Keeping kids entertained during lockdown is tough. Every day it’s something new, schools closing, playground equipment roped off, video conference calls while your kids make noise in the background, keeping up with household chores and prepping meals with rationing in mind. Did I mention schools are closed?! It can seem overwhelming, but fear not, you’ve got this! If your minions are going batty from boredom, we’ve got 10 fresh activities for kids they’re sure to enjoy.
Make A Mess Day
This activity is not for the faint of heart, but it’s totally worth it when your kids are tuckered out and don’t complain at bedtime. I usually send my kids outdoors to make a mess, and even then, it’s restrained. They can dig in the sandbox, but they don’t have free rein to get up to their elbows in mud. On Make-A-Mess Day, let them.
Want to stomp in that giant puddle? Sure! Smear dirt on your t-shirt? Why not? It’s Make A Mess Day! Make sure you have a few old towels laying in the front hall for when they come inside, then it’s straight upstairs for a bath. Trust me, the kids will go nuts over getting as dirty as they please.
Indoor Camping Activities for Kids
Spread out the sleeping bags and round up the marshmallows, it’s indoor camping night! Kids should set up their own indoor campsite, using their imagination. Firepit made out of blocks, hungry teddy bears lurking nearby, a blue blanket “lake” swimming with goldfish crackers—the sky’s the limit! End the night with popcorn and storytime.
Throw a Holiday Bash
A spooky Halloween party in April? Why not? Have them round up their old costumes and have a monstrous fashion show. End the afternoon with indoor trick-or-treating. Place a bowl filled with goodies in each room of your house. If you don’t want to get them all sugared up with candy, use items you have on hand such as pencils, coins, packs of raisins, or stickers.
We love to do pretend Christmas. My kids will wrap “gifts” for each member of the family. The only rule is, we have to be eco-friendly, so gifts are wrapped in a hodgepodge of wrapping paper scraps I keep, old newspapers, or junk mailers. The gifts are items from around the house or items they make, and it sure is fun to guess what your gift is. Once I was surprised by unwrapping my toothbrush! String up Christmas lights outdoors. It sounds a bit crazy, but these are crazy times, and those beautiful twinkling lights might just cheer up a passerby.
Chopped Junior Activities for Kids
If you haven’t seen the TV show, Chopped Junior, the premise is pretty simple and a ton of fun. Kid chefs open a basket containing mystery ingredients and have to use them to prepare a delicious entrée, dessert, or appetizer. The child chef with the most creative and best-tasting dish wins. A note of warning to parents—you’ll be the test-tasting judge, so choose their ingredients wisely.
Spa Day Activities for Kids
Ahhh, Spa Day! My favorite! Have the kids set up their own salon, complete with chairs, a cash register, manicure stations, brushes, hair accessories, and makeup. Kids will have loads of fun styling your hair and each others’. Pay the kids a quarter to rub your feet. We recommend keeping the scissors in the drawer for this particular activity.
Writing to family members is a great idea, especially elderly relatives and those who need some cheer, but don’t forget about our public servants! With nurses and doctors overwhelmed and working around the clock, why not write a letter to your local hospital? Others who may be in need of a beautiful picture: police officers, firefighters, hospitals, and especially the brave souls at your local grocery store. A handmade card can really brighten someone’s day.
Home Improvement Activities for Kids
My grandfather carved his kitchen table by hand. I can’t even put air in my tires. With purchasing instead of building becoming the norm, teach your kids the lost art of working with their hands. If you’re social distancing, now is the perfect time to get that home improvement project done you’ve been putting off. Include the kids! Get them safety goggles, age-appropriate tools, and teach them how to build something. It’s a skill that will benefit them their entire life.
Kids have a favorite book or series? Most authors have websites with games and activities related to their books. Kids can even write to their favorite author. Authors adore their littlest fans and most will reply to the child with a personal response. Authors are in lockdown too! Follow them on Instagram or Twitter to see if they are doing live storytimes or other special events while at home.
Invent A New Toy Day
I’m pretty sure every household in America has a mystery toy bin. You know the one I’m talking about! It’s the one that has a lid on it so you don’t have to look at its unruly contents every time you walk by.
Dump that sucker out and gather up all the old, broken, and mystery toys parts and place them into a pile. Task your kids with being an inventor for the day. Their task is to invent a new toy, using the spare pieces. Leave them with lots of tape, twisty ties, or those fuzzy pipe cleaners if you have them. Then, judge the toys by categorizes, most unique, craziest, funniest toy, etc.
Decorate Old Clothes
Have a pile of old shirt destined for the rag bin? Let the kids be fashion designers for a day. They can cut, sew, and paint the clothes to their hearts content. Our kids used my husband’s old t-shirts to make zombie attire. They fringed, shredded, and splattered red “blood” all over the T’s. It was disgusting. And a lot of fun.