School is cancelled. Everything is closed. Your kids are stuck at home. They are driving you mad with their constant whining, “I’m bored!” We are all facing this problem: We need easy and comprehensive stay at home activities for kids to keep parents sane!
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HOW TO ENTERTAIN KIDS AT HOME
There are many ways to entertain kids at home. Activities may range from educational, indoor and outdoor games, arts and crafts, DIY, online, and things to do as a family.
These are the important things to consider when choosing activities for kids:
- Know what your child enjoys.
- Decide on the skill you would like for them to learn.
- Mix up the educational activities, arts and craft activities, indoor and outdoor activities each day.
- Prepare the materials needed for each activity in advance.
- If you will allow use of gadgets as activities, choose educational sites and set a time limit to protect their eyes.
- Choose activities that are easy and fun to do.
The secret to entertaining kids stuck at home is to create a daily schedule of activities to keep them from being bored.
DAILY SCHEDULE FOR KIDS
Now that kids are stuck at home because they can’t go anywhere since school and everything else is closed, it doesn’t mean that you should leave them to their own devices.
Kids need boundaries. They need a routine to follow so they won’t be bored and their learning won’t stop.
Kids are used to following a schedule while in school. Continue by setting up a daily schedule to follow at home.
Having a routine to follow not only keeps your kids from being bored, it also helps them continue their learning even at home.
PLUS it helps you to squeeze in some work that you might have brought home with you.
When organizing kids schedule, remember these tips:
- Decide if you want to have a strict hourly schedule or more flexible small blocks of time.
- If you do create an hourly schedule, think of it more as a flow guide to what your kids should be doing at certain times of the day. But if they are still enjoying a certain task, be flexible and let them be.
- Have educational activities touching on different subjects per day to keep things fresh.
- Include “Free Play” in the daily schedule of activities to keep things fun.
- Squeeze in chores to teach kids responsibility.
- Have all meals together as your connection time.
- Set family activities to do together everyday as your bonding time.
FREE Printable: Stay at Home Schedule of Activities for Kids
Download and print this Stay at Home Schedule of Activities for Kids so you don’t have to think about how to entertain your kids again!
STAY AT HOME ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS
Here are easy indoor activities for kids which you can do during this quarantine period. These are split into categories so it will be easy for you to choose from.
Just choose any activity and include them in the daily schedule of kids activities they can do to keep them entertained.
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These stay at home activities for kids not only teach kids many different subjects but are fun and easy to do as well.
Choose from our favorite resources, my go-to sites, for printables, DIY arts and crafts
Math and Literacy Activities
We have a few favorite sites where we get easy educational activities in printable format. These encompass subjects from Math to Literacy for grade levels from Preschool to Grade School.
The Measured Mom offers a lot of free downloadable printables to help kids learn to read, write and do Math. Check them out below:
This bundle of 120 Math and Literacy Games are being offered for FREE now until March 31, 2020 as help for parents during this pandemic. After said date, it usually sells for $12.
I actually bought this bundle before and this was my go-to resource for my son, Joshua’s, activities for Math and Literacy. I printed a few pages and included them in his “Travel Kit” to keep him occupied during our wait times at the airport.
- When you print out a page, put it in a protective sleeve such as a clearbook page or card case to make it last longer.
- Give your kids whiteboard markers to write on the protected pages. Wipe to erase and reuse many times.
Here are their printable activities for kids categorized per grade level:
Editable Printable Games
What I really like are their printables that are EDITABLE. How cool is that?
Having editable game boards mean you can teach or review many different subjects using these printables because you’re the one who will input the words or items in the games. Think alphabet, numbers, sight words, Math equations, words in your local language and many more.
I was able to teach Joshua new sight words both in English and Filipino using the same game. Really helpful and effective!
They offer printables in different seasonal designs for you to choose from. Some are free, some come at a price because they come in a bundle.
These are the most popular themes for kids:
- Prepare a list of words (sight words, new words, foreign words, spelling words) or numbers (for Math) or anything you want to input inside the editable game board.
- Create different game boards per subject or series of words or numbers so the kids can focus on only 1 subject at a time.
- Have some dice ready for playing the games.
- Put the printed games in protective sleeves to make them last longer.
- Keep the sheets in an accordion envelope for filing away. You can play the game again in future.
Experiments and projects in Science excite the kids a lot. These are wonderful activities to keep the kids occupied and learn at the same time.
Here are some of our favorite sites for Science activities for kids to do at home.
Arts and Crafts Projects
These arts and crafts activities can be part of the educational activities or fun play time activities your kids can do while they are stuck at home.
These are guaranteed fun for kids to make!
DIY Recreation for Kids
There are activities you can create yourself. This means you have full control over what you want your kids to learn.
All you need is a printer to make these activities and let the kids have a go at them.
If you child is anything like mine, penmanship is not their favorite thing to do. They have a subject for this in school and a workbook to do. Alas, the workbook got left behind in school when classes got cancelled.
Plus if your child is younger and doesn’t have a workbook, printing your own sheets to practice their handwriting is the next best thing to do.
Our favorite site for this is Handwriting Worksheets. We have been using it since Joshua was in Nursery school. We used it to train him to write his name in print.
Now at 2nd Grade, we can print out some cursive worksheets for him to practice on.
They have an option for name and sentence, single word, multi-word, and paragraph worksheets.
Did I mention this is free?
- You can laminate the handwriting worksheets after printing them or put them inside plastic pocket sheets to make them last longer.
- Use whiteboard markers and just erase after each use.
- If using protective plastic sheets, you can just remove the worksheet and replace with a new one to practice on.
HELPFUL RESOURCE: Learn how to create your own DIY Handwriting Worksheets to Make Penmanship Fun for FREE! This comes with video tutorials and examples to help you make your own penmanship practice worksheets for your kids.
Word Search Puzzles
This is a super easy and fun activity to create yourself. Just go to Super Teacher Worksheets and print them out for free.
You can input your own words which the site will automatically generate inside the word search sheet. So you can include words you want your child to learn or spell, even in your own language.
Another idea is to put in his favorite cartoon or movie characters. Your kids will surely have fun searching for them!
I created word search puzzles for Joshua’s 7th Birthday party using Star Wars clip art to embellish them. All the guests, kids and adults alike, had fun searching for Star Wars character names in the puzzle. Success!
- Prepare and print a lot of Word Search Puzzles in advance. Just give your child 1 sheet whenever they are bored or during Quiet Time.
- The puzzles will come out very plain looking so you can embellish them with clip art or graphic images before printing.
- You can laminate them or put inside plastic sheets to make them reusable. Just use whiteboard markers and erase to reuse.
Making your own maze sheets is a great activity to keep the kids busy while stuck at home. You can create your own maze sheets with Maze Generator.
I made a maze with the activity sheets during Joshua’s birthday. Since the theme of the party was Star Wars, I added clip art of the movie characters as the start of the maze as the “searcher” and another one at the end as the “goal.”
Go ahead and be creative with your clip art ideas or just print the maze sheets plain. All that matters is to keep the kids occupied working on them.
- Make a lot of Maze Sheets in advance and save in “.png” picture format. You can then paste these Maze pictures in 1 sheet so they can do more in 1 sitting.
- Print out mazes in different themes by adding clipart images at the start and end of the maze.
- Use protective plastic sleeves or laminate the maze sheets to make them reusable. Just use whiteboard markers to solve them.
Everybody loves playing Bingo! What more if you can create your own Bingo sheets to make it a learning and fun game for your kids stuck at home.
I create Bingo games using Bingo Baker. They have some templates all ready to print out or you can input your own words, numbers or pictures to include in the game. They also automatically include the cards to be called in a separate sheet. A complete game without the fuss of making them!
I made several Bingo games for Joshua: A Plants vs. Zombies Bingo, Pokemon Bingo and many others. I just used clipart images and Bingo Baker does the shuffling and call out cards automatically.
- You can personalize the Bingo sheets by including words you want to teach or cartoon or movie characters your kids love.
- Note that some images may be subject to copyright if you just copy-paste from online. Use free clipart or those you bought license to use.
Quiet Time activities are good to include in your daily stay at home schedule of activities for kids. These not only gives them time to rest, relax or learn something quietly but also gives us, parents, some time to ourselves.
Here are some great examples of activities for kids to do as their Quiet Time!
- Read books
- Do puzzles
- Play with sensory bins
- Answer activity books
- Color in coloring books
- Do Word Search or Maze sheets
Here are great resources for Quiet Time Activities:
Quiet Bins help to keep the kids occupied during Quiet Time. These are bins where you put activity materials in to keep the kids entertained.
You can prepare them in advance and vary them per day so you can just whip them out during Quiet Time.
If you need a guide on how not to run out of Quiet Bin ideas, you can check out this ebook by How Wee Learn: A Year Of Educational Quiet Bins!
Sensory Bins are similar to Quiet Time Bins in that they are also containers that are filled with different materials to keep the kids entertained during Quiet Time. But Sensory Bins are geared more towards stimulating the senses.
If your kids don’t do naps anymore, have Quiet Time instead!
Here are some examples of Sensory Bins you can make for kids:
Family Bonding Time
Take advantage of the time that kids are home to enjoy family activities together. This is an excellent time to have bonding quality time with kids.
You can do any of the following:
- Play board games
- Bake cookies
- Make dinner together
- Camp out in the living room
- Watch movies together
- Have a dance party
- Play Charades
Or try these ideas:
Chores for Kids to Help at Home
You might think, “Why are chores for kids included in the schedule of activities for kids?”
Well, chores are important for your kids to learn to do to help them become independent, responsible, and helpful. When they learn chores early on in life, they can become more self-sufficient as adults.
FREE Printable: Chores for Kids by Age
Remember to assign chores depending on on your child’s age and capability. Here is a helpful list of Age Appropriate Chores you can download and print for free!
Choose from the 4 different list styles that appeals to you most. Print and stick it on the fridge or wall so everyone can see.
It also comes with Chores by Age pages so you can choose the age range of your child and print that specific page only. Download now!
Family Contributions Kit
A helpful resource is this Family Contributions Kit from Playful Notes. This will help make doing chores more fun for kids!
Chores for Screen Time
A great idea for making kids do their chores willingly is to exchange them for screen time. This is an idea by Your Modern Family on how to swap chores for screen time.
Chores for Allowance
How about doing chores for an allowance?
Since kids are stuck at home and won’t have an allowance for the duration of school being closed, it’s a great idea to let them do chores in exchange for money.
It will be like an early orientation into adult life jobs.
Here is a great idea on how to do this chores for allowance by The Palette Muse using popsicle sticks!
Create a Jar of Job Opportunities like how Creating Mary’s Home did for letting kids do chores for allowance.
Screen Activities that Educate
Now screen time or TV time is a topic that might be sensitive to parents. Some don’t want their kids to watch TV during the school week or any TV at all.
During this time that kids are forced to stay at home or are stuck at home, you can use screen time as your “last resort” when you need to do something away from them.
It doesn’t mean leaving them watching TV for hours on end. Setting time limits for screen time is still best for kids.
So when do you use screen activities for kids? How about when you need to prepare dinner or take a call from your boss? Or maybe for some much needed “Me” time!
The trick to using the TV to entertain kids is to make sure they are still learning something while they watch.
Most of us have Netflix on TV. So use it to teach your kids and not just to entertain them.
My son, Joshua, really like watching StoryBots Super Songs and learn a lot about Science, Music and other subjects through songs.
The variation, Ask The StoryBots is also a wonderful platform for learning just about anything under the sun. Why? Because they answer all kinds of questions asked by kids!
I find myself watching this with my son because I also want to know the answer to some questions like, “How are planets formed?” or “How do cellphones work?”
Plus see some famous celebrities like John Legend, Jennifer Garner and many others take part in answering the question. Cool!
PLUS MORE! Here are 13 Educational Netflix Shows That Will Keep Kids Entertained from Decider. Check them out!
Online Activities for Learning
Gadgets! This is another sensitive topic for parents. In the age of gadgets, almost all kids know how to use cell phones, tablets and computers for fun and entertainment.
I, myself, do not allow Joshua to use gadgets on weekdays, whether or not there is school. He is only allowed to use them over the weekend with a time limit.
His pediatrician recommended only 2 hours total use of gadgets in a day. This can be split into 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the afternoon.
Same as the TV, we can use online activities for kids to let them learn. This also gives us some free time to do our own thing as parents.
So what online activities for kids are ok? Check out these sites!
Learning and Homeschooling Online
Math and Science on the Web
History, Geography, Literacy Websites
Go on virtual tours of famous museums around the world!
Fun Educational Online Games
This site is what my son’s school is using for additional learnings through fun educational games.
Here are more sites online your kids can play and learn from at the same time:
How can we not include YouTube in the list of online activities for kids?
There are a humungous number of YouTube sites that kids can learn from. Here are some of the educational sites your kids can watch while stuck at home.
All about grade school science, earth, habitats, space, chemical reactions, engineering.
Learn everything about outer space, science explorations, technology, earth science basics.
Learn through Science inspired music videos.
Turbo charge your science experiments at home.
Geography, History and All Things Geek
Explore the world and learn about awesome animals, cool science, funny pets and more.
All about geography, maps, flags, culture, language and travel.
Music, Art and Literature
Educate kids through music and animation.
Expose children to famous art, classical music, children’s literature and natural science.
I hope all the stay at home activities for kids included here gave you some inspiration on how to entertain your kids while school is closed.
Be it educational, fun, creative, DIY, teach them how to do chores, use their screen time or online time wisely and have great family activity bonding time, you know what is best for your kids.
Remember to choose the activities and make a schedule around them. Kids need boundaries and routine even at home.
Use the “Stay at Home Schedule of Activities for Kids” printable included here to help you organize your child’s day.
No more kids whining, “I’m bored!” What a relief!