With the recent coronavirus pandemic (COVID19) many schools in the US and around the world are facing closures. These indoor activities for kids are sure to keep them busy and keep parents sane.
With all the news about the coronavirus outbreak, you might be feeling some of the direct impact of it: schools and daycares are closing, and even neighborhood activities are being cancelled.
A lot of families are having to forgo much anticipated Spring break vacations and there is a general feeling of “self-quarantine” going around.
If you are affected by school closures or social activities cancellations and are wondering “how on Earth will you and your family will survive being at home so long?” here are some indoor activities for kids to make the most of this stressful time and to avoid cabin fever.
Remember to always get your news from reputable sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and try to unplug from the bombardment of negative media.
Indoor Activities for Kids
Most of these indoor activities for kids are possible with things you probably already have around the house and take very little time to get started. If you don’t have any supplies, Amazon is sure to have everything you need.
1 ] Read books
What better indoor activity to do with your kids while staying at home than reading books. Head over to your local library and stock up or if you are worried about exposure, check the books out online.
Also see if your library hosts any reading challenges. Mine does 1,000 books before kindergarten and runs a summer reading challenge for all ages. This is a fun and motivating way to keep kids reading during school closures.
2 ] Play games
Hide and seek, tag, simon says, board games are a great way to pass the time with small kids. They are also screen free.
3 ] Go virtual
If you are not opposed to screens, then why not go virtual. There are several games that encourage cooperation and can be played with a closed group of friends.
4 ] Put together a jigsaw puzzles
Do you have a 100+ piece puzzle tucked in the closet that you never had a chance to put together. Well, now it’s the time.
5 ] Craft
Even if you are not very crafty, crafts are a great way to keep kids busy and also to work on fine motor skills. If you don’t have any craft supplies at home, I suggest buying something like this or this on Amazon. It comes with all the pieces and it’s really affordable.
Think about seasonal holidays as well. Easter is coming up and if you celebrate it, it might be a great way to get into the spirit of things.
6 ] Play with dough and slime
What kid doesn’t like playing with dough or slime. You can even take it up a notch and make a rainbow or glow in the dark slime. There are tons of recipes online.
7 ] Perform science experiments
Even young kids love science experiments and most can be done with things that you already have in your pantry.
8 ] Get creative
Can you build a house out of plastic cups or a bridge with sticks and marshmallows? Building challenges are fun because it stimulates kids to get creative while still employing logic, and it can be played with the whole family.
9 ] Build with LEGO
Young and older kids can spend hours building things out of Lego and nothing like being indoors for a few days to get construction into high gear!
10 ] Create art
11 ] Watch your favorite movies
Movie marathon anyone? With all the streaming services available now, there will be no shortage on what to watch.
If you are looking for educational videos for kids that adults will enjoy too, my son loves the StoryBots, an award winning series for kids 3-8 yrs old from Netflix.
12 ] Connect with friends and family
You don’t need to be face to face to connect with friends and family, but often we are too busy to make a call or send a text. So take this time to call family and friends and spend a little extra time video chatting.
13 ] Cook and bake
Cooking or baking are some of my favorite ways to build memories with family. There is nothing like the smell of a baked good or the sharing of a meal with family. Take this time to teach your kids how to cook or to pass on family stories around the kitchen island.
14 ] Dance
Throw a dance party! Get loud and silly and have fun!
15 ] Write a book
Do you have creative kids? Why not encourage them to write a short story or book. The subject can be anything: a recent outing, a superhero, recipes…
And if you want to keep the book as a memento, why not actually print it?
16 ] Create a play
Why not play pretend and ask the kids to come up with a play for after dinner?
It will take some time to develop the story and characters and will be entertaining to see what they come up with.
17 ] Make a video
If you have older kids that love YouTube videos or animation, why not have them create their own videos. They don’t have to post it online, but the creation process will be fun!
18 ] Have a picnic
Just because you are practicing social distancing and self quarantine doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a picnic. Take it to your backyard if the weather is nice or have a picnic indoors with all the stuffed animals.
19 ] Learn something new
Encourage your kids to learn something new with online classes or from books on the subject of their choice.
There are several short-term classes online and subscription boxes to make life easier. Check out these:
- Encourage entrepreneurship and love for STEM in kids
- Explore your creativity with a 2 months-free trial using this link
- Learn a new language
- Try out these science experiments
- Learn outdoor and survival skills
And don’t forget yourself. If the kids are busy, here are some great classes to check out.
- Struggling with homemaking, take this class.
- Why not get your finances in order with this class.
- Want to improve your photography and instagram? Take this class.
- Feeling like there are not enough hrs in the day? Take this class.
- Interested in essentials oils and its benefits? Take this class.
20 ] Have a treasure hunt
Put on your pirate hats and have a treasure hunt around the house with clues and a delicious treasure to eat at the end. You can create your own clues and maps or head on to Pinterest for a free printable.
21 ] Camp in your living room
If you have a vacation cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak, your kids might be bummed out.
Why not surprise them with a camping experience in the living room. Complete with tent, candlelight and camp food? Make sure you place the tent next to a large window to that you can see the stars at night.
22 ] Build a fire and make s’mores
Along with the camping indoors, you can use this time to build a fire and make s’mores.
If a fire is not possible, make s’mores in the oven – just as good!
23 ] Make snow ice cream
If you live in colder weather and it’s snowing, then you are no stranger to making snow ice cream, but you might not have made in a while.
To kick it up notch you can even have a snow ice cream bar!
24 ] Enjoy family time
The best thing you can do for yourself and your family during school closures and epidemics is to have a positive attitude and see the brighter side of things. Yes, it is tough, but it could be worse.
Take the opportunity to relax, to hug each other and spend as much time together as possible. Forget the dishes, cleaning the house or the laundry. It can all be done later.
What is important is to enjoy the time you have right now and be present!
25 ] Make a photo book
I always have the goal every year to make photo books for family and I always procrastinate and never get it done. If that sounds familiar, then this might be the perfect opportunity to get the kids involved and get started on these gifts.
26 ] Play detective
If your kids like solving mysteries, then why not play detective? Just like having a treasure hunt, you can solve a crime with clues that are left behind. There are tons of printables on Pinterest as well.
Osmo also has a detective game for kids to play on their own.
27 ] Beat a maze
Have some painters tape in the garage or some yarn? Why not build a maze in the hallway for your kids to crawl through? Fun way to keep them busy and also burn some energy!
28 ] Have a bubble bath
29 ] Play with snow
You can play in the backyard, or you can make your own fake snow at home. You can also buy it here of course!
30 ] Work on life skills
If your kids are pretty dependent on you, this might be a great opportunity to learn or improve those life skills like doing laundry, cooking, grocery ordering online, paying bills, using credit cards, etc.
Even toddlers can join in daily tasks and actually they have great fun helping parents make beds, tidying up, doing laundry, cooking, etc. Use the opportunity to teach them these important life skills.
31 ] Build a fort
On a daily basis I am putting cushions back onto my sofas that were used for building a fort. So if you are stuck indoor with your kids, adopt the motto “if you can’t beat them, join them”.
32 ] Work on phonics/math
If you have kids that go to daycare instead of school, take this time to start working on phonics and math.
If you have older kids in school, are there subjects that they struggle with?
Having a parent be involved in the learning process can make all the difference in the world!
For younger kids, you can do learn-through-play activities or work on kindergarten preparedness with workbooks like this one. We’ve actually brought this one with us for our trip to New Zealand and Australia and my son has worked on it almost everyday.
For kids who like playing games, this math game is great!
33 ] Start a business
Do you have a budding entrepreneur? If you do, why not take this time to start a business. Researching the market, writing a business plan and developing a product and marketing strategy take time, but can be done in a week or two.
Check out this website if you don’t know how to get started.
34 ] Dig for dinosaurs
Hide all the dinosaurs on the sand and have your budding paleontologist dig them up.
35 ] Build race course or train tracks
Build a cool race course or train track using tape on the floor or using materials around the house.
Get creative and re-use cardboard boxes for tunnels or building a city.
36 ] Play dress up
Boys and girls love to play dress up and imagine their favorite characters or their moms and dads. Pull out old accessories and have the kids do their best impersonation of you!
37 ] Have a spa day
Pamper the kids with manicures, pedicures, facials and etc. Self-care is so important for adults, but it’s also important to teach kids to take time for themselves.
These face masks are sure to pamper them.
38 ] Relax / have quiet time
Just because schools are closed and the kids are at home, it doesn’t mean that every minute of the day needs to be planned or filled. It’s okay to just relax.
It’s actually a great thing to teach your kids to be still and have quiet time everyday.
39 ] Take a virtual trip to another country
Why not use this time to learn about another country and culture? These days you can go on google Earth and see places in great detail without leaving home. Make it an educational project or preparation for a future trip!
Also a great way to learn about a country or culture is through its food. Pair the online research and books with great food from the region.
If your kids are more advanced in the kitchen, why not try this Gyoza recipe?
40 ] Play mini golf
Build a simple mini golf course using old cardboard containers or recycling your plastic.
41 ] Explore space
The next few decades will be very exciting for our society when it comes to space exploration. Get the kids on board with Nasa’s Kids Club and Nasa’s Space Place and the various activities they offer.
42 ] Have a boot camp
If you are worried about your kids getting cabin fever, don’t forget to add exercise into their daily routine.
A fun way to do that is to run a mini boot camp with the kids. 10x jumping jacks, 10x squats, 10x burpees, etc… I bet you will be dying before the kids get tired.
43 ] Meditate
You might think this is strange, but I started this little experiment with my toddler a few months back. I started meditating with him.
It doesn’t last for very long- only a few minutes at a time, but I have noticed that he is starting to get it.
If your kids are anxious or fidgety, this might be a great thing to try during school closures to teach them to clear their minds and deal with stress as they grow older.
44 ] Declutter to donate
Is the house overrun by toys? Maybe it’s time to enlist the help of the kids to separate toys for donation.
The same can be applied to clothes, shoes, coats, pantry items and even school supplies.
Make it fun for them and you will be teaching them a great life lesson.
45 ] Learn about the oceans
Learn about the oceans and the impact of climate changes on the various organisms that live in the most unexplored parts of our planet: the oceans.
46 ] Have a staycation
How about treating the whole family to a staycation? Sleep in late, have breakfast in bed, lounge in your pajamas all day, jump in the bed and have a pillow fight.
47 ] Plan a vacation
Nothing gets me as excited as to plan a vacation. If your family is feeling down because you couldn’t enjoy Spring Break, how about cheering them up by planning your next vacation together?
Your next vacation might be something closer to home, maybe a camping trip to a state or national park (still open).
I can’t think of a better way to practice social distancing than to be out in nature, in the open air with very few other people around, can you?
And this kids’ subscription box is perfect to get you started learning outdoor and survival skills!
Here are some of my favorite places to go camping: Rocky Mountain National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Yosemite National Park, Sand Dunes National Park, Olympic National Park.
48 ] Make your own costume
Why not try making your own clothes and costumes out of unexpected materials such as plastic bags or bottle caps? This will take some time and encourage creativity.
Don’t forget to have a fashion show at the end!
49 ] Write letters
Do you have family in other states or countries that you can send postcards or letters to? Older generations in particular love receiving letters and pictures.
I recently read a post on Facebook about a local nursing home in my community asking kids to send the residents artwork or letters. Visitors are restricted so to keep residents connected, they’ve asked children to get involved. I think it’s such a nice idea!
50 ] Have a glow in the dark party
These are just 50 indoor activities for kids that you can do during the school closures.
Remember, this is all temporary and although the coronavirus outbreak is scary, the important part is to stay safe and count your blessings!