The best part about stay at home activities for kids is that they truly do not need to be complicated. Go ahead and take a breath and some of the pressure off yourself. I got you covered.
Because sometimes when you need to think of creative activities to do your mind just draws blanks and you end up in a panic hiding in your closet.
I don’t want that for you (or for me)!
I’ve been a stay at home mom for four years now. Before that I was an elementary school teacher. So, I like to think I know a thing or two about entertaining and educating kids.
If you present them with the right tools you’ll help them unlock their own imagination and creativity. And that is the ticket…independent play. But, we’ll get back to that in a minute.
I don’t consider myself a super crafty person but every single one of these activities were a big W for our household.
Just like bigger isn’t always better. More complicated isn’t always better either. That’s why I like to keep it simple.
Knowing that about me, you can guess that each of these are easy to set up, play together and then hopefully lead to some independent play (because mama needs a second to sip her coffee or just have a complete thought).
It’s also super helpful to know that if you begin the activity with your child and play together for at least 15 minutes. They’ll usually run with it after that and play on their own.
Think of it like a bucket that needs filled with attention. Once you’ve filled it (usually takes about 15 minutes). Then you can leave them to play independently and you can work independently. Or, let’s be real, just sit somewhere independently!
Every single one of these easy, fun activities for kids will be morphed into something totally different if you let your child take over after you’ve played it the “right” way.
That’s so exciting to me because first, independent play. But also, this is when you can see their imagination going and growing.
Play is the number one way our kids learn. So, when we set them up with the right kind of play. It become an awesome tool and gateway into growing and learning.
In this post I’ve included stay at home activities that will help your child burn energy, activities for toddlers, activities for babies plus family activities at home.
Being stuck at home with your kids can be an amazing time. One that neither of you will ever forget. For good reasons. 🙂
I hope these activities open up the door of learning, fun and memories for you and your families.
Burn Energy! – Stay At Home Activities
Activities that burn energy are on the top of our list because 3 year old. Need I say more?!
I’m sure you get it. These at home activities are all easy with minimal set up and tools.
Sounds pretty good, right?! Let me break it down for you.
Since your little one probably acts like a jumping bean this will be a way to direct that energy in a positive way.
Simply put two strips of Painter’s Tape on your hardwood or carpet flooring about 4-6ft apart.
Then direct your child to jump from one end to the other.
I know it sounds to easy to work but it works!
We’ve made obstacle courses out of everything! Couch cushions, shoes, pillows, Red Solo Cups and chairs.
You just set up what you and your child deem to be the best obstacle course and then go!
We add a timed component to up the excitement after running through the obstacle course a few times.
Bringing back and oldy but a goody! You remember tag from the playground, right?!
Kids love to be chased! So, chase that kid and tag him.
Tip: if you play it right you make them do most of the running. After all you do have a height and wing span advantage.
You can do this inside or in your backyard.
If inside use the Painter’s Tape that I mentioned above and make shapes on your carpet or hardwood.
You can use shapes you know your child is familiar with or ones that you want to work on with them.
Spread each shape out at least two feet a part.
Once you have all the shapes ready direct your child to jump on the shape that you call out.
You control the hype around this.
So, if you like, you can get really pepped up and make it a fast paced activity. Or, if you’re needing a slower pace. You can make it that way as well. You’re the boss!
It’s important to remember that as moms, we set the pace of activities.
Pom Pom Hockey
You’ll use a Pom Poms and brooms or whatever stick like things you have at the house.
And now you have hockey. Use your “hockey sticks” to hit the “puck” back and forth.
You could even come up with a net for a goal. We like to use the couch for the “goal net.”
I really wish we were in person so I could air quote all of those ” “.
Using a balloon and a pair of flip flops you can make a fly swat game.
Blow up the balloon and use a Sharpie to draw a little face and wings on it.
Next give your child a flip flop and you (or another child) have one as well.
Then you try to keep the fly in the air with the fly swatters.
Bowling with Cups
Using those Red Solo Cups again! Bless Solo Cups, they’re so cheap and so fun!
All you need to do is set up the cups in whatever formation you like. Then use one of the bajillion balls (you most likely) have lying around the house.
Have your child roll the ball and try to knock all the cups down.
Yoga for Kids
We love to use Cosmic Kids Yoga to get some fun exercise in our day.
I especially love how the instructor teaches. She is so creative and tells a story with each yoga session that your child will love.
You can just free style this one. Dancing with my kids is my favorite because it’s a judgement free zone and they actually think I’m a good dancer.
And, I’m definitely not!
But, if you’d like more direction for your dance parties. You should check out Go Noodle. You can go to this web site or download it by app.
Go Noodle gives more specific direction for dance parties or other indoor recess ideas.
Freeze is so fun and so easy!
Plus you can be the person that yells “freeze” so it’ll give you a chance to sit down for a second!
Tell your kids to move, jump, run or do whatever movement they want to. Then when you yell “freeze” everyone has to freeze in whatever
This is another great one that does not require you to do much (if you don’t want to).
Grab a solid colored ball. Then use a Sharpie to write things to do all over it. Here are some I like to use:
- Run in place.
- Jump as high as you can.
- Do 10 jumping jacks.
- Spin around 5 times.
- Act like a frog.
Then once you throw the ball to someone the do whatever action that their right thumb landed on.
Pretty simple. Get the pillows you are comfortable with using. Then proclaim PILLOW FIGHT!
There’s something so freeing about being able to throw pillows at your kids in the name of fun (haha).
Throw some pillows and couch cushions on the floor and declare the carpet “hot lava.”
Everyone must stay on the cushions and pillows are they will get burned by the lava!
Put your playful caps on for this one mom and dad.
Go Noodle has a whole section dedicated to Indoor Recess. It’s entertaining and a great way to burn some energy!
For Toddlers and Older – Stay At Home Activities
You may be noticing a trend here that all the indoor activities that I recommend are super easy!
Because life is complicated and entertaining your kids while indoors does not have to be.
I’m going to continue this trend with indoor activities for toddlers.
Shaving Cream Color Mix
All you need is some shaving cream and food coloring.
Put some shaving cream on your kitchen table or in bowls, depending on your comfort level.
Then add a few drops of food coloring to each bowl or dollop of shaving cream on your table.
We stick with the primary colors, so we use four bowls.
Mix it together with a spoon or fingers.
Your child will see the colors growing in the shaving cream.
Then after you have individual colors mixed. You can add them together to make new colors as well.
Sensory bins are so easy and so educational!
You can also make them as easy or complex as you like!
I like to use rice or oatmeal as our base because I usually have those things in the kitchen.
Then we add in some toys. Like trucks, figurines, pom poms, tongs and scoops.
Add them all together and let your child’s imagination take over.
Grab some yarn and Cheerios or Fruit Loops. Then simply instruct your child to string the cereal onto the yarn.
Sometimes holding the yarn while trying to string can be a challenge for kids.
In that case I recommend using pipe cleaners instead of yarn.
You could also place the base of a hard spaghetti noodle into play dough. That way the noodle is sturdy and your child can easily string cereal onto it.
I told you these weren’t complicated but thankfully neither are children when it comes to entertainment.
Pull out all the mismatched Rubbermaid you have and challenge your little one to find the matching lids to each one.
Doing things like this are one of my favorite because it gets your child thinking about others.
Print these cards. Have your child decorate them. Then decide who you would like to show some kindness to!
Now, go make someone’s day!
We’ve been putting them in our neighbors mailboxes which is great because we can share some kindness while social distancing.
Melt the Ice
There’s something magical about ice!
See how easy and fun it is to Melt the Ice here!
Busy bags are a great way to encourage some independent play. Which can be a great thing for you and your child.
I asked some of my friends to join me on this one and we came up with a lot of different Busy Bags great for imaginary and independent play. Click here to see all the awesome ideas!
This little gem incorporates all kinds of imaginary play!
You can use whatever ingredients you have handy in the kitchen and you don’t care to part with. Because your son/daughter will be using these items to come up with their “secret recipe!”
I usually include some:
- dry rice
- dry oatmeal
- food coloring (if you’re feeling brave)
I put each of these in their own container then let my son loose!
This is good stuff! I mean not literally. It’ll taste nasty!
Embrace the mess and the fun that will come with this one. I’ve had to let go of (or attempt to) my type A tendencies.
I give you the recipe and different play Cloud Dough play ideas here!
Water Pouring Station
Water shares the same kind of magic as ice!
Get out several different size containers.
I like to use some plastic cups, bowls, a small pitcher and spoon.
Then let your child transfer water from one container to the next. They’ll run with this and soon come up with different ideas of what they can do with their water.
Oh, and be sure to have a towel on hand. My floor is never more clean then after water transfer day. Haha!
Hammer the Box
We did a version of this in the Fall and used a pumpkin instead of a box. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Then push the tees in the box just enough to get them started. Tell your child to hammer the “nails” in the box.
This is great for fine motor skills, hand eye coordination and just good entertainment!
Pom Pom Pick Up w/ tongs
Pom Poms are a great item to always have on hand because there’s so much you can do with them!
For this activity all you’ll instruct your child to do is to pick the Pom Poms ups with tongs and transfer them to another container.
I just use big bowls and have them move them from point A to point B. But, you can use whatever container works best for you.
Using a container (like this one) set up a wash station.
You’ll have one bowl full of soapy water. Then a brush or sponge that can but used to wash.
Instruct your child to give the baby or car a bath. Then let the fun wash them away. Pun intended.
A shape hunt involves you and your little one walking around the house and looking for a particular shape.
Start with one they are very familiar with because an easy win is always a plus with kids (and adults).
As you walk around the house tell your child you are looking for anything in the shape of a circle.
When you see something take a picture of it. Then at the end of the hunt you can go through your pictures and look at all the circle shaped objects you have in your house.
This is the same concept as the shape hunt but with letters.
Once again start with a letter that they are familiar with.
Then let your hunt begin!
If you’re in need of a more structured activity schedule. Check out Learning Through Play! It’s a month of interactive learning activities all planned out for you! No more scrambling last minute to figure out what you’re going to do that day!
For Babies – Stay At Home Activities
We recently became a family of four! So, I’m trying to modify everything I do with my older son to fit my babies abilities.
Here are some easy stay at home activities to do with your baby!
Get some white packaging tissue. Then let your baby explore by touching it with their hands and feet.
You’ll need to keep a close eye because this will most likely quickly make it to their mouths. Like everything else they touch.
But, it’s still a great way for them to use their senses to explore the world around them.
This is great to do with a balloon that has helium because you can loosely tie it to their foot and let them gaze at it.
And they’ll try to swat or kick it which are both great ways to work on spacial awareness.
Sensory in a Bag
If you are doing a sensory bin for your older child this will be very easy to modify for your baby.
You simply put some of the oatmeal, rice or whatever object your using into a ziplock bag.
Make sure it’s sealed very well. Then use Painter’s Tape to tape it down to a table or their high chair trey.
Now your baby can get in on a different version of the sensory bin!
Here are some really great ideas for sensory bottles appropriate for babies and toddlers!
Something as simple as rolling a ball to your baby can be loads of fun for them!
Pick out a small ball and slowly roll it to them. Watch their reaction to see if they receive it and how they react.
This also encourages your baby to track the ball’s movement.
Celebrate any attempts they make to return the ball.
Fill a plastic bottle with rice or beans. Make sure you seal the lid very well. You can use super glue to secure the lid.
Then let your little one shake it and make their own music.
Hide and Seek
Take a toy and cover it up with a small blanket.
Then ask your baby, “where did it go?”
Help them find the toy under the blanket.
Placing a toy just out of babies reach is a great way to get them motivated to reach and move.
For Families – Stay At Home Activities
Stay at home activities can be so much fun when done as a family. They can bring you all together and help create a strong bond.
Plus the memories you make will mean the world to your kids (and you).
This is pretty much the same as German Flashlight but with a twist.
To keep everyone safe we do this indoors. Turn off all the lights in your house.
The person that is “it”has the flashlight. When they find people they shine them with a flashlight instead of tagging them.
So basically it’s easier to tag someone and make them “it.” Plus, turning off the lights gives it a whole new level of excitement.
This is one I always played with my students and it was a win every time!
We have played it a lot as a family too. You most likely know how to play “I Spy” but I’ll give directions just in case.
The person that is the “spy” finds a color in the room that they spy and everyone else has to guess what color it is.
For example: “I spy with my little eye something blue.” Then everyone else has to guess what the color is.
The person that guesses is now the “spy.”
Elefun is such a fun game that is great for toddlers!
It’s an elephant that blows butterflies out of it’s trunk. Everyone has a net and tries to catch as many butterflies as they can.
Like I said, so. much. fun!
We also to a different twist on this one. Since playing the correct way is a little too difficult with kids.
The drawer has treats. And the first person to guess what the drawer illustrates gets a treat.
The treats are usually fruit chews or random candy we have in the house.
The game of memory is a great game for the whole family. It’s also a really awesome way to work on memorization skills and matching.
Hide and Seek
The person that is the seeker counts to 10 and then says, “ready or not, here I come.”
Everyone else hides in this period of time.
The goal is to get back to wherever you declare to be base before the seeker tags you.
Whoever gets tagged is the seeker next.
Hungry, Hungry Hippos
Hungry, Hungry Hippos is another game that is great for the whole family!
It’s simple but offers a lot of fun and a little competition. If you’re into that type of thing.
Continue the Story
My son loves to be told stories. So, we started this so he could get in on the story.
One person says the first sentence to start the story. Then the next person continues the story. Then onto the next and next and next.
Until you complete the story you have created as a family!
Revisit GoNoodle but this time as an entire family.
Or just turn on your favorite Pandora station and free style it.
No judgment family dancing is the best!
Backyard/Indoor Camp Out
This is an awesome way to create family memories.
If you have a tent set it up in the backyard or living room depending on your preference and the weather.
Tell your family you are going camping!
Pull out the sleeping bags, marshmallows and other camping related items that your family would like.
I just purchased this little tent and camp set for my son that I’m super excited about!
Like I mentioned in the beginning of this post. I know that some of (most of) these stay at home activities are common knowledge.
But, sometimes we can forget the most basic of games when we are in a pinch..
I hope this serves as a helpful reference for you and your family. That enables you to create memories when you are staying home together!