It’s not easy to be stuck at home—especially on weekdays when kids would normally be off at school, and parents would be getting stuff done. Social distancing due to COVID-19 has rocked that boat hard. We’re all stressed, worried about how long this will continue, and probably getting a little stir crazy.
But it’s all about perspective. It’s not summer yet, but sheltering in place is a lot more fun for the kids if you treat an extended homestay like summer camp at home. This doesn’t have to take a lot. A few ideas and some quick setup can go a long way.
Most importantly, indoor physical activities for kids can make a huge difference in keeping morale high, the kids learning, and the family focused. Use these ideas to embrace the situation! We can all come out happier, stronger, and closer on the other side.
1. Set Up an Obstacle Course
Get kids moving while using their inventor thinking caps! Maybe they can even time themselves once it’s all set up. This doesn’t require special supplies, either—some pillow stepping stones over the “lava” floor, couch cushions, a broom-and-two-chairs “limbo” stick, and other simple furniture and household objects will work just fine.
Here’s a great example of a DIY “laser maze” that takes nothing but red party streamers and tape. The kids can pretend they’re in an action movie for hours. If you’ve got some nerf darts, you could even include a “gauntlet” portion where bystanders launch missiles for the kids to dodge!
2. Build a Puppet Theatre
Crafting puppets (and the theatre) can keep kids creatively occupied for hours. Scripting, rehearsing, and performing the play will keep that going all day. And what a payoff at the end!'
3. Hallway Sports!
Hallways are perfect for simple indoor sports that don’t take a ton of setup. Use the hallway as a bowling lane, with some bottles or cups set up as pins (even more fun with a cup pyramid). Or maybe it’s a mini-golf putting course! Lay cups on their sides on the floor, or build tunnels with construction paper. If you don’t have clubs, try hockey sticks or wrapping paper tubes.
Soccer is fun, too, but make sure to move fragile furniture and take pictures off the wall first! The softer the ball, the better.
4. Homemade Playdough (and a Sculpture Garden!)
There are plenty of homemade playdough recipes on the internet. Your children will have fun making it and will stay entertained all afternoon. For a little more organization, come up with a theme for a sculpture garden or a “sandcastle” competition (but with the dough, of course!). They can show off their work and vote for favorites after it’s done.
5. Discover Your Inner Flower Child With T-Shirts
A creative tie-dye t-shirt project is a favorite of summer camps everywhere. You could use liquid or spray with stenciled shapes. If you don’t have the time, space, or supplies to dig in with dye, toss the kids some magic markers and have them go to town decorating their home spirit uniforms.
6. Family Dance Party
Put on a playlist of your (or your kids’) favorite jams, pump it up, and work those moves. Don’t worry about taking a break after a bit—the kids can keep going! For more structure, find a YouTube choreography lesson. GoNoodle is also really popular for movement breaks!
7. Indoor Scavenger Hunt
You don’t have to change anything—there’s bound to be plenty of things to find in the house already. Come up with creative clues or just make a simple checklist. Oh, and if the remote is already missing, here’s your chance. Hide some treats for an extra reward!
Chin Up and Keep Busy!
Need more indoor physical activities for kids? PBS keeps a daily newsletter running with ideas for creative indoor activities at home.
But even if you run out of steam, don’t worry. It’s okay if the schedule turns into a movie marathon or video game party sometimes. The COVID-19 situation will keep evolving for the foreseeable future. Do whatever you need to do to get through the day. And have fun!