Do you ever get that feeling when at home with the children that you could tear your hair out?
The kids want your attention, they are bored, and harassing you and each other. You look at the clock and you cannot believe that only 10 minutes have passed…
You just want to create a magical afternoon with each other but you’ve run out of ideas.
Staying at home with the kids can be very challenging, but with a little planning, you can make it a time of fun.
I have collected 10 ideas for fun activities to do with kids at home – Using inexpensive materials found around the house.
10 Fun Activities To Do With Kids At Home
1. Sprout with children
This is a simple and easy activity. It is fun and educational as we learn about plants and healthy food.
My children were very excited watching the seeds germinate so quickly every day. I’m sure your kids will enjoy it too.
Take some legumes (legumes are seeds that germinate fast which is perfect for kids who typically don’t have much patience} such as beans, soybeans, chickpeas, lentils, peas or whatever you’ve got at home.
Place a layer of cotton wool in a box, wet it lightly, and place the seeds on top.
Cover with another layer of cotton wool. It’s important that the cotton wool remains damp all the time through sprouting. If it dries, wet it slightly again.
After a few days, roots will grow and leaves will appear. When the sprouts reach the desired size, you can plant them in a pot or planter. They are also ready to eat.
Store cut sprouts in the refrigerator for up to two weeks in a ventilated container. You can combine different sprouts in salads or just a healthy snack.
2. Making play-dough at home
I love to make the dough at home with my children because in addition to the fun of the preparation they can play with it again and again as you do with a store-bought play-dough.
Working with children using different textures and materials, even if they are dirty, is absolutely necessary to their development. So here’s how to start the fun.
1 cup of salt
2 cups plain flour
1 cup water
4 tablespoons of oil
Pour all ingredients into a bowl and then let your kids mix and knead the dough until you get a colorless play-dough. You can certainly stop here.
Or, you can divide the dough into several balls and using food coloring or natural products such as cocoa powder, paprika powder, and turmeric powder, dye each ball a different color.
Using pastry biscuit cutters, or plastic molds suitable for dough prepare different shapes like animals, cookies, etc.
Store the dough in an airtight container in the refrigerator and play with it over and over again.
3. Scientific experiment
It’s exciting, it’s educational and children of all ages love and want to do it again and again. As a glorified scientist, you can achieve spectacular effects from materials found in your home. For example:
The balloon that inflates by itself!
In this experiment, your children learn how to inflate a balloon using a chemical reaction, effortlessly.
A bottle (preferably relatively small)
2-3 teaspoons baking soda (you can buy in any supermarket)
Put 2-3 teaspoons of baking soda into an empty bottle.
Pour vinegar into the non-inflated balloon until the balloon is nearly full.
Now fit the balloon onto the bottle top without spilling the vinegar into the bottle.
Hold up the balloon so that the vinegar spills into the bottle and mixes with the soda… and here’s when the magic happens:
The balloon inflates by itself!
To create a bigger balloon, shake the bottle slightly to increase the gas.
For children old enough to understand, we can provide a basic scientific explanation:
The vinegar is acidic and the baking soda is basic. Together they create a chemical reaction called “acid-base” that releases a CO2 gas. This is the same CO2 that we use to swell the balloon with our mouth.
Still, got some energy left? Here is another variation:
Put 2-3 peppermint candies (Mentos) in the bottle. Fill the balloon with Coke and follow the above steps.
The chemical reaction between the candies and Coke produces the same CO2 gas that inflates the balloon.
4. Preparing pop ices at home
Use any container at home like plastic cups, ice-cube trays or boxes with interesting shapes. For sticks use spoons, chopsticks, ice-cream plastic spoons or something similar you find at home.
Popsicle sets are inexpensive and can be found in most household stores.
Ready juice quick Popsicle
You can use quality sweetened syrup with water or prepared fruit juice. Just pour it into holders, add a wooden stick and freeze.
Wait 2-3 hours and eat!
Add a few pieces of fresh fruit to add interest and taste.
Fresh fruit popsicles
Put your favorite fruit in a blender (you can mix various fruits) add some natural sweetener and freeze.
I’m sure that once you start, preparing home pop ices will become a fun tradition for hot days.
5. Child’s drawing of himself in a real size
Children love this activity which allows them to draw themselves in the way they see themselves and in their actual size.
This activity can also generate a conversation about what the child likes or dislikes about himself, about how each person is special in their own way, and how good it is that we are not all the same. You can also use this drawing to explain to small children about their body organs.
This activity is suitable for all ages, so go for it and I am sure you will enjoy it greatly!
Take large sheets of paper and glue them together according to the height of your child. Place the paper on the floor.
Lay the child on the paper and mark the outline of his whole body.
Now fill in the details with crayons/pencils/paints adding hair, eyes, clothing, etc. so that the finished work resembles a child.
6. Games of Your Childhood
Do you remember the simple games of yesteryear that kept us children entertained for hours?
Then, we didn’t have computers, tablets, and countless TV channels. So we just played games by ourselves or with each other like catch, hide-and-seek, hopscotch, skipping, and much more.
Try restoring these games with your children both indoors and outdoors!
Close to the wall – take coins, fruit (apricot, plum, peach) stones or any small stones. Sit next to each other and take turns to slide the coin/stone on the floor. The one that gets closest to the wall wins.
Don’t touch the floor – Arrange a sequence of things on the floor (pillows, small chairs, papers, blankets, toys). The goal is to move from one side of the room to the other without touching the floor. Of course, adapt the track to fit the age of the children.
Treasure hunt – Hide notes in different places in the house. On each note paint a picture where the following note is hidden. Add a short mission on each note – sing a song, hop on one foot, etc. The last note leads to the treasure (and a little surprise that you have prepared in advance).
7. Balloon papier-mache
This s a little messy but you can do the activity outside or on the porch and right before bath time. The kids love it and the results are beautiful.
I would like to say again how important it is to allow children to get dirty and let them experiment with different materials and textures.
Ready? Let’s get to work!
Materials and equipment:
newsprint or paper draft
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons salt
Boil 4 cups water in a large pot.
Add a cup of flour and 2 tablespoons of salt to 2 cups of warm water and stir well.
Add the mixture into the boiling water and cook over low heat for about 4 minutes until the texture is smooth and without lumps.
Leave the mixture to cool.
Cut or tear up the paper into small pieces. Blow up and knot a balloon.
Dip the pieces of paper into the papier-mache and then glue it on the balloon, until the balloon is completely covered. Wait for the ball to dry and then do a second layer. Leave to dry.
Now, you can decorate it, making it into anything you want, such as a hot air balloon, a face, or a fancy ball.
8. Create stamps of leaves
Beautiful work that uses materials from nature that children collect themselves.
Collect leaves in the garden (this is an activity by itself!), preferably not the dried leaves that tend to break.
Choose a leaf and place front up. Cover with thick paint.
Place the side with the paint onto the surface you want the print. Place a clean page or paper towels on the back of the leaf and press gently.
Remove the paper and then gently remove the leaf itself.
Now we have created a leaf stamp. Wait till dry to do more stamps.
Allow them to be bored
Remember you do not have to engage your children in activities all the time.
Children also need time that is empty, without being told what to do with it.
This vacuum allows them to develop capabilities to engage themselves and develop creativity. They learn to invent games from everything. It is very important to allow them to experience frustrations so they can develop coping skills.
We want our children to invent, explore, ask, and for that, they need their own time.
So please remember – you are not neglecting your children if you do not engage them every minute of the day. On the contrary, you are helping them develop important capabilities.