You asked for more fun, active play ideas to do while stuck at home– and we listened! We know it might be the new reality that you’re juggling multiple full-time roles right now, so we wanted to help out with a few new, fresh ideas for how you can make your kids’ day all about play.
In ‘Playing 9-to-5’ we’ll give you eight hour-long activities your kids can do (with or without you) to help fill their day with play. We’ve designed these activities to be flexible so you can add in some time for schoolwork, snack times, or whatever else they need to do. Each activity can last just one day, or stretch over multiple days, whatever works best for you and your family! We’ll get through this together with the power of play!
9AM: Digging, Planting, and Fun in the Sun!
If you’re looking for a fun activity for the whole family to start the day right, try planting a garden in your own backyard (or patio, or sunroom, or window sill) for your kids to check on and water every day. Tending to their garden requires your kids to get a little bit of physical activity every day, so it’s a great thing to get them moving first thing in the morning. Plus, gardening inspires curiosity, patience, attention to detail, and tons of other skills you want your kids to learn. Research even suggests that gardening is good for mental health!
To ensure your kids are successful, start with just a few pots with plants (like snap peas, sunflowers, or marigolds) that are easy to grow. By paying careful attention to their plants (watering them regularly, making sure they get the right amount of sun, looking out for bugs, adding plant food, and repotting them if necessary), your kids will have a blooming garden in no time. Best of all, in just a few weeks’ time they’ll be able to literally taste their success!
10AM: Get Old-School With Your Photos
If your family is anything like ours, you’ve got a box hidden away in a closet or the basement that’s full of photos you never framed or organized. Grab that box of photos and have your kids sort through them! You’ll certainly appreciate the trip down memory lane, and your kids will love getting to see their parents, relatives, and other loved ones when they were younger. Turn this into a multi-day craft project by having your kids sort the photos into albums, create a collage, or (if an older sibling or parent is around to help) scan them onto the computer so that they can be shared on social media!
11AM: Design Some Paper Craft Decorations
Craft projects are the perfect way to funnel your kids energy into something creative and decorative. If you’re looking for a fun way to spruce up your kids’ bedrooms or play room with some new art, try making some paper craft decorations. Create some silly frames for your photos, make some animals out of construction paper, or (if your kids are a little older) try making paper moon art. Grab a few paper plates, some string, markers, tape or glue, and any other craft supplies you have around the house and let their imaginations run wild.
12PM: Make Some Tasty Treats
If your kids are old enough to help you bake something, why not try out some of these excellent recipes from Tasty Junior? If you’re running a little short on time (or have younger kids), check out these easy-to-make recipes from our Pinterest board. Getting your kids involved in preparing breakfast or lunch (or a snack) is a great way to keep them busy, encourage their curiosity, and help them develop a new skill at the same time. If you’re feeling really crafty, try making your snack into a work of art like these Owl Rice Cakes!
1PM: Invent a New Sport
Have your kids shake off the after-lunch doldrums by getting them outside to invent a new sport! Kids are so full of imagination, they’re probably already inventing their own games anyway. Harness their energy by giving them a few objects (like a basketball hoop, trampoline, or soccer goal) and prompts (ask them to design a sport you play with your feet, a sport with three teams that play at once, or whatever else you can think of) to follow while they design their new sport. Make sure they have a rough idea of the rules too (How do you win? What are the 3 key rules in this sport?) This is a great activity to play again and again by tweaking the rules or even having a tournament. Make sure to record a video of whatever hilarious game your kids dream up—and post it for us. Don’t forget to give your new family sport a name!
2PM: Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts are a fun, flexible activity that’s great for kids of all ages. A good scavenger hunt requires kids to be up and active while also engaging their minds. If your kids are younger, try our free, downloadable scavenger hunt kit featuring some of their favorite toys. For a more challenging scavenger hunt, try different things like hiding twelve of the same object (army men, L.O.L. Surprise! dolls, or any other non-perishable object) around the house and have your kids try to find them all in an hour. You can even take your scavenger hunt outdoors and have kids look for specific objects in nature (like butterflies, birds, or specific types of trees) in your backyard. Scavenger hunts make a great contained activity, but you can extend them over multiple hours or days by having each clue they find lead to the next clue. Try using riddles, a list with one object for every letter of the alphabet, or clues associated with numbers one through ten to add a twist to your scavenger hunt.
3PM: Suitcase Relay Race
Themed relay races are a great way for kids to expend some energy and get some laughs in too. For a fun, vacation-themed twist, all you need is a suitcase and a handful of old clothes (we recommend that Hawaiian shirt that dad never wears but insists on keeping). Pack the clothes in the suitcase (make sure there are pants and a shirt for each kid in the suitcase) and have your kids line up across the yard or living room. The first person in line runs over, opens the suitcase, puts on a set of clothes over their own clothes, and then has to run back with the suitcase in hand. Once they’re back to the starting line, they hand the suitcase off to the next player who puts on a second pair of old clothes and runs down to the other end and back. That way, each kid has to take a turn running in the old, silly clothes before the race is up. Try adding in shoes, hats, or other elements that up the challenge of the race. Make it a cooperative beat the clock challenge!
4PM: Relax by the “Beach”
Close out your family’s busy day of play by going to the beach…in your own backyard! Spread out a couple of towels by your Turtle Sandbox, grab some cold beverages, slather on some sunscreen and soak in the sun for an hour. If your kids love digging in the sandbox, have them build a sandcastle. Or, if they love playing the water, break out a water table or other water toy so they can splash to their heart’s content. Hopefully after running around all day, you’ll be able to sit back and relax in a lawn chair for a few minutes.
We did it! We made it through another workday, together! Hopefully these suggestions helped you and your kids fill the seemingly endless hours at home. If you’ve got other activities for kids that you’d like to share, we’d love to hear about them!
Make sure to snap pictures as your kids go about their day of play, and don’t forget to tag us when you post (@OfficialLittleTikes on Instagram, @LittleTikes everywhere else on social media)!
At Little Tikes, we don’t just make toys, we make play. Looking for more great active play ideas? Check out www.LittleTikes.com for all our latest play tips & tricks!