5 Creative Activities to Keep Cooped-Up Kids Entertained
By Jordana Gagnon
Isolating at home is challenging for most of us. But for parents, keeping kids safe, healthy and entertained right now can feel especially overwhelming. While TV, computers, game systems and other electronic devices are common boredom-busting fallbacks, there are plenty of activities that don’t involve screen time which can help your family pass the time unplugged.
Beyond playing board games and building blanket forts, the creative activities below will keep kiddos occupied for hours. The best part: Each idea involves minimal prep — so you can get everyone up off the couch and on their way to a good time, in no time.
Sundae Scavenger Hunt
Fun for a Sunday (or any day, really!), this activity will get your gang excited for a unique scavenger hunt. Hide some of your fam’s favorite sundae fixin’s around the house: a jar of sprinkles under a pillow, a bag of chocolate chips in their animal slippers, a bottle of caramel syrup on a window sill, or fresh fruit nestled between books on a within-reach shelf. You can also leave notes in each hiding spot with hints on how to find the next item.
After everything’s been gathered, enjoy making and eating ice cream sundaes together.
Tea Party from Around the World
A twist on cozy, classic tea parties, this idea encourages your kids to explore traditions from around the world with a themed tea party based on customs from afar. Grab a globe (or pull up Google Earth) and give it a spin. Whatever spot you land on will be your theme.
Try to incorporate some culturally fitting snacks from that region. For example, if you land on India, make Turmeric Dandelion Tea Lattes and a fresh batch of Cinnamon-Pecan Turmeric Bites, using recipes from our friends at VitaCost. Pull out some cute dishware and gather around the tea table, or turn it into a backyard picnic if weather permits.
While you’re enjoying some fun and interesting new treats, try to keep the conversation centered around your country of choice. Google some fun facts and images of the location to discuss over tea time.
Lights, Camera, Action!
Every kid has a favorite TV show or movie (and likely knows many lines and songs by heart!). Why not turn their passions into a live performance? Provide some dress-up clothes (old clothing, hats, etc. will work in a pinch if you don’t have themed costumes on hand). Get creative with face paint, or have the kids make their own fun accessories — and even scenery.
Some coaching may be required, but after a little time on “stage,” and with some positive encouragement, kids can let their inner stars shine.
Pop some popcorn and settle in on the couch for some quality entertainment with the whole family!
The next time you finish reading a story or book to your child, ask them, “What do you think happens next?” They might giggle, or shrug and say you’re silly, but it’s worth asking just to see their reaction! And don’t stop there.
Have your child write their version of what happens next (or write it for them, as they explain aloud). Set them up with crayons, markers, colored paper, glue, dried macaroni – or any craft supplies you have on hand – so they can bring to life what they’ve imagined.
This activity has a subtle, underlying lesson — suggesting that endings can also be new beginnings (which is a really great reminder for all of us).
Sidewalk Chalk Drawing Competition
The perfect warm-weather activity, a sidewalk chalk drawing competition lets kids get some fresh air while interacting with neighbors from a distance. All you need is some sidewalk chalk or sidewalk chalk paint. Direct the kids to create colorful drawings and uplifting messages on the sidewalk, from property line to property line.
If you’re able to call or text neighbors, invite their kids to join in by decorating their own sidewalk space. Or have friends who don’t live on your block participate at their own homes and share photos of their creations.
Reward your little artists with a fun, healthy snack or treat, along with homemade certificates for awards such as “most colorful drawing” or “most inspiring message.”
Not only will this activity brighten up your whole neighborhood, but it will inspire others to smile and feel connected as they walk by.