“I’m bored,” is a phrase no parent ever wants to hear. Especially when you have young kids you’re trying to entertain. When kids are restless and feel like they have nothing to do, it can be tempting to hand them an iPad or turn on the TV.
But there are better ways to keep them entertained.
Stop boredom in its tracks with these ten easy activities you can do with young kids right now. They require minimal equipment and materials and offer satisfyingly instant results.
If you’ve ever watched a YouTube video with your child, it’s likely you’ve seen the three-marker challenge. All you need to replicate this activity at home is a handful of markers and blank coloring pages.
Place the markers in a pile on a table or other flat surface. Have each person close their eyes and select three markers from the pile.
No matter what colors they choose, they’re stuck with them! Now, set a timer for ten minutes and get coloring. The final artwork should generate some serious laughs.
Kid friendly scissors and a stack of construction paper are all you need to keep your children creatively entertained for hours. Teach them how to make paper hearts, snowflakes, airplanes, and dolls. If you have old magazines, they can create villages and fantasy lands by gluing images onto cardboard.
The fun never ends with paper and their imaginations.
Sometimes the best games are the most basic ones of all. Hot Potato can be played anywhere and nothing is required—except a potato (or other “hot” item).
A soft object like a small teddy bear or rolled-up pair of socks is ideal for smaller children. For older kids, use a real potato or a safe, indoor ball. Time the game to music or a stop watch. Hot potato, hot potato!
Hide the Button
Hide the Button, also known as Button, Button, Who’s Got the Button, is another basic game that requires only a button or another small object that can easily be hidden.
One person hides the button, and everyone else hunts for it. The hider can help the group by saying, “Cold. Getting warmer. Even warmer. Hot!” Narrating adds an element of surprise and fun. The winner gets to hide the button next.
Toothpick and Popsicle Stick Construction
Kids love to build things, and toothpicks and Popsicle sticks add another dimension to the building fun. Turn it into a competition! Who can make the tallest toothpick tower? Who can make a house using only ten Popsicle sticks? Let them paint their final creations.
Out of glue? Use marshmallows to hold everything into place. They’ll be entertained for hours.
Indoor Obstacle Course
Create an indoor obstacle course using a variety of household objects. Use a blanket as a simulated mud crawl. Line up a row of chairs to crawl under or over. Do jumping jacks or run in place. Toss a ball through an indoor hoop.
Have the kiddos race to the finish line in a pillow case. There are endless ways to set up the course. When you’re designing it, keep in mind the ages and abilities of your children and the space you have available.
Kids love to play make believe! Turn a large box into a drive-up restaurant. Just cut a door on one side and a window on the other. Pretend to drive up and place your order. They can use a play cash register and money, along with pretend food.
If you don’t have a box, improvise with a small nightstand or ottoman. As long as your child can perch behind it and take your order, they’re good to go! What can I get for you today?
What’s Inside the Box?
Guessing games are some of the most entertaining activities for children. What’s Inside the Box is a guessing game that not only provides a source of fun but is also beneficial for sensory processing. Simply cut the flaps off a medium sized cardboard box. Next, cut a hole in one side that’s large enough for your child to stick their arm through or not so large that they can see inside.
Now, find a variety of objects that feel warm, weird, or soft to the touch. One by one, place the objects under the box and have your child reach through the hole. Let them touch and explore while they try to identify the mystery object. You can also try this with foods. Just be prepared for the clean up!
Using a fine-point marker or pen, write the name of an animal, person, or thing on each side of two, solid-colored wooden blocks. Have your child roll them like dice.
They need to act out whatever they roll on. You could also turn this into a “learning about your emotions” games. When they land on an emotion like anger or fear, talk about the best ways to handle their feelings.
Fill up a 13X9 inch baking pan with rice. Hide a handful of objects under the rice and let your kids pretend they are on an archaeological dig. You can also use a large stock pot or empty drawer placed on the floor or dinner table. For added fun, your kids can dress up like dinosaur or treasure hunters.