When I was little we moved out of state for a period of time. When you don’t have Grandparents down the street, or family gatherings regularly, you get creative. Some of my favorite childhood memories involve my parents playing with us. Not only was it hilarious for your Dad to morph into a dinosaur, but we all talked and laughed about it for days. In fact we STILL (all in our 30s) talk and laugh about the silly things our parents did to entertain us.
Now as a Military Spouse of 15 years that lives out of state, away from extended family, we’ve found a million and one ways to entertain these kids. I wanted to share a few of our favorites off the top of my head, in hopes they help you fill the hours we’re all stuck in our houses and make the most of this time we get together.
19 Screen Free Activities For The Whole Family
Use our Free Play School Printables, and let your kids create their own school. Get the whole family involved. Have a Principal, Teacher, PE Teacher, Cafeteria Lady etc.. Patton, our springer spaniel, was even the school counselor. He just has super understanding eyes! 😂
This is something our whole family usually saves for birthdays, and Easter, but we’ll be bringing this back as much as needed for our little family of four during this quarantine. Create events like jump rope, egg toss, obstacle courses etc. Have an awards ceremony to cap off the day.
Board game tournament
Decide on a game, create a bracket, and play until you have a winner! Pro Tip: Monopoly is it’s own event, think more like Connect 4, Checkers, Guess Who, or even card games!
Tickle and pillow fights
Our kids still think it’s hilarious when we surprise tickle or start a pillow fight. We all end up laughing so hard we have to beg for a break!
Each family member takes turn being the DJ! Make a playlist, have some shout-outs, you get the idea! Kick it up a notch and have a theme, let everyone dress up to match the theme, etc. Ideas: disco party, 90s country, motown etc.
Write and act out a play as a family
When we were little, my parents would create all sorts of fun events. One of the most memorable was our “Coronation Ceremonies”. We’d spend hours decorating our paper bag crowns, decorating the hallways with blankets to look like a red carpet, and whoever’s turn it was to be crowned would get to dress up with a cape. Video it for them to watch back when they’re older, it’s one of our family’s favorite things to watch.
Egg toss tournament
If you don’t feel like going all in on family olympics, you can always just have an egg toss tournament. Kids love this. Simple, hilarious, messy. Do this outside. 😂
You could watch some YouTube tutorials, or just let your kids make up what they think are amazing magic tricks. Either way, have the whole family sit on the couch and watch them put on a show!
Water balloon war
Take this to the next level by giving each person their own color balloon and set boundaries (like dodge ball) to see who can get the most hits!
Nerf Gun War
Self explanatory, but theme it up if you want to make it extra fun. Be super secret spies on the hunt for the hamburglar. Channel your inner Nicholas Cage and go get that Declaration of Independence, Indiana Jones etc!
Family hide and go seek
There are only so many places to hide in a house and backyard, but this one is still always a hit with the kids! Especially when parents play!
Ahhh this one might be my favorite! When I was in Kindergarten, our teacher setup the most elaborate Post Office for Valentine’s Day (Shout-out to Mrs. Jones!). I think that has a lot to do with it being one of my favorite holidays. That, and our oldest was born on Valentine’s Day. Ok, everyone decorates a shoebox as their mailbox, then places them outside their room. One room in the house is the actual post office. Set a desk up so you can receive the mail. Then one person delivers the mail. This is something that can go on all day in the background of whatever else you’re doing. And something so simple, but fun for the kids. (and adults who geek out on this sort of thing). 🙋🏻♀️
Watch a movie then act it out
Watch a movie, then act it out as a family. Set a time frame like, “the sound of music in five minutes”. This can be super funny!
Let the kids read to you like they’re the teacher, raise your hand to ask questions, anything to make them feel like they’re in charge which is super fun for kiddos.
This one is so much fun! The idea is that they’re filming their own cooking show. We’ve done this with everything from baking cookies from scratch, making sandwiches, homemade chicken noodle soup, and even slice and bake cookies. Video it and then watch it back on the tv.
Epic living room fort
Ok, but not like “drape a blanket over the couch and call it a day. I’m talking your entire living room looks like a camp site when you’re finished. Let the kids bring a few things from their room into their new fort and leave it up for a couple of days. I bought some industrial clamps from Home Depot years ago, highly recommend, they come in super handy. Also, light weight sheets instead of heavy blankets, and Christmas lights send this over the top.
Living room camp out
If you have a tent, put that sucker up in the living room for the day! A whole day of actually camping out in your living room is super fun. Make a weekend of it and theme your meals, have smores etc.
You know those adult painting classes where you bring your own wine? But like for kids. And the kid is the instructor. They choose what you all paint. Just use card stock and water colors if that’s all you have. Or even make it simply a drawing class instead of paint which can get messy real fast.
We love a spa day around here! I save up face masks from monthly subscription boxes, and we do everything from painting our nails to fun hairstyles, and makeovers. We actually did this outside yesterday so we could soak up the sunshine!
Those are just a few ideas off the top of my head! No matter what you do, spending time as a family, and being creatively involved with your kids is something they’ll never forget.