150+ Ways To Keep Kids Busy
Keeping kids busy is a struggle at the best of times, but with current conditions of self-isolating and staying home as much as possible, it’s important we don’t all get driven crazy in the process. Here are some great ways to keep kids busy. From the activities you need to sit with them to do, to the ones you can incorporate into chores, or encourage independent play, we have you covered for all your needs throughout the weeks.
Ways To Keep Kids Busy
“Mum, I’m bored” this is one I have heard all too often, as I blankly stare at a playroom full of toys scattered everywhere. How could they possibly be bored with so many toys! Here are some great indoor activities to keep the kids busy:
- Toy Rotation: it’s true, kids get bored easily. Rotating their toys is an easy way to solve this with minimal effort. Too many friends have told me they let the playroom get trashed and leave it that way, because what’s the point in cleaning up during the day? Well, the point is kids get overwhelmed. If you clean up at say, lunchtime, they enter the afternoon renewed and discover new toys that were hidden behind all the mess. Consider it a restart of their imagination.
- Melted Crayon Art: oh so messy, but oh so fun!
- Jelly Play: this is one you might want to take to the bathroom.
- Playing With Rice: if you can get your hands on any…and you might actually want to save it for eating…
- A Handful Of Gloop: more messy fun for the bathroom!
- Playdough: make it, play with it, play with it some more.
- Oil and Water Sensory Bottles: a great way to keep little kids occupied.
- Colourful Pasta: you may not have the pasta spare for this activity, but if you do…
- Playing With Shaving Cream: pop your little one in their high chair and have some fun.
- Pom Pom Construction Site: perfect way to keep little fingers busy.
- Muddy Animals: mix some coco and water in one container, and soapy water in the other. Let your plastic animals play in the mud and then give them a bath afterwards!
- Hair Workshops: Mums, this one is for you. Learn how to do your daughter’s hair (if you can get them to sit still).
- More indoor fun: a video of 50 different ideas to keep you busy.
- Pretend Snow: fun way to bring the outdoors in.
- I Spy Jars: a great sensory activity for kids.
If you like getting your hands dirty and covered in paint and glue, then these activities are for you. I have two craft loving girls who would sit down and paint and draw all day, so we particularly love finding new and exciting craft ideas.
- DIY Fairy Wings: a great way to combine nature with craft!
- Celery Stamps: turn them into wrapping paper, or just have fun.
- Golf Ball Painting: easy, contained painting with a difference.
- Peg Butterflies: a great activity that can be adapted for all ages.
- Bath Paint: keep the clean up contained and let kids go wild.
- Potato Painting: that’s if you have any potatoes to spare!
- Spice Painting: no paints? No worries, this activity involves all the senses.
- Yoghurt Paint: messy fun that kids can actually eat.
- DIY Night Light: a sweet idea for those older kiddies.
- Painting With Babies: an easy idea for those little ones.
- Mess-free Finger Painting: keep the house clean while having some fun.
- Paddle Pop Painting: a cute way to paint with babies and toddlers.
- DIY Hand Prints: these make a great present for relatives.
- Paint with trucks: all you need is paper, paint and trucks to roll through the paint. The rest is up to your creativity!
- Easter Eggs: get festive and decorate some eggs!
- Biodegradable Glitter: if you have some rice to spare this is a great one to try.
- Story Blocks: made some Velcro story blocks.
Just because we have been asked to self-isolate, doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the great outdoors! Get outside with the kids, into the backyard, or head on a bushwalk as the fresh air is good for everyone. Just remember, if you run into other people in the process, keep a safe distance of 1.5 metres.
Here are some great outdoor activities:
- How To Make A Volcano: this one is nice and simple for little kids to get involved.
- Stocking Grass Head: while laying low, why not watch something grow.
- Coloured Sand: you can do this one indoors or outdoors and have some fun.
- Coloured Ice: might want to pick a warmer day for this one.
- Bubble Foam: this is great for big and little kids.
- Bubbles: they never get old!
- Picnic: you only have to go as far as your backyard! Get the kids to help put together a picnic and pack it to go.
- Frozen animal eggs: the girls LOVED this one. Get a balloon, pick a plastic animal to go inside, add water. Tie it up and pop it in the freezer. The next day take the balloon off and you have an animal in ice. You can either let it melt, or have some fun throwing it at the ground to break it.
- ‘Water’ Colour Paint: add some food dye to water and take it outside and let the kids paint.
- Chalk Drawings: let the kids have fun on the pavement outside.
- Chalk Artwork: take it to the next level with this amazing artwork idea!
- Press some flowers under a pile of books.
- Camping: pitch your tent in the backyard and enjoy a staycation!
- Hopscotch: we drew one out back with chalk the other day and the kids loved it.
- Scavenger Hunt: print it off and go hunting outside. Or draw your own!
In these hard times, it stands to reason that many businesses can’t operate as usual. We want to help them where we can! Consider some of these amazing businesses when looking for ways to keep your kids busy:
- PeekyMe Craft Boxes: order a craft box online and have the activities delivered to your door. We have used these guys before and they are AMAZING, such creative ideas and so much fun.
- Keeping Kids Busy Australia: busy bags full of great products and activities for your kids.
- Foost: this is one to help with those chores! Foost make kiddy friendly knives, so kids as young as two can help you in the kitchen.
- Prep Steady School Ready: digital school packs to get your child ready for school. Plenty of amazing activities.
- Zara’s Play Tribe: lots of simple, easy, engaging ideas that inspire families to play and connect with their little ones!
- Devine Little Minds: educational resources to keep your kids busy.
- Little Red Lullaby: busy books with plenty of activities inside to keep little hands occupied.
- Imagine For Kids: gorgeous imaginary play products, including chair covers, dress-ups and more.
- Hippo Blue: personalised puzzles, activity books (on sale at the moment 3 for $15) and story books.
- Little Birdie Books: monthly book packages and book boxes for kids. They choose excellent picture books and create book-inspired hands-on activities that help you to maximise the potential of picture books!
- Fauve + Co: baby sensory and music boxes, great for the little ones.
- Logie the Yogi: Yoga for little people online.
- Alpha Baby Designs: range of flash cards which are perfect for home play and learning. Plus we’ve a FREE Easter Activity Pack which is a printable full of fun learning activities.
- An Ink in Twine: fun activity boxes to keep little hands busy.
- Nesk Kids: open-ended toys for kids.
- Kiddicutter: kid-friendly knives so kids can help in the kitchen.
- My Pen Pals: great learning, writing and counting resources for kids.
- Poppy & Daisy: eco friendly kits including flower press kit and paper making kit.
- Hand in Hand Activity Kits: craft boxes delivered to you!
- Upper Notch Club: kids Yoga mats and table cloth playhouses.
- Little Woods: reusable colouring in placemats.
- Happy Smile Little Meditations: short 5-minute meditations for young and old.
- Virtual Farm: go visit a farm from the comfort of your home, wahoo!
- Free Online Toddler Party: that’s right, kids under 4 can join in the fun together. Great idea!
- Zoos Victoria: that’s right, they are currently Live Streaming all the animals, so pop it on and let your kid take a virtual tour!
- Virtual Museums: can’t get out to see the museums? No need! You can now enjoy them from the comfort of the couch.
- Blarney Castle: take kids on a tour of one of Ireland’s top landmarks.
- Wind in the Willows: West End’s Wind in the Willows can be streamed online!
- National Parks: you can literally bring the outdoors in with these amazing parks.
- Theatres: they may be closed for performances, but you can virtually tour some amazing theatres around the world.
- Rollercoaster: take on the thrill of a virtual rollercoaster, Frozen style.
- Aquarium: The Monterey Bay Aquarium in California now has 10 live web cams for you to enjoy the animals.
- NASA: NASA’s free mobile app lets space-enthusiasts virtually step into mission control.
- The Louvre: now open for you to tour online.
- Great Wall Of China: walk the wall virtually and soak it all in.
- Museums Around The World: Google Arts and Culture is offering virtual tours of museums around the world.
- Head To Mars: want to escape the planet for a while (don’t blame you), jet off to Mars!
What to keep their brains active and learning new things each day? Then these ideas are for you!
- Playing With Shapes: add some scissors and kids will learn while having fun.
- Loose Parts Play: got little ones in your home? A great activity for all.
- Rainbow Pasta: so many different ways to teach kids with this activity.
- Giant Wordsearch: this will keep the occupied for a while!
- DIY Alphabet Match: super easy to make and great for those fine motor skills too.
- Shape Puzzles: these have to be one of my favourites, such a great idea.
- Threading: get some playdough, place a stick of spaghetti upright in it, then thread on some cheerios. A snack and a fine motor play idea in one.
- Sunflower Word Activity: a cute idea that is fun to make as well.
- Sticker Names: two of my kid’s favourite things, stickers and letters.
- Contact Paper Craft: simple and easy idea for toddlers to practise their fine motor skills.
- Crazy Straws: a fun fine motor skills game with straws and felt.
- Colour Sorting Activity: a simple idea you can set up at home.
- Fine Motor Recyclables: using the recyclables to set up a fun activity.
- Storytime with Authors: a number of different authors are doing live readings of their books each day.
- Weather Around The World: learn about seasons, weather patterns and geography.
- Flower Dyeing Experiment: an easy science experiment for kids.
Sometimes you want a quick and easy way to entertain the kids that doesn’t require much effort on your part. Take a stab at these:
- Stacking Cups: a simple idea to keep the little ones entertained.
- Pillow Play: fun for the whole family!
- Playing With Pipe Cleaners: it’s mess-free, it’s easy, and it will occupy them.
- Treasure Baskets: another simple option to keep them playing longer.
- Exploration Bottles: a range of different ideas you can use.
- Baby In The Mirror: a great way to have some fun together.
- Build a fort: this one will keep the kids entertained for hours. In fact, get them to build it on their own if they are big enough. Perfect place to bunker down and do story time at the end of the day.
- Dance Party: turn on the music and have a dance. Perfect excuse to take a break from work and plenty of laughs as well.
- Shadow Puppets: pull the curtains, turn off the lights and grab a torch. Enjoy some shadow puppet fun.
- Paper Airplanes: easy and so much fun.
- Match the socks: hide socks all over the house individually and get kids to go on a hunt and see if they can make pairs.
Kid’s love it when you play with them. And I bet we all wish we could sit down and play all day, but that’s just not the case. With working from home now a big thing, you need to be able to get things done with the kids around. And even more important, you need to be able to concentrate. Here are some activities you can encourage kids to do on their own.
- Pretend Play: sit with them to get the game started and watch them go.
- Balloon Games: you provide the balloon, they do the rest.
- DIY Ball Pit: simple fun that will have them in hysterics.
- Find Them Toys: sometime kids just need a push in the right direction. They forget what toys they have, or just get in a mood where everything is boring. Go in, sit with them for 5-10 minutes and get them started on some games. Then you can sneak away to get some work done while they are happily playing.
- Drawing: set them up with pencils and paper and let them go. If they need a little help, give them something to draw. Tell them to take their time and colour it in carefully.
- Reading: even if they can’t read, let them flick through books. We always enforce a bit of quiet time during the day and this is a great way to do it.
- Puzzles: we are big fans of puzzles in our house. Sit close by if they need a helping hand, but otherwise try and encourage your little one to have a go on their own.
- Duplo/LEGO: tip it out, make a mess and let them build!
- Send them on a nature scavenger hunt in your backyard. Make a list of everything you want them to find, then ask them to make an artwork with the pieces when they come back.
- Train tracks: help your kids set it up and then leave them to it (they may not even need your help setting it up).
- Shape Blocks: set them up and let your kid build.
- Small World Play: kids love using their imaginations, but sometimes they need a little nudge. Set up some small word play (treehouse, dollhouse, train set, car track, animals, cars, trains, trees, blocks, etc), and let their imagination take over.
Spending time indoors is the perfect chance to jump in the kitchen and get baking. With all the shortages of flour and other ingredients, it’s a good idea to get creative. Go through your cupboard and see what ingredients you do have and have some fun.
- Chocolate Crackles: an oldie, but a good to introduce the kids to.
- Rocky Road: one of my all-time favourites!
- Frozen Yoghurt With A Twist: a fun one to make and even more fun to eat!
- Clean Bounty Bar: this one is both tasty and good for you. Double bonus.
- Tim Tam Truffles: these are so good you will hide them from the kids.
- Sprinkles: doesn’t matter what you bake if you can add sprinkles to it! Fairy bread, cupcakes, biscuits… get the kids to sit down and have some fun decorating.
- Homemade Fish Fingers: nutritious and delicious
- Broccoli Tots: this will turn any kid into a broccoli lover.
- Icy poles: grab some reusable holders and have fun making different flavours. Sinchies also have plenty of other great ideas on their site to keep kids busy.
- Three Bears Cookery Club: join them for live bake-alongs.
Educational Apps and Websites
Want to extend the learning while you’re at home. Here are some great Apps and Websites available to you:
- Scholastic: learn at home with their fabulous online courses.
- Shutterbugs: Wiggle and Stomp: teaches movement and motion and all about the animals.
- 10 Monkeys: maths problems for your little one.
- ABC Kids Iview: ABC on demand for kids.
- Monster Chords: kids can learn to play guitar.
- Drama Classes: drama, music and dance streamed online for little kids.
- Wholebeing Education: wholistic education classes for preschoolers.
- Learning Lockdown: two primary school teachers share some learning ideas.
- Preschool Games: some online games your preschooler can enjoy.
- Time for Kids: online articles for kids from the publishers of TIME magazine.
- National Geographic Kids: learn about nature, animals, different countries and enjoy science experiments.
- How Stuff Works: do you have a kid that loves discovering new things? Enjoy games, quizzes and videos and learn about a who range of topics.
- Exploratorium: learn about science, art and human perception with their online resources.
- BBC History: kids can enter ancient worlds, meet famous people and much, much more.
- Highlights for Kids: a monthly magazine with online ways to play, read and craft.
- Disney Junior: fun educational games for kids.
- Funbrain Junior: maths, reading and printables.
- World Book Online: offering more than 3000 ebooks free for kids.
Sure, cleaning the house doesn’t sound like much fun, but it does need to be done. So why not turn some of the household chores into fun games with the kids!
- Race Against Time: set up a stop watch and have a race to see if you can all pick up everything in the room and beat the timer. This added challenge can make things fun.
- Water Gun Windows: who doesn’t love playing with a water gun?! Take them to the windows and let the kids have fun squirting while you clean.
- Chore Buckets: let kids choose how they help out by picking a chore out of the bucket.
- Peek-a-boo: with younger kids, bring them out while you hang out the washing and play peek-a-boo between the clothes.
- Pots and Pans: it’s no secret kids love banging on pots and pans, so let them! Get them out next time you are cooking and let them set up their own band.
- Tip: turn vacuuming into a game of catch. This will not only keep the kids out of your way (since the goal is not to come near the vaccum) but will turn into a lot of fun.