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24 Fun Things to Do with Kids (From Indoor Activities to Outdoor Fun)

24 Fun Things to Do with Kids (From Indoor Activities to Outdoor Fun)

You’re at home with the kids, your spouse is at work and it’s a beautiful day outside but you have no clue what to do with the kids. You’ve already taken them to the park 4 times this week (and it’s only Wednesday), and you and the kids are both getting sick of it.

Or you’re home with the kids, your spouse is at work and it’s pouring rain outside and now the park isn’t even an option, so now what do you do?

Allow us to hopefully spark some new ideas to entertain your kids and you with this list of fun things to do:

Indoor ideas

1. Romp it up

Where I live, my city has a great kids program called Tot Romp. It’s a space at a local community centre where they set up toys, slides, games, and activities for the kids to play with. It’s a great way to get out of the house, play with new toys and meet new families. It costs a couple bucks each time you go so it’s a relatively low cost option.

Check your local community guide for times and locations.

2. Go for a stroll

While it’s super easy to go for a walk to the park, what about when it rains?

One of my favorite places to go in that case is the mall. It’s a great way to burn off some energy and do a little window shopping. Chances are it won’t be super busy if you go midday so you will probably feel more comfortable letting the kids just wander around and enjoy their time there as well.

As an added bonus, a lot of malls now have a children’s play space for your smaller kids to climb around on and interact with other children around their age.

3. MasterChef your house

Did you know there is a Junior version for MasterChef? That’s right–many kids love to cook! So, why not involve yours in creating a meal?

Lunches and dinners can seem like an endless task, and sometimes a challenging one, with the kids stuck inside. What better way to combat those problems than having your kids help? Sure it might get a little messy, but it’s bound to create some fun memories. Afterwards, have the kids pitch in for clean up!

Thinking about what to make with your kids? Check out 40 Easy Recipes To Cook With Kids

4. Bake away

Baking is a great way to get your kids involved, as they can help create any snacks they eat or any other baking that you need to do.

Added bonus – this will help with the kids refining their math skills as they help you measure out ingredients.

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    5. Get lost at the blue and yellow

    IKEA is one of those places that can easily take up a whole day depending on how you plan your trip (and how many times you get lost).

    If your kids are old enough, they can be dropped off in the kids play area and you can shop (or have a coffee and snack for an hour or so). And even if they aren’t old enough, they can still run around the showroom with you, and then you can all grab a cheap bite to eat at the end of the day.

    6. Get creative!

    Put down an old table cloth (or one from the dollar store) and put your little one in the highchair, give them some child friendly paints and let them go to town on some art creation! Feel free to utilize other child-friendly media, such as non-toxic clay, confetti, and gluesticks.

    Whether you use paper, fabric, cardboard, or another material, your kids are bound to have a good time.

    7. Future Olympian in training

    Many communities are great at providing things to do for families, yet we often forget to use them as a resource.

    Gymnastics is one of the best ways for kids to burn off A LOT of energy. It’s safe and fun for them to run and run for an hour or two. It’s often cheap – or free – so it’s worth seeing what your community has to offer.

    8. Switch it up

    With my kids, I’ve noticed that they often are so bored of seeing the same toys, same spaces and same games, so why not switch it up?

    Take your kids to a friend’s place. This will give the kids new surroundings, new toys and new games to play with that will entertain them for a while.

    You can even swap with friends so that one person isn’t always hosting. It gets your child out of the house and provides great social interaction, and hopefully a new friendship or two.

    9. To grandmother’s house we go

    Besides you, chances are that nobody loves your kids as much as their grandparents. We’ve heard it said that being a grandparent is all the fun of being a parent with none of the responsibility.

    My kids love their grandparents and they always have a blast with them so why not let them spend more time with them?

    10. Go on a date

    If you have multiple kids, it can be really hard to get one on one time with them.

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    A great idea is to go on a date with one kid each week. One week mom takes a kid out, next week dad takes a kid out until each parents has had a date with each kid, then start all over again.

    This is a great way to slow things down or speed them up while getting to focus all your attention on just one kid.

    Here’s a sweet video about a dad taking his daughter on the first date:

    11. Kids cafe

    This one is similar to the one above but I know in my area, there is a couple of cafes that have a designated play space for kids and great snacks for parents. They often run different events such as music classes which can be a great day out.

    12. Train your little Michael Phelps

    This one can be indoor or out, but the pool is a great option to burn off that excess energy and it’s super fun for everyone. Just don’t forget sunscreen if you’re outdoors.

    And afterwards, your kids will drop like a rock for a fantastic nap!

    13. Treat yo self

    This one is for the girls. The spa is always a good time, whether it’s just getting your nails done or going for a full spa day with massage and everything else.

    Either plan an at home spa day (which can also be a fun planning activity!) or treat your kiddo and allow the pros to do it. My family tends to prefer the home option: we make homemade facial scrubs, pick up some masks from the dollar store, paint each other’s nails, and eat yummy treats!

      Outdoor ideas

      14. Take me out to the ball game

      Chances are it’s getting close to baseball season where you live. If you’re lucky, like I am in Vancouver, you may even have a professional or semi-professional team close by.

      Take the family out to a ball game for the night. If you’re on a budget, go to the local park one evening and watch kids play some Little League.

      15. Catch some rays

      Take the kids to the beach. With summer fast approaching, take advantage of optimum beach weather! It doesn’t even need to be summer for this, cloudy days mean it’s going to be less busy and give your kid more space to run and explore! Pack a picnic lunch and you’re basically set.

      There are plenty of great beach ideas to consider before heading out to the beach with your kids.

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        16. Take a ride

        One thing I love to do is go for local drives and find new places to explore. Doing this with the kids can be awesome, as it’s relaxing and full of wonderful scenery!

        Ask them what they see out the window, just make sure your destination has some space to let your kids out of the car so that they can get their energy out!

        17. Search out a new park

        Do you have errands to run in a different part of the city? Google the top playgrounds in the area and make that a pit stop after running your errands.

        Who knows, it might just become a new favorite family destination!

        18. Farmers’ markets

        You don’t need to be a foodie to attend a farmer’s market. Often times there are farmers markets or festivals that are free to attend and will have music and different performances. It’s a great way to check out different interests and businesses in your community!

        And for your reference, take a look at America’s best farmers’ markets here.

        19. Chalk it up

        Chalk is great for a few reasons, it’s super cheap, fun for the kids and harmless on clothing.

        You can pick it up from the dollar store (or make it yourself if you’re really ambitious, another thing to do with the kids) and head out your front door for some cheap fun!

        You can have drawing contests, draw roads or play hop scotch. Don’t forget to bring out the kids toys to play on after or simply sit and play endless games of X’s & O’s. Do a web search to utilize the plethora of ways that you can play with chalk!

        20. Go for a scavenger hunt

        Scavenger hunts are great for kids. It gives them a task that they have to complete. If your kids are as determined as mine are, they will love it.

        There are lots of free lists available online or simply make your own before you leave. Head out for a walk and have your kids either gather the items on a list, take a picture or point them out to you. It puts a new spin on your ordinary walks.

        21. Zoo-m off

        If you have a zoo in your area, go spend the day there. If you don’t have a big zoo, maybe there’s a petting zoo close by. Pack a lunch for the day and head out!

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        Kids love animals and being able to walk around so much, this is a win-win situation.

        22. Go chasing airplanes

        One of the best dates I ever took my wife on was a trip to the airport late at night. We took a pickup truck, lots of blankets and pillow and laid in the bed watching airplanes land.

        Chances are good that there is an airport near you, go spend an afternoon there. The kids can run around while you wait for any planes and then help count them, what colour are they, guess where they came from etc.

        Tip – make sure you have ear protection for children that are really young!

        23. Head to the great outdoors

        Whether it’s in the backyard or way out in the deep woods, camping was always a favorite memory of mine.

        Getting out the tent and sleeping bags and roasting marshmallows is a guaranteed good time for parents and kids!

        Be sure to follow proper guidelines and precautions so that your camping trip is safe and fun for everyone.

        24. Fight the kids

        Have a water fight! Kids love competition, especially if it’s against their parents. Find your inner child, get out your water gun and set teams, maybe even set up barriers and have a good old fashioned water fight.

          We hope this list has given you a few new ideas to entertain both you and the kids.

          This week choose one item from the list that you haven’t done before and go have some fun with your little ones!. No more using weather as an excuse either because we gave you indoor and outdoor ideas.

          After you’ve done it, come back here and choose another one to try out the next week!

          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

          More by this author

          Kyle Enns

          Kyle is a family lifestyle & family travel blogger who runs Adventure Never Enns with his wife Samantha.

          24 Fun Things to Do with Kids (From Indoor Activities to Outdoor Fun)

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          Published on January 24, 2020

          5 Ways to Improve Your Parenting Skills (Psychology-Backed)

          5 Ways to Improve Your Parenting Skills (Psychology-Backed)

          There is no such thing as a perfect parent. Parenting is hard. It takes a great deal of effort to be even a decent parent. My husband and I are raising our three children ages 6, 6, and 7.

          Yes, I have my hands full. Twin six-year-old boys and a seven-year-old girl keep me on my parenting toes, so to speak. It is not easy, but I do my best to be a good parent. Having a PhD in psychology is helpful, but I still devour plenty of parenting books and research articles to continually try to do better. I am still a work in progress just like all parents.

            It would be great if we knew exactly what to do and how to do it with our kids. But not all kids are the same and they are not born with a manual that provides us with instructions on how to raise them right. However, we do have research on parenting and psychology that can help us out and point us in the right direction.

            Below I have five tips on how to improve your parenting skills starting today! These tips are backed by research. The first step toward being a great parent is knowing how. It is difficult to be a good parent without knowing first and foremost the how and why.

            1. Practice Loving without Conditions

            Loving unconditionally seems like a given that we all assume we are doing as a parent. However, we may have behaviors or words spoken that undermine our ability for our children to feel unconditionally loved.

            For example, asking our child if he wants another mom when he is acting out is not practicing unconditional love. The message that is being sent to the child is that if they act out or misbehave, they are at risk of losing you as a mother, since you ask “do you want another mom” or “do you want to live somewhere else?”

            If you have ever made these statements, it doesn’t mean you are a terrible parent. However, if we want our child to feel loved unconditionally, then we need to stop saying things that make the child feel like the relationship could ever be severed because of their behavior.

            Another way to look at these threats is comparing them to threatening divorce. If you have ever been married, or lived in a home with married parents, then you know that when one person threatens divorce, it cuts to the core.

            Threatening divorce damages the relationship, because trust is lost. The other person begins to feel that that their relationship may not be forever, and that the relationship can be ended because their spouse is threatening divorce. Even if the person threatening doesn’t really mean what they are saying and they truly love their spouse, the words are damaging none the less.

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            The same principles go for parent and child relationships. If a child has been threatened with loss of their current home life, the parent leaving them, or being placed in foster care, then that child does not feel loved unconditionally. They will believe that love from their parent is contingent on their behavior. It is conditional love which means that they are only loved under certain conditions.

            My son Charlie has recently gotten into the habit of saying “I love you Mom” every time that he gets in trouble. He kicked the dog the other day. Not hard, but nevertheless he kicked our family dog. I was fuming. I yelled at him and he was sent to his room for a long time out (I know the yelling was not a good thing to do). I couldn’t even think of a consequence in the heat of the moment so I said “go to your room, I don’t want to see you right now, I will think about your consequence later.”

            He cried, and as he was running up the stairs and he was saying “I love you Mommy, I love you Mommy, I love you Mommy.” Why was he saying that? Because in his six-year-old mind, he is worried that I will stop loving him if he has bad behavior.

            Kids don’t know that we love them unconditionally. They are learning though and we must teach them that we do. My response in this situation and always is to say “I love you too.” I then usually follow it up with “I don’t like your behavior right now, but I will always love you.”

            Kids need to be told that they are loved regardless of their behavior. It needs to be ingrained that they are loved even if they act out, break the rules, or misbehave.

            An article by Elite Daily examined several research studies on unconditional love.[1] The findings from these studies showed that children become more well-adjusted, emotionally healthy, and physically healthy adults when they experience unconditional love in childhood. When children are exposed to conditional love in their parent-child relationship, the research showed that, children have higher levels of anxiety which in turn negatively affects their long-range health, such as heart health.

            Loving unconditionally means loving without conditions. Unconditional love is loving someone just the way that they are, flaws and all. Tell your children that you love them, even when they break the rules, misbehave, or they tell you that they hate you (most kids say this to their parents at some point in time).

            You must always respond with “I love you regardless of your behavior.” It doesn’t mean that you are accepting or allowing the bad behavior. There should always be reasonable consequences to match the behavior. However, they shouldn’t ever be made to feel that the love of their parent can be revoked because of bad behaviors.

            2. Develop a Bond That Will Last a Lifetime by Creating Memories

            You need to spend time with your kids in order to create a bond. Quality time matters, but so does quantity time.

            Kids want to be with their parents. Spend time together as a family. For example, make it a point to have dinner at the kitchen or dining room table at least a few nights a week. Make a rule that no technology is allowed at the table during that time, so that you can talk and spend time together.

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            Before you know it, that child will be grown and out of your home. Take the time to spend meal times together, talking and truly getting to know your child before they leave your home as an adult.

            Barking Up the Wrong Tree looked at research on how to create happy memories that last a lifetime. Some of the things discovered in the research included:[2]

            • Memories are made when our senses and emotions are elevated.
            • If we are pulling out the camera phone, it is likely an elevated experience that you want to remember.
            • Celebrating milestones and praiseworthy moments (graduations, winning seasons, etc.) helps to create positive lasting memories.
            • Struggling together creates a bond. If you have worked through conflict in your relationship and made it better in the process then you have created a bond. Fraternities haze, soldier fight together, and families overcome struggles together. These all make for lasting bonds. When you struggle together as a family, celebrate the success at the end of your victory, once you have overcome the challenge together.

            Take the time to make memories with your children. They are only little once. Go on those vacations, hike to the top of a mountain together, sail across an ocean, go camping, or teach them to ice-skate.

            Do anything and everything that will help create memories, bonds, and experiences that will last a lifetime in their memory. Those memories are what will carry them into old age with happiness in their heart.

            3. Stop the Yelling

            Yelling at our kids is not good parenting. Yet it is still happening on regular basis in most homes. I admit, I am still continually working on this one. I think this quote summarizes the situation.

              However, I know I need to continually work to not yell or raise my voice, as I would prefer a household with zero voices ever raised.

              Yelling causes our children to become anxious. It also affects them emotionally and mentally in a negative manner. If you have ever been yelled at by a boss or superior, you probably remember it and it is not a fond memory. It made you feel bad. It is hard enough to be reprimanded in a calm voice.

              When someone, whether adult or child, is yelled at while being reprimanded it causes anxiety, stress, and negative emotions to abound. When the yelling involves name calling or insults it becomes emotional abuse.

              Heathline Parenthood examined research on the topic of yelling and found that parents who yell at their kids end up with children who are more aggressive verbally and physically.[3] Children learn from their parents’ example. If yelling is a regular occurrence in your household, then your child is learning that when dealing with behavior or situations that they don’t like, it is appropriate to yell. None of us want to teach that to our children, so we must take action to stop the yelling.

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              Healthline provides some tips on how to stop yelling:

              • Know what triggers the yelling. What are the behaviors occurring or situations where you find yourself yelling at your children?
              • When you feel that you are going to yell, give yourself a time out or count to ten.
              • Practice responding in a calm, even tone. Practice makes the action a habit.
              • If you do yell, then admit the mistake and apologize to your child. They will then learn that it is not an acceptable behavior and that they too should apologize if they make a mistake and end up yelling. (Yes, I apologized to Charlie for yelling and he had to apologize to our dog Max.)

              My article about yelling less at your kids less is also helpful: The Only Effective Way to Talk With Children When They Are Acting Out. This article outlines the steps to use the “one-ask” parenting approach. This approach is used to help parents follow up with consequences more quickly so that situations don’t escalate to worse behavior by the children and yelling from the parents. Some tips from this article on talking to your children without yelling include the following.

              • Get on their level, talking face to face in a calm voice.
              • Don’t make repeated threats about a consequence that is coming to them and wait for the situation to become more heated.
              • Follow through with the consequence (i.e. loss of playtime or time-out) immediately after they violate your warning. Don’t wait for them to repeat the bad behavior several more times. One warning is all that is needed. Then, if they break the rule or don’t obey, the consequence should be immediately implemented.

              If you find that your yelling is so entrenched in your daily behaviors that you have a hard time kicking the habit and you need more support, then buy, or find at your local library, the book Triggers by Amber Lia and Wendy Speake. Their tips were even featured on the Focus on the Family national radio program and were rated as a number one show for 2019. Their gentle parenting methods simply work.

              A quote from the book:

              “Peacemaking moms produce peacemaking kids.”

              Wendy and Amber also have a Facebook group that is free to join. It is Gentle Parenting with Amber and Wendy. In this group, you will find thousands of other parents looking for support to yell less in their homes. Check out the group if you want more connected support to stop yelling at your kids. I am a member of this group too. Nobody is perfect, but we can do better as parents by yelling less starting today.

              4. Provide Experiences Over Toys

              Toys are fun. But our kids don’t need an excess of overcomplicated, electronic, and expensive toys in order to be happy or develop in a healthy manner. Focusing on experiences over toys is a way to improve as a parent now.

              The next holiday or birthday that comes up, think about gifting your child an experience, for example, a year membership to the children’s museum or zoo. Another experience is a trip to someplace interesting such as a National Park. These experiences help to create memories. They also help to make your child a more well rounded individual as they are out in the world experiencing activities rather than sitting in their room playing the newest video game.

              Motherly posted a recent article that delved into the science that experiences are better for our kids than toys. Here is a quote from that article that is worth noting.[4]

              And if we need one more reason to cool it on the toy giving, researchers have discovered that gratitude and generosity increase when experiences are given instead of objects. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University, conducted many studies over many decades and found that happiness is derived from experiences, not things. Bottom line: The happiness derived from a childhood experience is far more significant than the fleeting excitement of toys under the Christmas tree. Giving experiences that involve spending time together instead of gifting toys brings greater and longer-lasting joy. Don’t stress about the number of toys, mama. Focus on making memories.

              Creating family experiences and making memories go hand-in-hand. Our money and resources get more bang for their buck when they are used on experiences for the family instead of things. The research from the Motherly article shows that families are happier overall when they have more experiences together and less toys.

              5. Let Them Play and Be a Child

              Play and childhood development go hand-in-hand. However, the amount of playtime our children are getting has been diminishing in recent decades.

              We are so intent on our children learning, that we take away from their playtime. Play is learning. We need to get our children back to basic playtime so they can develop and learn in a natural way.

              Increase their playtime and limit the electronics. Research by Very Well Family found that too much technology is damaging to our children.[5] When children get too much time on electronic devices, their research found that children have sleep issues, obesity, behavior problems, academic problems, and emotional issues. Limit your children’s time on technology.

              According to We Can, we need to aim for less than two of screen time per day for our school aged children. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends far less time for children under the age of five. We Can offers a free screen time chart so you can track your child’s time on digital devices.

              The goal is to get children playing and off the technology. Playing will help them developmentally. In my book Let Them Play, I explain the importance of play and provide 100 child developmental play activities. Some great play activities that promote development and learning that are listed in the book including Play Doh, magnet blocks, Legos, puppet shows, and hopscotch.

              Parents can teach their children different play activities while they actively play with their children. Fifteen or twenty minutes of playtime together can help to create bonding time between parent and child. Then the parent can allow their children to continue playing the activity on their own. This play time is crucial to the child’s healthy social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development.

              They are only little once. Let them be a child when they are little. Two-year-old children aren’t meant to sit at desks for hours completing school work. They were made to play, explore, and be active physically. This is how they learn and develop best.

              Final Thoughts

              These are not the only ways to improve as a parent. However, these are five ways that you can begin improving as a parent starting today.

              Nobody is a perfect parent, which means we all have room for improvement. Look at your own parenting methods objectively and decide where you can improve. Then do something about it.

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              Featured photo credit: Jonathan Daniels via unsplash.com

              Reference

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