Stuck at home with your family? Are you going crazy? It doesn’t have to be this way! Instead of waiting for everyone to get tired and bored, intentionally set up your schedule for fun family activities at home. Here are some ideas for family fun you can do today. All without going out or getting into the car. Let’s get started!
Tips for fun family activities at home
As with any family activity, things can get out of hand quickly. When things get out of hand, I get anxious and irritable. Which makes everyone a little anxious and irritable. I have found that the following tips help make our family activities run smoothly.
- Plan ahead! Our young kids don’t do well waiting for us to figure out instructions, set things up, etc. Whenever you have the chance, plan ahead and get things together beforehand.
- Keep things positive. At some point one or all the members of your family will get mad. They’ll throw a tantrum, yell, scream, or even pout. Instead of letting that set the tone for your family fun, keep things positive! I know it’s hard. But keep things upbeat. That positive attitude will wear off on everyone else.
- Keep a loose plan. You might have a specific idea of how an activity will go, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best plan. Your family activity might morph or change as you go. It’s okay. Let things play out. Your dance party might turn into wrestle mania. Which I know my boys would love. Just go with it.
My kids love playdough! Of course, you can buy playdough from the store, but we love making this playdough. That way, you can make larger quantities and dye them the colors you’d like. You also know what is in the playdough. No crazy ingredients if you don’t want them!
Cardboard box drive-in
When our oldest son was just a baby, my husband and I would go to the drive-in movie a lot. It was a new parents dream. Baby slept in the back seat and my husband and I got a movie date. We were sad when the drive-in in our town closed. These days, our kids probably don’t even know what a drive-in movie theater is. But, occasionally it’s fun to pretend to be at the drive-in. Gather a few large boxes. Decorate them as if they are cars. Line with pillows or blankets. Set them up in front of the television and make it a drive-in movie night.
Baking is a great way to connect with your family. Everyone loves cookies! You can teach your kids their way around the kitchen. Let them help. Your kids might surprise you with what they can do. Let them scoop, mix, and add your favorite ingredients.
We love making slime at our house! I know that not every parent loves slime. It can make a mess. But I find that if we make it at the table, and have specific rules, my kids do great with it. We use this simple recipe.
- 2 bottles school glue
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 3 tablespoons contact solution
Have a coloring contest
Pull out those old coloring books. It’s time to hold a coloring contest. Set a prize and a time limit. Get your own book too! My kids love it when my husband and I join them while coloring. Don’t have coloring books? Jump online and print out a few.
Listen to an audiobook
Reading chapter books to your kids is a great way to connect. Unfortunately, I can only read for so many chapters before I get tired. I love audiobooks. They give me a chance to read with my kids. It’s also fun because we can play with playdough or Legos while we listen. Every chapter or so we’ll stop and talk about what is happening.
Play a board game
Family game night brings out the best and worst in us doesn’t it? Even with tantrums, sore losers (and winners), and thrown game pieces, family game nights are a great way to spend time with your family. We’ve had our fair share of rough game nights with our kids. But it gets better with time. Your kids will learn to play. They’ll learn to win and lose with a good attitude. And you’ll enjoy seeing the progress.
Until seeing the charades scene in Frozen 2, we had never tried playing charades with our kids. But we’ve done it a couple times now, and it’s a big hit. Make it as hard or as easy as you’d like based on the clues. We also did away with the teams and guessed as a group, but we have younger kids and that put less pressure on our shy kiddos.
Family movie night
Pop the popcorn! Pull out the blankets and cuddle on the couch. It’s time for a movie night. Choose a movie everyone will enjoy, and soak in the closeness that a movie night can bring.
We just planted seed starts for our garden. The process was simple and will hopefully give us some yummy plants in a few months. Not to mention my kids enjoyed smooshing their fingers into the dirt as we filled the containers with potting soil. They were so proud of their planted seeds. Even if you don’t love the idea of starting a vegetable garden, you can always get your kids into the yard to weed or plant flowers.
Yoga is great for everyone. It helps you stretch, develop strength, and find a sense of calm. My kids like that we get on the floor with them to do “moves”. It’s a fun for the whole family. You can find free yoga courses in varying degrees of difficulty online.
Go for a walk
Get out! Even if you just stay on your block. Let the kids run. Be outside. You don’t even need to get intense. Last week my husband pulled out a remote control car and let the boys run it while we walked the block.
Create and run an obstacle course
Depending on your space, you can create your obstacle course inside or out. Make it so your kids will have to run and jump to go through the obstacle course. The more difficult the course, the more energy they’ll get out!
Build a simple bird feeder
It’s not hard to build a bird feeder. Cut a few holes into a milk jug and fill with bird feed. Better yet, cover a toilet paper roll with peanut butter and roll in cheerios. Hang the bird feeder from a tree and wait for the bird to come.
Write letters to family and friends
Teach your kids how snail mail works. Write letters to family and friends. Let them draw pictures if your kids don’t know how to write. Seal your letters in an envelope, put a stamp on it, and drop it in the mail.
Turn up the music! It’s time for a dance party. Even if they roll their eyes, your kids will enjoy dancing in the living room with you. Let loose. Get embarrassing! You’ll have more fun if you just let yourself move to the music.
Stuck at home but have energy to burn? Rearrange the furniture! You might love the way your bedroom looks with your bed in another spot. Plus, it’s great exercise! Let the kids have a say in how their room is arranged too!
Organize a problem area
Is your toy room exploding? Recruit your kids to help you organize the area. Working together will help it stay organized longer too!
Have a paper airplane contest
It’s as simple as it sounds. Teach your kids how to make a paper airplane (or look it up online). Set a starting line and let everyone take turns throwing their planes. You could assign awards for the farthest traveled, most loops, or most creative.
Watch home movies and look at family photo albums
My kids love to see themselves when they were little. Pull out the home movies. Let your kids explore the family photo albums. They will even love seeing pictures of their parents and grandparents if you have them. This is one of our favorite fun family activities at home.
Build an indoor fort
Pile up those cushions. Hang sheets over furniture. No matter the age of your kids, an indoor fort can be so much fun! Make it even more adventurous by doing a sleepover with flashlights and sleeping bags!
Have a makeover night
Does your daughter want to learn to French braid? Let her practice on you! Try out hairstyles that you haven’t been able to master. Get dolled up. Use this as an excuse to pull out that makeup.
Spa day at home
Can’t get out to the spa? Do one at home. Put on a face mask, even the cucumbers! Take turns doing back or foot massages.
Put together a puzzle
When my son turned three, he became a puzzler. He LOVES puzzles! I have pictures of him in the middle of a couple dozen puzzles that he had completed right after getting a bunch for Christmas. They filled our kitchen island and table. It would occupy hours of his time. Puzzles are a quiet activity that can be done by most ages. Larger puzzles are a great way to keep the whole family busy.
Paint a rock collection
My daughter has a “rock collection”. Anytime we go on a walk she stops frequently to collect her treasures. I love it. I try to soak in the sweetness of her childhood. But I don’t love finding rocks all over my house. We’ve discussed what to do with all those rocks. Finally, we started painting them. It’s an activity that she loves. Once painted, we add the rocks underneath the downspouts in the yard. But you could do whatever you like with them.
Make a time capsule
A time capsule can be as simple, or as complicated as you make it. Write notes, draw pictures, write down you and your kid’s favorite things. Include a few photos of your family. Make predictions about what will happen in the next five or ten years. Set a date to open it, and then store your time capsule in a box somewhere safe. Don’t bury it in the ground, that will likely just end up ruining your treasures. Just put the box in storage until it’s time to open it up again.
Self-portrait art night
Pull out the art supplies. Challenge all your family to create their own self-portraits. Get creative with your art medium. Don’t be afraid to use clay, paint, or even buttons and glue. Once you finish your self-portraits, find a place to hang them.
Set up a tent in your backyard or (if it’s cold) in the living room. Lay out sleeping bags. Use flashlights to see. Tell ghost stories. And if your kids get up in the night, simply take them back to bed.
Go on a scavenger hunt
I love setting up a scavenger hunt for my kids. It’s something that you can do inside or in the great outdoors. Set up about 15-20 clues and lead your kids to a prize or treat. For younger kids, use pictures to help with your clues.
Being stuck at home with your family doesn’t have to mean fighting, boredom, and endless screen time. There are so many fun family activities at home you can do to keep things interesting. What are you doing to stave off boredom?