As a stay-at-home-mom in search of easy at-home activities for kids, I’ve done everything from complicated DIY projects to telling my kids to go outside to our backyard for no less than an hour. I’ve made Montessori style works and sensory bins. I’ve done more Lego projects than I care to ever discuss.
There are some tried and true activities that are easy and have worked for my kids currently ages 3-10. I made a list of our absolute favorites to share with you.
1. Check the weather
This activity was actually my mom’s idea. She’s a Montessori guide for ages 3-6. I printed out weather tracking calendar’s from this website for each of the girls (3yo and 7yo).
They are tracking the weather as their first school assignment. They go outside, look around, and then draw a picture of the weather in the top box. In the bottom box for the day they make a prediction for tomorrow’s weather.
This is a simple activity, but they like it and it makes starting school work an easier transition. You could make it a more advanced activity for older kids by having them try to guess the temperature, the humidity levels or reading about meteorology.
2. DIY Diffuser Bracelets
Listen, I totally understand if typical kids crafts are not your thing. I HATE coloring. I’m not good at painting either. Draw an animal, hard pass. Sounds pretty weird since I design jewelry for Sela Designs doesn’t it?
So if cutting and pasting isn’t your jam can I make another suggestion? Beads. Yep, kids working with beads is a beautiful thing. My youngest is 3 and she regularly asks to make bracelets. My 8-year-old makes the most and he has for a couple years, but truly every one of my kids enjoys this and it occupies them for an hour or more.
I also use this activity for math reinforcement. The little ones sort the beads by color, count them and make sets. I may or may not consider this math class on some days, you decide for yourself.
When everything hit hard with Covid-19 and quarantine, we started making bracelets together & then it hit me – kits! So, I decided to sell diffuser bracelet kits for kids and adults so we could share this fun activity with other families. The kits start at $5.99 which makes them super affordable and you walk away with something you actually want to keep.
I consider cooking with my kids an investment. I’ve been doing it for 8+ years and let me tell you, it pays off with massive dividends! My 10 year old can now make several easy meals on his own.
If you’ve never cooked with your kids before start now. Start with simple things like grating cheese, cutting fruit and vegetables, or adding ingredients to a mixer.
Even though it requires a time investment and patience on the front end, the kids will love it and you will soon have legit helpers. It’s so great to have my son start the hamburger for tacos when I’m running late or have a busy work week. And he loves the independence of being able to make himself meals.
4. Backyard Nature Hunt
Our neighborhood is pretty quiet and kid-friendly. I’ve been having the kids spend as much time outside as possible. I give them ideas of scavenger hunts for the backyard or Spring related things to look for.
They always hunt for Robins and report back to Grandma how many they see. Other things they hunt for: earth worms, caterpillars, new buds on trees (they’ll be looking for another month, haha), and other types of birds.
The kids also like to play hide-and-seek with a hat or ball. They switch off being “it” and the game lasts for an hour. We are also enjoying riding bikes, drawing with sidewalk chalk, and climbing our couple small trees.
Music is a big part of our lives. I’m a Worship Leader and my husband is a major music nerd. This is our 8 year old music man. He is learning to play guitar and piano. He has quite a gift for music.
All of our kids enjoy listening to music. The girls will both gladly put on headphones and listen to a soundtrack. Their favorites are Frozen, The Greatest Showman, Aladdin, and Frozen 2. We use Spotify and pay for a monthly subscription, but a free version is also available. Amazon music is another easy option.
Kitchen dance parties are another way to occupy the kids or a dance off. If Dad gets involved it’s even better!
6. Card Games
I will probably write an entire post on card games. My kids absolutely love playing cards. The youngest plays memory, but all of the others play with regular decks and specialty cards. Best part – they play nicely with each other.
Here are my top 3 recommendations:
- Sleeping Queens: this game incorporates adding and subtracting, which is great specifically for our just turned 7 year old. She loves this game and her older brothers enjoy playing with her. It’s an all-around win.
- Rat-A-Tat-Cat: another game the kids play alone or we play as a family. Our 3 yo can’t play alone yet, but will sit and watch or play with someone.
- Qwirkle Rummy: the older boys (8 & 10) love Qwirkle and Rummy, so this game is a definite win in our house. I like games with strategy and this is just that. I got it for one of the boys for Christmas and we played it a ton on Christmas break too.
We are taking daily walks / bike rides while under quarantine. We also have a ping pong table that we use very often (my husband plays like Forrest Gump, seriously).
Since I’m not able to go to the gym right now, I’m trying my best to do short, but effective at-home work-outs. I’ve been challenging the kids and my husband to planking contests and so far, I’m the house champion so I’m going to keep that going.
We also do squat contests and other silly easy activities with the kids (think run around the house 5 times or relay races) to get our exercise in. The kids think it’s funny and I’m hoping to not gain the #quarantine15. Carbs are my friend.
8. Reading / Journaling
I also want to write an entire post on book recommendations by age, but even if your littles can’t read yet, they can pretend & enjoy picture books. Hand them a stack of 5-6 and see what happens.
I have the boys (8 & 10) journaling daily using prompts from their teacher. Lots of What If scenarios. I make them write a minimum of 3 sentences in proper form. It’s good for them I say.
My oldest loves to read. We couldn’t stop him from reading if we tried. The others aren’t quite as natural, but we have figured out what works for each of them:
- 3 year-old: picture books she’s familar with and can tell her dolls the story line (Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, etc)
- 7 year-old: books on cd she can follow along with (plenty of options available on Amazon)
- 8 year-old: it either has to be an exciting mystery or a how-to of something he is interested in. He will read more advanced Lego how-to books or Captain Underpants, but not historical fiction.
- 10 year-old: this one is a total bookworm. His favorite series include The Green Ember & Adventures in Odyssey
I hope these at-home activities for kids help inspire you and keep your kids’ busy. I know how exhausting it can be trying to work from home, school kids, cook, clean and have some sort of sanity. If you have any questions or have any fun activities you’d like to add to the list please do in the comments!
I also shared some Working From Home With Kids tips here.
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