By now, most of us parents have been in full quarantine mode for a few months, and while we are acing this (yes, you are mom and dad, pat that back). We still need tips and ideas because kids quickly get bored. Thankfully, we have 24 activities, online fun, and crafts to learn and enjoy this time with our families as we explore and share our days together.
Also, check out this post written by Beaches.com — 34 Fun Educational Indoor Activities For Kids Which Help Them Once They’re Back In School.
Pop the Popcorn and Throw a Comfy Movie Night
Enjoy a family night movie and watch the newly released How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. The final film of the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy is arguably the best of the three. Hiccup, now a young man, has become the Viking leader of Berk. He thinks he’ll always have his pal, Toothless, by his side. But things change when Toothless meets a mysterious white dragon. Ultimately, Hiccup has to make a decision that will forever affect the relationship between humans and dragons.
Included with Hulu subscription. From $3.99 on Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Vudu, and Google Play.
Julie Andrews’ new podcast “Julie’s Library ” will give a new unique voice to the best children’s classics. This weekly audio series created by Julie Andrews and her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton will share their library and read their favorite children’s books. Every tale will come to life with music and special guests who will surprise the listeners every week.
For Kids Third Grade and Up Enjoy Dav Pilkey at Home
Hello, Supa Buddies! Find Dav Pilkey at Home on Scholastic and the Library of Congress featuring read-alouds, drawing lessons, and other fun activities. Get creative and have fun with some of your favorite characters, including Dog Man and Captain Underpants! Every Friday, you will discover new activities, exciting videos, and stories!
Bake a Cake with the Kids!
Yes, Birthday Cake Kits are supposed to take all the stress and drama out baking. But for some, we know there’s always stress and drama involved in baking — especially in tiny New York City kitchens. That’s why we spoke to Anna Helm Baxter, Co-Founder of the DIY cake and baking kit company, Poppikit. Here are her top tips for baking with kids (and baking with parents that don’t have much more culinary experience than kids):
- Let the kids crack the eggs. If you’re looking for ways to involve kids in the baking, then task them with cracking the eggs. (You might have to fish out one or two pieces of eggshell afterwards). Or, if you want to limit the eggshell liability, just let them stir together the ingredients.
- Chill the cake before you decorate it. Once you’re done baking, Helm Baxter recommends you “refrigerate or freeze your cake for about 30 minutes” before you start adding frosting (and piling on the sprinkles). According to Helm Baxter, “A chilled cake is easier to decorate (and will create fewer crumbs).”
- Don’t have a turntable? Substitute parchment paper. Putting a cake on a piece of large parchment paper means you can still rotate while you decorate! Helm Baxter says it also helps to “Frost the sides of the cake first and place one hand on top of the cake to keep it steady.”
- Don’t scrimp on the frosting. Helm Baxter says you shouldn’t worry about “getting super smooth frosting.” Instead “load the frosting onto the cake and use swirling actions with the smooth side of a butter knife to purposefully create texture.”
- Use a baking sheet to catch lost sprinkles. According to Helm Baxter, “Sprinkles fix everything!” And she’s so right. So let kids pile them on during the decorating stage. But make sure you’re decorating the cake over a “large rimmed baking sheet” that can catch any lost sprinkles.
- Have fun! Whether or not your cake kits end up looking exactly like the pictures, you can still enjoy the baking process. Helm Baxter says that “baking with kids is unavoidably messy and you may not end up with a Martha Stewart-like creation.” But the important thing is that “your kids will feel a sense of pride in baking and sharing their creations.”
Go on an Adventure with Story Pirates
With a crew of world-class actors, comedians and musicians, Story Pirates takes original stories from real kids and turns them into wild, imaginative audio adventures, each about 30 minutes in length! Kids of all ages are encouraged to submit their very own original stories on the Story Pirates website and hear their work brought to life as sketch comedy or musical theater.
Have Kids Work on Their Science Skills with Brains On!
Brains On! is American Public Media’s science podcast for curious kids. Hosted by kid scientists and public radio reporters, the podcast asks questions about the world and “goes wherever the answers take us!” Some of the most recent 30 to 40-minute episodes are titled “Thinking Ink: the Scoop on this Colorful Stuff,” “Can You Dig to the Center of the Earth?” and “Joy Overload! The Science of Tickles and Cuteness.”
Meet the Wildlife From Home With The Bronx Zoo
The Bronx Zoo, New York Aquarium, Central Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, and Prospect Park Zoo bring the best of wildlife to you online! Bronx Zoo’s Instagram account is where you can take a virtual trip to the Zoo and watch animal routines even when the Zoo is closed. Special training sessions are physically and mentally stimulating for many of its residents, like the sea lions, who need to play with keepers regularly to socialize and have fun. Join them!
Do a Lava Lamp Experiment!
You’ll need: vegetable oil, water, food coloring, a clear cup and a few Alka Seltzer tablets
Instructions: Color 1/2 cup of water with food coloring. Fill another cup about ¾ full with vegetable oil. Then pour the colored water into the cup of vegetable oil until it reaches about 1-2 inches from the rim. Break the Alka Seltzer tablets into 2 or 3 pieces. Let your kids take turns adding pieces of Alka Seltzer to the cup.
Water and oil don’t mix. The oil won’t change color because the food coloring is water-soluble. The Alka Seltzer reacts with the water to make bubbles of carbon dioxide, which attach themselves to the colored water and rise to the top of the glass. When the bubbles pop, the colored water falls to the bottom of the glass.
Have The Kids Work on Their STEAM and Build a Rain Shelter
You’ll need: building materials (foam blocks, cardboard, craft sticks, straws, tape and more), a small figure toy and a squirt bottle
Instructions: Lay out various building materials for your toddler. Ask them to help you make a house for their toy that won’t let in any rain. Discuss ways they could keep the toy dry from the water. Ask open-ended questions that allow your child to solve the problem on their own, like “What can hold a roof up?” or “What makes for a strong wall?” Once the shelter is complete, test it out by squirting water to simulate rain. Did the shelter keep the toy dry? If not, redesign and try again!
Experiment via Kids STEAM Lab
Have Fun With This Leak-Proof Bag Experiment
You’ll need: a gallon-size storage bag, water and sharpened pencils
Instructions: Fill the plastic storage bag with water until it’s half full. Seal it shut. Help your toddler poke a pencil straight through the bag — in one side and out the other. Watch as it doesn’t leak! Keep poking more pencils through. The bag doesn’t leak because it’s made of a polymer, which is a long, flexible chain of molecules. When you poke through the bag, the molecules spread apart then seal themselves around the pencil.
Get Creative and Connect with Draw Something
On Draw Something, your child can draw and guess doodles with family and friends. The Pictionary-like app encourages creativity and connection. When prompted with words from themed categories, your child will create a quick doodle or a virtual masterpiece and send it to their friends, who will try to figure out and guess the prompt for points.
With the Uno app, your child can connect with friends in a classic one-on-one game, make a strategy with their partner in a two-versus-two mode or cheer on their friends as a spectator. They can also invite their friends to an Uno Room and play Uno by their own new and creative rules.
Have Kids Practice Their Math Skills with Khan Academy Kids
Khan Academy’s mission is to inspire life-long learners. Khan Academy Kids teaches math topics like counting, numbers, addition, subtraction, shapes and measuring as well as other subjects like reading, language and logic. The free app, tailored to early learners, facilitates independent learning through thousands of interactive activities, videos and games. Your child’s learning will be guided by five fun and helpful animated characters.
Make a Paper Mache Craft
Use what you have a create a cool paper mache. What you’ll need:
- Paper materials (You can use old magazines, tissue paper and a firm base like a piece of cardboard)
- Paper mache mixture (1/2 cup of glue, 1/2 cup of flour, and 1 cup of water)
- Paint brush
- Make the paper mache mixture and mix
- Cut up pieces of paper into strips
- Apply the paper mache mixture to your strips and place them on the cardboard
- Let dry
- Create a picture (We did reduce, reuse, recycle)
Make the cardboard strips smaller and follow the same steps to make bookmarks.
Set Up a Virtual Birthday Party for Kids
Want to keep it low key at home with your favorite friends? There are a few simple steps to get started, and then the rest is cake! First and foremost, choose your preferred platform, whether it’s Google Meet, Netflix Party, Skype, Uber Conference, Zoom, or your other favorites. Where applicable, make sure to add a password to avoid party crashers. Create an online invitation or simply send an email to your guests. Let them know if it’s a surprise and provide any special instructions like BYOC (bring your cake!).
Include anyone and everyone you would like to celebrate with (and it won’t cost a small fortune!). Online rooms can get crowded so stagger entry times, consider smaller groups, or even multiple, mini parties with different sets of friends to maximize (screen) time together and not to overwhelm the party kid and partygoers. Plus, it keeps the celebration going. Choose a theme, add décor, and do as much or as little as feels right for your family. In place of gifts, consider having everyone contribute an item for a birthday time capsule.
Visit Hogwarts with the Family with Harry Potter at Home
There is good news for all Harry Potter fans and parents who need some magic to keep children entertained! J.K. Rowling recently launched “Harry Potter at Home,” a free hub for magical craft videos, fun articles, quizzes, puzzles, and much more. J.K. Rowling offers you the ultimate Harry Potter experience: “Parents, teachers and carers working to keep children amused and interested while we’re on lockdown might need a bit of magic,” Rowling wrote on Twitter
Hogwarts’ online collection includes kid-friendly activities, videos, puzzles, illustrations, quizzes, creative ideas, articles, and stories, that will help you take a break from these difficult times as you get transported to the wizarding world of Harry Potter. And if you are just entering the World of Magic, don’t forget to check out the Harry Potter dictionary where you can test your wizard vocabulary with terms like “muggle,” “quidditch,” and more words to explore.
“Harry Potter at Home” links you to various free platforms and games that help to enrich your magical experience. Explore the Harry Potter: A History of Magic online exhibition which unveils rare books, manuscripts and magical objects from the British Library’s collection, capturing the magic which is at the heart of the Harry Potter stories.
For weekly “Harry Potter at Home” updates and so much more, you can follow #HarryPotteratHome or subscribe to the Hogwarts newsletter so the Wizarding World team can deliver all of the latest news and activities straight to your inbox in one package. To opt-in, click the check-box when asked during registration. No owls required!
“Harry Potter at Home” project is a team effort, combining the resources of Harry Potter UK and US publishers Bloomsbury, Scholastic, and Pottermore Publishing, leading spoken-word producer and provider Audible, library supplier OverDrive, and of course, magic-makers at WizardingWorld.com.
Go On a Fun Art Exploration at New York’s The Met
The Metropolitan Museum of Art grants you free online access to tons of photos, 28 featured exhibitions, and a 3D tour of the museum halls. Explore art-making activities for the whole family and listen to musical performances from around the world. The Met offers you everything from cutting-edge 360-degree videos to downloadable catalogs from previous exhibitions.
Make No-Bake Energy Bites with the Kids
If looking for a no oven cooking lesson to do with the kids, you’ll love making this fun dish! An easy dish are these easy No-Bake Oatmeal Energy Bites the kids will be excited to participate in making. The best part is that there is no cooking required, just mix and place into the refrigerator.
3 tbsp of flax
8.4 oz of oats
3 tbsp of water
1 ripe banana mashed
1/2 cup of peanut butter
1 tsp of cinnamon
1 tbsp of green powder but not necessary
3 tbsp of agave
Sprinkles (if you want)
Mash banana and add flax, water, cinnamon, green powder, peanut butter, and agave. Stir to combine.
Add oats, sprinkles, and scoop. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Learn or Practice a Second Language with BBC Bitesize
BBC Bitesize is a website that provides free language-learning videos in French, German, Mandarin and Spanish to students of all ages. Video topics range from “Numbers” to “Stories and Poems,” often including games and songs.
Fun Coding for Kids ages 10 through 14 with Blockly
Blockly Games enhance children’s coding skills and support the development of future IT specialists. These online and offline products are targeted toward 10-14 year old students. Designed to be self-paced, Blockly offers hands-on lessons, lesson supplements, and digital materials that can be downloaded for offline use, ensuring accessibility for all kids and devices. All code is open source, meaning it is free and customizable to meet your kid’s needs.
Have Fun with Yarn and Sticks
A fun and easy craft project is to use a stick and yarn. Yarn can be any length — let the kids experiment with it — they’ll figure it out. It can also be cut shorter after it’s on the stick. And to tie it into a loop — make a “u” and pull the ends through.
“Visit” New York’s American Museum of Natural History
Re-live the Night at the Museum with the “Windows of Nature” online exhibition or take a virtual tour across galaxies and learn more about scientific imaging technologies in the virtual halls of the AMNH. Plus, check out the free Museum classes, quizzes, and games for children.
Have your Little Author Write His/Her/They own Book with Nano Wrimo
With only time on their hands, this site is for the young writer who is itching to write a novel… in 30 days. Common Core-aligned lesson plans from prewriting to publishing help kids to develop and fine-tune their writing skills. We love this resource for students who are up for using their imagination to create another world or simply tell their story. From lower elementary to high school.
Have The Kids Explore the Classic Reads at ProjectGutenberg