Stuck at home again? While many areas of the world are starting to emerge from their respective quarantines, it’s not completely over yet. Plus, even if we are returning to many in-person activities, the reality is that there are always going to be times when we find ourselves stuck at home again, wondering what to do.
But if you’re like most people, you’ve used up pretty much all of your ideas by now. That’s okay—that’s what we’re here for! Here’s a list of some of our favorite stay-at-home activities, organized by age group. We’ve tried to choose activities that require few materials, most of which you’ll already have around the house. However, in some cases, you may find that the purchase of a toy or game is worth it in order to pull off the particular activity.
Stay at Home Activities for Toddlers
How is it that toddlers are both “busybodies” and impossible to keep busy? It’s a mystery to us adults, but that’s the way that it goes. If you are the parent or a caretaker of a toddler, then you know the struggle of keeping your toddler occupied all day. This struggle is even more intense when you are all cooped up inside! Here are some ideas on how to save your household from boredom:
Cardboard Box Train
Toddlers love trains, it’s a fact! While you could go out and buy a beautiful train kit, your toddler will have just as much fun creating a train out of cardboard boxes and paint. If you have some spare buttons hanging around, you can use these as train wheels. There are two possible ways that you can do this: one is by making a miniature train set that your toddler can use to put their figurines in, or by making a life-sized train that is big enough for your toddler to put themselves in. We love this life-sized train tutorial from One Time Through.
Bowling is a fun activity for toddlers, but the majority of us don’t just happen to have bowling alleys in our house! Fortunately, with a bit of creativity and a few odds and ends, it’s possible to make your very own indoor bowling kit. You can make this as complicated or as simple as you would like. This example from Instructables even uses plain plastic bottles. It’s not the most beautiful activity, but it sure is fun!
Lines of Tape
Sometimes the things that are the most fun for our toddlers are the things that we cannot possibly understand the joy in. And that’s ok! The goal here is to keep our toddlers occupied. If you have hardwood or tile flooring, there is a lot that you can do with a simple roll of tape. One example is to place lines of tape on the ground and use it as a jumping game, as seen here.
Toddlers love balloons! But, did you know that there is more that you can do with your balloons than just a good old-fashioned game of “keep it up” (although that can be quite fun on its own). You can introduce your toddler to the concept of sports by starting with a game of balloon volleyball. It’s fun and it helps with their motor skills! Find instructions here.
Crib Mattress Slide
Just because you can’t go out to the park, it doesn’t mean that the park can’t come to you! If your toddler is still sleeping in a crib, you can make a slide out of their mattress by turning it sideways. It’s that simple! Make sure that you are assisting your toddler while they go down the “slide” for safety reasons.
Painting With Water
Painting is a very fun activity for children, but it’s not the tidiest of activities. You can get rid of the paint mess by having your child paint with water. It may sound strange, but water actually shows up on cardboard material—a win for both you and your creative kid! Find details here.
Stay at Home Activities for Children
Make Homemade Ice Cream
What child doesn’t like ice cream? How about homemade ice cream? You might think that you need fancy equipment or ingredients to make your own ice cream at home, but that’s not necessarily true. As a matter of fact, you can make your own ice cream in a bag (yes, a bag). Get the scope (sorry) over at the Best Ideas for Kids.
Hide and Seek
A tried and true classic, hide and seek is a great way to keep your children occupied while you’re all cooped up at home. Ideally, they can play with their siblings or with kids in the neighborhood. However, if there aren’t playmates around, you can always partake in a game or two like in old times. Your kids will appreciate it.
At-Home Nail Salon
Who doesn’t love a little pampering? If your kids are into nail polish and makeup, why not give them the idea of setting up their very own make-believe salon at home? Of course, the adults in the house will have to be okay with the kids using their supplies, and there is an opportunity to make a large mess, but there is also an opportunity to have a lot of fun. Don’t be surprised if your kid(s) want to try out their “manicure skills” on you!
Make Friendship Bracelets
Friendship bracelets are a right of passage in childhood! You can encourage your kid to make friendship bracelets by giving them a selection of twine or string that they can then braid into jewelry. There are a number of excellent friendship bracelet tutorials online, too.
Doll Beach Party
You might not be able to go on a trip to the beach, but that doesn’t mean that your kid can’t have some fun setting up a beach party for the dolls! You could use either the bathtub or the sink to do this. All you will need is a towel (for the dolls to relax on) and some accessories (those little drink umbrellas function really well as beach umbrellas for dolls). Use the tap as a diving board for extra fun!
At-Home Movie Theatre
Not every stay-at-home activity has to be high energy or elaborate. Sometimes the best thing to do is to curl up with a good movie. To take it to the next level, you can help your children emulate the movie theatre experience by making popcorn and setting up big comfy areas to sit in.
Stay at Home Activities for Preteens
Painting is fun, but sometimes painting the same old canvases can get boring. Painting rocks is a fun and intricate challenge that can give way to some really great artwork! There’s plenty of rock painting inspiration to be found online, though. Here is a great place to start.
If you think mobiles are only for babies, think again. A mobile can also be an adorable decoration for an older kid’s room (or hey, for an adult’s room, even). In fact, on Etsy, there are many intricate beautiful mobiles that sell for upwards of $100. Maybe your preteen can use this as inspiration for making their own mobile instead of reaching for your credit card to make a purchase?
Family Game Night
Even if you think that your preteen might be growing too “cool” to want to play board games with their family for fun, think again. They might be way more interested in the idea than you would have thought! For something different, take a look at this list of underrated board games that won’t have to rely on the same old favorites.
Start a Novel
Is your preteen a budding novelist? You’ll never know unless you encourage them to write for fun! Spending a lot of time at home is a great time to discover a love of writing. There are literally no limits when it comes to writing—besides of course your imagination.
Stay at Home Activities for Teenagers
Toddlers are hard to keep occupied, but teenagers are difficult too in their own way! Even if your teenagers do nothing but roll their eyes at any activity suggestion that you throw at them, it might still be worthwhile to throw a few ideas their way. Here’s some you can try if you’re brave at heart:
Learn to Code
Coding is one of the most valuable skills that you can know in this day and age — that’s why it’s being taught in some schools from a very young age. Even if your teen has never shown an interest in coding before, it’s a great thing to get them interested while they’re bored and cooped up at home. There are even some free resources online that they can use to start their coding journey,
Making an indoor terrarium is way easier than you would think! Plus, plants are totally in right now, so it shouldn’t be very hard to persuade your teen to try it out. There are a few creative DIY terrarium ideas to get you started, but there is really no “wrong” way to make your own special indoor miniature plant garden, but here are some ways to get started if you are unsure where to begin.
Coloring books aren’t just for kids! In fact, there has been a huge uptick in interest in adult coloring books in recent years. This might be the perfect thing for any teen that is in need of something to keep their hands occupied as well as an outlet for their artistic side. Here are some of the most exciting adult coloring books on the market.
Sharpie Art on Bowls
If coloring books aren’t really a thing for your teen, then you might be able to interest them in a bit more of an unconventional artsy craft! We’re talking about bowl sharpie art. Unusual, maybe, but it’s definitely a fun challenge. Make sure you follow the directions so that you are able to actually use them as dinnerware.
Just because you’re stuck inside doesn’t mean that you have to be bored to tears. Hopefully, you were able to find some inspiration within this list that helps you and your family make the best out of time at home.