How about some fun kids activities without shopping for new toys? How about using what we have to occupy kids and avoid turning the house into a hurricane disaster.

It’s the time to use the balloons from the last birthday party, to get the Christmas lights back from the basement, and use that adhesive tape that we bought in bulks who knows what for.

Let’s do it!

FYI: Prentville’s calendar is now devoted to online events only. It is filled with workshops and sports streaming classes for kids, new mamas, and parents-only support session. Be sure to check it regularly!

SPORTS

Kids don’t need an endless pile of worksheets and colouring pages. They need to move and it is doable in apartments of all sizes.

Obstacle course

One of the most beloved indoor kids activity of all ages! A forward roll on a bed, hopping on one leg, crwal through the hallway, balance on sofa coushins and a slalom between the shoes. Every item can be used in this indoor obstacle course, let kids help create it – they will come up with the best obstacles. This activity is great also because it can be adapted to every age! You can see how we did it here.

Golf

Well aka mini golf, or kind of mini-golf (if you have a better name, please let know!). Use balls of various sizes, same sizes, any sizes. Then use plastic/papaer cups, or party hats, or boxes as goals. As for the golf clubs, we used small tennis rackets, a friend used a towel rail from the bathroom. I can imagine kitchen utensils also useful.

Balloon tennis

It can be a tennis game if you use anything as rackets or volleyball if you play with your hands. Grab two chairs and a sheet or drape to for a net. Play, keep score. For the tennis you need some adpted rules (for example how many times the balloon can be touched by a player before moving to th other part of the net).

Ice-scating

This one comes with a bonus of clean floors! All you need are two damp cloths per kid. They step with each foot on on cloth and voila – ice skating ready. Turn the music on, make them think about choreography. The can prepare a show (make them busy: a show needs a poster, tickets, maybe snacks). Just keep the cloths damp and enjoy your clean floors. You’re welcome!

Hopscotch

A game so easy to organise outside, even on a balcony, but how to do it inside? Get that adhesive tape and stick to the floor in a shape of the hopscotch plan. Voila! It should keep them busy for a while and can stay on the floor for as long as you want, to be reused any time.

SCREEN TIME

How to turn the screen time into something more valuable? Use games, inspiring Youtube channels, and more!

COSMIC YOGA

This is so far the best yoga for kids YT channel I have ever seen. It’s especially great for all the kids (like mine) who consider yoga boring. Jaime turns stories, and well-known movies, or books into great yoga adventures! She is brilliant, we are hooked. It comes in a form of an app and as a Youtube channel.

NASA

Nasa is one of the institutions that quickly created online resources to help us stay at home in a good mood. NasaAtHome has a whole section devoted to families with games, videos, and propositions of scientific activities to try at home.

ART FOR KIDS HUB

At this hub the most important thing is to have FUN! This amazing family teaches kids (and their parents) how to draw in a fun way. The result is not so important, but every kid will learn some cool drawing tricks! Check them out at artforkidshub.com.

AR Animals by GOOGLE

Open a browser on your smartphone, go to google and type a name of an animal into the search bar. One of the first things to see in the results will be an option to see this animal in 3D/AR. Tap on it and voila! You can have a tiger on your sofa, or a panda in your bed, we opted for a penguin in our bathroom.

A STOP MOTION MOVIE

There are plenty of free apps you can use to create a stop-motion movie with a smartphone or a tablet! The movie can star toys, lego figurines, or drawings and paper cut-outs. The sky is the limit!

MINECRAFT

The creative mode of minecraft can be used even by young kids (5+). Some silly monstery-creatures will still appear but will not attack. The creative mode offers unlimited access to all of the resources and building materials, so kids can make whatever they wish – a farm (with animals of course), a tree house, a skyscraper… It’s like playing with unlimited lego bricks online!

Recently, I published a guest post by Techlabs with 5 more ideas of using screens/technology to have fun. You can read it here.

SCIENCE

Science experiments for kids are a bit like magic tricks. Don’t be surprised if your kids are not interested in the theory and explanations behind. The point is to wow them a bit, to spark an interest in a new field, and most importantly to occupy them. Some ingredients may not be easy to find during COVID-19 epidemic, but there are many you may already have.

An erupting Volcano

An old-time classic. An erupting volcano is very easy and always satisfying. The only danger is that some kids will ask to repeat it over and over again.

You’ll need a bottle (glass or plastic), warm water, few drops of red food colouring (or liquid watercolours), 1 tbsp dish soap, 2 tbsp baking soda (fr. bicarbonate de soude), and vinegar.

Fill the bottle up to 2/4 with warm water. Add food colouring and dish soap. Mix well. Put the baking soda inside. Ready? Pour your vinegar in and watch the volcano erupt! You can make it even more fun by building a volcano with salt dough (and a bottle in the middle).

A FOAM MACHINE

Pure fun! It’s not really a scientific experiment, it’s just fun. Take a plastic bottle, cut off its bottom (be careful). Now, cover this new hole with a sock. Dip the sock-end in a water-dish soap mix and blow through the end you would normally use for drinking. You can see how it works here.

Microbes on our hands

I recently performed two experiments with Z to show her how the microbes can be widely transmitted by our hands, and how washing our hands thouroughly helps.

The first one is simple and fast: all you need is some glitter, water, and a bowl. Ask your child to dip their palms in the water mixed with glitter, then shake hands, touch door handles etc and observe how glitters stays everywhere. Then, wash hands quickly with just water. Observe. Now, ask them to wash their hands thouroughly with soap. For a better effect dip their hands in glitter again before washing hands with soap. You can see us in action with this experiment here.

The second experiment takes a few days of observation – just until you’re all grossed out. You will need minimum 5 loves of bread, and 5 zip bags. The first slice of bread need to go to a zip bag straight from the packaging without being touched. Use the second slice to wipe the keyboard of your computer and put it in a separate zip bag. The other zip bags are for slices generously touched by dirty hands, hands washed with soap, and hands washed with a sanitizer. Can you guess which one will be the fastest to develop mold? Soon on IGTV.

A cloud in a jar

It’s simple and pretty, and has to do with density, but honestly just let them have fun and watch the rain. You will need: a jar, water, shaving foam, a dropper, and food coloring (or liquid watercolors). Fill the jar 4/5 with water, build a cupcake-like shape with foam on top. Now, drop some drops of food colouring (colour of your choice) on the shaving foam and wait them to drop in the water. As I said, pretty and simple. Z. will show you how to do it here.

EGGS Experiments

Do you know what will happen if you dip an egg in vinegar for 24-48 hours? It’s shell will dissolve, and the egg will become a lot like a rubber ball (but stil be careful). Don’t tell your kids what will happen, let them be wowed. I will be soon showing it on Instagram. You can also take a hard-boiled egg and a raw one, spin them both on the table and then suddenly tap them both with your fingers – gently but as you would like them to stop spinning. Move your finger away quickly. Which egg is still spinning? Do you know why? Also, were they spinning with the same speed?

We will be trying out and showing you more science fun on Instagram and Instagram TV. Follow us on Instagram to stay informed!

ARTS & CRAFTS

Collect boxes, yoghurt cups, plastic bottles, toilet paper rolls, all the crafts materials you have at home and use your kids’ imagination to create. You can make mini houses, barbie houses, garages, animals, and Easter decorations! Or… use the ideas below.

ANTI-STRESS BALLOON

Z was missing her anti-stress balloon she had made at school, so we made one at home. I had no idea how but she guided me perfectly! You need 2-3 balloons, a funnel, and flour. You can see here how to combine the 3.

A dollhouse

Grab a box adapted to your doll’s size, any accessories that come to your head and create a house. You can even have working lights in there by adding Christmas lights! Smaller boxes can be made into furniture. You can see ours here.

MAGAZINES

Any newspapers and old magazines lying around? Use them to create mosaics, mood boards, or your own books/comic books.

CARDBOARD BOX

Apart from turning it into a dolls house or a garage, what can we do with a box? This list is endless! It could become a:

We will surely create some things ourselves soon, as well as trying everything from the list above. Follow us on Instagram to stay informed!

GAMES

No need to look for an online shop and quick deliveries. You may already have what is needed to easily make new family games.

Twister

Any white sheet/drape/table cloth will do. We used a disposable tablecloth, on which we painted 24 circles (4 rows of 6 circles), with whatever colours we had. The spinner was a bit of a challenge but a paper plate, a straw, and few lego bricks later we had (an almost) perfect spinner. The internet is full of other ideas for spinners – check them out. We spent around 30 minutes doing the whole game and we play every day. You can see our twister here.

Hide’n’Seek

This is Z’s favourite activity for our days in. Every apartment has got god hiding places, especially for kids. It’s tricky to find adult-sized hideouts but also doable (in the bathtub, behind the shower curtain, behind the doors, in the closets, under the desk, behind the window curtain, under the bed, etc. Kids’ smiles guaranteed!

Lego hunt

You will need 4 pieces of coloured paper (or table cloth, etc.) in 4 different colours. Now, pick 10 lego bricks of each colour and hide them in one room/the whole place and lay out the coloured paper on the table/floor. Kids need to find all the bricks and bring them to the paper of matching colour. To motivate them – add a timer!

Scavenger hunt

Make a list of 10-15 objects kids cn find around the house. You can use pictures for smaller kids, and text for older ones. You can add specific things (“your favorite car”) or general categories like “something beige” or “something that begins with the letter D”.

Spider web darts

Get that sticky tape again and source some old newspapers. Use a door frame to create a spider web – tape’s sticky side facing one way. Roll up pieces of old newspapers into balls and throw at the web. Or use different light objects (socks, balloons, etc.) to check what sticks and what doesn’t (or how long t sticks).

Toilet seat dress up

Using two rolls of toilet paper create the eyes, an old paper roll can be used a tongue sticking out. Now – hats, necklaces, and other accessories are needed to make it fun. You can give this creature a name and dress him up for hours or once a day. Desperate times, desperate measures…

Charades

Make each family member come up with 5-10 different animals, characters, or family members and write their names on small pieces of paper. Fold them all, put them in a hat (or a bowl) and play charades. Most kids love it, most adults have fun playing it, so it’s a perfect game for family time!

ALPHABET PLATE

Now this one may seem easy but it was actually a school assignment for an 11 yo son of a friend of mine in London. But I think that with some adjustments (the size of the plate, that can become a tray or a box), and more help from an adult, it can be a game for everyone 4+.

The goal is simple: bring to the plate objects from around the house starting with each letter of the alphabet. They must all fit into the plate, so be careful with the size of the items. For older kids you can add complexity by asking them to also find, for each item, an adjective starting with the same letter. Good luck!

BOWLING

Plastic bottles can be used as bowling pins and any ball will do. No plastic bottles? Use toilet paper, plush toys, empty boxes. It should come with typical bowling snacks and drinks to feel more real 🙂