This is a guest post on entertaining your kids at home this summer written by Bobby Montgomery. Also, this post contains affiliate links meaning if you purchase from my links I get a small commission.
Most parents have had a lot more time at home with their children lately. Schools are closed, daycares are operating on skeleton crews, and work-from-home seems to be a way of life these days. If you’re anything like us, you have spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out ways to entertain your kids. With any luck, you have been able to find some that do not involve your complete participation and attention. It’s kinda difficult to participate in a conference call or take notes on a webinar when
your child wants you to play with them. I completely understand my child’s boredom.
Kids need to get energy out. We want them to learn. Heather and I have tried a lot of different ideas for entertaining your kids over the past two months. Some entertainment ideas flopped as she got bored within five minutes. Other ideas, however, were a huge success. Below are some of the activities that we think are best for entertaining kids at home this summer:
A) Sidewalk chalk: Our daughter has spent many hours drawing all over our driveway. This not only encourages creativity but helps develop fine motor skills. Besides drawing artwork you can also find other creative things to do such as create a hopscotch or obstacle course – just a way
to have them hop, jump, and skip around to different squares or balance walk across a line. Sidewalk chalk is probably one of the greatest value purchases you can make. Amazon has it in stock here: Sidewalk Chalk.
You can also grab some painter’s tape to make an outline of a shape, have them color it in, and then remove the tape. You can lay the tape out for a great stain glass window effect.
B) Learn to ride a bike: We did a separate post on teaching EK to ride her bike here: Learn to ride a bike
C) Bird feeders from toilet paper rolls: We saved old paper towel rolls and toilet paper rolls for this project. All you have to do is let your child coat the outside of the roll in peanut butter then roll it in birdseed (most grocery stores will have cheap wild birdseed). You should probably run a
string through the roll before you start adding peanut butter or it can get a little messy. Punching a stick through is an added bonus as it will give the birds somewhere to land. This is great for entertaining your kids!
D) Slip ‘n Slide: This is one of those things I think most of us haven’t thought about since we were kids. The slides are relatively inexpensive and can be placed in most yards. Just hook up a hose and throw on some soap, bubble bath, etc. and you’re good to go. This is something our daughter can do completely alone once we set it up. Yes, you will have the occasional
“Mommy/Daddy watch this”, but will otherwise be able to get a few minutes of work done.
E) Planting…anything: A single pack of tomato seeds was more than enough for us to grow several plants in old party cups. A good responsibility teaching activity is to have your child be in charge of watering and taking care of the plants. You don’t need a green thumb to show
your kid how to put some potting soil into a cup, place a few seeds, and then have them cover the seeds with a thin layer of dirt.
F) Hiding Easter Eggs: You can hide plastic eggs or anything you have on hand, inside or outside. This is great for kindergarten and preschool age kids if you tell them you hid 10 eggs then have them count how many they find along the way. I encourage you to always count how many items you hide, else you end up finding an egg under a cushion months later, with the lawnmower, or never at all.
G) Blindfold sensory test: Cover your child’s head with a blindfold, towel, or whatever else you have around. Have them hold out their hands, then place an object in their hands. Make them guess what is it based on touch alone.
H) Jump-jump / bouncy houses: While this is more on the moderate budget side of things, the amount of time our daughter has used her bounce house has more than justified the purchase. This is a great way to get energy out. Try challenging them to see how long they can jump without stopping. Here is one similar to what we have. You could also go for the full bouncy
experience with this one. Disclaimer: they may be sold out by the time this post goes live. I know a lot of companies have run short on their stock of bouncy houses.
I) Hide and seek: I’m trying not to use some of the most obvious ideas in this post, but hide and seek is one of EK’s favorite things to do. Granted, she is still terrible at the concept of hiding. She will tell me to turn around so she can go hide in the closet or make a ton of noise getting under something. She has gotten a little better. She doesn’t always outright say “I’m going to hide behind the curtain” anymore. As long as she is entertained and feels loved because someone is playing with her, it’s a win, right?
J) Throw a Frisbee: This sounds like it would be too difficult for smaller kids, but EK has gotten the hang of it rather well. We don’t stand very far apart. I think most people have a Frisbee laying around somewhere – a very common promotional item. I think we caught ours at a Mardi Gras
parade. If not, here is an option that is lighter and softer than a regular Frisbee…or flying disk since I think “Frisbee” is actually a brand name: xxx
K) Roller skate: We are saving this one until she gets a bit older, but I remember how many hours I spent roller skating or rollerblading as a kid. It’s a good source of exercise and a great way to hang out with neighborhood friends. Don’t forget the protective gear, especially for children who are learning.
L) Inflatable pool: This has been a HUGE hit on hot days, and we have even gotten in to cool off! There are tons of varieties of these from the very cheap to more expensive but larger. For added shade, put up a tailgate tent over all or part of it. You can also open up black trash bags and set them on top of the water to heat it up faster. Just a little tip!
M) Throw/kick/hit/Catch…anything: We have lots of options here like tee ball, soccer balls, a plastic basketball goal, and more. We will throw a ball on the roof and see who can catch it on the way down. SO many things to do with cheaper sports equipment! Don’t underestimate the value of this activity!
Stay tuned for part two of Entertaining your kids at home on a modest or zero budget!