How much entertaining do we need to do for our kids? For parents with young children, this is very clear. As parents of older children, we hear “I’m bored!” and “Can I have some screen time?” when they want to zone out. Times have changed dramatically even in one generation in terms of how children entertain themselves and explore the world around them.
We hope this list will inspire you—and also your kids—to start a creative project and come up with ways to extend it. But you can only do so much. If your older child still says, “I’m bored,” feel free to acknowledge their frustration (because, let’s face it, we’ve all been there) and encourage them to solve their own problem by finding something creative that they do enjoy. Free time is a gift to the imagination!
- Pull out the legos and try something new. Your older child might find ideas in this Lifehack article, “24 Incredibly Creative and Practical Uses for LEGO.” Younger children might enjoy these ideas from Play Ideas: “25 Awesome LEGO Activities for Kids.” And even younger children might like these ideas from “Playdough to Plato: “25 Must-Try Lego Activities.” Once your kids start thinking outside the box, the sky’s the limit.
- Spring cleaning! Older children can clean up and organize their own spaces; younger children will need some help. Donate and recycle what’s no longer needed. Start small—with young children, just one or two tasks that take no more than 5 minutes–organizing shoes, for example, or sorting through toys or books.
You can turn this chore into a fun activity by having everyone in the family participate. Pump up the music, challenge the kids to create new storage solutions, have an in-home swap of discarded items, and/or paint an accent wall (because the hardware stores are still open)!
- Very young children love busy boards and sensory tables, both of which you can set up at home. From simple to elaborate with all kinds of variations, you’ll have lots of new experiences for your child to explore.
- If your children like to paint, but need some ideas to get them going—or keep going—check out this list of painting projects. If you want to encourage your child’s creative thinking, see this list of 31 prompts.
- Papier-mâché. Okay, it’s a little messy, we’ll admit, but it’s fun for the whole family, and now that the weather is nice, you can set up a table outside. It might take some time to organize this activity, but once everyone gets the hang of it, the kids wills stay busy. Here are some tips from The Spruce Crafts.
- Help your child create a book club.
- Listen to audiobooks or podcasts.
- Using magazines, newspapers, and store advertisements, have your child look for pictures of objects that rhyme and cut them out. The pictures can be glued to create a rhyme collage. There are so many possible subjects for a collage. Ask your child to create another collage on a topic of their choice. Change the materials—introduce string, buttons, and other small objects around the house. Or, change the size—your child might enjoy creating a miniature collage or something much, much larger.
- Grab some wood, get the firepit going (or the fireplace) and make s’mores for a Friday night treat! Tell stories, play “I Spy,” and watch the flames dance.
- Exhausted at the end of the day? Give everyone a break. Relax with dinner and a movie in the living room under a couch fort or a bedsheet tent. Have a little more energy? Figure out how to show the movies outside! Maybe the neighbors can come by—just remember to maintain appropriate social distancing.
More ideas coming next week!