Ideas For Entertaining Kids at Home
So you and the kids are stuck in the house, and you’re not sure what to do. Well, the variety of games, apps, and streaming options currently available means it’s easy for even the young ones to entertain themselves—and it’s alright that they do, especially if you have work or chores to juggle as well. But when you have the chance, you should spend time on activities that let you engage with your children. Try these fun things to do with kids indoors to make the most of the quarantine period.
First, exercise. It’s important to stay active, and if you can get out to the backyard or an empty street, a little Vitamin D doesn’t hurt either! But we promised indoor activities, and there’s exercises to do at home as well. For children 6 and older, aim for the USDA-recommended 60 minutes, split into bursts of activity throughout the day. Make sure to clear away furniture and tripping hazards, and choose fun kid exercises that work for your space—here are a few ideas:
- Jump Rope – Kids may not be impressed by training with push-ups or sit-ups, but this is one repetitive action they’ll enjoy. Challenge your child to see who can jump the longest without a mistake, or make it silly with one of an extensive list of rhymes.
- Balloon Volleyball – Unlike a real ball, this makeshift sports equipment isn’t substantial enough to break your windows, making it ideal for indoor use. You don’t have to set up a net or even count points, just try to keep the balloon from touching the ground (using helium is cheating!).
- Dance Party – Crank up the music and let loose! Coordinate with specific dances for certain songs, from the Hokey Pokey to the Macarena to the Cha Cha Slide, or just go freestyle.
Once you’re all tired out, you can settle in with some coloring. Yes, that’s right. While this is an activity you can trust kids to do alone, it’s also one that adults can benefit from as well. In addition to training creativity, concentration, and problem solving, the focus on colors and patterns can help reduce stress—something we could all use right now. Crayola offers free, printable coloring pages here, which includes pictures of kids’ favorite characters as well as more complex designs for your advanced abilities. Grab your color pencils and join in!
Now, we know that it can’t be fun and games all day long, but there’s one household chore that kids will love to help with: making food. Cooking with the kids helps them learn and apply a variety of skills, from math and science to communication and reading comprehension. Plus, giving picky eaters a say in their meals will help encourage them to clean their plates. Here are a few easy recipes for kids that allow them to contribute, and that they’ll love to eat:
- This fried banana wrap recipe is both delicious and versatile—it works as breakfast, a high-energy snack, and even dessert. Kids can help with assembly while you handle the stove.
- A fruit and yogurt cup recipe sounds pretty basic, but a little extra pizazz could get children interested in this healthy snack.
- Then, there’s the ever-popular pizza. Let kids build small, personal pies with whimsical veggie faces using this bagel thin pizza recipe. Or, depending on what ingredients you have in the house, try these pizzadilla and pizza baguette variations instead.
- Treats shouldn’t be a regular on the menu, but we can’t resist adding this sugar cookie recipe to the list. Not only can kids have a great time cutting out shapes from the dough, they also have the chance to frost and decorate the cookies once they’re out of the oven. It’s double the fun!
Need more ideas? Break out a game of hide and seek, freeze tag, or name that tune—you don’t need any extra materials or preparation. But the best source of fun activities for kids is your children themselves. Let them take the lead by asking what their favorite games are and giving them a try, whether it’s a tea party or playing pirates. These types of games are often unstructured, requiring a little more imagination to keep them from stalling, but don’t worry if you find it difficult to keep up. This article from a mom who re-learned how to play offers tips and strategies to make sure the fun goes on.
Staying inside with the same people, day after day, can be tough. The longer quarantine lasts, the harder it is to keep your optimism and energy levels up. Just remember the silver lining of the situation: you get to spend time with the people you love, and giving kids the attention they crave will make memories that will last for years.