Activities to do at home with children: part 2

activities at home part 2 - Wild.Kind. Compasionate Playschool

We received great feedback on our previous post on activities to do at home with children, so we’ve come up with Part 2! The list is divided into ‘Play’ and ‘Arts & Crafts’ – but essentially all activities are aimed at making creative use of a child’s time.

Creative play

  1. Go camping in the living room
    Set up sheets over a dining table to create a tent and eat a picnic ‘indoors’, while telling each other stories about a magical woodland animal kingdom
  2. Indoor treasure hunt
    Create a map for the ‘treasure’, with hints left at different points along the way to help guide children to the ‘treasure’. Perhaps the treasure can be a box of their favourite treats and snacks – or a recipe and ingredients for one of them! Here are some recipe ideas
  3. Washing up toys
    This is a great sensory play activity, which is engaging and surprisingly calming for kinesthetic learners. Simply fill the kitchen sink with warm soap water, get a stool and let children ‘wash up’ their toys (the waterproof ones!). This can also be done from the side of (or in) the bath for smaller children
  4. Explore outdoors with a magnifying glass
    This can be a great way to allow a child’s imagination run wild with stories of hidden garden creatures and treasures
  5. Smell challenge
    This one is great fun and another sensory challenge! Choose a variety of aromatic foods in bowls to create a smell challenge for children, asking them to guess what each one is with their eyes closed. Try using some very familiar ingredients, plus a few more obscure.
    For older children, this can also be an opportunity to practice written skills by writing down each one as they go
  6. Film a cooking show!
    Choose a favourite recipe to make and hit record on your phone to create a video. Older children might even want to star as a celebrity chef! Here are some recipes to try.
  7. Chime in with a rhyme game
    Call out words and challenge your child to think of a rhyming word for each one. Older children can think of a rhyming line to add to make a poem!
  8. Rock and leaf race
    Set up a race to find the biggest rock and leaf in the garden. One child can be timed with a stopwatch to work on a ‘personal best’, or a group of children can race against each other. Keep it lighthearted and not too competitive!
  9. A Grand Night Out
    Dress up in your best clothes and have a fancy dinner at home. Go as low key or elaborate as you all wish!
  10. Freeze dance
    A classic! The only guideline is to freeze when the music is paused. Encourage children to ‘freeze’ in fun poses or with funny faces. Use a variety of musical styles and tempos – they’ll be giggling away in no time
  11. The sleeping song
    Here are the short lyrics:
    “Sleeping, sleeping, all the children are sleeping. And when they woke up, they were all —.”
    Fill in the blank with various animals, insects, or even inanimate objects and lets their imaginations run wild. A few examples to get started with: cat, snake, robot, banana… As soon as one thing has run its course, begin the song again with the next word
  12. Indoor obstacle course
    An all-time favourite. Push aside some furniture, and practice gross motor skills without breaking any priceless antiques! Set out a laundry basket and use balled up socks to practice throwing and accuracy. Tape down some string for a makeshift balance beam. Try on-the-spot running, jumping and hopping. Add yoga or tai chi moves… there are an infinite number of possibilities
  13. Copy dancing
    It’s as simple as it sounds and imitation is, after all, the highest form of flattery. One person dances while the others copy their moves. Swap between you and a child being the ‘leader’.  So pop on some dancing tunes and show off those moves!
  14. Make up a dance
    A fun way that gets everyone involved (and a good one for older kids). We suggest each person creates 4-8 counts of movement, before putting them together into sequence. If this sounds too complicated, just go back to the Flattery Dance!
  15. Story go-round
    This is the same concept as the dance-making game. Make up a collaborative story by letting each person add one sentence. Start with characters and a simple plot, like “a dog and a mouse went to the playground,” and let the children take it from there. The sillier, the better!

Arts and crafts

  1. Homemade ‘reusable’ collage
    Using a few items that can be rearranged again and again (like buttons, scraps of coloured card, ribbon, string), arrange them on a tray or placemat to make patterns, then take a picture to commemorate each creation. As the materials are reusable, children can start again and create something new
  2. Mirrored self-portraits
    This is a great way for children to practice motor skills by using a mirror to draw themselves. For younger children, offer to draw their outline and ask them to fill in their facial features like eyebrows and eyelashes. Next stage is to get creative with colouring in the faces
  3. Shape drawings
    Help your child learn their shapes by tracing common household items like cups, plates and boxes. Add in a few obscure items for a bit of range – hunting down the objects is part of the fun. The next stage is decorating and colouring!  Get creative with glitter, felt and other craft materials
  4. Squiggle art
    This one is so much fun and the beauty is in its simplicity. Each person playing gets a piece of paper to make a squiggle on. The person next to them then draws a picture out of the squiggle shape. Use different colours and thickness of pens for variety
  5. Make a book
    This is a great, easy way to bring a child’s stories to life. Either large pieces of paper in half or staple them together (the latter gives more of a bound book feel). Depending on the age of your child, they can recite the story for you to write (and they then add in pictures) or, if a little older, children can practice their own handwriting technique. This simple activity builds confidence, self-esteem and literacy skills
  6. Collages
    Dig out old magazines and newspapers and get creative! Help children cut out their favourite pictures before sticking onto card and gluing and decorating the images with everything in the arts and crafts box. Recycled wrapping paper and catalogues are also great resources.
    These can be turned into cards for family members by folding a thick piece of paper in half and decorating the front, leaving the inside empty for a message.
  7. Invisible ink messages
    Who doesn’t love receiving a secret message? Try the recipe for lemon juice invisible ink here
  8. Bubble painting
    This is great for all ages – using food colouring makes it a safe option with beautiful results. Here’s a ‘recipe’ for bubble painting
  9. Marble Planets
    This is such a creative way to educate children and have fun at the same time. Here is a guide to making the planets after finishing marble art
  10. Sunken treasure bottle 
    Little pirates love making these! A really simple way to have fun doing arts & crafts with a showpiece to play with long after, too. Instructions here

We hope these keep you busy and entertained! If you have any other fun activities you’d like to share with the, we’d love to hear from you.

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