Stuck at home with the kids? Check out these simple ideas for fun stay at home activities to keep the whole family busy and entertained.
For many of us, family time is the highlight of a busy week. I know from my own parenting experience that spending time doing something as a family is a great way to unwind and get some all-important perspective.
Whether it’s hot beach days in the summer, barbecuing in the spring, kicking up leaves in autumn, or building a snowman in winter, spending free time together as a family is an easy way to stay connected, get active and have fun.
What do you do, though, if you have to spend family time at home? This could be due to less-than-lovely weather, having other duties around the house to fit in, or the COVID-19 pandemic. Whatever the reason, there are lots of great ideas for fun and creative stay at home activities you can try with your family. Here are a few to get you started.
Fun family time can also be educational – you just need to make it feel like a game. Hands-on science experiments are perfect here.
If your kids are into the natural world, an erupting volcano is a simple experiment that uses materials you probably already have at home. Young children will easily manage to make their own lava lamp, or you could go for homemade slime which is always a hit!
More fun stay at home activities with a science theme include DIY invisible ink, colouring flowers, and creating a bouncy egg – a quick internet search will provide lots of how-to’s and more inspiration. Many of these science experiments seem a bit like magic tricks, which is one reason why kids love them. You might be surprised just how much science they will learn and remember while they’re having fun.
If your kids are more interested in TV wall units than practical activities, you can use educational TV programmes to your advantage. There are lots of great shows that your kids will love which will also teach them something new – Mythbusters, Sesame Street, Ask the Storybots, and The Joy of Painting, to name just a few.
There are so many family games you can play in your home or garden. A great option for keeping kids active is to organise a fun scavenger hunt around the house. You can keep it simple with a list of easy-to-find items, or make it more challenging with cryptic clues.
If you have space in your garden, you can play more traditional games such as football, volleyball or badminton. An outdoor obstacle course is also a great way to improvise with whatever equipment you have, we always find that the kids spend ages trying beat each other’s times with this one.
For a more relaxing family game, you can’t go wrong with board games. Some of our favourites are Monopoly, Pictionary and Cluedo, all of which work well with a range of ages. For advanced gameplay and teenage kids, Jumanji, Risk and Taboo are good options. A simple pack of cards allows you to play many different games too.
Arts and crafts projects are a great way to have fun with your little ones while staying away from the screens. Many kids crafts are low-cost, and offer a simple way to encourage creativity and imaginative thinking.
You could have a go at making mandalas, paint on mugs or t-shirts, create homemade greetings cards, or use nature as your inspiration to make leaf prints or clay pressings. Again, the internet is a fantastic source of ideas here.
Finally, how about having a go at an architecture project with the kids? You could start small with something like pottery using air-drying clay, or go big with a simple fort built from cardboard boxes and blankets. You might find the adults getting into this even more than the kids!
Gardening is a great activity for kids of all ages. If you have a garden, or even just a few containers, kids can grow their own fruit, vegetables or flowers. Growing sunflowers is a great kids gardening project to get you started.
If you don’t have a garden, kids can still have some green-fingered fun. You could grow a windowsill herb garden, study a carniverous houseplant, or create a mini jungle terrarium in a jar.
Juggling work, chores and entertaining the kids is never easy, and this is doubly true when everyone is stuck at home. Coming up with creative and fun activities to keep the kids busy can be a challenge, and also potentially expensive.
Having said that, fun stay at home activities don’t have to cost a lot, or use endless fancy materials. The best projects are often the simplest. And being an involved and curious parent who’s willing to get stuck in and have fun is the most important part of any family activity – not to mention the best way to create positive memories for everyone involved.
What are your favourite stay at home activities to keep the family busy and entertained?