Between homeschooling your children, working from home, and trying to keep your family happy, healthy, and sane while stuck indoors for the next 30 days (or longer!), you might be thinking: How am I going to survive this month?? The self-isolation struggle is real! We feel you, mama, and we’re here to help: We’ve gathered 30 tips, ideas, and activities to keep kids entertained at home—one for every day over the next four weeks! Check out our at-home survival guide for parents below, and stay tuned to our Instagram where we’ll be sharing more ideas and tips from some of our favorite moms!
1. MAKE A SCHEDULE
As tempting as it might be to let the days go by with no rhyme or reason, creating a daily schedule will help bring structure and order to your weeks. Try the Block Schedule System from Jordan Page of Fun, Cheap or Free. The idea behind this time management system is to structure your days in 3-hour time blocks, such as Morning, Nap/Work, Dinner, Bedtime, etc. Any tasks or to-do’s for the day are included in the appropriate time block. You can download a free block schedule template from her website too!
2. CREATE A POINT CHART OR REWARD SYSTEM
If schedules and hourly to-do lists stress you out, consider a more laid-back approach like a point chart for your kids. It’s a great way to hold your kids accountable for things like chores, school work, reading, etc., and it will help motivate them to earn rewards. We love this Daily Point Chart from Rachel Parcell that you can download from her blog.
3. GET OUTSIDE
When you’re cooped up inside all day, there’s nothing like a dose of fresh air to lift your spirits and boost your mood! Get outside and enjoy the fresh spring air, and get a much-needed dose of vitamin D. Go for a midday or evening stroll as a family around your neighborhood, run around your local park, go for a hike in the hills, or ride your bikes. Just remember to keep a good 6-foot distance between you and any other fellow walkers, hikers, or bikers. Give others plenty of space to pass you on trails and pathways, and be sure to wash your hands as soon as you get home.
4. GO FOR A NATURE WALK
Take your kids on a nature walk around your neighborhood or at a local park, and have them find things like rocks, leaves, twigs, flowers, etc. Bring their findings home and have your kids identify them and then discuss each item together. After, your kiddos can paint the rocks, leaves, twigs, etc.
5. HAVE AN INDOOR SCAVENGER HUNT OR EASTER EGG HUNT
Come up with a fun theme or pick a color and create a list of items for a scavenger hunt that your kids can do around the house. You can create a checklist for each child and give the winner a special prize. The scavenger hunt could include things like a specific color of socks, type of fruit, color of books, etc. Or for Easter, plan an Easter egg hunt inside your home! Order plastic eggs from Amazon and fill them with candy, coins, or tokens for rewards and treats that can be used later on.
6. GET YOUR ART ON
Time to bust out the crayons, markers, and washable paints! A good art project will keep your littles one busy and entertained. Have them color or paint on paper, cardboard boxes from around the house, or even the cardboard rolls from toilet paper or paper towels. We also love these coloring downloads from RAGS and the Color Happy Pages from Rad & Happy.
7. PLAN A MOMMY-DAUGHTER DATE
With so much on your plate right now and everyone living on top of each other, it can be hard to give your little ones individual attention. We love the idea of planning an afternoon for a mommy-daughter date and some solo time with your little girl(s). Have a tea party, play dress up, or do your nails together. We love these at-home manicure kits from Olive & June—the kits come with everything you need to nail a perfect 10, and their pretty polishes are free of chemicals and toxins, so they’re safe for tiny hands. We also love these bracelet making kits from Katie Waltman—the kits include string, beads, a clasp, and an end charm to create a double-wrap bracelet. Perfect for making matching mommy and mini bracelets!
8. SWEAT IT OUT
If you’re anything like us, you’re probably missing your gym sessions and yoga classes. We can all use a good workout these days to get our endorphins flowing and help combat stress and anxiety, so do an at-home workout and have your kids get in on the action. Check out a few of our favorite fitfluencers below for workout ideas and virtual classes you can do at home with just a mat, a chair, and canned goods for weights:
You can also check to see if your local gym or fitness studio is offering their own virtual workouts. And we love this yoga for kids class on YouTube.
9. BUILD A FORT
Remember how much fun it was to build a fort as a kid? Bring back this classic pastime by building a pillow fort or blanket fort in your bedroom or living room. Take turns seeing who can create the coolest fort, and then hang out inside the fort to eat lunch or snacks, or have a read-a-thon (see below for more on that!).
10. HAVE A READ-A-THON
It’s the perfect time to get lost in a good book, so plan an old-school read-a-thon in your living room. Pull out the blankets and pillows to create a cozy environment, have your kids pick out a favorite treat or snack, and spend a few hours of quiet time all reading together. You’ll get a chance to dive into that new novel for your book club, and your kids can check reading time off their daily activity list.
11. BAKE OR COOK SOMETHING NEW TOGETHER
Get cooking in the kitchen with your kiddos! Have your children take turns helping you plan the menu for dinner and cook a dish, or pick out a new recipe that you can bake together during the day (and then enjoy as an afternoon snack!). Check out these 21 fun and easy baking ideas for kids, featuring items you’ll likely have stocked in your pantry already.
12. HAVE FUN WITH SNACK TIME
Switch things up every day with a new snack for you and your little ones. Have them pick one item from the fridge or pantry and get creative with ways to prepare it. For more inspiration, check out this list of creative and healthy snacks for kids or these 5 work-from-home snacks from Clean Simple Eats.
13. PLAN A PICNIC
Take your lunch or dinner outdoors and soak up the fresh air with a fun and informal picnic. Pack up a blanket and a basket filled with healthy finger foods like olives, grapes, cheese sticks, crackers, hummus, and veggies, and head to your backyard or a local park. After, let the kids run around outside and play games like Duck, Duck, Goose or tag until it’s time to go inside.
14. PLAY A BOARD GAME
There are so many fun board games that you can do with the whole family during quarantine. Have a weekly family game night and take turns picking which game to play. You can even get other friends or family members involved with a virtual game night via a Skype or Zoom call—just make sure everyone has the same game to play, set up your boards together, take turns, and move everyone’s pieces to stay on track. Check out this list of the 15 best board games for kids.
15. DO A PUZZLE
Puzzles are making a serious comeback thanks to quarantine. A large puzzle is a fun on-going project your family can do over the course of a few days or even a few weeks. Set up the puzzle pieces on a large table or flat surface outside, and spend 30 minutes everyday working on it until it’s all put together. Once it’s done, you can even glue the puzzle together and frame it, and then hang it on the wall of your child’s bedroom for a creative and memorable work of art.
16. PARTICIPATE IN A SERVICE PROJECT
This time of need provides a perfect opportunity to teach our kids about service and giving back to our communities. Research local service projects in your city and ways you can get involved, from sewing face masks to collecting donations for food banks and homeless shelters to writing cards or making art to cheer up elderly folks who are stuck inside and can’t have visitors. Check out this list of virtual volunteer opportunities for more ideas.
17. SEND A NOTE TO A LOVED ONE
Getting something other than bills and junk mail in your mailbox these days feels like such a special thing, and there’s nothing like a hand-written note or drawing to brighten someone’s day! (Especially during this time of social distancing and isolation.) Have your kids write letters or draw pictures to mail out to friends, neighbors, and family members who could use a little love note.
18. HAVE A MOVIE MARATHON
If ever there was a time to Netflix and chill (or in our case, Disney+ and chill), that time is now! Pick a favorite movie genre like Disney princess movies or Harry Potter, and spend an afternoon or evening doing a movie marathon. Dim the lights, get cozy on the couch or floor, and make some popcorn to recreate the experience of going to a movie theater. You can even have your kids make “tickets” to the movie marathon the day before from craft paper and art supplies.
19. DO A KID’S FASHION SHOW
Turn your hallway into a runway with a kid’s fashion show. Have your little ones put together wacky outfits and creative ensembles, play some music, and have them strut their stuff down the hallway. You can even play the part of paparazzi or a fashion photographer—just use your iPhone or a polaroid camera to take photos of them in their outfits. Then vote for your favorite looks!
20. SING YOUTUBE KARAOKE
You don’t need a karaoke machine to sing your favorite songs at home—just head to YouTube and search “kids karaoke songs” for kid-friendly playlists featuring music and lyrics that you can all sing along to. Take turns singing songs and rank who sounds the best!
21. DO PLAY-DOH DRESS UP
If your kids think paper dolls are a thing of the past, hop on YouTube and check out dozens of videos for “Play-Doh Dress Up” to get creative ideas for clothing and costumes for dolls or stuffed animals. Watch some videos for inspiration, and then try your hand crafting your own couture designs from Play-Doh.
22. HOST A SIDEWALK CHALK DRAWING CONTEST
When the weather is nice outside, head to your sidewalk or driveway and have a chalk drawing content. You can even have neighborhood kids participate, too—just tell them to do the same in front of their own home to keep a safe distance, and then after you can all take turns walking around your block to see everyone’s colorful art beneath your feet.
23. HAVE A DANCE PARTY
Sometimes you just need to dance it out. To get your day going or to get out the wiggles before bedtime, tell Alexa to play some tunes and have a dance party in your kitchen, bedroom, or living room. Let the kids select their favorite songs or search for kid-friendly playlists on Spotify, and then take turns showing off your dance moves. You’ll get a great workout and dancing is a perfect way to help relieve stress, tension, and anxiety.
24. LEARN SOME NEW MAGIC TRICKS
There’s no time like the present to brush up on some magic tricks or learn a new card trick. For your budding magician, check out this list of 13 Easy Magic Tricks for Kids. Have them learn a few tricks and then put on a magic show for the whole family.
25. GO ON A VIRTUAL FIELD TRIP
A visit to your local zoo or aquarium might be out of the question at the moment, but thanks to technology you can take your kids on a virtual field trip anywhere in the world! Check out this list of 25 virtual field trips from We Are Teachers, from farms to volcanoes to the Great Lakes!
26. TAKE A LEGO OR POPSICLE BATH
Shout out to Susie Allison of Busy Toddler for this simple but game-changing idea! Have your kiddos get in the bath and drop in Duplos or Mega Bloks and let them play, or give them popsicles and let them lick away! They’ll love being in the water to play, and since they’re in the bath there’s less mess for you to clean up (it's a win-win!). Check out Busy Toddler’s free downloadable PDF for 35 Easy Activities for Kids Stuck at Home.
27. GET CRAFTY
You’d be surprised how many craft projects you can create with random objects you can find around your home—you can even incorporate an at-home scavenger hunt and make a game of finding the things you need to do craft projects. For inspiration, check out these 50 fun and creative craft ideas for kids.
28. HAVE AN INDOOR TREASURE HUNT
Hide things around your house and create a fun map for kiddos to find the buried treasure. Or have your little ones get in on the action and tell them to hide something in the house (a piece of clothing, a book, a hairbrush, etc.) and then have them create a treasure map or a list of clues for you to find the item.
29. IMPLEMENT "FORMAL FRIDAYS"
If you're anything like us, you're probably living in pajamas, loungewear, and yoga pants. Give your family an excuse to get dressed up with Formal Fridays: Have everyone put on their favorite fancy outfit and have dinner at your dining room table—you can even bust out the good dishes and candles, or have your kids create decorations to hang above the table or place cards for each "guest." It's a fun way to make the weekends feel special and new, especially when the days start to run together, and it will give you an excuse to put on real clothes at least once a week.
30. GO CAMPING IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD
Your spring break trip may have been canceled, but you can still plan a fun staycation! As the weather warms up, set up a tent in your background and have your family sleep outside in sleeping bags. You can even roast marshmallows for s'mores if you have a firepit in your backyard or break out the portable grill and cook up some hot dogs. And don't forget to do some stargazing and tell ghost stories at night!