The kids are out of school and maybe you are the parent who is staying home with them during the day. Have you run out of ideas to keep the little ones busy? We’re here to help.


Sometimes half the fun of an activity is planning it and setting it up. Depending on the age of the children, they may be able to actively assist in setting up some of these activities.

  • Indoors or outdoors: Painters tape (sticky side facing out) can be used to create a giant spider web across a doorway. Balled up newspaper can be the flies that try to get past the spider.
  • Indoors: Burlap from a garden store can be used to make a toddler appropriate sewing station.  Stretch the burlap over coat hangers or other similar wire frame and then glue it or staple it in place. Young hands can use chop sticks to poke yarn or string through the burlap to create patterns.
  • Indoors: Toddlers can be kept busy with a colander and pipe cleaners. Threading them through and making loops works on their manual dexterity.
  • Indoors: With popsicle sticks attached to paper plates (the ping pong paddle) and a balloon (the ping pong) you can play Balloon Ping Pong.  This is best done in a room without breakable objects. You could do this outdoors also.
  • Indoors: Yarn that crisscrosses a stair railing or a room can be used to create “laser beams” just like Mission Impossible. Kids bend and stretch to work their bodies through the maze without touching the string.
  • Indoors: Put colored tape on the carpet to make roads for your kid’s toy cars.  The tape comes up easily when you’re done.
  • Outdoors: Cut a pool noodle in half to make a marble race track. Race against each other – or against the clock.
  • Outdoors: Balloon rockets teach the concept of “action and reaction.” You’ll need yarn (about six feet) a balloon, two chairs, a drinking straw, tape and scissors. Start by tying one end of the string to the back of a chair. Thread a drinking straw onto the other end of the string, and then tie the string to the second chair. Attach 2 pieces of tape (about 2 inches in length) to the center of the straw and then inflate a balloon but don’t tie it off. Holding onto the opening of the balloon (so the air doesn’t escape), attach it to the straw using the tape. Pull the balloon to one end of the string (so that the opening of the balloon is touching one of the chairs), let go and see what happens. The balloon should start to move as soon as you let go of it.
  • Outdoors: Make a river in the backyard out of tinfoil. You’ll need a hose for the river water of course, and kids can see which “boats” move faster. Or race them!
  • Outdoors: Pool noodles can be used to create hurdles and other obstacles for a backyard obstacle course.
  • Outdoors: Use chalk to draw a big bullseye on a driveway. Toss sponges for points as eye-hand coordination improves.
  • Outdoors: You can make a throwing tarp if you’re willing to cut some holes in the tarp. Outline the holes with tape. Vary the size and the shape and use markers to designate points. The bigger holes are fewer points. Toss a baseball, or football, or golf ball – it’s up to you! Moving the throwing line farther from the tarp increase difficulty.

Kids of all ages, even tweens, love games. These activities should get them out of their screen games and into physical games.
  • Jumbo Jenga. We don’t know why it is more fun when the blocks are big – but it is. You’ll need 2x4 boards to cut into forty-eight 10 1/2 inch pieces. The lumber yard or hardware store will usually cut them up for you. Paint each end one of four different colors and start playing with normal Jenga rules.
  • Geocaching (pronounced geo-cashing). When geocaching was invented you needed a special handheld GPS device – now you can use a smart phone if you have one. The idea is to find treasures (small objects) that people have hidden in parks, cities, small towns and many other pieces of public land. There are geocache websites where you can choose a search location – and then you go on a hunt. When you find the cache (treasure) you take an item and leave an item behind as a trade. Some of the caches are very cleverly hidden – in old logs, down a well, high up a tree - a worthy challenge for tweens.
  • Minute to Win It. This one is based on the TV program and can be done with items you have in your home. It is a competition – one minute for each “event.” Here are a few ideas:
  • Stack Attack. Stack 28 plastic cups in a pyramid shape, and unstack them all in 60 seconds or less.
  • Face the Cookie. Using only your facial muscles, each player must move a cookie from the top of their head, down their face, and into their mouth without dropping the cookie
  • Noodling Around. Using a long piece of spaghetti in your mouth, stack 6 penne pasta in a row in 60 seconds or less.
  • A Bit Dicey. Hold a craft stick (popsicle stick) in your mouth and then stack six dice on the end of the stick, on at a time, to create a dice tower. 60 seconds to create the stack and the player must hold the stack for at least 3 seconds.
  • Sticky Situation. Objective: Launch a ping pong from one table to the other to stick onto a piece of bread with peanut butter on top.
  • Nose Dive. Objective: Transfer cotton balls from one bowl to the other using only petroleum jelly on the end of your nose.


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