Some unstructured time at home can be rewarding, but staying at home for extended periods requires rethinking your daily routine—especially when it can include fun activities for kids to do at home. The truth is, busy parents benefit when kids are entertained and engaged, in summer and throughout the year.
If you are wondering how to entertain kids, know there are plenty of options, from indoor activities that reimagine your kitchen to educational projects that increase a child's understanding of the world around them.
Fun Family Activities to Do at Home
When you spend a lot of time at home, it's natural to fall into a routine, including playing the same games. That said, if you look around your space, you may find some new ways to get moving and have fun.
- Host a cooking competition in your kitchen to mix up your day while bonding with the kids. For older kids, this could include cooking a meal, as long as there is an adult in the kitchen to help with sharp utensils and oven use. If your kids are little, mix up dips or a bowl of granola and yogurt that can be customized with nuts, seeds, and fruit.
- Take a break from technology with screen-free fun. Get out the markers, stencils, magazines, and glue to create some vision boards. These can boost self-esteem and are an artistic way to set goals, providing kids with a tactile example of what they want to achieve. If children need a prompt to get started, ask younger ones about colors and words they love and ask older ones about who inspires them or what impact they strive to have on the world when they grow up.
- Use fitness apps to get the family moving or turn the living room into a dance party that will get all ages off the couch. Everyone can participate. Young ones can dress up as their favorite characters while older kids can pick fun outfits from their wardrobe. Once you are ready, move the furniture, roll up the rug, and get the party started!
Educational Projects for Kids
If your family is interested in projects with an educational spin, there are plenty of enlightening activities you can enjoy right in your own backyard.
- Composting in jars is a great way for kids to understand the composting process from their own perspective. A glass jar is all you need to get started. Younger kids will enjoy having dirt on their hands and collecting the needed materials. With older kids, you can also discuss the natural cycle of life, how plants die but then return important nutrients to the soil.
- Sharing solar system facts teaches little ones there is science in the sky, too. You can use a telescope if you have one, but it isn't necessary. There are plenty of intriguing facts that teach little ones the unique features of our planet and those that surround us. It could even produce an opportunity to talk about light pollution within cities.
- Teaching kids how to save electricity is one way to pass down your family's environmental values. Tweens can be encouraged to design their rooms in energy-efficient ways and younger kids can be in charge of flipping the light switch off when a family leaves a room. With long summer days, plan a short no-electricity evening, complete with a board game by candlelight or a round of charades near a fire pit.
Ideas for Exploring the Great Outdoors
With no school, summer gives you more opportunities to spend time with family and build memories in the sun. Spending time in nature is a great way to unplug from technology and recharge our own personal sense of calm. So, put on some sunscreen, grab your hat, and start exploring!
- Discuss the different types of trees with everyone in the family. On a local walk through the neighborhood, take notice of trees and look them up in a guidebook or talk about what trees mean to you. Teens might enjoy looking at the Arbor Day Foundation guide, while younger kids can be read books with stories of trees, such as the classic Dr. Seuss book The Lorax, featuring a creature who "speaks for the trees."
- Go bird watching in the neighborhood or head to a spacious nature preserve and allow your family to enjoy the sounds of nature without other humans around. How you decide to bird watch can be influenced by the age of the children in your family. Little ones may enjoy a notebook and crayons to create a quick drawing of a bird they have seen, while tweens may take to binoculars and guidebooks.
- Make a homemade terrarium using rocks and soil to create a complete ecosystem. Then, you'll have a way to enjoy the outdoors within your home, as well as a physical reminder of the importance of the Earth's natural balance. If your kids vary in age, this can be a delightful activity for them to all do together.
Enjoy your summer as a family with a balance of free time and activities for kids to do at home. If it's helpful, come up with a theme for each week—such as dancing or birds—and enjoy activities together aligned to the theme.
For more ideas, check out the family DIY projects on the Naturally Crafty Kids board by @tomsofmaine on Pinterest!
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Why It's Good
Keeping kids entertained and educated helps busy parents balance unstructured time with learning opportunities—in summer and throughout the year. Choose what works for your family, whether you have little ones who love living room dance parties or tweens who enjoy stargazing. With a bit of creativity, staying home with the kids can be filled with active fun!