Let’s be honest, when you find yourself stuck with your children in the house unexpectedly you can be at a loss of what to do to keep them and yourself sane and entertained. There are always fun things to do outside, but if you are stuck in the house, like if it raining, then you will need to dip into a modified arsenal.
I know that the first things most people gravitate toward are TV, streaming services, movies and DVDs, and of course video games. While these can be fun, I try to break up what my family does and include activities that we can do together as a family that doesn’t rely solely on these activities. So here is a list of fun things to do with kids at home.
Card & Board Games
Some of my most favorite memories from my own childhood was play card and board games with my family. We didn’t get to do it often as we were encouraged to go outside and play as much as possible. When you are stuck inside these can be a welcome relief to staring at a screen or not seeing your children for days on end because they are glued to video games.
All you need for most card games is a deck of cards. If you don’t happen to have a deck of cards on hand, you can always make your own out of flashcards. Here is a list of all the cards that come in a standard deck.
If you are not feeling very creative, you can always run down to your local store/market/gas station. Most carry a deck of cards. If this isn’t an option, you can check out a deck from amazon pretty cheaply here.
You might have your own games that you and your family like to play. If you are at a loss or looking to find a new game to play, these are some of the most popular.
Board games are something that people seem to accumulate over the years. My household currently has 3 1/2 complete sets of Monopoly. Yes, I said 1/2 as one of the boxes is missing some pieces as well as the board.
Now is the perfect time to dust off the old games that haven’t been touched and try your skill at them again. Board games can include anything from Monopoly and Scrabble, to Twister and Operation, to Pictionary and Jenga. Many of these games are not only fun, but they also help build skills.
Many fun activities that you enjoy outside can be modified to enjoy indoors as well. All it takes is a few supplies most people have lying around the house and the want to do it.
A scavenger hunt can be tons of fun for many people of all ages. This can include everyone from the house helping each other, or you can do individual ones depending on the age of likes/dislikes. You can do teams or all work together to help solve all the clues as well. This is completely customizable for your individual needs.
Here is a link to a fantastic site that can help you set up your very own scavenger hunt.
There are also sports that you can move indoors. These can include basketball, golf, and bowling.
Create a “hoop” out of a laundry basket, a towel wrapped in an “O” shape, or even just a dish towel spread out on the ground flat. Have a sock or something similar(depending on the age and skill of people playing) as the basketball and play HORSE. However a person shoots and makes the sock in the designated area, everyone else must do it the exact same way. If the following people fail to make it in, they get the letter H. Play continues like this. The last person to spell out HORSE is the winner.
Here is a site that will give you an overview of how to play the game HORSE. Modify as you are able to in order to enjoy indoors.
For bowling, you just need 10 things of the same size, shape, and weight to be the pins, and something rounds to act as the ball. I suggest paper towel rolls, water bottles(either full or varying degrees of empty), or even stacked up cans of food from the pantry.
The ball aspect can be anything that can be rolled or lobbed (safely) at your pins. What we have used in the past has been a basketball, an empty water jug, and a shoe. Precautions should be made to make sure nothing gets damaged or broken.
Here is a site that will give you an overview of how to play bowling. Modify as you are able to in order to enjoy indoors.
Another great game to fashion for indoors in golf. You can use almost anything as the golf club such as an umbrella, the broom, or even just “roll” whatever you are using for the ball. The ball can be anything around the house that are small enough to fit in the holes. Some examples are a plastic egg from Easter, any variety of smaller balls you have around the house, or a sock(or two) folded up into itself into the shape of a ball.
The holes can be designed so it is more like mini-golf that you would find at a putt-putt course. Obstacles can be made, depending on age and skill level, so that everyone feels challenged and has a good time.
Here is a site that will give you an overview of how to score golf. Modify as you are able to in order to enjoy indoors.
Who doesn’t love a good healthy contest from time to time? When you are stuck in the house, sometimes it is a great way to alleviate boredom as well as bring the family closer together.
Your competitions can be made from anything that you do as a family. Love board games? Whoever wins 2 out of 3 games gets the prize. Any of the above-mentioned games can be made into a competition. Make sure the rules are stated first and everyone plays fairly.
Some ideas for prizes can include: choosing what to have for dinner, no chores for that day, any meal served in bed(breakfast is my favorite), and what movie to pick for the family to watch.
To put a different spin on it, you could even make chores the competition with a wager of chores as the prize. Whoever does their chores the fastest while still maintaining standards is deemed the winner. Their prize could be that they don’t have to do their chores the next day and the other participants will do them instead. Not only will this help keep keeping the house clean more enjoyable and less like work, but it also offers the reward of not having to do them the next day.
Teach Them New Skills
One option that involves a little more on your part is to teach them some new life skills that you or they wouldn’t have the time for.
Cooking is a great skill to learn at almost any age. If you yourself aren’t very good at it, this is something that you can explore together. Look in your pantry and fridge and see what supplies you have to work with and decide what you want to make. With older kids, you can enlist their help with this. Maybe there is something one of you has been wanting to make for a while, this is your chance. Then, after you make and try it, discuss what you would do differently or better. Then decide if it is a keeper of a recipe or not.
Sewing is another great skill to know. It can be just the basic stitches to repair ripped seams or to sew a button back on to a piece of clothing. If you want to get very fancy, get your hands on a pattern, and make your own clothing. Then when you are next able to, have them wear their creation out for all to see.
Automotive maintenance is an underrated skill that many young folks don’t have a clue about. Pop open the hood of your car and explain the different parts, what they do for the car, and any fluids or electricity they may need. Again another great one if you don’t know the parts of the car yourself to learn with your kids. As you learn together you are also bonding as a family.
There are many different ways to alleviate boredom, creating bonding moments, and help with the household. These are just a few examples that my family and I use to help us.
Yes, some take a little more planning, but they are so rewarding. When we had our Yahtzee competition, our teenager had never played before. He got to learn as we played and had a great time learning the strategies and tricks in trying to get the highest score.
Video games may be the run-to when it comes to entertainment in your family, but that is not something that needs to be strictly avoided for family time. Make a competition out of some of the games that you have. See who can do something the longest, get the highest score, etc. Your imagination is your own limitation.
I hope that these ideas have given you some of your own and helped your family to spend more time with each other and help get rid of some boredom at the same time. If you loved (or hated) my suggestions, please leave me a comment below saying so. I would also love to hear how you and your family do things together when you are stuck at home.
Suggested Reading and Extras