100 Ways to Entertain Your Kids During the Coronavirus Outbreak
Regardless of whether you agree with the response, the coronavirus is changing life as many of us know it. Schools are closed, Spring Breaks are extended, and many parents will be working from home in the coming weeks.
Yet many things will be staying the same: the constant wails of "I'm boooorrred" from cooped-up kiddos and eye rolls from parents who are fresh out of entertainment ideas.
Looking for some ways to keep the kiddos occupied and happy at home during the coronavirus outbreak? Here are 100 ideas for at-home entertainment, divided up into five categories: Active Play, Creative Play, Dramatic Play, Cognitive Play, and Outdoor Play.
1. Build a fort out of blankets and sheets.
2. Have a family dance party. Check out YouTube for hundreds of "Just Dance" videos.
3. Design an at-home obstacle course.
4. Create an indoor treasure hunt.
5. Play hide and seek.
6. Clean out the play room. Now is as good a time as any to tidy up, right?
7. Play trashcan basketball...with all the trash you accumulated during your clean-up session.
8. Set up a dog biscuit hunt. Hide dog treats in various corners of the house and see if Fido can sniff them out!
9. Play balloon volleyball. A latex balloon and two people to bat it back and forth are all you need!
10. Go "bowling." Set up water bottles, grab a ball, and bowl.
11. Learn the Thriller dance.
12. Play limbo. How low can you go?
13. Have a pillow fight.
14. Make homemade decorations for St. Patrick's Day or Easter.
15. Paint a family picture. Draw lines to divide a piece of finger paint paper into equal sections—one section for each family member. Let each family member paint their section however they want. Afterward, you'll have a family masterpiece that everyone participated in.
16. Cook dinner together.
17. Make slime.
18. Bake a cake or cupcakes from scratch. Or a box. (I won't tell.)
19. Finger paint.
20. Sculpt with Play-Doh.
21. Make bead jewelry.
22. Create a family time capsule. Dig it up next year on the date you bury it.
23. Build a cardboard box city.
24. Make your own musical instruments out of household objects. Check out these ideas, or let your kids' imaginations take over.
25. Publish a family newspaper.
26. Roast marshmallows and make s'mores.
27. Write letters to relatives.
28. Make a bird feeder.
29. Raid the craft closet. All you need are buttons and a glue gun, right?
30. Make a volcano out of baking soda and vinegar.
32. Build with LEGOs.
33. Make paper airplanes.
34. Make colored ice. Rainbow ice cubes make everyone's drink more fun!
36. Make your own animal masks out of paper plates.
37. Set up a taste test with various foods from the pantry/fridge. Blindfold each contestant and see if they can correctly guess each food they're offered.
38. Create an indoor scavenger hunt.
39. Make a touch-and-feel box. Focus on textures, or drop household items into the box for a challenge a la Jimmy Fallon.
40. Weave friendship bracelets.
41. Make an early Christmas wish list.
42. Make paper dolls.
43. Color by number on printable pages.
44. Make place mats out of card stock. Particularly fun to get into the spirit of an upcoming holiday.
45. Make hot cocoa.
46. Enjoy a bubble bath.
47. Play dress-up. Still have your costumes from last Halloween? Bust them out of the closet!
48. Host a family tea party.
49. Hold a family carnival with homemade games. You can make this as simple or as complicated as you want.
50. Bust out the face paint. And don't fret over your lack of artistic ability.
51. Hold a family talent show.
52. Indulge in a home "spa day," complete with manis, pedis, and facials. Pro tip: warm, wet paper towels make excellent props for facials.
53. Put on a play.
54. Play charades.
55. Set up an indoor race track for toy cars.
56. Make your own movie or TV show. Download iMovie to get the full effect.
57. Set up a family general store. Have your kids pick out items to "sell" to you and each other. "Buy" them with real or pretend money. This one is a favorite in our house.
58. Pretend you're photographers. Allow your kids to take pictures of various objects or people on your phone camera.
59. Host a family fashion show. Bonus points if you allow your kids to pick out your outfit.
60. Set up a puppet show.
61. Use stuffed animals to play "vet's office," "pet store," or "zoo."
62. Create an at-home photo booth. Have your kids create "props" out of card stock.
63. Set up a restaurant, complete with menus and bills.
64. Play "hospital" or "doctor's office."
65. Indulge in a makeover. Give your littles a sampling of your makeup. Curl, braid, or style their hair in some extra fancy way to celebrate the non-occasion.
66. Have an indoor vehicle wash.
67. Set up a "grocery store" with play food and go shopping.
68. Work a puzzle.
69. Play board games.
70. Enjoy a movie marathon. Disney+ makes this so easy!
71. Read books together.
74. Teach your kids the art of M.A.S.H.
75. Play tic-tac-toe or hangman. Or check out these other pencil and paper games.
77. Build a plastic cup tower.
78. Play Bingo. Make your own cards if you don't already have them!
79. Build with blocks.
80. Play (G-rated) truth or dare.
81. Call grandparents on the phone.
82. Watch old videos.
83. Play hot potato. Just beware of giggles!
84. Go on a nature scavenger hunt in your backyard.
85. Have a backyard picnic.
86. Hold a neighborhood lemonade stand. Be sure to advertise that your lemonade is coronavirus-free!
87. Wash the car in the driveway.
88. Play kickball. Take your kids back to your playground days!
89. Make chalk drawings in the driveway.
90. Plant a garden.
91. Build a fairy house with items from your yard.
92. Paint rocks.
93. Blow bubbles. I have yet to meet a kid who dislikes bubbles.
94. Ride bikes.
95. Roller skate.
96. Create a nature collage.
97. Play flashlight freeze tag.
98. Get creative with relay races.
99. Grab a ball and play catch.
100. Take a walk and search for dandelions.
Times may be a bit uncertain right now, but we can still add some magic to our kids' childhoods and help them to have fun during coronavirus-related school closures and quarantines—or at least stop the "I'm booooored" complaints for another day. Take care of yourselves and your families, mamas!