Bored kids? Check out this list of fun ideas of free things to do with kids at home! So many creative ideas that can be done indoors. Perfect for rainy days and school breaks.
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“Mom, I’m bored!”
I’ll be honest, I cringe when I hear those words! Because inevitably, my mind will go blank.
Meanwhile, while my child looks at me expectantly waiting for me to spew forth fun ideas of things that they can do to curb said boredom.
Perhaps you can relate?
Well, since it seems that we recently have been dealing with more of these boredom episodes than usual, I decided to help us all out by coming up with a list of simple free things that our kids can do at home to hopefully keep boredom at bay!
Free Things to Do with Kids at Home
1. Make things out of boxes
Our kids love to use boxes to make all sorts of things! Recently they made some elaborate swords and shields and pretended they were knights! This cardboard box city is fun too!
2. Build forts
This a favorite at our house! And although I can get tired of the mess of blankets, couch cushions, tables and chairs, it really does entertain the kids for hours some days. So I figure it’s worth it!
3. Have a scavenger hunt
I love these indoor scavenger hunt ideas! And you’ll find loads of outdoor scavenger hunts here.
4. Play board|card games
We’re big game lovers and can pass a lot of time playing our favorites. Tenzi, Guess Who, Battleship, Racko, and Monopoly Deal are all great options!
5. Learn some magic tricks
These 5 easy magic tricks are simple enough that even young kids can learn them. And of course, Google will find you hundreds of more ideas too!
6. Write letters
Revive the art of good old fashioned letter writing! Chances are high that the recipient will return the favor and your kids will get to enjoy getting some mail too!
7. Do a play with stuffed animals
With older kids, you could have them write the play to make it take up more time. Younger kids might enjoy following a story they already know like a Bible story or a fairy tale.
8. Play 20 Questions
This is one of those tricks we pull out when everyone is wired and we want to calm them down or if we are simply tired and not into something that takes a lot of energy. Thankfully, the kids think it’s fun!
Learn how to play 20 Questions here.
9. Make cards for the elderly
Know some elderly people that can’t get out easily? Spend some time making cards to send to them!
We’re currently making a bunch of cards to deliver to our local nursing home for them to give to the patients that they feel need them the most.
10. Play hide and Seek
I don’t think this one ever gets old for our kids. They love playing it outside but we’ve often played it inside too!
You can even change it up by hide an object instead and then use the classic “hot” or “cold” method to help those looking for the object.
11. Create an at home spa
Pull out the nail polish, foot creams and face masks and have a DIY spa together!
Grab some paper and start making some fun origami!
13. Look through old photos
This was one of my favorite things to do as a child and my kids love it too!
14. Create an obstacle course
Use ordinary objects to create a fun obstacle course either inside or outside and then see who can do it the fastest!
15. Complete jigsaw puzzles
Pull out all of your puzzles and put them all together! Make it extra fun and listen to some audiobooks at the same time.
We love using Scribd to listen to audiobooks! You can get a 30 day free trial of Scribd here.
16. Write stories together
Use these writing prompts for kids to write some stories and then read them to each other.
17. Have a picnic
Kids always love picnics, am I right? Grab a blanket and some food and have a picnic indoors or out.
18. Lego activities
Try doing one of these exciting Lego projects or search Pinterest for more ideas of interesting things to build! This simple Lego Game would be fun too!
19. Bake something
Get in the kitchen and make something yummy! These Chocolate Chip Brownies are a favorite. And these Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins are super delicious too!
20. Have a contest
You could do a Lego building contest, singing contest, coloring contest, paper airplane contest, dress-up contest…really, the options are endless.
21. Wash the car
Yes, this is technically kind of work, but it’s also something that can be a lot of fun to do together! If it’s warm enough outside, you could even enjoy purposely getting each other rather wet.
22. Learn a new Language
Duolingo is a great way to learn a new language…and amazingly, it’s free too!
23. Make ice cream in a bag
Kids are always intrigued by the magic of making ice cream in a bag. And hey, what can I say, I kind of am too!
The recipe linked above calls for half and half and rock salt, both ingredients you may not have on hand. You can sub milk for the half and half, although it will be slightly less thick and not as rich. You can also sub regular salt for the rock salt, but you will need to use more- at least ½ c. total.
24. Do a simple craft
These fun animal craft ideas are simple and use supplies that you likely have on hand or are easy enough that you can improvise using what you have.
Have a kid that loves crafts? A paid subscription for Annie’s Craft Club may be a worthwhile investment. They offer both a Creative Girls Club Kit and a Young Woodworkers Club Kit.
You can cancel your subscription at any time.
25. Do brain puzzles
Stretch your brain with some word search puzzles, crossword puzzles or sudoku! You can find lots of free printable puzzles online as well.
26. Make paper boats and airplanes
Forget the basic, pointed nose paper airplane. Instead, try your hand at 43 other designs! Or give this simple paper boat or this fun sailboat a try.
27. Learn to draw
Even kids that aren’t super artistic will have fun learning how to draw with Art Hub for Kids
28. Play Would You Rather
Need question ideas? This free printable list of 100 questions should keep you busy for a while!
29. Explore with Google Earth
Learn about other countries with Google Earth! Explore a city, observe the culture and landscapes and see what you can discover and learn! You can even take it to another level by playing the GeoGuessr game.
30. Create a band | concert
This one might drive you crazy, but I’m pretty sure the kids will love it! Grab ordinary household items- pots, pans, measuring cups, spoons, toys- and create your own band.
31. I Spy
Even my 8 and 11-year-old still enjoy this simple game!
32. Make sock puppets
Have some socks lying around that have lost their mate? Put them to good use and make an easy DIY sock puppet. They’re so fun and cute!
33. Baking soda and vinegar experiments
There are all sorts of cool experiments that you can do using these two household staples!
This hidden colors experiment is simple but really neat. And I also love these 5 experiment ideas too!
35. Learn to know each other better
Take turns asking each other these fun questions and get to know new things about each other!
36. Have a candlelight dinner
I threw this bonus one in here just for fun! Our kids love when we eat dinner by candlelight. And while it’s not really something that will take up a lot of time, it’s such a simple way to make an ordinary day feel extra special.
Obviously, if you want to up the fun a bit, you can make a special meal or set the table with special dinnerware, name tags etc.
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Our grandchildren are coming to visit. Thanks for the ideas. Typically they like to play the “World Game” with us. We tell them a country beginning with the letter let’s say “A” and they have to guess the country. Whoever has the most “wins” get’s a chocolate bar and it teaches them geography as well. We also do it with Capital Cities. Our grandchildren always want to play it when they come for a visit.
This is such a great idea, Margaret! I think my children would really enjoy it as well. And it would be an easy game to do when travelling too. Thanks so much for telling us about it!
Star gazing, adding some new apps like Star trek and tracking the satellites in real-time is something my children loves to do. I think you should definitely add this to your list too :).
That’s a great idea!
Linda Marie Paterson
Here’s another idea for the list…have a family overnight camp out in the living room.
Set up your tent or create one out of sheets/blankets. My daughter just did this
with her children and they all had a great time.
This is a great idea, Linda! So simple but such a great way to make memories. Thanks for sharing it!
Thanks for all of the great ideas! We will definitely try some of these!
Thanks so much for the ideas, Lydia! Some of these things are a little older than my children would enjoy, but we’ve already done ice cream in a bag and hide an object. I just did a blog post on this too, 20 Activities For Preschoolers. We all need ideas these days with no outings to break things up!
Yes, most of these activities are probably geared toward older children but definitely a few that will work with preschoolers too! And loved your list for preschoolers. Lots of great ideas and like you said, perfect for these days where we’re forced to stay at home.