Hey friends! Ok, I know things are really strange right now, and many of us have become homeschoolers, completely unexpectedly. My kids are a still pretty young, so they don’t have structured work or homework to do everyday, which left me thinking…yikes. What am I going to do all day, indoors with my kids?
On normal days, they spend a ton of time playing outside at the park, so we have been trying to come up with some fun at-home activities, in addition to getting outside for 30 minutes to an hour everyday.
So, in the spirit of “we’re all in this together!” here are a few ideas for indoor activities, and a few activities that you can do outside in your backyard or within the neighborhood.
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Indoor Activities for Kids
1. Bake Something!
Baking is a great activity to do even with small kids — they can help you pour ingredients in, stir the batter, and get items from the pantry. And if you’re not Betty Crocker – don’t worry! Grab some premade cookie dough and cookie cutters, and you’re done. Your kids will still love you for it!
Playdoh is kid gold. You can also set up a table outside so that your kids get some sunshine while they play (and they can get playdoh all over the ground and not your house!)
3. Coloring Books
We have this basic, traditional coloring book, which is great for young toddlers (and these non-toxic crayons), but also really like the Crayola Wonder markers and books, since the markers only work in these specific books (and not on the walls!).
4. Kiwi Co Subscription Boxes
We purchased a Kiwi Co subscription for my nephew for Christmas one year, and he loooved it. These boxes come monthly and are full of STEM/STEAM activities for your kids to do, which is perfect anytime of year, but especially right now.
Choose your child’s age group and your subscription length, and that’s it! You can also get 50% off of your first box.
5. Build a Fort
My favorite activity when I was a kid. Grab a few blankets and start building. Kids always love these, and you can extend the activity by reading books in the fort.
6. Board Games
I always thought my toddlers were a little too young for board games, so I never really entertained the idea, but there’s a few games you can do — one being Jenga!
I never would have considered it until my son’s preschool recommended it – it’s perfect for practicing taking turns. This Monkey Around game also looks really simple, fun, and gets great reviews.
So many options, and tons of ways to make these educational, because there are puzzles for everything. We love this alphabet puzzle by Melissa & Doug.
Legos can keep your toddlers entertained for a good chunk of time, so besides the constant fear I have of stepping on them, they’re one of my favorite go-tos for the kids.
This Lego Duplo starter set is really fun, and comes with a few pictures to give you ideas for what you can build.
9. Have a Dance Party
Youtube is a gem, you guys. There are so many videos on there that are kid friendly, and some with dance moves for them to follow. We love Super Simple Songs and Little Baby Bum for more educational videos, but you can always just pick your favorite pop hits and get grooving.
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10. Play Dress-Up/Pretend
Remember all of those costumes your kids have accumulated over the last 3 or 4 Halloweens? Break them out! Play dress up and get their imaginations going. My kids love their chef costume (similar option here) and doctor costume.
11. Educational Screen Time
Screen time is such a controversial subject, but we try to follow the “everything in moderation” rule with it. We are a little extra cautious, because my son goes into complete zombie mode when we turn on the TV; I’m talking, eyes watering because he forgets to blink. Yes, I’m facepalming too right now.
Needless to say, the TV is not on in our house very much, and when it is, we try to keep it to something more on the educational side. We also set expectations, letting him know from the beginning how many episodes he will get to watch, and/or setting a timer so he knows exactly when TV time is done.
Another thing we do to make the transition smooth, is let our son turn off the TV himself when time is up. This makes him feel like he has some control of the situation, even if he doesn’t really want to stop watching TV.
Some of our favorite educational shows:
- Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood (via the PBS Kids app on our Roku)
- Super Simple Songs (YouTube)
- Sesame Street (free on Amazon Prime Video)
12. Not Quite Educational Screen Time (Because It’s Ok to Give Yourself a Break!)
My son’s current favorite show is Paw Patrol (and honestly, I kind of like it too). Some other well-known faves: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (Disney Plus), PJ Masks (Disney Plus), and Peppa Pig (YouTube).
13. Have a Tea Party
Grab some stuffed animals and have a tea party. This is great for getting their pretend play skills and imagination going.
Also, I highly recommend a play kitchen if it’s in your budget. We gave one to our kids as a Christmas gift two years ago, and it remains one of their favorite toys.
14. Make an Obstacle Course
There’s a video that’s been circulating of a toddler doing an insane obstacle course. You don’t need to go extreme American Ninja Warrior to do this though. Simply grab some pillows, chairs, a blanket, and some toys, and you can easily make a course for your kids to make their way through.
15. Read Books
Who doesn’t love books? To make it a little special, grab a flashlight and read some under a blanket.
16. Sensory Bins
There are a ton of ideas online for sensory bins, but you don’t have to go crazy with these either. Simple is ok! I took a bag of pompom balls, put them in a bin and asked my kids to move them from one bin to the other, and they were absolutely giddy with happiness.
Other ideas: shaving cream in a bowl with marbles, different types of dried beans, or shredded paper. (Get more non-food sensory bin ideas here.)
Outdoor Activities (Close to Home) for Kids
1. Grab a Ball and Play in the Yard
Old school, effective, and cheap! Grab a ball and head out to your yard or driveway and practice kicking and throwing. Fresh air and exercise all in one.
2. Go for a Bike Ride
Bike trailers can be pretty pricey (ours was passed down to us from family), but we’ve loved ours and I would definitely buy one now, knowing how much we’d use it.
Hopscotch is a little too advanced for most toddlers, but you can use chalk for so many other activities. Draw pictures, write your names, and draw shapes and have your toddlers hop into a shape as you call it out.
4. Water Table
We played with our water table for probably an hour and a half the other morning. These things are wonderful, especially if you live in a warmer climate. This table is affordable and has held up well for us.
What activities have you been doing with your toddlers? Share your favorites in the comments!