plane and when it’s time to come in for a landing. The kids can take turns being passengers, pilots and gate agents.
Daily Activity Idea #43: WASTEBASKET BALL
Sometimes the simplest ideas are the most fun. All you need is a wastebasket and some wadded up paper (which the kids could help with, too). Let the kids practice their “trashball” by making some shots. Increase the challenge by having them stand farther and farther away. Keep score, if desired.
Daily Activity Idea #44: OBSTACLE COURSE OR CARNIVAL
Using their own outdoor toys, have the kids set up a “carnival” or obstacle course in the yard around the house. Depending on how many kids you have, they can work together to plan it and set it up. Then the kids can take turns playing the games and/or doing the obstacles. Some game ideas are hopscotch, water balloon toss, football toss, hula hooping, rollerblading, jump rope, skip it, etc. Obstacles could include things on your playset if you have one (swings, slides, etc), a trampoline, walking a beam, etc.
Daily Activity Idea #45: FLASHLIGHT TAG
Whoever is “it” gets the flashlight and counts to 10 while everyone hides. When whoever is “it” shines the flashlight on someone who is hiding, that player becomes “it” for the next round. Kids can play in the house with the lights off or after dark. For extra fun, one evening you could play outside as family after dark. Older kids or parents should probably partner up with the younger ones.
Daily Activity Idea #46: FREEZE DANCE
Crank up the music and let the kids dance! When the music stops they have to freeze until the music starts again. Whoever is caught moving after the music has stopped becomes the next one to start and stop the music.
Daily Activity Idea #47: HAVE A PARTY!
It may not be a special occasion or anyone in the family’s birthday, but why not have a party anyway!? The kids can help plan it…or better yet, maybe they can do everything for it! Make invitations, decide on a theme, decorate (possibly using leftover tablecloths, plates, napkins, balloons, etc from past parties), plan the games and the food. It could include a special meal or maybe just a special dessert. They could make brownies, a cake and/or cupcakes. Depending on the ages of the kids, they might even want to frost and decorate the cake or cupcakes. It could be a spontaneous, same-day party, or they may want to spend more time planning it in advance and have the party a few days or a week later.
Daily Activity Idea #48: GO FISHING
You and your kids can work together to make a fishing pole or poles (just use a stick, dowel rod or etc and string with a clothespin tied to the end) and then make fish and other sea creatures. Draw, color and cut out the paper fish, sea shells, seaweed, turtles and etc. When this is done, it’s time to go fishing! One person or child hides behind the fishing area which can be behind a couch, chair, large piece of cardboard or etc. with all of the fish and sea creatures. If you have one, you could throw a blue blanket, tablecloth, sheet or etc over the couch/chair/table/cardboard to be the water. Then the kids take turns fishing. They cast their line and the person on the other side clips on the fish. Then they reel it back in to see what they caught. The kids can take turns fishing and being behind the fishing area. To add a little more fun to the game, you may want to have some candy, dollar bills or etc than you can clip on the fishing line as well for a special treat/surprise for the kids.
Daily Activity Idea #49: SHADOW HUNT
After dark, go on a shadow hunt inside your house. See which lights cast shadows and what neat shapes they create. See if they can make shadows from the lights as well. Keep it fun, not scary. Talk about how shadows can be really big or small, distorted or sharp and what makes them that way.
Daily Activity Idea #50: HAVE A TEDDY BEAR PICNIC
Have each of the kids bring their favorite teddy bear or stuffed animal to a picnic for lunch or dinner. Kids can help prepare and set up the picnic as well. If weather doesn’t permit for an outdoor picnic, indoor picnics can be fun, too!
Daily Activity Idea #51: QUIET TIME ACTIVITIES
Sometimes you just need some peace and quiet and need to give the kids something to do to stay busy and occupied. Here are few different things you could try when you’re having those moments:
Animal Cracker Parade: Have your kids sit at the table or their high chair and give them some animal crackers to play with. Tell them to line up their animals and pretend to have an animal cracker parade. They can spend time playing with their animals having a parade, zoo, circus or etc. Then they can enjoy eating them when they are done playing.
Stringing Cereal: Kids can snack as they enjoy making edible bracelets or necklaces. Give them pipe cleaners, bend one end and have them string cheerios, froot loops or any O-shaped cereal onto the pipe cleaners until they are full and then bend them into bracelets and/or necklaces.
Chalkboard/Whiteboard Fun: Kids can have a lot of fun drawing, writing and erasing on a chalkboard or whiteboard. If you have small sizes of either of these, have them sit at the table and draw/erase to their content. For chalkboards you will want to have a damp sponge or cloth they can use to erase the chalk. For whiteboards they will need to be careful with the markers not to mark on anything else and have an eraser or cloth to use for erasing.
Flannel/Feltboards: If you don’t have a flannel/felt board for the kids to play with, you can make one for them. Use one large piece of felt for the background (you could glue it to a piece of foam core or cardboard to give it more shape, if desired). Then cut out different shapes/objects from other pieces and colors of felt. For younger kids you could trace and cut out all the shapes: square, rectangle, diamond, circle, heart, octagon, hexagon, pentagon, etc. If your child really likes sharks, cut out shark shapes. Or maybe you could cut out layers of a cake or cupcake so they can create and decorate their own cakes, cupcakes or cookies. Depending on their age, they may be able to help create the flannel board and its pieces with you. Once it’s finished, this is a great quiet time activity. (And a great one to take with you to church or other places where they need to be quiet, too.)
Pipe Cleaners: Just give your kids some pipe cleaners and see how many things they can create with them–a flower, dinosaur, shark, crown, etc.
Daily Activity Idea #52: MAKE AN ALPHABET BOOK
There are several ways to do this, so you can figure out what works best for you and your child’s age. You could just use a blank notebook from around the house or make a binder with hole-punched paper. Once you decide what you will use, write each letter on a separate page of the notebook. (Draw bubble letters if you can so the kids can color them in/decorate them.) Leave at least 1 or 2 blank pages after each letter. For those pages, have the kids cut out pictures of things that start with that letter and glue them on the page. They could also write down as many words as they can think of that start with that letter on the other page. They can work on this until it is complete. Once it’s done, it will be a great book for them to look through during quiet time.
Daily Activity Idea #53: ALPHABET WEEKS
This idea is intended mostly for toddlers and/or preschoolers. Now that we have a lot of time on our hands at home and most kids won’t be going back to school until September, you may want to spend this time teaching and reinforcing the alphabet. You could pick a “letter of the week” and every Monday, post that letter on the refrigerator or somewhere visible in the house. That week you can try to plan activities, food and fun that begin with that same letter. Try to plan one thing with that letter each day. For example, for the letter B, you could eat bread and/or blueberries on Monday, play with blocks on Tuesday, clean the basement on Wednesday, wear the color blue on Thursday, go for a bike ride on Friday, read books on Saturday and blow bubbles or have a bubblebath on Sunday.
Daily Activity Idea #54: COLOR SCAVENGER HUNT
This is a fun activity and also helps teach younger kids the colors and the spelling of the words. Use index cards and create a card for each basic color. Use corresponding colored markers or crayons, if possible, to spell the name of the color on one side and fill in a square or circle of that color on the opposite side. Then have the kids pick a card and find as many things from around the house and/or outside that are that color. They can do this until they’ve completed it for all the colors, or just do one color per day. The cards could also be used as flashcards to help your little ones learn the names of the colors.
Daily Activity Idea #55: CUP STACKING
This is another basic, but fun activity. If you have some plastic or disposable cups around the house, get them out and let the kids have fun stacking them. Cup stacking helps with hand-eye coordination, counting and developing rhythm. The general premise is to start with a stack of cups, quickly create a pyramid with them and then take down the pyramid, re-stacking the cups as you go without having any topple over. Kids can start out doing it slowly and then see how fast they can go. Turn on some music to make it even more fun!
Daily Activity Idea #56: FLASHLIGHT FIND
You can hide things (toys, blocks, plastic eggs, etc) around the house and then have your child “find” them with the flashlight by shining the light on them. This will work best in the evening or when it’s dark in the house, but not too dark. Another fun game to do with the flashlight is in their bedroom at night before bed. Tape some index cards with basic words on them around their room. They can look at the words before they turn the lights out. Then, when they are in bed and lights are out, you say one of the words from the cards and they have to find and shine their light on the card/word you said.
Daily Activity Idea #57: DAYS OF THE WEEK
Help your child make “days of the week” signs. Use 8.5 .x 11 blank or colored paper and then write the name of each day on separate sheets, so you will have 7 signs total. Have the kids color and decorate each sign with stickers, or etc. If possible, you may also want to laminate the sheets. Put magnet strips on the back of the sign, if you have them & could hang them on your refrigerator. Keep the signs in a certain spot and each morning have your child find the sign for the day and put it on the refrigerator (or somewhere in the house that everyone can see). This gives them a “job” to do each day and will help them learn and recognize the spelling of the days of the week.
Daily Activity Idea #58: THEME OR SPIRIT WEEK
Decide on an upcoming week to be your family’s “Spirit Week”. Work together as a family and decide what the theme should be for each day of the week and write it down/post it somewhere so everyone can start planning and then enjoy the fun! Some ideas are: crazy hair day, PJ day, hat day, 70’s day, superhero or princess day, backwards day and etc. Take pictures of everyone each day and have a family vote on who wins each day. (Or post on FB or other social media for others to vote.) You may want to go for a family walk each night to show off your silliness to the neighborhood, too. This is one way to break up the monotony of these long days at home and give the kids something to look forward to.
Daily Activity Idea #59: MORE OR LESS
Fill a grab bag with some simple items like marbles, pom-poms, coins, Q-tips and etc. Have your kids reach in and grab some of the items and lay them on the table. Have them group the items together that are the same and count how many items are in each group. Each child can take a turn grabbing a handful from the bag and grouping/counting. Talk about which groups had the most and which items have the least.
Daily Activity Idea #60: LEARNING WITH STRAWS
Get 10-12 plastic straws and cut them to different lengths. Have your child arrange them from shortest to tallest. Then have them count them. Take one away and see how many are left. Take away two and so on. This is a fun, simple activity to teach and learn about size, subtraction, addition and counting.
Daily Activity Idea #61: TOUCHY FEELY BOX
Use an empty tissue box and fill it with some items that are different textures and shapes. Some ideas are: marble, cotton ball, pom-pom, Q-tip, matchbox car, ribbon, piece of sandpaper, feather, etc. Without looking, have your child reach in the box and pick up an item (without taking it out of the box), feel it and guess what it is. Once they’ve made their guess they can pull it out and see if it they were correct. Keep going until they’ve done all of the items. They can play it again with their siblings or pick new objects to fill the box.
If you did these activities daily, starting on April 25th, when I first posted the blog, it would get you through June 24th. Most schools would’ve ended the first week in June, so this technically gets you through part of summer break as well. After that, hopefully some places will be open again! If not, you’re on your own at that point…this is all I got! LOL. 😉