Inside: At-home fun for kids of all ages that keep the whole family smiling! This guest post from Hazel Bennett hits the mark offering working moms and dads activity ideas for kids that promote independence and fun.
Tell me if this sounds familiar.
You’re right in the middle of checking emails, brainstorming a new business idea, or taking the first sip of your morning coffee. All of a sudden, your kids burst in with a flurry of requests and complaints.
Now you have to put your task on hold to discuss the whereabouts of your 10-year-old’s favorite shirt, explain to your toddler that having cupcakes for breakfast just isn’t going to happen, and assure your teen that it is unlikely that they will actually die of boredom.
We love our kids to the moon and back, but let’s get real. They need us, A LOT, and sometimes will pull our attention away from other big items on the to-do list. Focusing on work or enjoying a moment of relaxation can be a struggle when your little ones are bouncing off the walls and vying for your attention, and in case no one has told you this today: you matter too!
One of the best ways to save your sanity in these situations is to find independent activities to keep your brood busy and happy while you get things done. Check out the following suggestions for at-home fun for kids perfect for when you’re all at home working, playing, and schooling. You’ll find a creative collection of games and activities for toddlers, tweens, and teenagers.
We’ll also explore a few tips on how to transform the rooms in your home into comfy and practical spaces where your kids can hang out and give you a few moments of peace!
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At-Home Fun for Kids of All Ages
Activities for 3 to 6-Year-Olds
Now of course there’s nothing wrong with sitting your little one in front of the TV and letting Peppa Pig distract them while you tackle your to-do list. But if you’re looking to get off the screens for a bit. try keeping little ones entertained with some of these fun and engaging activities.
Table-Top Games and Quiet-Time Activities
When you need a moment to take a work call, these activities can help kids have some QUIET fun. Keep their minds and hands busy with card games for kindergartners like Spot It and Memory Match to help develop their recognition and recall. Or you can try a Story Cube game that encourages them to use their imaginations and invent stories.
Energetic Activities for Kids at Home
To get your kids up and moving, consider a few of these active options as well.
Use painter’s tape on the floor to create a hopscotch board or a winding road for racing toy cars. You can also set up field day activities that include ring toss, cornhole, jumping rope, and hula-hoop stations so they can switch it up.
This takes a little bit of setup on your end to get started, but then the kids can take it from there!
Creative At-Home Fun for 7 to 11-Year-Olds
Kids in this age range may benefit from changing things up a bit with some more creativity. Stimulate their minds and help their imaginations flourish with the following games and tasks.
Arts and Crafts
There are plenty of crafts to do when bored kids are stuck at home. Let them try creative DIY projects like making crayons, salt dough, and sidewalk chalk. Stock up on supplies so they can draw their own temporary tattoos or tie-dye a T-shirt.
If your kids are more tactile, let them build a blanket fort or a pool noodle obstacle course.
Fun and Games
Kids love unique games like water balloon batting practice and laundry basket skeeball. You can also keep them busy by challenging them to create their own costumes and musical instruments out of household items, then letting them rehearse and perform a play or concert for the family.
Task-Based Fun for 11 and 12-Year-Olds
Kids are fairly independent at this age and probably already have a few hobbies that they enjoy in their free time. Still, there are some activities you can offer to capture their interests and keep them from staring at screens all day.
Make Chores Fun
Get your Mary Poppins on and make sure your tweens get their chores done, and have fun in the process!
Organize a chore treasure hunt with fun and unique rewards. Strategically place clues that require kids to complete a task before moving on to the next step. (Just make sure they know mom has to approve their work before they can get their prize!)
Help Them Hone Their Skills
Encourage your kids to practice the things that they love while you’re doing the work you love!
Create a backyard training camp where your little athlete can practice soccer, football, and basketball drills.
Establish an indoor studio where artistic kids can paint or sketch a unique poster to hang in their bedroom.
You can even set out recipes and ingredients and have them make puppy chow, popsicles, or no-bake cookies for the family.
Kids are really tapping into what makes them tick at this age, so encourage those big dreams right from the comfort of your home.
Activities and Outings for 13 to 16-Year-Olds
Teens can usually come up with their own ideas for what to do when stuck at home. However, their vision of a good time might involve endless hours of playing video games and watching TV.
Again, not playing TV cop here, but here are a few non-media-related suggestions for keeping teens occupied if you need a change of pace.
Keep older kids busy with tasks that help them express themselves.
You can help teens get creative by encouraging them to write poems or stories about something that interests them. Or, gift them an instant-print camera and have them photograph things around the house that make them feel happy or inspired.
Let Them Go Out and About
Getting out into the world is a little trickier in COVID times, but with precautions in place, you can still encourage your teenager to get out of the house for a couple of hours.
Send teens out to ride bikes with a few friends. Or as other activities start to open up, look online for local concerts, sports games, or other community events that they would enjoy. If you prefer to keep your kid at home, let them invite a friend or two over to have some snacks and hang out in the backyard.
Keeping Kids Busy with Home-Based Hangout Spots
Once you decide on creative games and fun projects that will appeal to your children, you’ll need to get your house set up to accommodate them. Just like you did when setting up your home office space, finding ways to make your home work for at-home entertainment can take some trial and error but it’s worth it.
Here are a few tips for transforming the rooms of your home into functional spaces where kids can work, play, and create.
Set Up Headquarters in the Living Room
The living room is the hub of the home, so it’s the perfect place for an easy-access supply station.
Create a family command center where kids can find everything they need for the day. Hang up a wall calendar and a list of activities to keep kids on track with homework, play dates, music lessons, and chores. When kids are in on the game of scheduling, that’s one more item off your plate.
Turn a Spare Room into a Playroom
If you have little ones, choose a room that is close to your workstation to keep toddlers and preschoolers within earshot. Pad the floor with soft rugs and playmats, and set up a little table and chairs where kids can enjoy arts and crafts.
You may also want a toy box and a bookcase for storage, as well as some colorful wall art to boost the fun and playful feel of the space.
Get Crafty in Your Dining Room
Your dining room can double as a space for creative activities without getting too messy. Big plus there!
Clear out a section of your sideboard and fill it with storage bins and paper trays for art supplies. Kids can spread out at the dining table to do homework, drawing, writing, or artwork. When it’s time for lunch, they can easily clean up their materials and put them away in the craft cabinet.
Basement Screen Time Spot
Turn a section of your basement into a laidback rec room where kids can enjoy a bit of gaming after they finish their homework, chores, or other activities.
Creating a teen game room with a TV stand to hold their gaming console and video game collection leaves the upstairs nice and quiet for Zoom meetings, or binging Ginny & Georgia. Another great thing about a game room is that you aren’t too worried about things matching down there. Old sofa the dog chewed and bean bag chairs from the kids’ bedrooms, you have a new home!
At-Home Fun for Kids = A Less Frazzled Mom!
Motherhood is a full-time job, but it’s okay to take a break from your little ones now and then. More than okay!
With these ideas for at-home fun for kids, you’re teaching independence by helping kids figure out how to self-entertain (with a little guidance), and you’re giving yourself the time you need to get work done or just relax.
Win, win, double win!
We know you might feel a little frazzled from time to time as a busy working mom, but you’re also an awesome mom, and these kiddos (and your clients/coworkers/students/boss) are all lucky to have you!
Huge thank you to Hazel for these great tips for at-home fun for kids, perfect for helping out working moms and dads! I’m always up for a new working mom hack and these are perfect for keeping kids of all ages entertained while that to-do list gets to-done.
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