- 1 Fun Indoor Activities to Do With Your Kids at Home
- 1.1 1. Reading and Story Time Activities For Kids
- 1.2 2. Set a Reading Goal
- 1.3 3. Make Up Stories with Mad Libs
- 1.4 4. Indoor Treasure Hunt
- 1.5 5. Have a Dance Party
- 1.6 6. Introduce Your Children to Yoga
- 1.7 7. Learn How to Juggle Together
- 1.8 8. Make Playdough
- 1.9 9. Create Faux Food
- 1.10 10. Make Slime
- 1.11 11. Create Art Together
- 1.12 12. Make a Tornado in a Bottle
- 1.13 13. Tie-Dye Together
- 1.14 14. Make Jewelry
- 1.15 15. Create a Leaf Rubbing Collage
- 1.16 16. Make a Bubble Painting
- 1.17 17. Make Stress Balls
- 1.18 18. Create Photo Albums or Scrapbooks
- 1.19 19. Make Keepsake Boxes
- 1.20 20. Writing Activities For Kids
- 1.21 21. Become Pen Pals
- 1.22 22. Play 20 Questions
- 1.23 23. Create Your Own Dinner Conversation Starters
- 1.24 24. Cook Together
- 1.25 25. Have a Bake-Off
- 1.26 26. Make Brownie Sundaes
- 1.27 27. Make Butter in a Jar
- 1.28 28. Have a Board Game Marathon
- 1.29 29. Play Cards as a Family
- 1.30 30. Play Video Games Together
- 1.31 31. Have a Movie Marathon
- 1.32 32. Have an At-Home Spa Day
- 1.33 33. Become Tourists for a day
- 1.34 34. Visit Your Local Library
- 1.35 35. Sign Your Kids Up for Library Cards
- 1.36 36. Find a Local Book Club
- 1.37 37. Join a Summer Reading Program
- 1.38 38. Visit Your Local Fire Station
- 1.39 39. Visit a Nursing Home or Assisted Living Community
- 1.40 40. Develop a New Skill
- 1.41 41. Paint Pottery Together
- 1.42 42. Take a Nature Walk
- 1.43 43. Visit a Local Greenhouse
- 1.44 44. Play in the Sand
- 1.45 45. Visit the Zoo
- 1.46 46. Volunteer at the Humane Society
- 1.47 47. Go Horseback Riding
- 1.48 48. Go Swimming
- 1.49 49. Go Skating
- 1.50 50. Go for a Bike Ride
- 1.51 51. Go for a Picnic
- 1.52 52. Go Fishing
- 1.53 53. Play a Sport
- 1.54 54. Go Sledding or Snow Tubing
- 1.55 55. Attend a Sporting Event
- 1.56 56. Go Camping
- 1.57 57. Plan a Vacation
- 1.58 58. Play Road Trip Bingo
- 1.59 59. Conduct a Mentos Experiment
- 1.60 60. Plant a garden
- 1.61 61. Plan a Field Day at Home
- 1.62 62. Break out the Water Toys
- 1.63 63. Play Ball
- 1.64 64. Fly a Kite
- 2 Benefits of Participating in Activities with Your Kids
- 3 How to Engage with Your Kids
In search of a new activity to enjoy with your kiddos?
Whether you’re looking for the perfect family hobby, or you just need a respite from the monotony of a tiring weekly schedule, I’ve ventured out with my own fam and found 62 awesome activities I believe every family will enjoy.
This list is particularly helpful for families stuck in a routine rut, and for those breaks throughout the school year that sneak up on all of us parents.
If you’re ready for a new adventure, read on!
From staycations and reading marathons to road trips and discovering local treasures, there’s something on this list for every family.
For extra motivation, I invite you to print off this list, share it with your kids, mark your favorites, and set a goal to try one new activity together every week or month.
Let the kids take turns choosing activities, highlight them as you complete them, and note whether you’d like to try the activities again. Soon, you and your kids will have a long list of fun activities to choose from on those “Mom, I’m bored!” days.
Since the following list got substantially longer than I’d initially expected, I’ve divvied up the activities into three categories to make your search easier. Within each category, you’ll find subcategories that will help you plan for a weekend in or a day out on the town.
- Fun indoor activities to do with your kids at home
- Fun activities to do with your kids out and about
- Fun outdoor activities to do with your kids at home
Fun Indoor Activities to Do With Your Kids at Home
Although getting out of the house to explore new places and socialize with others is important, planning a staycation or a weekend filled with homebound activities is equally fun and teaches kids the perks of creativity. Below are some family-friendly adventures and activities that don’t require leaving the house:
1. Reading and Story Time Activities For Kids
Reading is exercise for the brain. It helps children focus while improving their vocabulary and language. Stories encourage kids to develop their imagination and allow them to explore the world without leaving home. Reading and creating stories are wonderful activities for family bonding.
2. Set a Reading Goal
Aim to read to/with your kids daily. My kids have a pile of favorite books that they request on a regular basis. I’m fairly certain we all have the entire Dr. Seuss collection memorized at this point.
Let your kids take turns choosing a book, and read to them at naptime and/or every night before bed. As they start learning to read, ask them to read to you or the entire family and be sure to praise them for a job well done. This will help them gain confidence and self-esteem while boosting their reading skills.
3. Make Up Stories with Mad Libs
My favorite way to make up stories with my kids is by using printable mad libs. They’re hilariously fun, and there are lots of websites that offer free printable mad libs for kids of all ages. Your children will have so much fun, they won’t even realize they’re learning! Check out Woo Jr. for a variety of free mad libs categorized by season and occasion. I also love the official Mad Libs books, which I always take on car trips and vacations.
4. Indoor Treasure Hunt
Next time you’re at a discount or dollar store, pick up a few games, toys, and treats for your kiddos, and stash the prizes away for a rainy day treasure hunt. During a day at home, hide the items, and give each child a list of clues and a bag or box to collect their treasures. The process is fun, and your kids will have plenty of new goodies to keep them occupied for the rest of the dreary day.
5. Have a Dance Party
Put together a playlist of your kids’ favorite cheerful songs, include a few of your own favs, and have an impromptu dance party every now and then! For little kids, Laurie Berkner is full of energy and sings fun, upbeat songs. There are lots of free apps to stream music and make your own playlists. We love Google Play Music at our house. Spotify, Pandora, and YouTube are also excellent options. We also love the game Just Dance, which is available for multiple game consoles.
Tip: Turn on upbeat music in the morning while your family gets ready for the day. It’s a great way to start the day out on a positive note!
6. Introduce Your Children to Yoga
Our local YMCA has a mommy and me yoga class. If there are no classes in your area, YouTube is a great resource for new yogis of all ages. This awesome video led by yoga instructor Sophia Khan is a wonderful introduction to yoga for the entire family. Yoga helps improve flexibility and balance, creates a mind-body connection, and helps kids focus. It can also help lower stress and anxiety, which many kids experience but may have difficulty explaining.
7. Learn How to Juggle Together
Learning to juggle is fun, and it helps growing kids develop their fine motor skills. Plus, your kiddos can share their new talent with their friends. Josh Horton is a Guinness World Record holder and champion juggler, and he shares his tips and tricks in this fun and informative YouTube tutorial. Check it out with your kids!
8. Make Playdough
Sure, you can buy Play-Doh at the store, but when you make it at home, it’s completely customizable! My kids and I love the playdough-making tutorials by Before and After TV. The host, Katie, has four excellent videos with easy-to-follow instructions. Our favorites are Katie’s glow-in-the-dark playdough tutorial and her no-cook Jell-O playdough tutorial. Be sure to store playdough in an airtight container or baggie to keep it soft and pliable.
9. Create Faux Food
One of my kids’ favorite activities is pretending like they own a restaurant. I’ve helped them create menus, had the menus laminated (since they get LOTS of use), and bought each child a small notebook for taking orders. They make faux food from their homemade playdough and serve it to everyone in the family, including our pets, dolls, and stuffed animals. I encourage the kids to draw pictures of the foods we order and practice their writing skills.
10. Make Slime
If you haven’t joined the wonderful world of slime-making, now is the time! There are tutorials all over the web, and my fam has tried several. Our go-to recipe is on Target’s website. It only requires a 4oz. bottle of Elmer’s School Glue, ½ tablespoon of baking soda, and ¼ tablespoon of contact lens solution. Target even carries colored glue, so you and your kiddos can choose your favorite shade. For even more fun, pick up some glitter glue or glow-in-the-dark glue!
Tip: This is a super-fun interactive activity for kids’ birthday parties. Let the children make their own slime, and they can take it home as party favors.
11. Create Art Together
Gather all of your art supplies, and enjoy an artsy afternoon indoors or out. Get messy and color outside the lines! Although I love my adult coloring books, I highly recommend a blank canvas to let your creativity soar.
Tip: If you or your kids can’t decide what to draw, paint, or color, Kids Steam Lab has an awesome (and free!) list of 31 creative drawing prompts for kids of all ages. For a fun twist, write down numbers 1 to 31 on strips of paper and have each kiddo draw a number to determine what they’ll create.
12. Make a Tornado in a Bottle
Not all kids science experiments require safety goggles and expensive equipment. You and your kiddos can create a tornado in a bottle with items you likely already have at home. You’ll need a bottle or jar with smooth sides and a tight-fitting lid, water, a drop of dish soap, and glitter (any color will do). Check out this easy tutorial on YouTube, which includes step-by-step instructions and a mini science lesson to boot.
13. Tie-Dye Together
Tap into your inner hippie, and pick up some supplies to tie-dye with the kiddos. This can be a relatively inexpensive activity. You can find basic white tees at a dollar or hobby store, and Tulip makes an amazing 70-piece tie-dye kit that’s not too pricy and makes tie-dying super easy. If you don’t fancy a tie-dyed shirt, your local craft store should have other dye-ready options, such as baby onesies and tote bags. You can even dye white socks, towels, or tees you already have at home.
14. Make Jewelry
You can buy jewelry-making supplies at your local craft store, but string, yarn, or dental floss and round pasta noodles work just as well. Check out this short tutorial by Emmy Made, who uses rigatoni, rubbing alcohol (or vodka), and food coloring to make pasta “beads.”
15. Create a Leaf Rubbing Collage
This activity is lots of fun for kids and adults alike. You’ll need a flat surface, freshly picked or fallen leaves, paper, and crayons. Store bought fabric leaves are a good option if there are no trees or leaves in your area, but keep in mind that they don’t work quite as well as real leaves. This helpful tutorial walks you through the process. Consider picking up frames at a dollar store to display your creations.
Tip: Avoid old, crunchy leaves, as they tend to fall apart during this activity.
16. Make a Bubble Painting
One of my kids’ favorite activities is bubble painting. It’s a bit more involved than the leaf collage project, but it’s well worth the extra effort. For this activity, you’ll need water, dish soap, paper cups, sugar, plastic straws, a piece of scotch tape, and watercolor paints. I love this tutorial by Jay Lee Painting. Even her baby enjoys watching the process! This talented watercolor artist has lots of fun, beautiful, and relaxing tutorials for people of all ages.
17. Make Stress Balls
One easy, inexpensive craft project my kids and I love is making stress balls. We use water beads and balloons, but if you don’t have water beads on hand, you can use cornstarch or flour. Use a funnel to fill balloons, tie them, and let your kids draw faces or designs on them. These make great gifts, and they’re also a fun party activity that kids can take home.
18. Create Photo Albums or Scrapbooks
My kids go to camp every summer, and I always send disposable cameras with them. It’s fun to see their adventures when we get the film developed. Purchase a disposable camera for each of your kids, or encourage them to take photos with their phone or camera throughout the year. Then, get the photos printed and let each child pick out a photo album or scrapbook. This is a wonderful way to reminisce and ensures their memories will last forever (and not get lost in a box or a sea of cellphone pics).
19. Make Keepsake Boxes
Before my twins were born, I bought them each a keepsake box for mementos. I saved their baby shower invitations, and cards from loved ones. Over the years, I stowed away keepsakes like booties, onesies, small toys, favorite books, and letters I’d written them. I kept up the tradition with my youngest son. My kids are all sentimental, and they love adding movie and concert tickets, pictures, cards, and letters to their keepsake boxes. They each have multiple boxes now. Although a small photo box is fine to start, I recommend picking up a larger box that will hold plenty of special treasures. It’s amazing how fast they add up!
20. Writing Activities For Kids
Unlike my generation, kids today type much more than they write. I encourage my kids to keep written journals, as it’s a helpful practice I’ve always greatly enjoyed. We also love the following activities, all of which involve putting pen to paper:
21. Become Pen Pals
With advancing technology, handwritten cards and letters are quickly becoming a thing of the past. My kids’ grandma lives in England and we live in the States, so we regularly send cards and letters back and forth, because a) it’s fun to get snail mail, and b) there’s nothing quite like sending and receiving handwritten letters. If you don’t have a long distance relative, perhaps you have a friend with children who would like to exchange cards, letters, poems, stories, or drawings. There are also sites that match pen pals, such as Snail Mail Penpals.
Tip: Always use caution when sharing personal information.
22. Play 20 Questions
It’s fun coming up with questions on the spot, but this game is particularly enjoyable if you write down the questions and answers and read them aloud to each other. Be sure to date your lists and tuck them away in a keepsake box to read later.
23. Create Your Own Dinner Conversation Starters
Over the years, I’ve learned to get creative when asking my children about their day. Otherwise, I get an automatic “fine” or “okay,” which doesn’t leave much room for discussion. To liven up the conversation at the dinner table, my kids and I decorated an old coffee can and filled it with strips of paper with conversation starters. After everyone draws one, we take turns reading and answering our prompts. Depending on the size of your family, everyone can answer every prompt, or each person can answer only their own. Below are a few examples:
- Name two good things and two not-so-good things that happened to you today.
- If you could have three wishes granted, what would you wish for?
- List three kind words that describe the person to your left, then repeat with the person on your right. (You can also have each person say one kind thing about each person at the table.)
- Share three things you are grateful for today.
- What are three jobs you think you’d enjoy?
- Name three people you’d like to invite to dinner. Why did you choose them?
- What is your favorite book, and what do you love about it?
- If you could choose your own name, what name would you choose, and why?
- What has been the best day of your life so far, and what made it great?
- Imagine you can only eat three foods for a week. Which foods would you choose, and why?
- If you could trade places with one person for a day, who would it be, and why?
- Who inspires you, and why?
Although your family’s answers may change each time, it’s fun to answer new questions. Refresh your conversation starters every month or two to keep your dinner conversations new and exciting.
24. Cook Together
Getting your kids involved in the cooking process allows you to pass on family recipes, teach them skills that will last a lifetime, and make memories together. Due to our crazy schedules, my kids don’t help my husband and I cook every night, but we do try to get each of the kiddos involved at least once each week. If you plan these cooking dates ahead of time, you can let your child plan the menu, and help you cook, serve the meal, and clean up. You can also help your kids create recipe books filled with their favorite family recipes.
25. Have a Bake-Off
Let each member of your family choose a recipe to bake. Favorites are fine, but it’s a lot of fun to pick recipes you’ve never tried. Gather all of the ingredients, and have an all-day bakeathon. Once the goodies are ready for tasting, give everyone a sampling and let them choose their favorite. Freeze leftovers, and you’ll always have an after-school snack on-hand.
26. Make Brownie Sundaes
Make brownies together and gather ingredients for a brownie sundae bar. Think outside the box, and let your kids assemble their own concoctions. We like to experiment with different flavors of ice cream (you could even make your own!), and I pick up an assortment of fresh fruits, syrups, nuts, marshmallow cream, chocolate/peanut butter chips, sprinkles, whipped cream, and maraschino cherries.
Tip: It’s also fun to make “chocolate chipper” sundaes with crumbled cookies, hot fudge or caramel sauce, and your other favorite toppings.
27. Make Butter in a Jar
I remember making homemade butter for Thanksgiving back in grade school, but I don’t remember it being so easy! You just need heavy cream, a mason jar with a lid, and a container or plastic wrap to keep your fresh butter in. This tutorial is my favorite.
28. Have a Board Game Marathon
Board games are fun for people of all ages. Candy Land and Hungry Hippos are especially entertaining for little kids (although I’d argue that they’re fun for everyone), and Scattergories, Balderdash, and Rubick’s Race are challenging and fun for older kids and teens. We’re also fans of old school favorites like Monopoly, Scrabble, Yahtzee, and Battleship. Many companies also make “junior” versions of classic board games.
29. Play Cards as a Family
Teach your kids how to play your favorite card game, or learn a new game together. I love my memories of playing Skip-Bo with my grandma in my younger days. We’d spend hours playing, drinking warm 7-Up, and eating fresh-baked cookies. Old Maid, Slap Jack, and Go Fish are great for the younger crowd. My older kids love Rummy, Uno, and Phase 10.
30. Play Video Games Together
Video games get a bad rap, but the truth is, they’re fun and can even be educational. Playing your children’s favorite video games may help you understand the appeal and lessen your frustration level the next time you call them to dinner and they beg to finish the level they’re on.
I also love playing my favorite video games from my childhood with my kids. If you have an old Nintendo or Atari collecting dust, break it out for an afternoon of fun! Some gaming companies even have rebooted versions of their most popular consoles and games.
31. Have a Movie Marathon
Pop some popcorn, grab your favorite beverages and candy, and settle in for a fun afternoon or evening of Star Wars, Harry Potter, Cars, or Toy Story. Choosing movies with sequels is fun, as it takes the guesswork out of what to watch next.
32. Have an At-Home Spa Day
Prepare an at-home spa for you and your kiddos. A tub of warm water and bubble bath can serve as a footbath, and an inexpensive nail kit and polish are the only ingredients you’ll need for a mini manicure station. Pick up bath bombs or scented soap petals for luxurious bubble baths, and check out this video from Bright Side featuring 11 DIY face masks that are easy to make with ingredients you probably already have at home.
33. Become Tourists for a day
Visit your local Convention and Visitors Bureau with your kids, and become tourists in your own town or city. Check out nearby museums, historical landmarks, and stop at a local restaurant or bakery. Don’t forget the camera!
34. Visit Your Local Library
There are endless adventures waiting for you and your child at your local library. Not only are there age-appropriate books and magazines for everyone from babies to adults; if your library is anything like ours, there is a monthly calendar with fun, educational activities and events for every age group.
From baby story time and family fun nights to teen craft hour and book discussions, there are a menagerie of free happenings for everyone in the family. Our local library has a creative writing class for teens and adults, and our local zoo even visited on one occasion. For those times when my children choose a kids-only activity, I find a mystery/thriller (my favorite!) and curl up in a cozy nook of the library. It’s impossible not to unwind.
35. Sign Your Kids Up for Library Cards
Let your kids pick out a few books and sign them up for their own library cards before heading home. It will give them a sense of empowerment and responsibility, plus they’ll have new adventures to read and share with the fam.
36. Find a Local Book Club
Look for book clubs in your area. My children and I found a Harry Potter club, as well as a young adult reading group for moms and daughters. Meetup.com is a great place to find local book clubs. Another option is to find a book everyone in your family is interested in and read it together, either aloud or separately to discuss later.
37. Join a Summer Reading Program
Every year, my kids and I sign up for a reading program before summer break begins. The library in our town has a program for readers of all ages, and there are even prizes (and stickers!) involved. If you don’t have a local summer reading program, Scholastic.com has a virtual program that’s free, fun, and motivating!
Tip: My older kids and I love Goodreads for book recommendations.
38. Visit Your Local Fire Station
Call your town’s fire station and request a tour for you and your munchkins. Not only will it be fun to explore the station and see the firetrucks; it’s also a great idea for young children to see firefighters in full gear, which can be scary for small kiddos in emergency situations. You can even bake a special treat for the firefighters ahead of time.
39. Visit a Nursing Home or Assisted Living Community
For many years, I worked as an activity director at a nursing home. I never saw the residents’ faces light up more than when children came to visit. Consider volunteering with your kids at a local nursing home or assisted living community. The residents will love getting to know you and your kids, and they have a lifetime of memories and wisdom to share. Ask the activity director if he or she needs help calling bingo or playing other games. My kids love playing cards with the residents and hearing their stories from childhood.
Note: In addition to the activities listed above, keep an eye out for local kid-friendly events. Our town has an apple-picking festival each fall with activities for kids of all ages, and there’s even a hot air balloon festival nearby. Social media is a great way to keep up-to-speed on local activities and events.
40. Develop a New Skill
Check with your local arts and crafts store for upcoming classes that are adult and kid-friendly. My 14-year-old daughter and I recently took a Zentangle class and had so much fun! We’re planning on going back for the advanced class, as we’ve been Zentangling like crazy!
Tip: If you’d prefer to learn a new skill together at home, check out Skillshare.com for thousands of online course options. Mybluprint.com is another great place to find classes for people of all ages.
41. Paint Pottery Together
While exploring a nearby town, my kids and I stumbled across a beautiful pottery store and painting studio. We greatly enjoyed the entire experience, from picking out our pottery to painting it, and going back to pick up our finished treasures. From mugs, bowls, and serving dishes, to statues, light switch covers, pet bowls, and bird houses, we had no trouble finding a piece of pottery we each loved.
42. Take a Nature Walk
Enjoying nature is great way to stave off boredom as well as the blues. My family lives near farmland, and we love to visit our local goats, horses, and llamas. If you don’t live in a stroll-friendly area, visit a local nature trail or walking path. A path near us hosts child-friendly events regularly, including nighttime owl-spotting tours.
43. Visit a Local Greenhouse
My daughter and I are currently obsessed with succulents and air plants. We love visiting our local greenhouse and perusing the wide variety of plants and flowers. Take a trip to a nearby greenhouse, and let each of your children pick out a plant that they’ll be in charge of taking care of. Succulents are an excellent choice, as many of them only need watered once per week, or even less. Read up on your children’s plants and help them create a watering/fertilizing schedule. Be sure to choose plants that are appropriate for the lighting conditions in your kids’ rooms. Some plants need lots of sun, while others require very little.
44. Play in the Sand
If you’re lucky enough to live near a beach, playing in the sand is a fun (and free!) activity you and your kids can enjoy anytime, even when it’s not necessarily swimming weather. Bundling up and going to the beach on a crisp fall day can be downright exhilarating.
If there are no beaches nearby, consider investing in a sandbox for your backyard. This popular sand table by Step 2 is sturdy and durable, and can be used both indoors or outdoors. We use ours in our garage during the chillier months.
45. Visit the Zoo
My kids and I love the zoo. I save money by purchasing a family membership annually, which comes with a coupon booklet filled with money saving offers for the zoo’s gift shops and food court. Rather than visiting every area, we explore a different region or two every time we go. This makes it much easier to enjoy the experience, as we don’t feel like we have to rush to see everything in one trip.
It’s also a lot of fun to visit a petting zoo. Take photos of your kids with the animals, and research each animal when you get home.
46. Volunteer at the Humane Society
Last summer, my kids and I volunteered at the local Humane Society. Once a week, we’d visit the animals, pet and brush them, and walk the dogs outside. Humane Societies are always in need of caring volunteers. As an added bonus, you and your kids may fall in love with the animals and choose to take one or two home.
Tip: Caring for a pet gives kids a sense of responsibility, helps them tap into their natural empathy, and boosts self-esteem. Research even shows that pet owners are happier and healthier than non-pet owners.
47. Go Horseback Riding
I didn’t go horseback riding for the first time until I was an adult. I wish I’d gone as a kid, because I spent many years afraid of large animals. Introducing your kids to horses and other large animals early can increase their confidence around these gentle giants. I recommend finding a horseback riding instructor who will teach your kids everything they need to know about riding and proper horse care.
48. Go Swimming
Learning how to swim is another confidence booster and teaches kids to respect and stay safe around large bodies of water. Swimming is fun, and it’s great for the cardiovascular system.
Swim lessons teach children life-saving skills they’ll likely never forget. A quick Google search will help you find lessons in your area. My kids learned to swim at our local YMCA, where we’re able to swim indoors year-round.
49. Go Skating
Check with your local ice or roller skating rink for special deals and offers. The rink in our town offers free admission and discounts for kids who bring their report cards. There is also a midweek pizza buffet night that I particularly enjoy since I get to skip cooking dinner! Check out the best roller skates for kids here!
50. Go for a Bike Ride
Ride around your neighborhood or explore a local bike-friendly trail. Take along a backpack with water, sunscreen, and snacks.
51. Go for a Picnic
One of my favorite activities to do with my kids is picking a park and packing a picnic for a leisurely afternoon. If you have small kids, opt for a park with a playground for hours of fun. For older kids, choose a location with a sports field or take a game along. You can even have a picnic in your own backyard!
52. Go Fishing
Pack up the poles, pick up some bait, and take your kids on a fishing trip. Find a location, and teach your kiddos to bait the hook, cast the line, hold the pole properly, and reel fish in. Be sure your children wear life jackets near water. I recommend starting out fishing from the shore rather than taking first-timers out on a boat. I also encourage you to take your kids to a fishing spot with an abundance of various types of fish.
Tip: If your children enjoy fishing, assemble a tackle box with hooks, bobbers, and sinkers for each of them. You can find fishing poles for kids by age, and many of them come with everything they’ll need to get started.
53. Play a Sport
Take your kids to a nearby tennis or basketball court, and teach them the basic rules. Be patient as they get acquainted with the sport. Miniature golf is a great introduction to golf, and bowling alleys have bumpers for bowling newbies. Encourage your children to ask the other kids in your neighborhood to play softball, soccer, or kickball. If you’re unfamiliar with a sport your kids would like to play, ask a local coach to show your family the basics.
54. Go Sledding or Snow Tubing
If you live in a colder climate, bundle up and hit the slopes! Sledding locally is fun, but our favorite winter activity is tubing at a ski resort an hour from our home. It’s ridiculously fun for everyone in the family, and it’s well worth the trip! Ask around or search Google for slopes in your town and surrounding areas.
55. Attend a Sporting Event
Take your kids to a high school or college football or volleyball game, or watch the pros at a MLB or NHL game. My dad played basketball when I was growing up, and I loved watching him in action. Your kids will learn about sportsmanship early and witness the excitement of loyal fans. Check to see if your children can meet the players after the game or match.
Tip: If you happen to have a neighbor with older kids that your children look up to, consider attending their sporting events. Your kids will love cheering them on, and your neighborhood sports pro will likely be happy to show your children the ropes.
56. Go Camping
Dust off the tent in your garage, or borrow one from a friend, and go for a camping adventure with your family. If you’d prefer a more glamorous camping experience, consider renting a camper. A couple in our town owns multiple campers and will drive them to the campground of your choice for a weekend or weeklong getaway.
57. Plan a Vacation
Planning a family vacation is just as much fun as the vacation itself. Get the kids involved in the planning process. Show them where you’ll be staying and ask them to help plan activities. Their involvement will increase excitement and give the entire family something fun to look forward to.
Tip: Although we usually ask the kids to help plan our trips, my husband and I have taken them on surprise vacations on a couple of occasions. We tell them we’re taking a trip without telling them the location. The anticipation makes it fun, but my teenage daughter is a planner, so surprise trips stress her out. Do what works for your fam!
58. Play Road Trip Bingo
If you’re going on vacation or have a long car trip coming up, I highly recommend road trip bingo. Print off the free bingo cards available over on the Travel Channel’s website, and stock up on snacks and small prizes for your kiddos. Road trip bingo will help you and your kids enjoy the travel experience and keep you from zoning out on digital devices and missing the trip altogether.
59. Conduct a Mentos Experiment
This activity seriously never gets old. You can create “pop geysers” in your own backyard with Mentos and a variety of sodas. This video by DIY Science highlights the chemical reactions of nine different sodas.
Tip: Set up a camera to record the experiment, if possible. Watching it afterwards is almost as fun as the experiment itself.
60. Plant a garden
If you have space, consider planting a flower or vegetable garden at home. Plant seeds with your kids, tend to the garden together, and take photos every week to see how much your flowers or plants have grown. If you don’t have space outside, or you’d like to plant seeds in the colder months, you can grow some vegetables indoors, including lettuce, carrots, scallions, tomatoes, and arugula. You can even grow lemons inside!
61. Plan a Field Day at Home
You can get out and about without ever leaving home. Set up a field day in your driveway or yard with separate stations for hula-hoops, hopscotch, sidewalk chalk drawings, ring toss, ball toss, jump rope, corn hole, and any other activities you have on hand.
We have a ladder ball set at home, which makes a great field day activity, and I even found a miniature trampoline at a local thrift store. The possibilities are virtually endless!
62. Break out the Water Toys
At-home water activities are a great way to cool down on a hot summer’s day, and they keep me and my kids occupied for hours! This sprinkler play mat by Splashin’ Kids is perfect for younger children. We also love this Splash and Spray Ball, which is great for kids of all ages. Squirt guns are also fun, and you can never go wrong with a friendly water balloon fight. For little kids, I highly recommend a baby pool with a variety of bath toys. This adorable pool by Step 2 comes with a built-in umbrella for shade.
Tip: In addition to water toys, break out the bubbles on a hot summer’s day! Just make sure you use a pressure washer on your patio or decking after, otherwise it might become slippery.
63. Play Ball
Kick a soccer ball back and forth, throw a football, or pick up an inexpensive T-ball set for hours of fun. My sons and I love playing soccer, so we invested in a full-size goal last year, and we use it even more than I’d imagined. If you have a basketball hoop, teach your kids how to play pig and horse.
64. Fly a Kite
I’ve found that the best types of exercise are those activities that just feel like fun! Flying a kite is a wonderful physical activity that doesn’t feel like exercise. I love this 3-pack of easy-flyer kites I found on Amazon.
Benefits of Participating in Activities with Your Kids
Engaging in meaningful, fun, active, or just plain silly activities with your kids will help to strengthen the bond between you. Kids who spend quality time with their parents tend to communicate more at home, and they’re less likely to develop harmful habits like drug use, according to Livestrong.com.
Kids with involved parents are happier overall. They also have higher self-esteem and are able to regulate their emotions better than kids with absent parents.
The benefits of interacting with your children will carry over into adulthood. Kids with present parents get better grades and tend to stay in school longer, opening up more career options. These kids shy away from risky behaviors and activities, such as smoking, engaging in unprotected sex, and criminal acts. Children with engaged parents are typically more social, making it easier to form healthy friendships and relationships.
How to Engage with Your Kids
- Ask your kids which activities they’re interested in. Instead of planning activities for spring break or summer vacation on your own, ask your children to help you brainstorm. Encourage them to try new things, and welcome their suggestions. Make a list of activities and upcoming events you’re all interested in, and start filling up your calendar. Give each child a copy of the list and calendar, so they can look forward to the next activity or event and mark them off as they go.
- Let your kids know the time you spend together is important. Stay off your phone, and let older kids know ahead of time that the activity will be a no-phone zone.
- Don’t force it. If you or your kids don’t enjoy an activity, don’t force it. Have a backup plan just in case the activity is a flop.
- Don’t be afraid to try new things. Facing your fears will set a great example for your kids. Afraid of snakes? Visit the reptile house at the zoo where glass separates you from your nemesis. Afraid of heights? Try rock climbing or rappelling. I was terrified of heights, so I tried out rappelling with an instructor and absolutely loved it!
- Don’t force your children to try activities they’re afraid of. Allowing your kids to make decisions for themselves is empowering. My daughter can’t go in a cave or cavern without hyperventilating, so we only visit those places when she has other plans.
- Don’t judge. If one of your children doesn’t excel at an activity or simply doesn’t enjoy it, don’t pass judgment. Trying new things in a nonjudgmental setting is incredibly important for growth and development. Your children are much more likely to open up about their opinions, experiences, and fears if you make a habit of listening, acknowledging their concerns, and not passing judgment.
- Make passive activities engaging. If you watch a movie together, talk about the characters and plot afterward. Open up the conversation for kids to express their feelings and ask questions.
- Make it a habit. Rather than planning a jam-packed spring break week, space out activities throughout the year. There’s no bigger letdown than a blank calendar after a fun-filled week. I try to always have something on the books for my family to look forward to.
- Spread the love. If your kids have friends whose parents are absent, or there are latchkey kids in your neighborhood, ask them to join in the fun (with their parents’ permission). Inviting these kids to play a game, join your field day festivities, or make slime with your family will have a positive impact on everyone, and you’ll be modeling kindness, empathy, and compassion to your kids and their friends.
I hope you and your children enjoy this list of activities and find a few new things to try. Most of all, I hope these ideas help you connect with your kids and bring you all endless fun!