With schools closed as a result of the coronavirus, many of us moms are finding ourselves unexpectedly confined to the house with kids, scrambling to come up with ways to entertain them without spending a bunch of money. All of these activities are fun, inexpensive and are easy to put together with items you probably already have on hand, or can order from Amazon.
1. Make Slime: My kids love making and playing with this easy 3-5 ingredient slime. Pro tip: confine slime play to a table or outside because slime is a PAIN to get out of carpet and upholstery.
2. Glow Stick Bath: Or as one of my friends calls it, “baby rave bath.” Give your child a few glow sticks from the Dollar Store, turn off the lights, and let them splash and play for a while.
3. Homemade Water Table: Put your kid in clothing that can get wet, preferably outside, and give them a bucket or tupperware container filled with water and lots of plastic drinking cups, measuring cups and measuring spoons to transfer the water with.
4. Chalk: This is parenting 101, with a little sidewalk chalk from the Dollar Store a sidewalk, fence or driveway become a work of art.
5. Paper Plate Animals: All you need is paper plates, construction paper, a marker and maybe some googly eyes and glue for your child to create their own unique works of art.
6. Popsicle Bath: Problem: kids love to eat popsicles but parents dread the mess popsicles make. Solution: give the child a popsicle in the bath tub and keep the mess contained.
7. Homemade Playdough: Your kids will have a blast helping you make this homemade playdough and then playing with the finished product. I like to add essential oil or glitter to kick it up a notch.
8. Make Muffins: My kids all loved to help me cook and muffins are an easy project they can help with by measuring and stirring. You can make some from scratch, or pick up a quick and easy mix.
9. Leaf Rubbing: All you need are a few leaves, white copy paper and a few colored crayons for this classic activity.
10. Colander and Pipe Cleaners: Turn a colander upside down and give it to a child with a bunch of pipe cleaners, asking them to poke the pipe cleaners through the colander holes.
11. I Spy Bottle or Bag: With rice and a few small items from around the house you can easily create this fun I Spy activity.
12. Make Moon Sand: All you need are baby oil and flour to make this fun sensory experience.
13. Paper Towel Butterflies: With just paper towels, food coloring and pipe cleaners you can easily whip up this cute craft.
14. Ice Block (or Cube) Excavating: Freeze small toys into cubes or a block of ice using ice cube trays or a large tupperware container then let the kids take them outside and try to melt or crack the ice to rescue the toys.
15. Baking Soda and Vinegar Play: Give your child a medium size dish with a layer of baking soda across the bottom. In a few small containers, combine vinegar with different types of food coloring, then give them the vinegar and a dropper and let them make a rainbow pile of fizz.
16. Pasta (or Cereal) Necklaces: You can use yarn, string or a pipe cleaners for the base and let the child string tube pasta shapes or round cereal pieces to make a necklace or bracelet. Bonus: you can color the pasta first with food coloring, if desired.
17. Rock Painting: Find some rocks and then let the child paint them however they like. My boys particularly like to paint them to be animals or monsters and then glue googly eyes on the finished product.
18. Vegetable or Fruit Stamping: Half a lemon, apple or the end of a bunch of celery make cute stamps when dunked in paint.
19. Sensory Bins: These can be assembled from items you already have around the house and kids will love playing with them.
20. Build a Fort: Break out some sheets and blankets for some good old fashioned kid fun.
21. Coffee Filter Snowflakes: Fold a coffee filter a few times and give the kids a pair of scissors to make pretty snowflakes.
22. Paint in a Bag: Squirt a few blobs of colored paint into a gallon ziploc bag, close securely, then tape the bag to the table and let kids push the paint around for mess-free painting.
23. Paint with Water: Give your child a paint brush, a cup of water and send them outside to “paint” everything they’d like from the sidewalk, to a fence, to tree bark or more. You can also do this with a bucket of soapy water and have them clean your mailbox, door handles and whatever they can find.
24. Toilet Paper Roll Instruments: All you need is an empty toilet paper roll, 2 rubber bands, tissue paper and either rice or beans and you have a quick and easy maraca.
25. 3-D Building with Marshmallows and Toothpicks: Here a bag of mini-marshmallows and a box of toothpicks can become an elaborate 3-D creation.
26. Dance Party: This classic never goes out of style. Turn on some loud music and let the kids get all their wiggles out.
27. Blocks: Magnetic blocks, legos or the old school wooden blocks stimulate brains with creative play.
28. Turn on the Hose (or Sprinkler): Send the kids to the backyard for some water play.
29. Make friendship bracelets: This morning I re-lived my middle school days and taught my boys how to make friendship bracelets that they are now proudly wearing.
30. Do a workout: My kids like the Moovlee superhero yoga on youtube.