a child runs through a sprinkler
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​Easy and Affordable Activities for Children at Home

  • Throw an indoor dance party. Put on your child’s favorite music and encourage them to show you their best moves. Make up your own songs that provide children instructions. For an example, check out the “dinosaur stomp”
  • Build a fort. Drape blankets and sheets over furniture and fill the inside with pillows. “Roast” marshmallows, build a cardboard fire and watch nature documentaries. Hide stuffed animals around the house and go on a nature hike to search for wildlife. Set up a towel with snacks to mimic a picnic.
  • Create an indoor obstacle course. Set up a course around the house and offer different activities and obstacles along the way. You can use masking tape to create a route. Create an outdoor obstacle course using sidewalk chalk. Write instructions or tasks on the ground. Time children
  • and encourage them to beat their best time.
  • Make an animal bath time station. Fill up a bin with water and soap. Encourage children to bath their toy animals with a sponge and/or brush. If playing outdoors, fill a bin with dirt and one with water.
  • Create tape roads for toy cars. Lay out electrical tape on the floor to create roads for toy cars to drive on. Make tunnels out of construction paper and garages with cardboard boxes.
  • Create a teddy zipwire. Tie a wire or string from a high point in the house to a low point, attach a soft toy to a hanger and send it down the zipwire.
  • Write letters to loved ones. Let children design their own cards, help with the labeling and placing them in the mailbox. Write letters to others within the community (nursing homes, nurses, grocery stores, post office workers) to thank them for their service.
  • Play a memory game. Gather about 6-8 objects or toys with your child. Name them all and put them in a pile on the floor. Ask your child to cover their eyes or turn their back. Take one object away. Then tell your child to look at the pile and guess what object is missing. Repeat with other items.
  • Take a "senses" walk outside. Ask your child, "What do you hear? What can you see? What can you smell? Find and touch something smooth, rough, etc."
  • Go outside on a sunny day. Look at your shadow. See if you can make different shapes or even animals with your hands and feet.
  • Play "catch the tail". Tuck a sock or wash cloth in the back of your waistbands to make a tail. Have each player pretend they are an animal with a tail. Then try to catch and capture each other's tail.
  • Hold a household Olympics where you can have kids take part in a number events.Events can include sock shot put, standing long jump, race around the home or yard, a “gymnastics” floor routine, and out-of-water synchronized swimming.Be creative with the kids and have them come up with their own events safe to hold at home.Take it to the next level with an opening ceremony where you challenge your kids to put together a musical performance.Have young kids do a parade of rooms where they can march around the house holding an object that represents their room.For older kids have them pick a nation and draw/color that nation’s flag for the parade of nations.
  • On warm days have kids go swimming in the bath tub.Fill it up with cool water and have them take a bath wearing their swim suits.
  • On a hot day have an outdoor water fight.You do not have to invest in water guns or balloons, just fill bowls up with water and provide spoons for them to scoop water with and throw at each other.
  • Prepare food as a family.Kids like to help in the kitchen no matter what you are making.The recipes do not have to be complex, kids will enjoy making a peanut butter sandwich if they can do some of it themselves.
  • Play the story game.You say one line of a story and then the next person has to say the next line.You take turns saying the next line in the story until someone finishes it.The stories can be classic fairy tales or something you make up yourselves.
  • Have a family dinner and a movie night.Put a movie on and eat dinner while you watch.If children do not normally get to eat in front of the TV this will be a very big deal for them.Take the opportunity to show them some of your age-appropriate favorites.
  • Turn your home into one big musical instrument.Give your child something they can use as drum sticks and then let them experiment by tapping different objects around the house to see what different sounds/rhythms they can create.Make sure to follow them around so you can show them objects that are not safe to tap.

Last updated October 19, 2020