As much as we love to spend time with our children, finding fun ways to keep them entertained at home can be a real challenge. This is especially true given that a normal attention span is three to five minutes per year of a child’s age. Keeping youngsters occupied can also be stressful; especially if you have household chores to do, or you have a job that requires you to work remotely. But fear not, as here are some suggestions of fun indoor activities to do with kids at home.
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First things first: make a daily routine
The first step to entertaining children at home is to make a daily routine. If your child has already started school, they’ll be used to following a schedule. As a result, they’ll likely respond well to routine. Making a blueprint for the day will help you maintain some structure and allow everything to fall into place. And this can be easier than you think.
Simply grab a pen and paper and map out how the day will look. This should include timeslots for things like fun activities (read on) snack times, school assignments, and of course, playtime. The goal is keeping your kids busy and learning, while you get other things done.
Let them watch TV (no, really!)
Okay, so we know too much time in front of the box isn’t good for children – or their eyesight! But TV can actually be a great way to keep kids learning and mentally stimulated.
There are plenty of great educational TV shows on HBO, Netflix, and YouTube that encourage kids to learn about the world. Furthermore, a lot of these shows are arranged by age group; you shouldn’t have any trouble finding suitable content for your child to watch. Screen time doesn’t have to be lost time when your little one can learn about art by following the adventures of an alien artist who travels the galaxy in Creative Galaxy. Nor are they likely to become bored when seeking answers to life’s big questions about science, nature, and health from the adorable creatures in Ask the StoryBots. Incorporating dedicated screen time into your child’s daily routine allows you to monitor how much they watch and prevent them from over-indulging.
Ask your kids to Marie Kondo their toybox
Now, who said tidying up wasn’t fun? Most parents are familiar with the concept of sparking joy, which took hoarders by storm in 2019. The popular Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, stars a Japanese organizing consultant and TV show host who encourages people to declutter their homes – and lives – by clearing out items that no longer serve a purpose – or bring joy.
Well, why not allow your kids to have their own tidying up session with their toys? You could set them the challenge of sorting through them and deciding which ones they want to keep and which ones they want to donate; i.e. toys that aren’t broken beyond repair. Once they have their keep pile, you could ask them to give all the toys a home and organize them into boxes or drawers. To make it more enjoyable, you could also make up stories about the toys as you go along; or share happy memories of them with your little ones. This is great for teaching children that tidying is part of maintaining a nice, comfortable home. You’re welcome!
Do the boogie-woogie
Most parents would agree that daily exercise is incredibly important for children. And just because they can’t go outside doesn’t mean they can’t work up a sweat in the living room. There are numerous fun dance videos on YouTube for getting kids moving and having fun. The KIDZ BOP channel, for instance, has garnered more than a billion views with its videos that get kids boogying.
Furthermore, some of these are 30 or 60 minutes long; meaning you can make sure your kids work the recommended level of exercise into their daily routine. You could even memorize the dance routines with them, just for fun.
Turn trash into art
Upcycling is a great way of giving unwanted items a new lease of life; not to mention sparking your children’s imagination. Most kids love to paint and make beautiful creations from recycled materials. Set your kids the challenge of gathering supplies from around the house and inventing new things.
ParentMap has some great ideas for upcycled crafts for kids. These include making a jewelry stand from a soda bottle, coasters from woven magazines, and sumo wrestler bowling pins from water bottles! You could also get your kids to transform an empty cardboard box into a cool space rocket or doll’s house. Better yet, encourage them to do their homework by suggesting they make a handy cardboard tray table from it. You’d be surprised how useful empty cereal boxes can be when it comes to finding extra storage for books and shoes. You never know, you might even be inspired to turn some empty wine bottles into enchanting fairy light holders. Or perhaps transform some metal cans into rustic lanterns to cozy up your home.
Take a virtual museum or zoo tour
Just because you’re confined to your house, doesn’t mean that your family can’t explore some fun attractions outside. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, we can take a virtual tour of museums and other family attractions from the comfort of our living room. Kids can get up close to Van Gogh’s greatest masterpieces at the Kröller Müller Museums in Otterlo via the Google Art Project.
They can also explore the Doge’s Palace in Venice. If they like ancient mysteries, they can take a virtual tour of the Egyptian antiquities at The Louvre in Paris. For more of a challenge, The Museum Goer shares a daily museum-related task for kids and adults. But if it’s animals they love, why not Google Edinburgh Live Zoo and let them tune into the live penguin, panda, tiger, and koala cams. Both educational and fun, these are great ways of keeping little ones learning.
Explore the great indoors with the Scouts
You can always count on the Scouts to get you out of a sticky situation. The creative minds behind the organization have pulled together some fantastic indoor activity ideas to help reconnect kids with nature. Titled The Great Indoors, the collection covers everything from making a storm in a teacup with washing-up liquid and a jar to making animal collages from leaves and natural debris. The activities range from 10 minutes to one hour, so you can select them according to your child’s age and attention span.
Some of them also come with a fun instruction video, while many allow you to change the level to make it more challenging for older kids. If you complete all 15, there are literally hundreds of activities for kids to explore on the Scouts website. Again, you can arrange these by timeframe and group size to find the most suitable for your child.
Learn in color (with candy)
Who said learning isn’t fun? Educational blog Learn in Color certainly puts a playful spin on teaching kids important skills. There are more than 75 indoor activities to choose from which focus on different subjects. What child wouldn’t love learning about the phases of the moon by eating Oreos; or creating TikTok videos about what they are learning in school? In addition to fun and creative activities, there are educational puzzles and quizzes to help your child develop the essential skills.
Techy kids will no doubt enjoy building their own website or editing photos. Engineering minds, on the other hand, will love building structures with gumdrops and marshmallows – and eating them as a reward! Check out the free printable activities if you’re looking for more fun things to do with your kids at home.
Need more inspiration? Print this 28-day calendar of activities for kids.