When your family has to stay inside for days, weeks, or even longer periods of time—boredom can set in quickly. It might be tempting to let your kids spend hours in front of a screen, but many experts recommend limiting their screen time. If you’re looking to mix things up, consider these fun and creative activities that the entire family will enjoy.
Have a game night.
Bring out the board games, and let the fun begin! To up the ante, consider a tournament, with small prizes for the winners. Games like Monopoly and Life are great ways to teach kids about the value of money. If you don’t have any board games, then dig out a deck of cards. If you can’t remember all the rules, a quick online search will give you everything you need.
Get creative with crafts.
Try a craft project such as knitting, model building or tie-dyeing t-shirts. For inspiration, go online to find age-appropriate craft projects. If you’re short on supplies but can’t make it to the craft store, choose a project that uses common household items. For example, you could cut pictures out of magazines to make a collage.
Put on a skit or play.
This is an activity that could take hours, if not days. Write a script for a skit or a short play, put together costumes, and design a “set” from household furniture and whatever props are at hand. Then, rehearse. When everyone has memorized their lines, it’s showtime. The kids could put on a play for the adults, or the entire family could join in, filming the play to share with friends and relatives.
Create a scavenger hunt.
Hide clues throughout the house and yard. Each one will have a puzzle or riddle that needs to be solved to find the next clue location. It’s a great way to squeeze in a math or critical thinking challenge without the kids noticing. The kids (either alone or in teams) will work their way through the clues to find a special prize at the final, “secret” location. You can vary the degree of clue difficulty based on the age or grade of your children.
Tell a “pass-on” story.
A “pass-on” story is a tale told by several people, with each person taking a turn to add to the narrative. One person begins the story. It could be a mystery, a comedy, a ghost story, or whatever comes to mind. Then, the next person takes up the story where the first person left off, adding a few more sentences of narrative before it’s the third person’s turn. The resulting story can be very wacky and entertaining. Record it and play it later for more laughs.
FaceTime or Skype with family and friends.
Check-in with family and friends over the phone or with a computer. If you have an unlimited data plan and a good internet connection, create an epic family versus family game or activity. Pictionary, karaoke, and charades are just a few examples of activities that would be easy to do online. It’s a good way to practice “social distancing” while having some fun.
Cook a meal or a special dish.
Cooking together, as a family, can be a wonderful bonding experience. Or, you could allow each child to choose a special dish to prepare on their own. Kids who aren’t old enough to cook unsupervised can help parents with tasks such as measuring and mixing ingredients. Be sure to talk about the cost of the dish or meal that you are prepping. Make a few quick calculations to determine the cost per serving. Then, the next time you make a meal together, challenge your family to create a delicious meal that costs even less.
In addition to being fun, singing is a great morale-booster. If any of your family members play instruments, they could accompany the singers. Or, go online to find instrumental versions of your favorite songs, and have a family concert night. Who knows, you might be creating the next YouTube sensation
Redecorate a room.
If your family is experiencing cabin fever, then it might be time to change your surroundings. Enlist the entire family to help redecorate a room. Move the furniture, rearrange decorative items on shelves and tables, or paint the walls. Give them a small budget so they know what they can and can’t afford. As a parent, you’ll have the final say on how the room is decorated, but you can get your kids on board with the project by letting them be in charge of certain things, such as how to arrange the figurines on a shelf.
Being house-bound doesn’t have to lead to boredom. These activities will help your family to pass the time, learn a few things and create some long-lasting memories together.
This article was developed in partnership with Balance Pro.