How to Keep the Kids Busy When You Are Stuck At Home

It has been approximately 4,928,550 days since we began quarantine. Maybe I am exaggerating a little, but it certainly feels as though it has been that long. I am running out of ways to keep the kids busy. And, we went from going to the library, preschool, the mall, and Target, to going nowhere.

I am a homebody, so I don’t have a problem with staying in. Having two small boys, however, makes staying in a bit more challenging. They are definitely showing some signs of cabin fever…being stuck at home when you are 1 1/2 and 4 is obviously no fun! And, we don’t have a grassy yard for the little guys to play in, so it can be challenging to enjoy fresh air!

Over the last few months, we have found some fun activities to keep these little dudes entertained and happy.

 

Our Favorite Toys And Activities

  1. A Water Table: Summers in Colorado can get pretty hot. What better way to cool off than playing in the water? This is our third water table, and it is by far the most fun! And, we have an umbrella that we can attach to the table, for added shade (sold separately).
  2. Aqua Doodle Mat: My boys love, love, love to paint. But, painting can be really messy, especially for little Jack. So, I found this awesome aqua doodle mat. The boys can paint and draw with water, over and over again. It also comes with suction cups, so you can stick it to a door or window!
  3. Jumbo Cardboard Blocks: These blocks stay accessible in the corner of our living room, so the boys can play with them whenever they’d like.  They build “tall tall towers,” walls, robots, and paths along the floor. It seems like they have even more fun destroying their creations, and making these big blocks come crashing to the floor.
  4. Arts and Crafts Bins: I know what you are thinking…coloring is not a “fresh idea.” But, hear me out… create a bin full of art supplies: crayons, markers, colored pencils, paper, googly eyes, pom-poms, and glue sticks.  Amazon sells an awesome craft set to get you started! Brooks doesn’t need much supervision. Instead, he just dives right in to start creating. During this time, I can choose a few things from the bin to give to Jack. His favorite activity seems to be coloring with crayons–which he can sit and do for nearly an hour!
  5. Rainbow Rice: If you have followed me for a while, you know I am a fan of sensory bins. I recently tossed our old rice (we’ve had it for FOUR years), and I filled the bin with rainbow rice! It was super easy to do. Just add food coloring to one cup of uncooked white rice in a large plastic container. Add 1/2 tsp of white vinegar, and shake, shake, shake until the color is distributed throughout. Brooks had a great time with this! Repeat the process with as many colors as you’d like. Let them air dry on a plate or baking sheet over night. Then, add to a large plastic bin. Throw in some toys (funnels, bowls, spoons, scoops, action figures…you name it), and enjoy!
  6. Toy Round Up: Inspired by Marie Kondo, we clean out and organize our toys every two weeks. It sounds crazy, I know. But we take out ALL of the toys we have, and we spread them out on the family room floor. It is a mess, but it is a great way to keep the kids busy. We have cloth bins, and a small toy basket, each designated for specific types of toys: super heroes, animals, cars, puzzles, activity books, etc. Together, we sort through the toys, and place them in the correct bins. It takes a while, but it is fun! It allows the boys to discover toys they’d forgotten about. It allows me to find and discard broken toys. And, it allows me to keep things like puzzles, games and sets together….without missing pieces.
  7. Reading: The more you read to your kids, the more they will love to learn to read. If your kids are not fans yet, start by adding some interactive books to your library. When they can open flaps, feel textures, etc. they begin to find more joy in reading. And you can just take it from there!
  8. Bubbles, Bubbles and More Bubbles: Bubbles are cheap, and can provide endless fun. If you have little ones who cannot blow bubbles, consider bubble guns, or a bubble machine! If you have older kids, consider finding different things around the house that you can use to make bubble wands!
  9. STEM Experiments: Last year, my mom found this awesome Smithsonian STEM book for Brooks, and we have had so much fun working through the projects. And the best thing? Most of the projects use things we have at home!
  10. Cloud Dough: This is a super easy, super soft dough you can make with ingredients you have at home! And, it is offers a different texture than typical play-doh. All you need is 2 parts cornstarch, 2 part baby lotion or conditioner. Mix together until combined, and then adjust as necessary.

And, sometimes, it is best to just snuggle up on the couch with a cozy blanket and watch a family movie together. This time can be so challenging for us all, especially little ones. What are you doing to stay sane during this challenging time?

 

 

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About Me

Hi! I am Amy, the creator of RunawayTeacher. I am a mom to two boys, and I married to my best friend. I love mom life, crafting, and blogging. Read More.

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