Sometimes it’s difficult to break out of the arts and crafts routine when you’re at home with your kids. While it’s easy and fun to spend a day with Crayola and Play-Doh, there are many other activities you can do with your kids that will help develop their creativity. Here are four free activities that will utilize items you already have in your home and allow kids to explore their creativity and problem-solving skills.
Organize a Scavenger Hunt
This can take so many shapes and can span as little as an hour or as much as days’ worth of time. People have taken to setting up local scavenger hunts in their towns, but why stop there—setting up a fun scavenger hunt in your home is easy and can be as simple or elaborate as you want (and by elaborate we mean burning the edges of a fake map to make it look suitably old elaborate).
Get out old trinkets, family heirlooms your kids may have never seen, or take a few of their favorite things and challenge them to find them. Hiding items or creating a narrative through a sequence of items is fun for you and your kids and is a great way to spend time inside. As a bonus, you can challenge your kids to create a scavenger hunt for you when you’ve finished as a way to help them explore their own ideas.
Combine this activity with other dynamic in-home activities, like obstacle courses or fort-building, to enhance the experience.
Learn a New Game
It’s highly likely you have a deck of cards in your home somewhere, and depending on your kids’ ages it’s absolutely either the right or wrong time for them to learn a new card game or board game.
Starting out early is a perfect way to establish one or several card games as family tradition—for example, if you were to teach your kids how to play euchre early on, it might result in being able to play with them far into adulthood (coughs politely). Obviously the game you choose should suit the learning capabilities of your children, but even simple card games like War or Spoons will work for young children and will get you through many rainy days to come. Keep a leaderboard if you’re looking to encourage a little healthy competition.
Write a Story Together
This is an incredibly fun activity that is never the same twice. This game is also a popular teaching tool in schools, sometimes referred to as “round-robin writing” or just “round robin.”
The game encourages children’s ability to think on their feet and develops their story-writing and storytelling skills. Grab paper, the writing utensils you prefer, and some form of timer, and have everyone write a few sentences to begin a story. Then, pass the papers around, each time folding over the content beyond the previous person’s entry. Every time the papers are passed the story will get added to until eventually, it arrives at the person it started with. Reading the stories aloud is sure to be hilarious and is a great way to pass the time. It will also leave you with memorable keepsakes when you’ve finished.
Playing a writing game might also encourage your kids to experiment with their writing skills on their own, so get started as soon as you can!
This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s important to remember that not all kids are invested in reading in the same way. Meeting kids in the middle with how they want to engage with reading is so important.
Starting with audiobooks, reading books aloud, or even introducing reading through comic books and articles are great ways to keep kids entertained and hopefully develop lifelong reading habits. What’s more, taking the time to discuss books with your kids and let them explore ideas through discussion is a valuable experience that will help them in the classroom later on.
If you’re looking for even more options to enjoy with your kids, check out the list provided here.