Between COVID quarantine and the holiday break, you are probably considering tossing your children the iPad, closing your bedroom door, and letting them duke it out for “movie picking rights” while you take a 3-year nap. Constantly coming up with fun things to do with kids can be exhausting. We’ve been there!
While the iPad certainly has its time and place (namely, every morning at 9 o’clock sharp), there are other ways to keep your children mentally occupied. Fortunately, a lot of those ways are both fun and educational. Bonus? They take hardly any time to plan, meaning you can still schedule that nap.
10 Fun At-Home Activities to Do with Your Kids
If you want to spend quality time with your kiddos, the following 10 activities make wonderful options. However, you can also turn your kids loose with most of them and rest in the fact that their creativity is being challenged. If the iPad has been watched to death, definitely consider one of these fun at-home activities for your children.
1. Host a fort-making competition.
The blanket fort is a classic activity that never goes out of style. Not only does it inspire the imagination of both children and adults, but it also makes for a cozy reading nook…or iPad nook. You and your kids can build a fort together, or spice things up by making it into a competition. If you have enough sheets, your kids can build a fort city.
2. Build a paper city on the floor.
Deep in your distant memories, the famous nursery “road rug” probably resides. You know, the brightly-colored rug designed with roads, grass, lakes, and houses for you to run your Hot Wheels across. While you might not own a road rug, teach your kids to create their own using large sheets of paper and markers. Show them how to draw a map from the top view so that they can drive toy cars over it.
3. Plan a simple scavenger hunt.
A scavenger hunt does take a little prep work, but you don’t have to go crazy. Depending on the ages of your children, simply write 10-15 clues on small pieces of paper, then hide them all over the house. Each clue should offer a hint as to the location of the next piece of paper. End with a small prize, such as candy or balloons.
4. Look up basic science experiments.
One of parenthood’s best-kept secrets is how many science experiments reside in your kitchen alone. Baking soda and vinegar, corn starch and water, etc. never go out of style. Raid your own pantry and let your kids enjoy a messy (but fun!) at-home science experiment.
5. Build your own home theater.
Does it actually count as screen time if there isn’t a real screen? You can certainly build your own theater inside with a TV and a blanket fort, but backyard theaters are even more fun. Simply hang up a sheet between two trees, then use a projector to play a movie on it. Add comfy seating and fun snacks, and you have the perfect activity for your kids (or for a date night!)
6. Use regular clothes to have a costume party.
Homemade costume parties take the cake for creative inspiration. Instead of donning old Halloween costumes, a fun thing to do with kids is to send them to their rooms to create their own costumes out of the clothes in their closets. Bonus: if your kids are close to the same size, let them make costumes out of each other’s closets. Vote winners for the “most creative,” “funniest,” “most colorful,” etc.
7. Learn everything you can about your backyard.
For a little bit of extra education, treat your backyard like a nature study. Help your kids research the flowers, the trees, the climate, the birds, the bugs, etc. Most kids can spend hours pretending their yard is “the wilderness,” and learning about nature makes it even more fun.
8. Make your own board games.
Get crafty by letting each kid make their own game board, game pieces, game rules, etc. Cardboard, markers, paper, pipe cleaners, beads, popsicle sticks, and more make great materials for homemade board games. Host a game night where everyone tries everyone else’s game.
9. Cook a meal together (or make fun snacks).
This activity definitely requires some supervision, but there’s nothing like cooking a meal with your kids to inspire laughter (and remind you why you bought the iPad). Try looking up no-heat, creative snacks that the kids can assemble on their own.
10. Write and illustrate your own storybooks.
If board games aren’t your thing, teach your kids how to create their own storybooks by stapling paper together. Help them develop a plotline and then draw pictures to help illustrate the story.
Connecting with your kids is the key!
Whatever you decide to do with your kids, focus on enjoying the time together. Learn, be creative, and have fun. Oh, and take a nap when necessary!