Today I’m sharing 7 different activities you can do with kids when you are stuck at home. We hear it all the time, “I’m bored!” With these 7 ideas you will be able to get the creative juices flowing and keep kids (and yourself) occupied for hours.
My inspiration for this post was really out of necessity. With the COVID-19 spreading like wildfire, I noticed so many of us are finding ourselves with canceled trips and events, school and business closings, and a growing number of people being quarantined. My own kids have been pretty disappointed with all the things they can’t do, so I decided to create a list of fun things we CAN do even if we are stuck at home!
For that reason, I thought it would be helpful to share a round-up of activities you can do with your children at home! These activities can be adapted to almost any age, but I geared them with ages 8-14 in mind. I am also joining 4 other friends who are sharing their ideas of fun things to do at home. Besides this being a great resource, we wanted to make sure supplies or things you need can be ordered online, in case you are unable to go to the store. Take a look at the bottom to check out their posts!
Affiliate links are used in this post.
1- Scavenger Hunt
A scavenger hunt has always been my go-to activity to combat boredom, as far back as when I used to babysit as a teenager. You want at least 10 clues for this to be really fun.
Paper & Pen
A toy or treat for the ‘prize’
For my blog post on creating a fast and fun scavenger hunt including tips for writing your own clues, OR printable clues for 4 different age groups, GO HERE:
I always try to adapt the clues to the age of the children, and if you have mixed ages, then offer a variety, so they each have a turn. The more you send them scrambling around the house the better! Just make sure your final clue send them to a place big enough to hold a prize. 🙂
2- Marble Run
There are many ways to do a marble run, but I’m sharing what you need to set one up on a wall.
Cardboard tubes from toilet paper rolls or paper towels
Pool noodles cut in half
Utility knife or scissors
Optional: wood blocks, jenga pieces, rubber bands, and felt to offer some resistance to slow down the marble
Painter’s tape won’t damage the walls and is great to secure cardboard tubes or cut sections pool noodles to the wall. Whether you have a big blank wall like we do, or you have to work around art or windows, a wall offers lots of possibility for a marble run, since the height is so great.
Marble runs can be done other places as well! You can make on on the floor with propped up wood train tracks (think of starting from a couch or chair) and wood jenga blocks (tape some popsicle sticks to the sides to keep the marble on track), OR on pegboards using the same supplies as above but instead of tape, use metal brads to adhere the cardboard to the pegboard. I’ve also seen them on large metal drip pans, by using PVC pipe pieces and pipe joints with magnets glued to them. Magnets adhere to the drip pan so it allows the track to be moved around and reused over and over!
3- Trick Shots with Paper Balls
Who doesn’t love trying to make a basket with a crumpled up ball of paper? Pretty much everyone. Good ideas don’t have to be complicated! 🙂 My husband even joined in on the fun for this activity!
5-8 small waste baskets OR baskets/bowls of any size (The shallower the basket, the harder it will be, because the ball will bounce out).
5 crumpled up paper balls
The idea here to make it a bit more challenging is to create trick shots or hard shots all around the house using small waste baskets. Mark the location the player has to stand while attempting the shot. Then, set a timer and give each player 5 crumpled up paper balls and see how fast they can complete all the shots. Offer a prize for the fastest time!
4- Stop Motion Video with Clay
Everyone loves playing with clay, but older kids can get bored with it faster than young, from my experience. Teaching them to make a stop-motion video with their clay figures, will teach them about animation and will get those creative juices flowing! You can also convert the images into a GIF and upload it online so they can share it with family and friends!
Modeling clay (not the kind that dries out) in many colors
White background (white board, foam board, paper, whatever you have)
Camera (a phone’s camera is great!)
Tripod (if you have one– just allows you to get the the pictures from the exact same position every time. If you don’t you can hang your phone over the edge of a book propped on the edge of a chair)
Stop motion app, or movie editing software like iMovie, or Photoshop
To see what apps to use and everything you need to know to create a stop motion video go to my post here:
5- Blanket Fort
Blanket forts are the ultimate childhood memory-maker and from my experience, almost no one gets too old for them. Recently my husband joined in the fort-making festivities and added a creative element that I thought I’d share!
Lots of flat sheets and thin blanket/quilts
Safety pins or hair clips
Getting height to the middle of the fort is always the greatest obstacle. Circumvent this by using the yarn! Tie it to heavy, secure objects across a room, going across several times in different places, then drape the flat sheets and/or thin blankets across the yarn. My daughter found that if she used hair clips/barrettes to secure the sheets to some parts of yarn, it kept them in place. You can also safety pin a corner or edge of a sheet to a couch cushion to keep it from shifting.
Once you have the ‘canopy’ in place, cozy up the inside with pillows, comforters, and even foam mattress pads! I will bet you money your kids will want to hang out here all the time.
Take down is easy: just cut the yarn!
6- Domino Rally
A domino rally is satisfying to watch and with the help of a few YouTube videos you can learn to take your rally-ing to the next level! You might hit up a thrift store if you can, but if not, you can find 1000 piece bundles online that will make this really fun! If you don’t want the small dominos, you can use books for a larger version!
3-6 boxes of dominos (you want more than 300 pieces and ideally like 1000, and the unmarked wood ones that are made for domino rallies are less slippery and lighter. This kit doesn’t have as many, but has some cool extras for tricks)
LEGO pieces to make steps up or down, paint stir stick for a bridge, etc.
A great tip we learned the hard way, every foot or so, create “rest” pieces that lay flat, so if you accidentally bump something, it doesn’t ruin all your hard work.
7- Cupcake Bake-Off
Blame it on Cupcake Wars, but all three of my older kids love making cupcakes. The more unique the better! We get all our groceries delivered so we selected a few boxes of different flavor cake mixes, and everything else we needed to make some fun concoctions. If that isn’t available, you can make them from scratch and get even more creative with mix-ins from what you have on-hand!
Cake mixes with different flavors (make your own or buy flavors like lemon, strawberry, yellow, german chocolate, and red velvet)
2-4 tubs pre-made vanilla frosting or home-made frosting flavor of your choice
Gel food dye of different colors
Mix-ins or toppings– Use what you have on-hand or buy some! Ideas: lemon curd, caramel topping, peanut butter, marshmallows, marshmallow topping, chopped nuts (couple different), chopped fruit (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries), coconut flakes, sprinkles, marzipan or fondant, etc.
Optional: Piping bags with frosting tips
As a parent, you will want to supervise this competition. 😉 It is quite messy, but lots of fun. I end up helping when batter needs to get into the cupcake tins and putting them in the oven. If you have those trigger cookie/ice cream scoops, that is a less messy way to scoop batter.
I always enjoy being a judge, noting each of their strengths, but my kids usually bug me to pick a winner which I always hesitate to do because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings! haha! If an older or younger sibling doesn’t want to make cupcakes, they can always be the judge (or second judge)!
Well, that’s it! Those are my 7 activities that will punch boredom in face while you are stuck at home. Be sure to check out the other ideas of my friends’ below!