Surviving days stuck at home with your child may seem daunting but these play ideas to entertain your child will keep boredom at bay!
Whether you’re being forced to stay at home because it’s a rainy day, or someone in the family is poorly, there’s plenty you can do to keep the family entertained.
Children of all ages require stimulation to keep them happy. When kids get bored they get fussy and irritable, which of course has a knock on impact on everyone else in the family.
Having a list of simple activities to do with your kids when stuck at home for several days is the best way to keep everyone happy.
If the weather is good you will hopefully be able to get outside into the garden for some play. Aim to get some fresh air in your garden every day, even if your child is poorly this may give them a little boost if they can manage a quick spell in the garden.
You may also like my post with a list of links to websites with amazing FREE learning resources, activity sheets and inspiration for play.
I have 10 ideas for messy play over on this post which is also well worth checking out.
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Activities for kids to do at home
Make your own play-doh. You can make your own play-doh or buy it. Grab some cookie cutters and rolling pins then let your child get creative. There’s a play-doh recipe here.
Bake cupcakes. A classic activity and one that all kids love! You only need eggs, self-raising flour and sugar to make them. Then you can decorate them with icing sugar and anything else you like. There’s a simple cupcake recipe here.
Decorate biscuits. You don’t have to bake the biscuits yourself! Buy some plain cookies from the supermarket and mix up some icing. Have some different types of sprinkles and maybe mini-marshmallows too then let your child decorate the biscuits.
Create a cardboard box maze. Keep your cardboard boxes from moving house or large furniture deliveries. Then you can use them to create a cardboard box maze around the house. Cut holes in the boxes so kids can move from box to box.
Build a den. Grab a few pillows and build a den.
Write a story. Get together and think of an idea for a story. Start with some main characters then think of a setting. Next figure out a journey or a problem the characters need to solve. If you have a child at school, get them to try writing the story down. Younger kids can help with illustrations.
Treasure hunt. If the weather is good you could do this outside. Find a few objects and/or toys and hide them in a few spots around the house.
Shadow puppet theatre. Turn off the lights, shine a torch or a lamp at the wall then make shadow finger puppets on the wall.
Dress-up. Get out the fancy dress box and play make believe.
Start a band. If you have instruments share them out, or get out some saucepans and wooden spoons and make some noise.
Make a card for granny. If anyone can appreciate the artwork of children, it’s grandparents. If you are having to self-isolate this can be tough on older members of your family. Get your kids to make a card with pens and stickers. You could try finger painting or just get them to draw a picture of themselves.
Read. Now’s a good time for a book-a-thon. Pick out a big pile of books, snuggle under a blanket in bed or on the sofa and read.
Dance. Turn on some of your favourite tunes and have a dance party around the living room.
Have a LEGO building challenge. Challenge your kids to build a house, zoo, tower, robot or anything else you can think of.
Use masking tape to create a racing track. Stick masking tape on the floor to make a racing track.
Look through your photos. Dig out your photo albums and old pictures and spend a while looking at them. Speak to your kids about what was going on in the photos. This always keeps my two happy for a good hour.
Get a free art app. There are various free apps available for your smartphone. My children’s current favourite is a Baby Shark themed one. There’s no harm in using a little screen time to entertain your kids.
Watch a movie. Get some popcorn and snuggle together on the sofa.
Get them doing the cleaning. I’m not advocating slave labour here, but you’ll need to do some chores at some point. Ask them to help make the beds and sort the laundry into piles. My kids actually quite enjoy doing this when they’re bored.
Marble painting. Get five or six marbles and four different coloured paints in small bowls. Dip the marbles in the paint. Get your card for painting and place it flat inside a shallow tray or bowl. Now pop the marbles in, pick up and tilt the bowl around using different angles to get the marbles rolling around on the card.
Get out your jigsaws. Dig out all of your jigsaws and challenge your kids to make them all.
Make a pizza. You can buy pre-made bases or make your own. Get your kids to dollop passata on the base and spread it around. Now have bowls of different toppings such as cheese, slices of pepper, mushrooms, tomatoes and pepperoni. Challenge them to make pizza faces.
Play with balloons. Blow up a few balloons and play away. You could pass them between you by batting them with your hands or try to stop them from touching the ground.
Try some foil art. I bought my kids a few foil art kits recently and they absolutely loved playing with them! My three-year-old manages to do it really well as well as my five-year-old.
Hide and seek. If it’s a nice day you could do this in the garden.
Blow bubbles. If you can go outside you could try doing giant bubbles. There’s a recipe for it here.
Make slime. Try making your own homemade slime. You can add glitter to make it sparkly. There’s a very simple slime recipe here.
Play mummies. Grab a toilet roll (if you have some to spare) and wrap each other up to make mummies.
Make a paper aeroplane. Make one each and have a competition to see which one flies the furthest.
Play i-spy. Try looking out the window while doing this.
Dig out some sticker books. If you are going to have to be stuck indoors for a while it’s a good idea to have some emergency sticker books at hand to dig out and use to distract the kids. Melissa and Doug does a great reusable sticker set.
Make jewellery. Get some beads and help your kids thread them onto string. You can get kits with chunky beads and string that are easier for little fingers to do.
Throw a tea party. Get a blanket on the floor, invite some guests (toys) and put out some bowls with crisps, sandwiches and other picnic food.
Do some phonics songs. There are lots of phonics tunes on YouTube that can help to keep your child entertained, as well as teach them something.
Get a Tonies. This is a fab little device for kids. We were given our Tonies by my parents for Christmas. It’s a speaker which reads your child stories or sings songs. You can buy characters, such as the Gruffalo, which you place on top of the speaker. Inside the character is a story of series of songs. When you place the character on top of the speak it downloads the content the speaker. It’s a really engaging way to tell stories to your kids.
Play a game. I love the range of Orchard Toys games. They are great for kids, from toddlers to primary school age. There is a huge selection and most can involve up to six players.
Try yoga. There are lots of videos on YouTube showing free yoga tips for kids. If things are getting a little chaotic, why not try doing this for 15 minutes?
Make a paper hat. There’s a quick tutorial in this video! Make some for your kids’ toys as well. You could also get your kids to decorate them.
Colourful ice. Add water to an ice tray and pop in a few drops of food colouring. Freeze. When it’s frozen, pop the cubes out into a shallow tray and let your kids play with them.
Make pet rocks. Find some large, flat pebbles and decorate them. You could make them into ladybirds, dogs or anything you can think of.
Play Simon says. A classic, and still a great way to use up time if you need to.
Play musical statues. Turn up the music and challenge the kids to hold still when it stops.
Make a fruit salad. We did this a few weeks ago and the kids actually really enjoyed it! Buy a colourful selection including strawberries, kiwi, and blueberries. If your kids are old enough let them chop the fruit up. They can all help to mix the fruit together in a big bowl.
Plant seeds. Try planting cress in eggshells, or plant some bulbs in the garden. My two love getting involved with anything to do with gardening.
Painting loo rolls. This activity actually keeps my kids busy for a good 30 minutes. I save all of our toilet rolls, kitchen rolls, cereal boxes and egg cartons so the kids can paint them.
Put on a show. If you have face paint you could get everyone into costume and then get your kids to put on a play.
Mirror mirror. Stand facing each other and one of you has to move around while the other mimics everything the other does.
Sink or float. Gather a range of toys and objects from the kitchen such as spoons. Now fill a small washing up bowl with water and get your kids to test which items sink and which ones float.
Musical chairs. A party classic, but just as fun when there’s only a few of you playing
Play 20 questions. Have a chat with your child. Ask them what their favourite food is, what colours do they like, what’s their favourite book, what do they want to be when they grow up, who’s their favourite friend, where do they like visiting best at the weekends.
Download free learning resources. There are loads of websites with free resources and worksheets for you to download. If your child is out of school, keep up with their learning by doing a little maths and English each day. This website has loads of different free worksheets to download and print.