The Best Stay at Home Kid Activities
I’m definitely that lazy mom.
All those Pinterest posts with cute intricate kid projects…
I don’t do them.
It’s not to say I haven’t tried them. But when I spend twenty minutes setting something up, watch my kids play for two minutes, and then clean up for another twenty. My blood starts to boil.
As a result, I try to keep it simple around here. And now that we’re all facing a lot of stay at home time we NEED awesome yet easy activities for kids at home.
This post contains affiliate links, at no cost to you. See my disclaimer for more.
So, today I’ve got:
50 EASY screen-free activities + 25 technology resources = 75 mom-approved & fun activities for kids.
*I will continue to update these ideas, so if you know of something awesome, please share in the comments! For now, check out the list below!
50 Fun Screen-Free Activity Ideas
1. Make Creative Art
Put down a huge piece of paper or let kids cut apart and color an Amazon box. Finding a different material and size is a great way to help kids explore their creative sides.
2. Play Under an Indoor Fort
Bring out the blankets, pillows, and sleeping bags for this great rainy day activity.
3. Read to Others
Spice up regular reading time! Have kids read books to the baby, the dog, or their favorite stuffed animals. Often, to make reading fun, we just need to mix it up.
4. Make a Story and Illustrate it
We recently got blank books from a friend and I was shocked at how excited the kids were to invent new stories. We also plan to do a research project with them.
5. Create a Crepe Paper Maze
Break out those birthday decorations and use them to make a maze in the hallway. Kids will have a blast pretending to be the next James Bond.
6. Assign a Toy Washing Station
Place their favorite toys in the bathtub. Then, give them a few washcloths and a bucket of soap. As long as they’re in the bathtub, clean up should be a cinch!
7. Nature Scavenger Hunt
Print an easy sheet like this one, or just bring baggies to collect special items.
8. Decorate the Outside
Recently, we wrote inspirational chalk messages, drew pictures, and even painted rocks to spread positivity around the neighborhood. Not only did we get a lot of smiles, but it kept the kids busy for several days.
9. Write to Others
Get old fashioned with the kids and write cards and letters to send to others. With everything going on in the world today, ANYONE would be happy to hear from you.
10. Have a Dance Party
Dig out those glow sticks, put on some fun music, and dance around your kitchen in the dark.
11. Add to the Bath
Make bathtime a little special by dumping your legos in the bathtub and letting them build.
12. Make Playdoh
Making your own playdoh is easy and takes little work, Plus, I think it lasts longer than the store stuff. Check out this recipe.
Painting can get messy, but you can paint objects in a tub or bucket if kids are young. Or bypass the mess completely with these Paint by Stickers.
14. Make Bead Jewelry
A simple favorite of my daughter and even my son will do this for a long time.
15. Make an Obstacle Course
All this takes is objects already around the house – and a little imagination.
16. Collect Bugs
Kids can spend hours checking out the best bug spots outside.
17. Wash the Car
Get dad involved, or just give the kids a bucket of soapy water and let them go to town.
18. Plant a Garden
My friend is outlining small plots for her kids to have their own fairy gardens. This is hours of outside fun, with NO clean up. So, take advantage!
19. Build a Birdhouse
Build any kind of wooden structure for the local wildlife. Don’t forget the homemade bird feeder!
20. Rearrange their Bedrooms
Sometimes, you just need a new view. Let them help decide where furniture goes and shift things around for a different experience.
21. Blow Bubbles
A no-fuss outside activity!
22. Fly Paper Airplanes
Do your own or check out this book for easy and colorful planes!
23. Play Outside Games
Bring back the old school fun with Freeze Tag, Red Light Green Light, and Simon Says.
24. Line Up Dominoes
A simple set of dominoes could keep them going for hours. This is one of my favorite at-home activities for kids, as imaginations run wild.
25. Create Out of Recyclables
Build their critical thinking and have them make musical instruments, a house for ants, etc.
26. Practice Letters & Words
While this is firmly under the messier category, the kids always LOVE it. Find what you have….pudding, shaving cream, salt, and let them practice their literacy and art.
27. Play Cards or Board Games
28. Fly a Kite
Get some fresh air!
29. Have a Picnic
Picnics can be anywhere you want them to be – the living room, deck, driveway, and closet are all fantastic options.
30. Play Chess or Checkers
Get them thinking strategically!
31. Play Hangman or Tic Tac Toe
The kids have been playing tic tac toe with sidewalk chalk or using dry erase boards.
32. Do Puzzles
We buy puzzle books like this one.
33. Eat With Blind Taste Tests
If your kids are adventurous, blindfold them and see if they can identify different foods and flavors. It’s a great way to make lunch more exciting!
34. Build a Toothpick Construction
Use grapes or marshmallows to create unique structures.
35. Cook or Bake
Homemade food is special, so make a treat or pizza together. To add an educational element, make sure the kids are included when measuring.
36. Write Secret Messages
Write a secret message with a white crayon, and have kids paint to find out what it says. You can use pictures with younger kids!
37. Play 20 Questions
Kids ask questions with yes or no answers until they guess what it is!
38. Play I Spy
Who doesn’t love this easy game?! Sometimes, it’s the easy activities for kids at home that save the day.
39. Have a Staring Contest
I always win.
40. Play the Quiet Game
I always win this too. I’m sure you’re shocked.
41. Make a City
Help them draw streets, buildings, and whatever else using sidewalk chalk on the driveway. Then, they ride their bikes around the “city.”
If you’re stuck inside, make a box road or roads using blue painters tape.
42. Implement Holiday Traditions
Get into your holiday traditions! Easter is fast approaching, so check out my ebook HERE for TONS of activity ideas! – like egg rolling!
43. Play Store With Real Coins
Empty out your coin purse and let them “sell” their cherished toys.
44. Create a Vision Board
A great activity for older kids! What interests would they like to explore?
45. Make Explosions
What kid doesn’t like making things explode?!
So, do simple experiments with vinegar and baking soda or diet coke and mentos.
46. Play The Lava Game
Like the obstacle course, use what you have around!
47. Use Sensory Bins
Certainly, these can be more work than they’re worth, but they don’t have to be. If you have some old noodles or rice throw some in for kids to play with outside.
48. Play With Water & Ice
Gather a bucket and a few cups to pour and let your toddlers live the dream.
49. Play With Spaghetti
First, cook and drain several boxes. Then, mix with a very small amount of oil and food coloring. Finally, put down some parchment paper and have kids lay it on the paper to dry. Found at Littlelearningclub.com
50. Have Kids Do Lunches
Confession: I rarely have enough patience for my kids to help at dinner.
BUT, my friend suggested having kids plan lunches, and it has worked brilliantly! Each child picked out two lunches this week (based on items in our house), and is responsible for helping prepare them.
25 Stellar Technology Resources
The BEST online activities for kids at home:
51. Art for Kids Hub
My kids have gone bananas over Art for Kids Hub!
With short videos, kids learn how to draw almost anything, from an ice cream cone to movie characters. Additionally, they offer different levels, and often there’s a child drawing with the host showing that the art doesn’t have to look exactly alike.
52. Mo Willems Lunch Doodles
Another great art option is Mo Willems Lunch Doodles through the Kennedy Center. The kids’ author of the beloved Elephant and Piggie and Pigeon series teaches kids how to draw simple characters. The site even offers free activity pages to go with the lessons!
53. Bookflix – Scholastic
Scholastic.com has a Bookflix program that pairs a fiction story with a non-fiction one. They read aloud and also have a read-along for beginning readers. Plus they offer literacy activities, and writing prompts by grade level. So far, it’s all been FREE and very useful.
54. Virtual Museum Visits
Need to give your kids a little culture? See some of the outside world?
Virtual Museum Visits allow you to visit 12 different famous museums around the world. I love that these tours are a different way for the kids to experience learning. The tours are all slightly different, and may appeal to older kids.
55. Virtual National Park Visits
If you like the museum idea, extend it with 5 different national park tours! Check out what the best parks in the nation have to offer from your couch! We’ll be starting with the lava cave in Hawaii!
56. Mystery Science
Mystery Science was recommended by a teacher, so you know it’s a winner! Explore fun and engaging Science lessons that are organized into units – such as light & sound, the human-machine, and much more!
57. Zoo Facebook Live
The Cincinnati Zoo does a Facebook live at 3 pm EST to show their different animals. They introduce animals and even have home project ideas to continue learning. You can find past Home Safari videos HERE.
58. Go Noodle
Need to get the kids moving? The silly videos on Go Noodle do the trick in my house! Pop See Ko is the favorite here.
59. Brainchild on Netflix
This tv program explains real science to kids through an engaging show. It’s for ages 11-12 and topics include things like germs, superheroes, space, and dreams.
60. Cosmic Kids Yoga
These thematic yoga sessions range from getting active to winding down. We’ve explored many of them – from Halloween witches to talking polar bear stories. They make for a great rainy day activity!
61. Regular Family Movie Nights
Who says all of the stay at home kids activities need to be learning? Don’t forget to relax together too!
Have family time with new movies! We’ve gotten to see Abominable and Small Foot and will be checking out the Apple TV options soon.
62. PBS KIDS
For toddlers and pre-school age kids, PBSKids.org is a must! It has easy games to help kids engage with their favorite learning shows.
63. ABC Mouse & Adventure Academy
I’ve heard MANY good things about ABC Mouse, and they are offering free membership for a month! It has all different subjects and activities, puzzles, etc. to keep kids learning. Adventure Academy is the older version for kids ages 8-13 – also free for a month!
64. Khan Academy Kids
Khan Academy Kids is a completely FREE resource with a collection of activities, books, videos, and coloring pages just for kids.
65. Facetime or Skype With Relatives
Stay in touch with those you love! We find this works best when the kids have an activity, like explaining how a toy works or reading a book.
66. YouTube Kids Cooking Shows
There are YouTube videos galore of snacks and meals kids can make. This cute kid’s video is a great starter for kids to make a simple “burrito.” Who knows, maybe it will inspire your kids to make their own videos!
67. Save With Stories
This is simple. Celebrities read children’s books on Instagram for a good cause. It’s a unique way for all kids to see more books! Check it out HERE
68. Kids Podcasts
There are so many awesome podcasts for kids! Check out 21 of the Best Podcasts HERE. I’ve also heard great things about ‘Wow in the World’ (science), ‘The Past and the Curious,’ ‘What if World’ (silly stories), and Stories.
69. Make Online Photo Books
If you’re like me, you’re not great about printing pictures. That’s ok!
This is a great time to go through pictures together and update your photo collection! Let kids help with the theme and design.
70. The Epic App
My child used The Epic App at school and it is available to us for free now. It is stocked with books at different reading levels, and kids can read on their own or be read to. My son was SUPER excited when he found out we could continue this. The Cat Ninja series is his favorite.
71. Math Games
Gregtangmath.com was recommended by our teacher for great math games and printables.
Wonderopolis.org is an interesting website that explores all the things kids wonder about. Wonder and awe are a must for our at home kids activities.
73. Fluency & Fitness
Do your kids need help getting the wiggles out? Fluency&Fitness.com is a great combination of learning and movement for those active learners! They are currently offering 3 weeks for free, so check it out!
74. Research Projects
This is a great time for kids to explore their own fascinations. Help them utilize safe searching practices and put together Powerpoint presentations and videos about stuff that interests them.
75. Time For Kids
And last but not least, Time For Kids is making their digital library free for the rest of the school year. Plus kids can explore interesting articles about pretty much anything! This is a fantastic resource for engaging non-fiction material.
Other Scheduling Things We’re Doing
Here are 5 additional items that are making our days work better…
Research shows that reading to your kids or having them read is one of the most important things you can do for their education.
So, in our weekday schedule, we have a built-in twenty-five minute reading time. We set a timer to keep track, and mom reads too. If this is daunting with younger kids, then set two ten minute timers. Even looking at books counts!
Related Post: How to Encourage Reading to Beat the Summer Slide
Next, daily outside time is one of the REQUIRED activities for our kids at home.
We need to get out the energy, breathe fresh air, and see the sun. So, take a daily family walk. Or call it a built-in “recess” and tell the kids they have to play in the backyard for twenty minutes before they come in.
Quiet Bedroom Time
We are all home at the moment, and separation can be a bit of a problem. On the days when we need it, we’re sending the big kids upstairs to play in their rooms for a few minutes before dinner.
They have many toys in their bedrooms, so it’s a great opportunity to explore what they own and give us time alone.
Screen time can be tricky for all of us. Here’s what works here:
First, make screen time a set time so that kids know what to expect. Mine know they must complete their checklists first and then it will be during baby’s nap.
Then, set a timer and turn it off when you say. Consistency is not easy, but it saves sanity (fights) later.
*And finally, loosen your standards a bit right now. These times are different. We’re together a lot, so when you need a break, take it.
Be Clear About Expectations
“When can I have a snack?” is my daughter’s favorite phrase. And it drives me bonkers on a good day.
So, we’ve decided to make things as clear as possible. Snack time is at 9:30 and 3:30. Desserts are three days a week after dinner. As a result, it eliminates the incessant begging and negotiating, making our days 1000x better.
Something to Consider with Activities for Kids
Finally, give yourself grace.
There will be days when you rock the fun activities for kids, and there will be others when their favorite show goes on re-run.
We’re doing the best we can, and in times like these, that is enough.
Hang in there mamas –
What’s important is that you’re there for your kids, no matter what they’re doing.
What activities for kids at home are you loving? Share in the comments below!
Other Family Posts to Enjoy…
- 25 Family Night Ideas for Connection
- Easy Steps to be a Happier Mom
- 7 Family Traditions to Add Meaning to Every Day