Trying to keep your children entertained and occupied feels like a full-time job! If you add in needing to work, get chores done, or any other important task, things can start feeling pretty desperate!
During these challenging times, we are all looking for activities for our kids that will keep them busy and not require a lot of supplies, money, or prep-work.
Here is a Weeks Worth of Really Easy and Fun Ideas to Keep Kids Busy all Afternoon
Make Binoculars out of Toilet Paper Rolls
To make the binoculars, have kids decorate the individual (empty) rolls with crayons or markers.
Next, tape some saran wrap around one end of each roll.
Then, using glue or tape secure the two rolls together. If you have some string or yarn laying around, punch a hole in each tube and tie the binoculars with a neck loop so that your kids can wear them around the house.
Games to Play with Your Binoculars:
- Look out the windows and find birds, flowers, bugs – whatever makes sense for your window and your child’s interest
- Turn the couch into your “pirate ship” and play pirates
- Set up your child’s stuffed animals around the house and go on a safari
Set up a Forensics Lab
This is a fun science activity that has provided endless hours of fun for my boys. To do this, you will need:
- Blank Sheets of White Paper
- Clear tape like Scotch Tape or Packaging Tape
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (or some old eye shadow would work.)
- A paintbrush (or makeup brush)
Start by having your child scribble a section of the paper with a pencil. Roll their pointer finger around in the pencil until it is pretty coated. Then, carefully place your child’s finger on a piece of clear tape to pick up the fingerprint. Place the tape down on a separate sheet of paper and mark the name and finger (ie Daniel – right pointer finger).
Continue this process with all participating children. You can do all of their fingers or just one or two fingers from each child.
Have your kids study the fingerprints and notice the differences.
Then, get out a clear glass (or you could use a window). Have each child place their hand on the glass making sure to grip with their fingers. Then, using your paintbrush, gently dust some cocoa powder or eye shadow over the fingerprints. Blow off the extra powder and lift the fingerprint with clear tape.
On a fresh sheet of paper, place the fingerprints from the glass. Cut out each fingerprint from the second round and see if you can match it up with the original prints to guess whose prints are whose.
If you have older kids, you can then have them hide fingerprints around and play a fun game of gem thief or cops and robbers or something similar. Have them set up a “crime scene” leaving behind a fingerprint or two. The detective has to bring the fingerprint to match up to the original prints to name the “thief”.
Make Your Own Board Games
A few years ago our local Science Museum had a great exhibit where kids could design their own board games. They had a local professor who taught game design there helping kids out. My boys had a blast being creative and coming up with fun new games.
The great thing about this idea is that you can use whatever supplies you have on hand. Recyclables, paper shopping bags, construction paper, an old deck of cards, etc.
Encourage your kids to make up a game using the materials provided. If they are old enough, have them write down the rules for the game. (You may want to get out some game rules to show them ideas of what to include.)
Allow your kids to play each other’s games. Then, give them time to revise anything that needs revising. (Something always comes up that they forgot or didn’t go as planned.) Then, play a second time with the new rules.
Build an Obstacle Course
This is a fun activity that can be altered to suit your space and available materials. We have created obstacle courses using string, painters tape, or even just pillows and couch cushions.
My boys really enjoy creating obstacle courses for each other. (I think this works really well for older kids.) If you have younger kids, set up a course for them.
Extra Ideas that make obstacle courses even more fun:
- Play some Olympics style music while your kids go through the course
- Create a finish line with streamer paper for them to run through
- Create the course to be done in the dark with flashlights
Design an Imaginary Clubhouse (or treehouse)
Start by having your kids imagine what they would like in their own clubhouse. Have them draw out plans for the clubhouse making sure to label everything. (Writing practice!)
Next, have your kids build a model of the clubhouse using supplies you have on hand. You could use things like:
- Toothpicks and mini marshmallows
- Recyclables such as cardboard, bottles, shoe boxes, milk cartons, paper towel tubes, etc.
- Couch Cushions
This is a fun activity to do in the evenings when you have a dark room. Or, have your kids do it in the bathroom (if your bathroom has enough space and no windows.)
Set a sheet up as your screen. Make sure to leave room behind the sheet. Bring a lamp out to place behind the screen and turn the rest of the lights out.
Then, let your kids take turns acting out things behind the sheet as a shadow. (It works well to pre-write some easy ideas: dog, cat, swimming, dancing,)
Alternately, if you don’t want to set up a sheet, a piece of computer paper and a flashlight can be fun to make hand shadows with.
Newscaster for a Day
Have your kids write out scripts to report happenings around the house. They could each choose a headline, a feature story, a weather report, and a sports report. Then, using a phone or IPad have them take turns videoing each other’s news reports.
If you have older kids, let them edit the video clips together into a full new report.
Alternately, if you have little kids and want to just have them do live reporting without the video element, that can be just as fun!
More Fun and Helpful Parenting Resources
I have lots of other fun ideas to keep your kids busy while stuck at home and feeling bored. Check out this article on 52 indoor activities for kids.
You can also sign up below to gain free access to the Parenting Resource Library where I have lots of great worksheets and printables for you and your kids! Enter your details below for immediate access!