Keeping your little ones entertained when you have the option to get out of the house is hard enough. Now that you’re stuck at home for an indefinite period of time...juggling work, parenting, homeschooling, self-care...keeping the fun and educational activities rolling is one of the best ways to maintain your sanity while keeping your children happy and engaged.
We know you would never choose a shelter-in-place situation and at TushBaby we’re all about getting out and exploring what the world has to offer. But since our current reality won’t allow that, we refuse to let these uncertain times get the best of us.
Being stuck at home doesn’t have to be boring! Here we’ve rounded up (and tested!) 10 of the best activities you can do with your kiddos at home to pass the time while making wonderful family memories.
You had me at “Melissa and Doug.” It’s rare to find a Melissa and Doug activity that doesn’t light up the eyes and minds of little ones and this one is no different. With 20 colorful and engaging pages, children ages 4 - 7 use colored tape to complete the designs ranging from vehicles to food to animals, and more. Children build their creativity by completing each picture with the color of tape of their choosing (also great for learning patterns) while building fine-motor skills. We love that this book is reusable — you’ll simply peel off the tape and start fresh. Running low on the included tape? You can purchase more rolls in a rainbow of colors. Who knew tape could be so much fun?!
2) Melissa and Doug Mosaic Sticker Pad Safari Animals (AKA Sticker by Numbers)
Next up is another great activity from Melissa and Doug. If you have an older child you need to entertain while caring for younger siblings, this is a great choice. It’s also a great activity to do alongside them (perhaps when little sister or brother is napping) for some relaxation and one-on-one time. With 850 stickers total, your child will be able to complete 12 different pictures in each book — the one we chose includes a variety of safari animals such as a giraffe, hippo, and cheetah. You’ll be amazed at your child’s focus as they match the numbers one-by-one and their design comes to life. Your child will have a gorgeous end product that they’ll be proud to hang...we suggest the window to give passersby a little something to brighten their day.
Don’t be put off by the word “chalk” if you don’t have a chalkboard. These markers can actually be used on almost any surface including windows, whiteboards, mirrors, etc. (And they do look amazing on chalkboards, too!) We know those little ones love to go wild with markers and paint and this gives them an opportunity to color on surfaces they normally couldn’t! Plus the colors are bright and vibrant — see below an example of a beautiful design that TushBaby founder, Tammy Rant, and her little ones created together. Filling your home with little kid drawings is the perfect way to surround your family in cheer during an uncertain time.
Noticing a “reusable” pattern here? We definitely love activities that can be used over and over — for both reducing our carbon footprint and extending the fun to multiple members of the family. This book utilizes wet-erase markers to learn to draw basic animals, buildings, food, and more! Perfect for creative little ones ages 4 and up...give this to your budding artist for an independent activity while you focus on work or other tasks around the house.
Remember that the TushBaby hip carrier isn’t just for trips away from home. This is actually the perfect time to use your TushBaby as you find yourself needing to multitask around the home more than ever. Helping your older ones navigate these activities with a baby on your hip is so much easier (and comfortable) with TushBaby.
Just because your little one isn’t headed off to preschool at the moment doesn’t mean they won’t have plenty of opportunities to learn at home with the activities that you give them. Children this age (and older, too!) love learning through choice, freedom, and hands-on activities and these wooden pattern blocks are perfect for that. With 60 different pattern cards, your child can use their critical thinking skills to build the animal or other picture printed on the card while also learning their shapes. These also allow for imaginative freestyle play — the perfect opportunity for your kiddos to explore and construct their own pictures while you check things off your own to-do list.
6) Cutting Straw Activity (and Straw Jewelry)
Small children need lots of practice using scissors. Of course they can cut paper, or you can get a colorful scissor skill workbook to give your little one more practice, but another fun way is cutting straws. We suggest giving them an assortment of colors because when they’re done cutting them all up they can use them to make play-doh creations or make necklaces or bracelets simply using a piece of yarn or a pipe cleaner (stringing is yet another great fine-motor activity). Just look how much fun these cuties are having!
This is a perfect way to spread some cheer to surrounding neighbors who could really use it right now. In fact, any time my kids put their crafts in our back window the neighbor kids always tell us how much they like seeing them. This activity does require a few more supplies than the others on our list, but the end product will definitely be a keepsake that can continue hanging in the window (or on your child’s wall) for years to come. Just follow this link from Michaels to order all the supplies you’ll need! Check out the how-to video here.
This craft is fun to make and also useful! Using simple origami techniques, it’s perfect for building your child’s spatial awareness and hand-eye coordination. Folding, cutting, and gluing are all great skills for your kiddo to practice, plus they’ll love the end product. Your child has probably colored lots of basic rectangular bookmarks, so it’s nice to give them something a bit different to hold the place in their favorite books. I think most kids love all things cute monsters, but they can also choose from an owl design if they prefer. Or better yet, make both! Learn how by watching this video.
This activity came highly recommended and I have to agree that it’s the perfect way to get your little builders’ minds moving! If you have a little one who has a harder time sitting still for some of the other activities we’ve listed, this might be just what you need. The building possibilities are endless! Have siblings who need to work on getting along? This is a great cooperative learning activity for your little ones to work on teamwork. You’ll be amazed at what ideas they’ll come up with to build....we’re always amazed at what their little minds will think up next.
10) Magazine Collage
We know you already have a million things sitting around your home just waiting to be morphed into something else by your creative little crafters. That includes all those magazines you have laying around your house collecting dust. Instead of recycling them, let your children upcycle them into a beautiful creation of their own. And if you have older children, you can even help them create an inspirational vision board. Another option is creating animal silhouettes like these ones from Artsy Ants — just use strips of cut up magazines instead!
Remember that your little ones are masters at creating their own fun, too! Don’t feel like you have to constantly provide activities for them to do. We love giving our children lots of choices for crafting and playing, but also know how important it is to provide them the opportunity and time for their own imaginative play.
If you find yourself thinking of the experiences your children are missing out on while you’re all stuck at home, remind yourself that this time of slowing down can be a gift to build memories as a family.