For energetic and restless kids, being cooped up inside can be a damper. The same toys and books can get boring quickly. It may be tempting and easy to resort to screen time to keep your kids entertained but there are so many other activities that are much more beneficial for their development and creativity.
These activities don’t have to involve expensive materials or a complicated set-up. Using many things that you already have in a new and innovative way will keep your kids happy AND keep their minds engaged, away from the screens.
1. Create a cardboard town
Do you have an abundance of cardboard boxes laying around that need to be recycled? Encourage your kids to use them to build a cardboard town.
By using different sized boxes, the town can include a bridge, a park and train tracks. Incorporate toys that you already have on hand, such as blocks, trucks and toy animals. The structures can be decorated with markers and stickers to truly make it their own.
2. Start a family band
Do your kids love banging on their musical instrument toys and making a ruckus? Get the whole family involved and play music together. You can use real instruments that you own like a keyboard or guitar.
Don’t forget to incorporate household items such as pots and pans, wooden spoons and anything else that makes noise!
3. Make something yummy
Help your kids get comfortable in the kitchen at an early age by allowing them to help with age-appropriate tasks when making something that they love to eat:
Baking is a great group activity where the kids can help with measuring and mixing. Tacos, pizzas and stir fries can also be very kid-friendly.
Look for recipes that you and your kids will enjoy: Master Chef-To-Be: 40 Easy Recipes To Cook With Kids
4. Listen to a podcast
Podcasts are becoming a very popular platform for storytelling, comedy, news and so much more. Chances are, you already have a list of podcasts that you love to listen do.
Did you know that there are podcasts made for kids too? On Fatherly, they have some interesting podcasts for kids here.
Round up your family and spend time listening together. Have a laugh, hear a great story or learn something new.
5. Race paper airplanes
Folding and racing paper airplanes is a game that never goes out of style. See how far each child can make their paper airplane go, using their own innovative folding technique. Then, try out different designs and see which one is the most aerodynamic. The results may be surprising!
Here’re some airplanes ideas from John Collins, the Paper Airplane Guy:
6. Make handmade cards
Is there a holiday or birthday coming up? Use this time to make unique, thoughtful cards for grandparents or aunts and uncles.
Bring out the glitter, paint, stickers and other art materials to let your kids’ imaginations go wild! This will make a wonderful surprise for your relatives to receive in the mail.
7. Science experiments
What better way to teach kids about how the world works while entertaining them at the same time? Choose an age-appropriate activity for older kids and help them set it up using common household materials. From invisible ink to a marshmallow catapult, there are endless possibilities for a day of science fun!
8. Learn how to fold origamI
Origami is the art of folding paper into a shape that represents an object. It’s amazing how a few simple folds can transform a piece of paper into something completely different!
Using origami or printer paper, show your kids how to fold a few different simple origami patterns. Once your kids have mastered those, move on to more challenging designs.
9. Make indoor s’mores
S’mores doesn’t have to be an outdoor-only treat! Capture the magic of sitting around a campfire by bringing the best part indoors.
Use your fireplace or stove to roast marshmallows or pop the assembled s’mores into the oven for a ready-to-eat dessert. Tell ghost stories or sing campfire songs to make it a truly authentic experience.
10. Talent show
Everyone has a talent they can show off. Whether it’s playing a musical instrument, doing an imitation or hula hooping, no talent is too trivial to share in the family talent show.
Use props, costumes and other members of the family to perform your act. Give out prizes in various categories to all of the participants. Record a video of the show and have a family viewing later.
Do your family members like to sing in the shower, in the car and pretty much all the time? Put on a song that everyone knows or take turns belting out your favorite tunes. Don’t worry if you or your kids can’t carry a tune. The only requirement is being enthusiastic and having fun.
12. Board game
A great way for you and your kids to bond while having fun is to play a board game together. Your kids may not want to pull out Candy Land for the hundredth time, but how about trying some new board games? From families that love Disney, drawing, singing or building, there is sure to be a board game that will get everyone excited.
Here’re some interesting board games you can try with your kids.
13. Fashion show
Dressing up is so much better when kids are allowed to use Mom and Dad’s clothes.
Use this opportunity to gather up clothes, shoes and accessories that need to be de-cluttered and let your kids have free reign. Create a runway for the models to walk down and showcase their fashionable and on trend outfits.
14. Indoor obstacle course
Are your kids full of energy? Design an indoor obstacle course using items such as chairs, hula hoops, and pillows.
Use a timer to see who can complete it the fastest with no cheating! See if your kids can improve upon their time or figure out more efficient ways of completing the course.
15. Create a TV show
Urge your kids write and produce their very own TV show. It could be a comedy, a mystery, a talk show or a game show. After they come up with a script or plot, record the show for them and do some basic video editing or add special effects. Have a screening with the whole family!
16. Make ice cream
Making ice cream at home is a great way to combine a science lesson with a delicious treat! You only need a few ingredients and basic materials to make your very own ice cream: How to Make Ice Cream At Home Without An Ice Cream Making Machine
Let your kids take charge in doing all of the shaking and check to see if it’s ready after a couple of minutes. Ice cream DOES taste better when you make it yourself.
17. Plan a garage sale
You can teach your kids many valuable lessons by helping them sort their own clothes and toys for an upcoming garage sale.
Help them decide which items they have outgrown and how much they should charge for each. You can also talk to them about what they are going to buy with their profits or encourage them to donate it to a good cause.
18. Treasure hunt
Create a list of things for your kids to find around the house. Use riddles if your kids are old enough to add an additional challenging element to the hunt. Design the hunt so that each clue leads to the next one. Have your kids work together to read and figure out each clue. Don’t forget the prize at the end!
A dreary, rainy day does not have to result in a group of unhappy and bored kids, cooped up inside. There are countless things that can keep them entertained and engaged that doesn’t involve staring at a screen for hours at a time. Use these ideas to show your kids that creativity and enthusiasm can go a long way.
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