Take advantage of the chance to spend time with your kids.
If you’re a parent, school closures and the CDC’s recommended self-quarantine has likely left you with a house full of kids for at least a few weeks. While this probably complicates at least a few areas of your daily life, it’s also a great chance to spend time with your kids and reconnect as a family. Normally, you’d be able to go on fun family outings to places like the zoo, but many businesses have closed and the advice is it’s safer to stay at home. Thankfully, there are plenty of activities you can do at home to entertain your kids and build lasting memories as a family. Here are 10 things your kids will love doing at home.
1. Design a scavenger hunt.
Scavenger hunts are easy to tailor to your kids’ ages and reading levels—for little ones, you can hide identical objects like Easter eggs or print a piece of paper with pictures of the items you’ve hidden; while you can compose clever rhymes or even cryptic clues about an object’s location or identity for older kids. These hunts are a blast for your kids and are a sneaky way to exercise their brains while school is out.
2. Set up a picnic in your backyard.
If the weather outside is nice enough, you can get a little fresh air and help cure your cabin fever by setting up a picnic in your backyard. Just make a simple lunch and play a few games outside once you’re done eating. Since you’ll be a few feet from your house, you won’t even have to worry about forgetting anything; if someone wants a little extra mayo, all you need to do is grab it from the refrigerator!
3. Build birdhouses together.
This can be a fun family activity that’s really rewarding for your kids; not only will they end up with a great finished product that they can show people, but they’ll be ecstatic to see birds move into the house they built. Since building birdhouses is a common craft, there are a lot of options to fit your family’s needs. You can simply let your children paint pre-made houses, buy a kit that has all the parts you need to build the house, or get creative by building a house from scratch with milk cartons, coffee or paint cans, or popsicle sticks.
4. Let your kids put on an impromptu play for you.
If you’re running out of things to do in the house, you can clear a makeshift stage in your living room and encourage your kids to let their creativity loose by putting on an impromptu play for you. It could combine elements of play that many kids love, like make-believe, dress-up, and even music if they want! This feeds your kids’ creativity and can provide a few hours of entertainment if they decide to plan and rehearse a little.
5. Go bowling at home.
You can set up a mini bowling lane with plastic cups or used tin cans, then use a small ball to try and knock them all over. Depending on the age of your kids and the competitiveness of your family, you can keep score or just have fun. You might want to set it up in a place where your kids aren’t likely to break something by being overenthusiastic, but the entire family can have fun with your new at-home bowling alley.
6. Hold a game tournament.
If you own gaming systems like an Xbox or Nintendo Switch, you can set up a game tournament with the entire family. Offer a small prize for the winner and see who can become the grand champion—if you have a wide selection of games, this can fill an entire afternoon. Even if you don’t have digital games, you can hold a tournament with board or card games.
7. Create tissue paper art.
Tissue paper art is a simple craft that yields a watercolor-style painting so beautiful that you can kill two birds with one stone—entertaining your kids and finding Christmas or birthday presents for the grandparents! You can frame it as-is or, if you’re good at calligraphy, add an inspirational quote to the painting. The craft itself is incredibly simple, so all you need is a canvas for each of your kids, a spray bottle, and special bleeding art tissue paper. If you try to use normal tissue paper, it won’t work—so be sure to get the right kind!
8. Construct a DIY skee ball game.
Skee ball is a popular arcade game that’s actually really easy to re-create at home—simplified, of course. You can use a few low-lying boxes or laundry baskets as goals, create a ramp out of cardboard, and use light balls like those from a ball pit. As long as you already have balls that’ll work, this setup can be slapped together at the last minute, and it’s equally easy to pull apart when your children are done playing. You can also build a relatively simple cardboard version of the arcade game in about an hour. Whichever method you choose, your kids will have a blast seeing who can score the most points.
9. Build a fort.
Your kids will absolutely love pulling out pillows and blankets to make a huge fort in your home, and you’ll likely have a blast joining in, too! When they’re done, you can all settle down in the cozy fort to read, play games, or even take a quick nap. It does make quite a mess to clean up, but you can have your children help—which has the added bonus of teaching them a valuable lesson!
10. Explore zoos through virtual tours.
Going to the zoo would normally be a perfect family trip when your kids are out of school, but current restrictions have made it impossible; thankfully, zoos have started launching virtual tours, live streams of animals in their enclosures, and even daily lessons for your little ones about the zoo’s animals. These resources from zoos around America can give your children a chance to see unique animals, and keeps their brains working and learning while they’re out of school!
While self-quarantine does mean that you have to stay home with your kids, it doesn’t mean you have to be bored! With a little creativity, your family can find new ways to have a blast together every day, making your self-quarantine the perfect opportunity to grow even closer as a family.