The fact that schools are closed brings a wonderful opportunity to enjoy more time with your children. However, if boredom or lack of routine starts causing problems, a few extra ideas for activities may be useful. So, we have created this list of activities for your family that uses items that you probably have lying around your house.
As always, we gain nothing if you click on any of these links. We just want to help you make the most of this unexpected gift of time with your children!
Fun Activities for Kids:
This is a fun twist on an Easter Egg Hunt. Hide coins around the house and tell your kids how many they can find. This is great for kids of all ages since you can find hiding places of varying levels of difficulty. If you want to encourage cooperation, hide enough coins in each hiding place for all your children, and each child gets one coin from each place that they find together. To up the stakes, let them keep a quarter or a dollar if they can find every hidden coin.
Have a scavenger hunt.
Everyone gets a list of things to find. The beauty of it is that everyone can get the same list or different lists with easier items for younger ages. The hunt can be a competition or encourage teamwork with a prize for everyone if all items are found.
Treasure hunts are a fun twist on a scavenger hunt.
These can be done in two ways. You can give a clue that leads to the next clue and so on until you reach the treasure. Or, you can make a treasure map leading to a series of treasures. Many kids love actually digging for treasure if you have a yard to dig in. If not, they can dig down into a box full of socks of crumpled paper to find treasure at the bottom.
Use plastic cups and a ball for indoor bowling.
Have a jumping jack contest.
See who can do jumping jacks for 3 or 5 minutes without stopping or offer a prize to any child who can beat their previous time.
Blanket forts are always fun.
You can take them to the next level and make multiple forts for kids to use as bases.
Ninja/spy training course.
Use yarn, ribbons, or streamers to turn a room into a giant spider web or ninja/spy training course.
Box tunnels, forts, and castles.
Let your kids decorate cardboard boxes with markers or watercolor paint. This can provide hours of fun. They can use them to make costumes or older kids and teenagers can get creative with tape and scissors to turn the boxes into tunnels, forts, and castles.
Plan costume, pajama, and crazy hair days.
They are fun at school, so why not do it at home? You can even plan to do them on the same day as family and friends and let the kids video chat with each other to show off their choices.
Surprises in the mail.
Write letters or draw pictures to send through the mail to family and friends. Everyone loves getting surprises in the mail!
Build a cotton ball tower.
Take turns adding cotton balls on a plate until you can’t make one more stay on. See if you can beat your score.
All you need is paper or cardboard, a bit of glue, and anything else that your child wants to use. Anything from grass clippings, leaves and twigs, and pebbles to rice, coffee beans, cereal, glitter, cotton balls, or ribbons can be used in a collage. The possibilities are endless, and your child’s creativity may surprise you.
Paint smooth rocks.
Or, use rough, jagged rocks. Rocks and a bit of paint can become a jungle scene, cute little animals, or a beautiful sunset. They can also be incorporated into a collage.
Decorate and fly paper airplanes.
For some kids, decorating is half the fun, others are focused on how well their planes fly. Either way, here is a great site with diagrams and instructions for 5 basic paper airplanes.
Obstacle courses are wonderful for releasing energy.
Be as creative as you want in setting them up. You can use masking tape on the floor to create a “balance beam,” lava pools to avoid, or crevasses to jump over. Hop from pillow to pillow without touching the ground, wiggle like a worm under chairs, zig-zag through a field of stuffed animals, toss balls into a laundry basket, or crab walk through the hallway. Your kids may love helping you think up new things to add to the course.
Children will have fun watering seeds, watching for the shoots, and seeing their plants grow.
Learn constellations, planets, and other features of the night sky. Star Chart is a fascinating, beautiful app that kids and adults can enjoy.
It’s incredible how much younger kids enjoy exercising as a family. There are many great online resources for anything from Yoga to HIIT workouts that you can do from home.
Learn the basics of sewing.
Knowing how to fix a torn seam, sew on a button, and even how to patch a hole can be an invaluable skill for males and females. Most grocery stores carry a basic sewing kit for just a few dollars if you need one. Here is an excellent link for beginners. They even teach you how to thread a needle.
Read aloud as a family.
This can become a precious time together.
Ideas for Teens or Pre-Teens:
Some of the previous ideas are great for all ages, but older kids may also want activities that are a bit more engaging, so here are a few ideas for them.
If they become good enough at it, their creations may even become toys for younger siblings. Here is a great website with easy to understand diagrams and instructions.
Coffee table book.
Make a coffee table book about a topic they love. This idea can be great for a crafty scrapbooker, or a teen who is interested in graphic design.
The modern version of a treasure hunt. (Link)
There is something satisfying about harvesting a vegetable that you started from seed. There are even quite a few vegetables that can be grown indoors.
Give them opportunities to earn money (or video game time or whatever would motivate your kid) for cleaning. By the time schools open back up, all your spring cleaning could be done!
Film a newscast, short story, music video, or cooking show.
Invent a writing code and leave secret messages for each other.
Online Learning Resources:
There are so many wonderful resources available that it is hard to pick which ones to share. We tried to narrow it down to help you out. Feel free to share your favorite resources.
Kahn Academy offers free courses in a wide array of subjects for students K-12 grade. It is easy to use and makes learning incredibly simple.
Disney is offering a free online program, Imagineering in a Box, through Kahn Academy. Imagineers share how they use a wide range of skills – from story development and conceptual design to math, physics, and engineering – to create immersive experiences.
If you prefer printable worksheets, GreatSchools.org provides over 1,000 free worksheets for PreK- 5thgrade. Some of the PreK worksheets would also be suitable for younger kids.
Drawspace is perfect for an artistic child who would enjoy drawing lessons created by world-renowned artists and educators.
NASA Kids Club is a great resource with interesting activities for younger lovers of space and science. NASA.gov has resources and activities for all ages. NASA has also released its entire media library for you to view and download.
National Geographic Kids is full of interesting information, games, fun quizzes, and videos.
Open Culture provides free online courses, videos, lectures, and podcasts from Universities around the world. This is a wonderful resource for teens and adults who enjoy learning on their own.
Education.com has many useful online games, printable worksheets, ideas for activities, study packets and guided lessons for preschool through 5thgrade. They are offering free access during school closures.
Typingclub.com is a simple way for people of all ages to improve their typing skills. You can sign up for a free account to save your progress and take a short placement test to begin lessons at your typing level.
Super Simple is created for younger kids and has plenty of free printables, craft and activity ideas, songs, shows, and more.
DreamBox Learning is offering a 90-day free trial. They provide fun, interactive math lessons for K – 8th grade.
ABC Mouse offers a free 30-day trial. They provide an online curriculum that is easy to navigate, geared for children ages 2-8.
Adventure Academy is a new learning program from the creators of ABC Mouse for kids ages 8–13. It provides games and activities to teach children, and you can get your first month free.
Math Seeds and Reading Eggs is an excellent resource for children ages 2–13. In addition to engaging learning activities, they provide an online library with over 2,000 children’s books. They offer a 2-week free trial.
Tynker teaches coding to kids as young as 5 years old. They are offering free access to premium coding courses during school closures.
StoryBird helps a budding writer develop their talent and gives them a chance to get expert feedback. They offer a 7-day free trial.
If you want more online learning resources, here is an article from Lifehack with links to 25 sites that offer free online learning. Most of their links are geared toward teens and adults, and there are a few links for younger children.
Amazing Educational Resources has compiled this extensive list of resources.
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