Thanks to COVID-19, it has resulted in most of us staying at home mostly and venturing outdoors less. With social restrictions and Home-based Learning (HBL), parents have to juggle working from home (WFH) and tend to children. Are there fun things to do at home with kids that doesn’t include screens or devices??
I feel you because I know how challenging it can be as a mum with school-going children who can’t head out to play freely as before. All that screen time is worrying too.
Don’t pull out your hair yet – there are easy ideas and fun things to do at home with kids! Toddlers to primary schoolers, there are ways to keep them meaningfully occupied without using screens or devices. From therapeutic doodling and crafting time, interactive ways of learning, to expending their endless energy, I hope these tips and ideas come in useful for you too!
Psst! Many of these activities are low-prep or even FREE! Whoever says fun activities with kids have to be costly?
31 Fun Things to Do at Home with Kids
1. Learn how to draw
This was one of the best activities we did at home during Circuit Breaker in 2020. After discovering Art for Kids Hub on YouTube, this went into the list of my children’s favourite things to do at home! We could learn to draw cute cupcakes together, and it was easy to follow! My kids would simply browse on the iPad for the interesting characters or do a folding surprise. This also fueled Leroy’s love for endless doodling every single day! His greatest loves include Emojis and Plants versus Zombies haha. I leave them to navigate on their own to learn proactively mostly – it helps beat boredom with its therapeutic fun!
2. Play indoor scavenger hunt
I’ve often felt that scavenger hunt would be more fun outside, but we just have to make do with things during this stay home period. Embarking on indoor scavenger hunt is like playing “Eye Spy” within tighter space, and better control of where the kids can roam. We did different versions of this game – Easter Scavenger Hunts , a random Scavenger Camp and a Chinese Words Hunt with Post-It Notes! I think it was pretty fun to weave in the educational part hehe. Sneaky!
3. Do fun yoga for kids
Need to get sluggish kids moving? We personally tried out Cosmic Kids Yoga on YouTube and both Vera and Leroy enjoyed the imaginative stories and stretching. Thanks to our friend’s recommendation, their creative and interactive yoga adventures include popular Disney princesses, rockets, dinosaurs and more! Think balance, mindfulness, strength-building too especially useful with all the sedentary activities when staying indoors.
4. Play hide-and-seek
Vera and Leroy get up to their own hide-and-seek within our home – it doesn’t look very fun to me because there are only that many nooks and crannies in our small space haha. But the kids enjoy their simple game!
5. Grow new plants
I’ll be honest – our new plants didn’t quite make it! So I’d say, worth a try to find out if you or your kids are green thumbers. Haha. We were gifted 2 cacti and I’ve also bought a mushroom kit (received another DIY mushroom kit as a gift too). Not too successful with them all, but putting it down for other greener families. Did you know that the NEA gave away free seeds to households who wish to start home gardening too? :)
6. Make instant ice cream in a bag
Vera saw some videos of this DIY ice cream idea, and when we received a media kit to try the same, she was so thrilled! View the steps here and try it out too! PS: It was a SUCCESS! :D
7. Get a new pet
Similar to plants, pets need varying amounts of involvement and TLC. I’ve seen friends bringing nature into their homes and their pets include ants, grasshoppers, fish, terrapins, bunnies, stick insects and more. It’s a way for kids to learn to be responsible for another being, and also nurture their soft skills. Pets are not toys, so do be a responsible owner if you get one! Are you ready to be a paw-rent?
8. Jiggle to freeze dance
Another fab way for active kids to move it, move it! There are tons of videos on YouTube, so just search ‘Freeze Dance’ and pick away. Our favourite ones are Freeze Dance by the The Kiboomers!, Scratch Garden and there are also other dance songs to check out. If you don’t mind the screen time for kids, these make a great family workout too!
9. Print out a feast for creative play at home
This really got the kids excited when they first browsed the Canon Creative Park website. Beautiful pastel cream cakes, omurice, sushi, crepes and more… irresistible invitation to play! Super easy – just download and print your favourite paper crafts. Instructions are provided for some and little fingers can help with cutting, pasting, folding and more. Working fine motor skills, encouraging creativity, fueling conversations and more… this is just some of the fun things to do at home with kids during this Covid-19 “lockdown”. Did I say these are all FREE printables for everyone to download?
10. Show appreciation to our delivery heroes
This pandemic is a huge bother, but our essential workers like delivery heroes are still going strong to get things moving. Literally. We decided to pack some bags of snacks and drinks for them to give them an extra boost during their busy day trying to courier and deliver parcels. Made the simple box with recycled materials, involved the kids by getting them to write and decorate the note, and helping to pack the “goodie bags” :)
11. Read new books
One of the best things to do at home is to read! Borrow from the library or cart out books by ordering online. Some of the mega book sales in Singapore are the Big Bad Wolf Sale, Popular Warehouse Sale, Singapore Book Fair and BookMarket by the people behind the SGBookDeals Books Box warehouse sale. Look out for their announcements on their sales – it might happen once or twice a year, or at certain seasons like nearing the June and December school holidays! So glad the kids love to read and now I just need to get back into my reading habit :P
12. Play board games
Scrabble and Monopoly were part of my childhood too! So yes, we bought these to play with the kids when we are at home. You can buy board games from our local shops like Popular, Times, Kiddy Palace and even online stores!
13. Play card games
There are also card games to play as a family! I remember buying a box of UNO cards a day before Singapore’s Circuit Breaker started. Probably the most well-spent $5 ever HAHA. The cards are now worn but still well-loved. They’re also the reasons why Leroy went gaga over Emojis – see point 1! Do your kids like playing UNO too? Other childhood card games we have introduced includes Happy Family, Donkey and SNAP! We just bought UNO Flip too! LOL!
14. Make frozen fruits yogurt popsicles to beat the heat
The weather’s crazy, and the air conditioner has been switched on so much these days. Another way to cool down without drying out our skin? Make some yummy frozen fruits yogurt popsicles as a treat! Super easy and the excited kids can make them too!
15. Blow and pop bubbles
This good old fun is cheap and elicits fun with both kids. Bubbles from ToysRus and from birthday goodies bags gifted over the years! Haha.
16. Play with food *ahem*
It was Mid Autumn Festival, and yes, those are pomelo hats for the kiddos! A slice of my hubby’s childhood too haha! Do you do this too? Or, make Christmas cookies and let the kids decorate!
17. Let the kids cook at home
I know many parents are cool about junior cooking over a stove, but I’m not one of them. Haha. Too paranoid about kitchen accidents, so the kids are only involved in certain steps during meal preps or baking. Being at home alot means more homecooked meals too. Some of the food that kids can help out with include assembling their own pizzas, making cookies and decorating them! Making Christmas cookies is something my hubby and I try to do with the kids, especially since Christmas parties aren’t quite possible now.
18. Ignite creative play with blocks
This set of wooden blocks are one of their oldest toys, but it offers open-ended play that stirs their imagination even till this day! Let them go wild with their creativity, even with LEGO or magnetic blocks! My kids came up with arcade game stalls, built fortresses, houses, vehicles and even used them as food! Just some of the fun things to do at home with kids and play along!
19. Enjoy movie nights
Fridays and Saturdays are now our family movie nights, thanks to Covid-19 and all the staying at home. Haha. Hubby and I just want to relax and unwind, so it was kinda inevitable that the kids follow suit? To fuel our insatiable hunt for Hong Kong movies and dramas, and other entertainment like cartoon and blockbusters, we caved in and signed up for Netflix after living under the rock. Haha. Families in Singapore can also subscribe to Disney+, StarHub TV, VIU and more! TBH, it’s quite hard for all 4 of us to agree on one show. So the kids get their own freestyle screen time when we’re being couch potatoes too. haha.
20. Make slime
Time to make some gooey, sensorial fun! Some kids may dislike it, so don’t fret if yours refuse to touch slime. With some simple items found in the home or shops, parents can help their kids to search ‘how to make slime’ on YouTube. There are tons of videos that kids can watch and learn how to make slime at home. Parent hack: To save time sourcing for the items needed, just buy a Slime Starter Kit from the bookshop or online stores like Shopee and Lazada!
21. Make a pinata
Hubby made the pinatas for our children’s first birthday party, and if you’re having a small party at home, this would still make a nice highlight! Kids love the surprise element, and getting to those candies or goodies adds extra hype for them. Do note that you will need some space because kids will have to swing a rod to hit it! Easy pinata tutorial here!
22. Have an indoor picnic
We’ve had play pretend picnics at home but not quite an indoor picnic per se hehe. But we’ve been having our meals over the kids’ table since Circuit Breaker and that probably aggravated my lower back aches =x Time to take our the picnic mat and dine indoors!
23. Attend online storytelling sessions at home
There are usually FREE storytelling sessions although there are paid ones too. Check out ‘LIVE’ storytelling by librarians – Storytime for kids by the National Library Board (NLB) has English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil stories too). Act3i International combines virtual storytelling and puppetry, while National Park has free online children’s storytelling and crafts sessions too!
24. Create a sensory water play
We used the blue pea flowers that were used to make rice dumplings to transform a styrofoam box that came with my frozen seafood order into an underwater sea world! Added in some toys and I left both of them in their own world of imaginative play! It was good fun for the siblings. To parents: do put some towels around the box as tiles can get really slippery with water droplets.
25. Put up a tent or teepee and pretend to be in the outdoors
This calls for bringing imagination into play again! If space allows, set up a tent or teepee, and relish the fun things to do at home with kids! Some times simple changes in the house can bring a new experience for them.
26. Let kids help out with festive preparations
Baking Chinese New Year pineapple tarts, making rice dumplings for Dragon Boat Festival / Rice Dumpling Festival, helping with pineapple tarts for CNY, making rice dumplings for Dong Zhi and more! K was super psyched to make those zong zi (粽子) – V and L helped with some steps! It’s lots of hard work, but also a helpful way for stressed adults who wish to decompress. #notme
27. Paint rocks and hide them
I learned about The Kindness Rocks Project a couple of years ago after seeing people sharing about it on social media. A friend who lives in Singapore also shared with us about it, and she was actively involved with another friend who told her about it. This is a pretty meaningful way to involve kids and let them know that they can spread kindness – with a touch of creativity too! The painting of rocks is done at home, but hiding or hunting for other rocks means you’ve to head outdoors :)
28. Throw a mini home party – fun things to do at home with kids to lift moods
It was Halloween weekend so we did a simple party for the kids to dress up and feast! Food is always a focus in our family, so we made some spooky treats. Pretty easy Halloween food ideas! Except the carving of pumpkin and watermelon which where K’s ideas… so he took charge of them!
29. Download free paper crafts for decoration, origami and more!
Love crafting or have a party to dress the home for? We downloaded and printed free Halloween party decor from Canon Creative Park to amp up the party – see above point 28. Spot the little skeleton origami? That’s from the same website too! Simply print them on A4 matte photo paper and assemble! We also printed them out using the new wireless Canon printer, PIXMA G670. The colours are vibrant and rich! Even K thought it was store-bought decor – they could almost pass off as professionally printed images! Printed out some Christmas tags on the Canon Matte Photo Paper too. Got the kids to cut them out, and handwrite a message too hehe.
30. Declutter your wardrobes together
Channel your inner Marie Kondo and tell yourself to clear it out! It’s not easy, especially when it comes to the children’s clothes, books or toys. Being at home so much also makes us realise how much stuff we’ve accumulated over the years. *haha* The bursting storeroom is a sign. Totally understand why there were queues at IKEA during the Circuit Breaker in 2020! Get the kids involved – see what doesn’t fit anymore and pack them away for others. Do the same for the adult wardrobes too.
31. Donate your clothes, books, furniture, baby items and more
After kissing bye to outgrown stuff, time to sort out the collection for donations or for passing down to friends or organisations who have better use for these items. If you’re bringing it to an underprivileged community, take the kids with you so they can learn a different aspect of society too. There are many book exchange corners in Singapore, where anyone can leave books and pick books from the shelves. Much like freecycling, and that helps to reduce, reuse and recycle material things. P/S: This might involve having to step out of the house. There are also times that certain organisations organise collection of newspapers and bulky items too, so you won’t need to head out :)
If you have friends on quarantine, or, a stay home order with children, do share this article with them! This list of fun things to do at home with kids could help them plan their schedules. PLUS offer ideas on how to spend their isolation time with their affected kids too.