19 Activities for Children to Stay Busy (and Happy)
One of my favorite memories as a teenager follows devastating tornadoes which came through our state leaving an aftermath of damage. We didn’t have power for about a week. To add to the chaos, these tornadoes and power loss happened during the winter when we were battling cold temperatures. I remember this week, mostly because my mom made it fun.
We have an opportunity to make these next few weeks (or months) a really special time for our kids. They will either reflect on these days and think about how nervous and afraid we were, or how fun and special the time was. Honestly, some days might be a mixture of both emotions, but with a little work we can make it a fun memory for our kids.
Looking for some ways to make this quarantine time fun? Here are 19 activity ideas you can do at home to keep your children happy and busy!
- Paint rocks. Our kids love to paint. We are trying to play outside as much as possible. One activity we are adding to our daily schedule is rock hunting. The kids look for great rocks throughout the day, and each afternoon they paint them. It’s simple, but they are having fun with it!
- Take adventure walks in the neighborhood. Make walks with your kids a fun adventure. Before you leave for the walk, have them come up with a list of things they can search for. Are there ant beds where you live? Any creatures that might be hiding? Are flowers blooming? Sticks to find? Help kids notice, and explain the creations around them they would’ve otherwise missed. Make it fun and help kids use their imagination.
- Ride bikes (or learn to ride bikes). Pump up the air, find the helmets, put on some layers (if needed), and go on a bike ride! Or, have you been looking for a good time to teach your kids to ride that bike you bought for Christmas? Now is the perfect time! Set a time to stay out riding, and make the most of it.
- Schedule diary time each day – Anne Frank style. Help your kids journal what they did each day, even if the highlight was going outside for five minutes or eating a popsicle. This will be a major history event their kids will learn about. How fun will it be for them to show their kids what this event was like through their eyes some day? We are having our kids draw their favorite activity we did each day, and we will make a small book for them to keep.
- Watch fun dance videos on YouTube. There are so many fun dance videos to enjoy with your kids. We love the Gummy Bear song and What Does the Fox Say. There are lots of fun ones out there!
- Cook together. That pancake mix or cookie recipe you never have time for? This is the perfect chance to bake or cook those with your kids! Being distraction free and not in a hurry makes it more fun. You can even let your kids think of something they’d like to make, write them out, and plan for the grocery pickup you’ll need so you can make them.
- Read books. It’s a great time to read together, or spend time reading alone. You can read to the whole family, or if you have older kids, let them choose books they’d like to read to the family. Do your older kids have favorite chapter books they might want to go back and read with you? Do your toddler kids have favorite books you can read over and over together? Even the youngest kids can pretend to read to the family!
- Write a book. Why not?My kids love to write and illustrate small books. Their stories are simple, but the pictures they draw really bring it to life! We are keeping all these stories they write and illustrate. Do you have a dream of writing a book? Why not start now?
- Work on a puzzle. Is it cold and rainy where you live? Puzzles are a great indoor option and can keep the whole family busy.
- Play legos. I struggle to get down on the floor and play with my kids, but I can play with legos for hours. When kids have lots of time and space, it’s amazing what they can come up with. You will be surprised how relaxing it is to get lost in it as well.
- Make fun art with magazines lying around. Do you have lots of old magazines lying around? Give kids a theme and let them cut certain things out and glue them to things. Maybe your theme is favorite flowers, favorite outfits, or favorite room decor. Let them cut things out and glue them to paper or posters you might have.
- Play hangman. Remember hangman? It’s a great way to continue working on spelling words with your kids. They won’t even realize they are learning!
- Lunch Doodles with Mo Williams. Do you have kids who love Piggy and Gerald books? The author and illustrator, Mo Williams, is hosting fun doodle time everyday on YouTube. New videos are posted at 1pm each day. We are loving them so far!
- Have a drawing contest (you versus your kids). We love drawing at our house. I’m not great at drawing, but I still enjoy it. After you read those books, draw the characters. It’s a fun way to interact and bring the books to life. Or, simply throw out an object or creature and draw away!
- Play games outside. Soccer, jump rope, hotch scotch, etc. These activities are just a few of the fun things you can encourage your kids to do. If it’s too cold where you live, bundle up and simply go for a hike through the snow!
- Board games. Do you have a stash of board games somewhere? Wipe the dust off and play together!
- Paint nails. We love painting nails. Since we are social distancing, this is a perfect time to let your kids paint your nails, and keep it on for a while! If you’re in a house full of boys, ask if they’d like to paint yours! Ask if they’d give you a hand massage before, too. They might go for it!
- Play Hair Salon or Spa Day (consider being a paying customer!). Get those hair brushes and bows out! Let them get creative and give you the perfect style. One of our kids is a little entrepreneur, so we pretend we are arriving at her actual salon. She adds special pampering options, candy treats, water and more. Her goal is to make her customers feel comfortable (her words). Since she goes all out, we have turned into paying customers. Growing our kids’ gifts and passions for having a growing business is one dollar well spent.
- Movie time. Do your kids love movie nights? Make movie nights fun. Have a floor picnic, and let kids take turns choosing movies.
Ladies, this is a special time in history. Let’s try to make the best of it together!
Wife Step: Which activity can you easily add to your day today?
Kristin lives in Huntsville, AL (or Rocket City as the Huntsvillian’s call it) with her husband Tim and two daughters. Kristin and her husband helped start Epic Church in San Francisco, Ca., and are now the lead planters of Essential Church in Huntsville, Al.
While living and working in San Francisco, Kristin and her husband felt God calling them to Huntsville to start a church for people in the South who no longer believed church was for them. She’s been married to her best friend and biggest fan, Tim, for ten years. Together they have three beautiful girls.
Before motherhood, Kristin was a Mary Kay director and an aspiring business woman. After years of hard work launching and maintaining a successful career, it all fell apart upon moving across the country. For years after losing her career, Kristin struggled with understanding her value and self-worth. She sought value in other titles, such as being a pastor’s wife, and then eventually a mom.
Kristin now understands our value doesn’t come from the titles or careers we have. Kristin is a stay-at-home mom who seeks to give her children an ordinary, happy childhood. She seeks to find her value in Jesus each day and teaches her kids to do the same by teaching them scripture and letting them see how God fills our shortcomings. She has found her family’s gifts come to the surface when there is space for simplicity. She loves running, reading, writing, being outdoors, and hiking with her family.