Coffee & Conversation | Keeping the kids busy at home

Updated: Jul 29, 2021

I know we are all going a little stir crazy at home! This might be your norm and you are just looking for new ideas, but for some of us it has been a HUGE adjustment being cooped up at home more often with our kids (kudos if you are trying to work from home all while adjusting this). I have been making a list and saving ideas on how to keep the kids busy while we are all logging in more hours at home. Some of these ideas may be second nature to you, but some of them may be all new. So browse through this blog post and try some of the activities listed. If you do try some and happen to take photos, tag me so I can see 🙂 I will keep updating this post with new links and ideas so make sure you save this for later!

A few tips for the messy activities:

– Lay out a disposable table cloth or cut garbage bags to contain the mess.

– Put them right inside the bath tub or bring in the kiddy pool when doing messy crafts.

– Leave them naked and throw them in the bath as soon as they are done lol.

– Manage your expectations!! Let them have fun, let them make a mess, let them do it their way! If you are anything like me you like to micro manage the mess, let them be and everyone will be happier lol.

Have a dance party! Who doesn’t love a dance party?? Crank the music and shake it out. Did you know you don’t need an account to listen to music on Spotify, they have free playlists available, all you have to do is download the app. Also, check out your local dance studios for online dance classes, most studios are now offering this.

Bake with them! Who says it has to taste good lol. You can either let them help you mix the ingredients before you bake or bake first and then just let them help decorate. If you are lacking space like me in the kitchen, bring them to your kitchen table and make the mess there. This is a great time to put down a table cloth or cut up garbage bags to help contain the mess.

Science Experiments anyone? Turn your crafts into science experiments and it becomes a teaching moment. Make a volcano, fill balloons without helium, dye flowers or eggs, the ideas are endless. Here are some great resources for science projects: Kiwico, 24 kids projects, Science Project ideas. I am also working on a separate blog post for this 😉

Go camping… at home! I know it might not be warm enough to set up a tent in the backyard yet but if you have space in your living room build a fort or set up a tent, do it! Pull out the sleeping bags and camping gear for a day of camping. Maybe you are lucky enough to have an RV like us and you can camp right in your own driveway!! If you have a propane fire pit, set it up outside and roast some hot dogs and/or marshmallows (even if you don’t you could boil hotdogs and melt marshmallows in the oven or microwave) Mmmm Smores!

Print Pictures then make a collage, scrapbook or photo album. Cut out pictures and glue them to a canvas and paint it. You don’t need good quality prints for a project like this so go ahead and find the cheapest prints you can order online. Sign up for a shutterfly account to get 100 free prints or click HERE to get a free photobook.

Lego. My kids love to build lego. Try a 30 day lego challenge like this one, if you have some larger lego like mega blocks or duplo try building names or words by writing letters on the sides of the lego blocks.

Read! We all have books at home and our kids are always asking us to read to them so take a few minutes a day for it. Head to the Scholastic website to read and watch stories and more.

Podcasts! I’ll be honest, I haven’t given this one a try yet but it seems super interesting. had a great list so I am sharing that until I test them

Create a Time Capsule! How fun would it be to put some of your favourite items, newspaper clippings, photos, write down some wishes or activities you want to do when this self isolation is over.

Puzzles! This one might be more for the older kids but it is a great idea for a quiet task, maybe!!

Balloons. I don’t know about you but blowing up a few balloons provides so much entertainment for my kids! Play volleyball with them, rub them on your hair and stick them to the wall, draw faces on them, put small toys in side or glow sticks if you have them. Try filling them up without helium using the science experiment above.

Watch Videos and look at Photos. Your phone (and probably your computer too) is FULL of photos and videos. Look through them with the kids, talk about what you were doing in the photo, reminisce in things you want to do again. Download the TimeHop app for a daily dose of old photos or check your memories on facebook.

Crafts, Crafts, Crafts!! There are endless ideas on pinterest and google. Let them paint or colour crafts then display them all over the house or send pictures to loved ones to brighten their day.

Go on a nature walk! Not only is fresh air great (be mindful of social distancing of course and go somewhere not so busy) collect rocks, sticks, leaves and pine cones. When you get home, paint them! You can make so many creations with these. Pet rock anyone?

Playdough! I know we all despise the mess of play dough but the kids love it and it usually keeps them busy for a while! Buy a fun new set, Try making your own, add food colouring or even glitter. If you don’t have any play dough toys, use cookie cutters and other random kitchen utensils.

Plant Seeds then watch them grow! All you need are some small cups or even an egg carton, a bit of dirt and some seeds. Try growing some veggies or flowers to plant when the weather warms up.

Drive in Theatre. Spice up movie night by creating your own drive-in theatre. Use those amazon boxes or rubbermaid bins, grab some blankets, make some popcorn and pick a favourite movie. Disney Plus and Netflix are our favourite for watching movies right now. Did you know Cineplex is now offering rentals and even includes “some” new releases? You can also purchase a digital copy of all the movies that should be in theatre right now. This is on our list of things to check out!

BINGO! Draw out or print a blank Bingo Template. Make this fun or use it to get them to do chores haha. Each space can be a task: put your clothes in the laundry, brush your teeth, pick up your toys, etc, give them a reward or treat when they get BINGO!

Got Amazon Boxes?? Paint them, color them, and use them as forts. Kids LOVE boxes, the bigger the better lol.

Play Games! Eye Spy, Tic Tac Toe, Hangman, Mash, Old Maid, Uno or whatever board game you have around the house. Make up your own rules, and just have fun with it.

Scavenger Hunt. Check out these great printable scavenger hunt ideas.

Put them to work! Get them to help clean up around the house. Give them a cloth to wipe the table, let them dust, vacuum, sweep, swap the laundry (maybe not the folding lol). They may not do the best job but at least they are doing some of the work lol.

Workout with them! There are some super fun videos for kid friendly workouts, here are a few of our favs: Beachbody Kids, The Fitness Marshall and Cosmic Kids Yoga.

Cook Together! Kids love to help in the kitchen. Make home made pizzas, let the mix the ingredients or just grab the ingredients out of the cupboard. My kids just want to help and letting them is a good way to making dinner time go a bit easier.

Journal! Do you have an extra notebook kicking around? Ask them questions each day, let them write if they are able too, draw pictures or let them doodle.

High Tea Party! Who doesn’t love a tea party? Make tea, hot chocolate or just use water or juice. Prepare some finger foods and treats. The kids will love it.

Have a picnic! Pack up lunch like you are heading out, lay out a blanket on the floor and eat lunch together picnic style. My kids love loading up their backpacks like they are going out.

Dress up! Break out the old costumes or just get in your formal wear and parade around the house.

• Hearts! Posting hearts in our window is a huge trend, draw them cut them out or even paint them right on your window.

Visit the Zoo, Virtually! A lot of zoo’s all over have live cams. Here are a few I thought had a lot to offer: San Diego Zoo, Smithsonian Zoo, Woodland Park Zoo, Santa Barbara Zoo (we LOVED visiting this zoo in person a few years ago, check out that BLOG POST HERE).

Colour with Chalk! Decorate the driveway or the sidewalk in front of your house. It might brighten someones day and the rain will wash it away so need to clean it up after.

Facetime! Let them facetime or facebook video chat with school friends and family. It is a great way to stay connected when we can’t visit in person.

Visit the Aquarium, Virtually! Our very own Vancouver Aquarium has a live feed, Monterey Bay Aquarium was one spot we missed on our Disneyland Road trip, Aquarium of the Pacific, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Maui Ocean Centre to name a few.

Virtual Travel. Visit somewhere you have always wanted to go: California, Paris, Rome, take a virtual ride at Disneyland, the options are endless. Click here to browse some historic museums online.

Use your imagination. Tell stories, plan your next family trip, make a family bucket list, sing karaoke, do whatever makes you laugh, smile and feel joy. We are very uncharted territory right now and I know we are all feeling uneasy about what the next few weeks or months look like. We may not get this much quality family time together again, ever, so embrace it, enjoy it and document the crap out it by taking photos. We are all in this together <3

I hope you enjoyed some of my kids activity ideas! Let me know which ones you loved.

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