Kids are adapting to the “new normal” where they tackle their schoolwork at home, and then spend their afternoons…well, doing what exactly? While video games are great (I love a good round of Mario Kart!) and Netflix is enjoyable, repeating the same activities can get old. There are numerous activities kids can spend their time completing while staying home, but it’s easy to stay in a rut when it comes to executing these activities. So, when you have put together all of the puzzles you own and need out-of-the box entertainment ideas, check out these family-friendly activities your kids will love (and many adults will find pleasurable, too!)
- HAVE AN AWESOME ADVENTURE, SCAVENGER STYLE: An indoor scavenger hunt is a fun way to be active while indoors. I personally love a themed scavenger hunt; some ideas for themes are:
- A Seasonal Scavenger Hunt: Look for items associated with seasons; a beach ball for summer, mittens for winter, etc.
- A Holiday Scavenger Hunt: Look for items that you affiliate with certain holidays; for example, a Christmas hunt where you find ornaments, wreaths, etc.
- A Book Scavenger Hunt: Hide favorite books around the house and draw scenes from the books to use as clues.
- MAKE THE DAY MAGICAL: As a self-proclaimed Disney fanatic, I couldn’t resist throwing in a Disney-related resource. If you find yourself missing the Most Magical Place on Earth as much as I do, turn on your TV and simulate experiencing your favorite rides via YouTube. My family and I did this recently, and while it’s not the same as going to the parks, it will fill the Disney World and Disneyland-shaped voids in your hearts for a while! If you’re feeling really adventurous, create versions of your favorite Disney rides in your home, like this family did with the Haunted Mansion.
- TAKE A VIRTUAL TRAVEL TOUR: If you or your kids are bummed about that European excursion or annual family beach trip that was canceled, get your travel bug out with online travel initiatives. GetYourGuide started The World at Home Initiative, which allows viewers to immerse in a variety of virtual travel activities. From a tour of the Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel to learning to make Italian ravioli with a professional chef, their YouTube channel has exciting online experiences for family members of all ages to enjoy. Plus, they also offer online live shows; next on the lineup is the Cheese Tasting and history of Dutch cheese (check out their full schedule of experiences). If you miss the live shows, you can always check out the archives on YouTube at your convenience.
- BRING OUT THE BALLOONS: Balloons can entertain children for hours on end. Even as a 23-year-old, I still find them entertaining. Blow up the balloons around your house and play fun “sports,” like:
- Balloon Volleyball: Balloon volleyball is a family favorite at the Whitaker household.
- Penguin Waddle: Place a balloon between the knees and see how fast everyone can make it across the room without dropping the balloon. Play as teams by placing balloons between each other’s hips. For an added challenge, throw in a few obstacles around the room.
- Balloon Hockey: The balloons are the hockey puck, brooms (or a similar household item you have on hand) serve as the sticks, and a laundry basket serves as the net. Score!
- A LETTER A DAY: I have found that both kids and adults love receiving snail mail. There is something special about being able to hold and read a tangible letter that can be cherished forever. Once a day, have your kids write letters of encouragement, thank you notes, etc. to family members, friends, coaches, and teachers who have made a positive impact on their lives. Or, take this time to send cards to residents in senior communities; Love for the Elderly is a great nonprofit that can transfer your letters to senior living residents across the world!
- LEARN A SAVVY NEW SKILL: Have your kids wanted to learn how to draw the next Mona Lisa or cook a meal all by themselves? Now is the perfect time to take online courses that will broaden your kids’ knowledge and give them safe, fun interaction. I love the courses offered for kids on DIY, which offers a broad library of hands-on courses from cooking to drawing. (For adults wanting to try an online course, check out UTC’s workplace skills courses). The whole family can work on their courses together, even if the courses themselves are different.
- HIT(T) THE HOME GYM, ONE MORE TIME: Many kids are bummed right now due to cancelled sports seasons. While it may not be the same as playing on a team with their friends, there are still many great, FUN ways to work on fitness while at home. YouTube trainer Joe Wick has an awesome playlist full of HITT workouts designed for kids. The whole family can also take virtual hikes. All you do is walk in place and watch the beauty of nature unfold, like in this video of the Baker River and Chain Lake trails in Washington State. For more fitness ideas the whole family can enjoy, check out Staying Fit While Staying Home.
- CUE THE CREATIVITY: Crafts are a kid-pleaser, and they don’t have to be the typical “build a house with popsicle sticks” crafts. The Auberfe Resorts Collection website has a tutorial for making your own party pinata out of materials commonly found around the house. I also thought the activities in this article by the Sun Sentinel were non-cliché and cute (and these crafts can also be made with supplies found in the pantry or craft bin). From super spinners to coffee filter ballerinas, these creative activities will keep your family entertained for days on end.
From riding It’s a Small World to learning how to cook meals worthy of Top Chef, I hope that your family enjoys the quality time and memories doing these activities together will bring!
Another idea is organizing a stuffed animal safari in your neighborhood (while practicing social distancing, of course!) Teddy bear hunts are gaining popularity throughout the world as people hide bears in their windows for children to find.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Hi! My name is Marah Whitaker (think Laura with an M). I am the Marketing Assistant for UTC Center for Professional Education. During the workday, I spend time writing blog posts, creating content for social media, developing email campaigns, and building relationships with our customer base. During my free time, you can find me getting lost in a good book, having spontaneous dance parties, playing piano, and going to Buffalo Wild Wings on Wing Night. Professionally and personally, I aspire to live by the Mr. Feeny quote, “Dream. Believe. Try. Do Good.” I strive to use my passions to serve others and contribute positively to the world around me.
Connect with me on LinkedIn.