Being a working parent is challenging, and the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t made parenting any easier. We’re here for you, families, and we’ve created this list of 18 kid-friendly ideas and activities to do at home. Hopefully, they’ll help keep your kids entertained and educated, and your sanity intact.
First, take a deep breath. These are challenging times. If you’re stressed, you’re not alone. No one is grading you on how well you’re handling this or scoring you on how much grace and finesse you show. You have a big heart for your family and your work. You can only do what you can do, and God is here to catch you and any balls you drop.
Second, let one of these kid-friendly ideas entertain and educate your kids while you get some work done. If it works, grab another one to use while you practice some much-needed self-care.
Not a Pinterest mom or dad? No problem. We’ll make most of these kid-friendly ideas super easy and tailored to hectic times.
18 Kid-Friendly Ideas and Activities to Entertain Your Kids and Keep You Sane
1. Den and Cave Building. There is something stress-relieving about creating cozy spaces that shut out the rest of the world. I don’t know a child who doesn’t love to pile up pillows, couch cushions, and blankets to make an impromptu hiding place. They can have all kinds of safe adventures inside their little getaways. This kid-friendly idea keeps kids busy for hours. Let them invite you into it and make sure they know how special it is for you to be a guest in their den!
2. Free Audible books. We are so touched at how many organizations have come forward with free resources for parents and their kids! Audible is giving away free audiobooks for kids of all ages “for as long as schools are closed.” The books are handpicked by their editors to be the best books in every age group. Check out the free stories on their website: stories.audible.com
3. Birthday parties for stuffed animals! If your kids are anything like ours, they love birthday parties. While some of us may look forward to a lack of parties as long as social distancing is still in effect, our kids live for these noisy, hectic events.
Not anyone’s birthday today? That’s okay!
Kids can imagine anything. So have them throw a make-believe birthday party for their favorite toy or stuffed animal. They can wrap up little presents in paper, sing Happy Birthday, play games, and pretend to have cake! (Or if there’s a treat you approve of, they can pretend the treat is their birthday cake instead).
4. Life-sized drawings. These are so fun! Have your kids lie down on sheets from large rolls of paper (not toilet paper, no), cardboard, or taped-together copy paper and outline them. From there, let them draw their features, add clothing and accessories, and decorate away!
5. Painting! There is nothing like getting out some washable paint and letting your child unleash his or her inner van Gogh. Kids love paint! Since it’s washable and relatively cheap, parents usually do, too! Check out Crayola washable paints or washable Tempera paints.
6. Recite Scripture together. You might already be realizing your need to meditate on Scripture throughout the day to keep your mind fixed on God’s promises, but you can actually turn Scripture into a family activity, too. Kids love reciting short phrases with hand motions. It’s like a game! Here are some verses for you and your kids.
Verses for comfort during anxious times:
- Don’t worry about anything. Instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Philippians 4:6 NLT
- When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Romans 12:13 NLT
- “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lᴏʀᴅ. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 NLT
- He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT
Short verses for kids:
- Don’t worry about anything. Instead, pray about everything. … Philippians 4:6 NLT
- Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. … Romans 12:13 NIV
- He comforts us in all our troubles … 2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT
Check out the way we use short phrases repeated in a story with hand motions to help kids memorize the Bible. Life.Church has even put together whole playlists like this one and this one to help your kids memorize Scripture. You can practice the motions together, and your kids could even put on a show to teach you their favorites.
7. Earning money for chores. Some kids will groan. Some kids think this is a blast! Even kids as young as four can love doing little jobs that earn cash. Make the job appropriate to the age of the child. If it’s a four-year-old, keep it under a few minutes. If your kids are closer to ten or twelve, let them do the dishes, put away laundry, or mow the yard for cash or other rewards.
8. Dig For treasure. Use a plastic bowl or pitcher and fill it with tiny toys, like rubber dinosaurs and action figures, then pour dry rice or dried beans on top. Your kids will love finding the surprise toys inside the containers! Rice and beans are easier to clean up than dirt or sand.
Caution: This is not suitable for very young children who might try to eat the rice. This might be something we learned from personal experience. 😂
You can also safely use Epsom salt (magnesium salt), if you prefer. Bonus, if you use Epsom salt, you can also put a few drops of lavender oil in the salt, which will help calm your children. Then you can pour the mixture in a hot, relaxing bath for yourself later!
9. Old-fashioned paper art. Snowflake-cutting is timeless, classic, and fun. It can keep some kids entertained for hours. Just ensure that they are old enough to safely use scissors while you work nearby. Search online for a good snowflake tutorial so you don’t end up with square doilies.
10. Playdough. Squishy modeling clay never gets old. For added charm, make the playdough yourself. Some of us have memories of our mothers mixing up this amazingly simple recipe on the stovetop and letting us choose the color and add a few drops. Pink! Green! Marbled. Endless possibilities. An added benefit of homemade playdough is how warm it is when you first start playing with it. Who doesn’t love playing with squishy, warm playdough?
11. Bubble paint. Did you know if you mix bubble solution (or dish soap) with paint, your kids can blow bubbles onto a canvas for unique and beautiful art? You want a big space for this and you will want to only use washable paint. Bubble paint is also fun to do outside on a warm day on your porch.
Add just a little soap and water to the paint to start with until you get a consistency that works for you. We recommend adding a tablespoon of water and a few drops of soap to begin with. If you start with a whole cup or two of water/soap mixture, you could end up with bubble paint that is too thin to paint with, like we did the first time we tried this.
12. Discover eBooks! The benefits of borrowing books through electronic readers are obvious and plentiful. You can exchange books that don’t work quickly, you don’t have to lug around heavy bags, and you don’t get late fees (my favorite one). During confinement, however, borrowing eBooks is a necessity, not just a luxury. Let your kids help pick out books and read to them. It will calm them down, provide bonding, and boost their intelligence. Studies show that reading with your kids for just fifteen minutes a day boosts their IQ considerably.
13. Try a simple science experiment! We love how easy this experiment with celery, food dye, and water is. All you need is celery, food dye, and (wait for it) water! Put a stalk of celery in a glass and fill the glass half full. Then add a few drops of food coloring and watch the food dye move up the celery’s capillaries for a few days.
Isn’t science cool?
14. Watch LifeKids! Our LifeKids media page is chock full of videos for all ages. They are fun, entertaining, age-appropriate, and support values like sharing and thoughtfulness. They also promote peace and calm in troubled times. You and your kids will both benefit from the Scripture and truth found on the LifeKids page!
15. Plant an indoor herb kit. If you happen to have seeds and peat moss in your shed or garage, this is a great time to introduce your kids to the wonder of growing living green things. If not, you should be able to order an herb garden kit online or find one at a dollar store or another store near you. If you can’t find a garden kit, the dollar store might have peat moss, plant pots, and seeds, which could be less expensive than a kit.
16. Make frozen dinosaur eggs. If you have balloons and little rubber dinosaurs, put rubber dinosaurs inside the balloons, fill the balloons with water, and put them in the freezer. When frozen solid, let your children play with the dino eggs in a bucket or plastic bin. Spraying the dinosaur eggs with a water bottle will help melt them more quickly.
17. Shaving cream and bubble wrap. Tape bubble wrap to your table, put a smock on your child, spray the bubble wrap with shaving cream, and add a few drops of food dye to the mix. Explain to your child not to touch their eyes with shaving cream on their hands. Kids love this squishy, gooey, messy, sensory fun!
18. Play some old-fashioned classics before bed to connect and calm down. Simon Says and hide-and-seek are always going to be a win for young children. They love that they are doing it with you! While you work and keep your child busy, keep in mind that what they want most of all is your love and attention.
We hope these ideas provide some help during this time and maybe even spark some new ideas in the process! Just remember there’s no judgment here. We’re all in this together, and you were chosen to be your child’s parent. So, when the day is done and you’ve managed to put work away, don’t worry about having a Pinterest-worthy experience together. Just play with your kids however you can before putting them to bed. Practice one verse of Scripture and then don’t worry about anything. Instead, pray about everything with your children. It will create peace and precious memories you’ll cherish for a lifetime.