Whether your family is in the middle of the school holidays or a lockdown, it can be hard to keep our children entertained without turning to screentime. There are only so many stories we can read and neighbourhood walks we can take in one day, right?
Before we go absolutely stir crazy coming up with something for our kids to do, our team at Go Ask Mum have come up with 50 fun ideas for things children can do while stuck at home.
These ideas all utilise things that most of us have around the house, are stimulating for young minds, and most importantly, fun!
Which ones will you try?
1. Using masking tape and chalk, create a stained glass window on the concrete
2. Start a drawing on a piece of paper and stick it to the fridge. During the day, family members take turns adding a little more detail to the picture.
3. Hold an origami masterclass
4. Hide some ‘treasure’ and create a treasure map for someone in your family to follow
5. Create an obstacle course outside and see how fast everyone can complete it
6. Draw a maze and see if each family member can navigate it
7. Dress up and perform your favourite children’s book with your family
8. Paint the driveway, walls, fences, bricks etc with a paint brush and a bucket of water
9. Write a letter to a friend or family member you haven’t seen in a while
10. Learn some magic tricks and put on a magic show
11. Draw up a plan for a blanket cubby house and create a list of the items you will need – then build it!
12. Play bingo! Look around and write down all the words you can see on the bookshelf. Make a list for each family member and see who can find them all the fastest.
13. Hold a paper plane-flying tournament
14. Use masking tape to mark out a racetrack around the house for toy cars or scooters
15. Pretend to be a journalist and interview family members on Skype. Ask them questions and record their answers.
16. Do some mindful colouring as a family
17. Go on an alphabet scavenger hunt and try and find something for each letter of the alphabet
18. Do some cloud spotting and keep a log of all the different shapes that you see. Use this as an opportunity to discuss the different types of clouds.
19. Write a short story that includes three totally random things, like a teddy bear, a hippo and a pineapple.
20. Draw a floorplan of your bedroom and map out all of your furniture to scale. See if you can rearrange it to fit in a different style.
21. Cut out letters from a magazine or junk mail to spell your name
22. Organise your books or toys in a rainbow or alphabetical order
23. Create a musical instrument from items found around the house
24. Design a car or a piece of furniture built from paper straws, masking tape, cardboard and a hole punch.
25. Play hide and seek as a family – or better yet, turn off all the lights, arm everyone with a torch and play Spotlight!
26. Transform a shoebox into a diorama from your favourite book, game or movie
27. Learn some sign language and use it to communicate with your family members for the day.
28. Collect ten different leaves on your afternoon walk and arrange them in colour from lightest to darkest
29. Choose a famous person to research and hold a presentation
30. Find five dice, print up some scoresheets and teach everyone how to play Yahtzee
31. Learn to say the alphabet backwards
32. Go on a nature scavenger hunt outside and draw each item on paper.
33. Make up a dance routine to go with your favourite song.
34. Using recyclable items, create a boat that can float in the bath
35. Create your dream house using Lego or Minecraft
36. Play a game of charades with your family
37. See who can build the largest structure using one deck of cards (or recycled boxes, cans, blocks, whatever!)
38. Set up an online stay-at-home lunch date with a friend via Skype, Zoom or Facetime
39. Encourage messy fun with shaving cream and food colouring on a tray. Create paper art by placing a sheet of paper gently onto the swirled colours.
40. Sort toys into groups and get people to guess which sorting rule you used.
41. Collect some rocks and then paint them. Hide them in the garden for a fun game of hide and seek.
42. Use items found in your garden to make nature faces. Make a face for each member of the family.
43. Pick a different wacky dance move (or a more serious exercise move) for each face of a dice. Then put on some music and start rolling the dice!
44. Create a colour wheel by cutting out bits of coloured paper from a magazine or junk mail
45. Use bark or leaves to create a ‘rub’ picture. Find other textures to include too, like coins, tabletops, concrete etc.
46. Create an obstacle course on the driveway with chalk
47. Count all the light switches in your house. How many are on and how many are off?
48. Learn how to say hello and goodbye in five different languages
49. Create a dinosaur city for toy dinosaurs outside with sticks, rocks, dirt and whatever else you can find outside.
50. Find and make your own pet rock with googly eyes and feathers for hair