As a retired teacher, mother, and grandmother I can relate to the weariness most parents are feeling right now. Children have been home now for over a month, and parents are simply running out of ideas to keep them energized and actively engaged at home. Over the years, as a parent and teacher (and later a grandmother), I have collected lots of fun games and activities to keep kids engaged in something that does not involve electronics! Try a few of the following activities and your children will be begging for more. Have fun! Here is our list of Top Ten Ways to Entertain Your Children at Home:
- Squishy/Sock War: If your children have a collection of those soft “squishy” toys, gather them up and put them in a tub or basket. If not, roll up socks into tight balls and do the same. Then, figure out your game area; it’s good to have an open space with a wall on either side to be used as a “safe zone.” The contestant starts at a safe zone and then runs across the open area to the other safe zone, trying not to be hit. The parent (or child) sits in the middle and across from the open area and attempts to hit the other person with the soft toys or socks. We keep score as to hits and misses for each contestant. This activity really gets the kids moving (and laughing).
- Follow the Clues: The parents provide clues for the children to find a hidden treasure. I like to put a dollar in an envelope with a note that says “Congrats, you are an ace detective!) but it can also be a small toy or prize or a wrapped piece of candy, etc. You can either provide a series of clues that lead to the location of the secret treasure directly, or you can provide clues that lead the kids to one location and then another and another until they reach the final destination. One time I put the envelope in the dryer and provided these clues to my granddaughter: It’s in a very small room, it can be cold or hot, it can be empty or full, it uses electricity, it’s rectangular in shape, it’s white in color, and it makes noise. This activity involves critical thinking skills and reading.
Engage Your Kids With These Fun Activities
- Dustpan Tennis: You will need two plastic dustpans and a tennis ball or some other soft, small ball and some masking tape. Create a tennis “court” by moving furniture if necessary so you have a nice open space. Place a tape line to act as the net in the center of the court. Each player uses a dustpan as their racquet. It takes some practice to get the ball over the net and back. If you have a backyard, this game is even better! Again, this activity gets them moving! An alternate activity would be to play hockey with the dustpans and a plastic checker as the puck.
- General Store: This was my daughter’s favorite activity at home. We bought her a toy cash register that came with fake bills and coins. If you don’t have one, just make paper bills and use your own change. Then, collect empty containers of store items; cereal and snack boxes, canned foods, milk and juice cartons, etc. Put a price sticker on each item. You are ready to play “General Store.” You can take turns being the shopper and the clerk. Practice shopping and purchasing items and making change. What a fabulous way to practice money math skills!
Top Ten Ways to Entertain Your Children at Home
- Indoor Goofy Golf: You will need a couple of “putters”, whiffle balls, and plastic cups. If you don’t have putters (real or toy) you can make them from a large cardboard box. Then, decide on your 3-5 hole golf course. Be creative! You could set up a bridge using books and a cardboard box opened up over them sending the ball to an overturned cup. You can send the ball between a column of dolls or stuffed animals, it could go under the table on its way to the green, etc. This game involves movement and problem solving.
- Fortday: So, instead of playing the video game Fortnite, spend some fun family time building a huge fort in the living room. Create rooms using tables, chairs, boxes, tv trays, blankets, beach towels, pillows, and any other fort-making materials you can think of. Add books and snacks and maybe a view to the tv screen and you have a creative way to enjoy a story or a video. This activity involves problem solving, cooperative learning, and spatial acuity.
Teach Your Children These And Be A Hero
- Fashion Show: Give all the contestants the categories and time to gather their outfits. Some great categories include: Most Outrageous, Most Elegant, Summer Style, Winter Blast, and Spring Madness. Each contestant (girls, boys, Dad, Mom, etc) has a dressing room or space so it’s a surprise when they come out to the “runway.” Put some music on and each contestant walks the runway, giving their best model walk and attitude. You can vote on each category and even award prizes if you want. If you absolutely can’t get behind this fun activity, you could have a Barbie (or other dolls) fashion show. This activity brings out the creativity in everyone!
- Bowlarama: You can set up a bowling alley in your living room. If you have a plastic set it’s really easy. If not, be creative and come up with your own pins using plastic cups and a small sports ball. Bowl three games and teach the kids how to figure their average; total all three games and divide by three. The winner doesn’t do any chores for a day or some other prize. This game involves movement and math- what a great combination!
Use These Games As A Reward
- Tower Power: Invest in a super large package of plastic drinking cups like Solo and have fun building a tower. My granddaughter likes to build a wall that she can “break through.” You can also combine playing cards with the cups to create some amazing towers, castles, walls, and villages. Dolls and toy cars can be added to the fun. This can be a great cooperative learning activity and involves movement.
- Lid Match: This is a fantastic way to match your plastic containers with their lids and have fun too. Divide your containers and lids into separate piles for each contestant. Then blow a whistle or yell “Go” and the contestants try to match as many lids to containers as they can. Any matching activity involves problem solving and spatial acuity.
So, whatever activities you choose, send a message to your children that you’re all in this difficult time together and things will be better soon. In the meantime, enjoy some family time and bonding. We hope you enjoyed our list of Top Ten Ways to Entertain Your Children at Home. You can expect more amazing articles like this at Save Money Retire.