We’ve gotten such a tremendously positive response to our first two ‘Playing 9-to-5’ blogs that we decided to keep the fun going! As you continue juggling multiple full-time roles, we’ll continue providing 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: Visit the Virtual Aquarium
If your kids love animals (and let’s be honest, they do), then you have to check out the Monterey Bay Aquariums animal livestreams. They’ve got 10 different livestreams (including a Penguin Cam, a Shark Cam, and a Sea Otter Cam) that are live starting at 7 A.M. PT every day.
If your kids are curious to know more, the aquarium also has a variety of activities that your family can do from the comfort of home. There are different activities for kids of a wide variety of ages (including pre-K), so there’s something perfect for your kids no matter what age they are
Build a Backyard Mini Golf Course
If you’ve got a Easy Hit Golf Set at home, why not build a mini-golf course in your own backyard? Better yet, build it with your kids! If you’ve already got a golf set at home, you can make holes by cutting the side off of a paper cup (or using the hole that comes with your Easy Hit Golf Set). Try creating different obstacles using cardboard boxes, yard furniture, or anything else you happen to have at home (check out Pinterest for some inspirational designs like tunnels built out of PVC pipe and pool noodles). You can stretch this activity out over multiple days by having your kids design the course and build it themselves. Best of all: once it’s set up, your family can play mini golf whenever you want. Of course, Dad might have to get off the couch and mow the lawn before they can play…
11AM: Experiment a Little Bit!
Whether your kids love science or just love playing with bubbles, we’ve got a variety of easy science experiments they can do with only household ingredients. Each experiment has simple instructions, and you can even watch Mayim Bialik perform her favorite experiments with kids, too! We’ve got a handy guide for which experiments are right for kids of different ages, and even a parent center so you can understand a little bit more about why it’s so important for kids to learn about STEM. You can easily stretch each experiment out for an hour (an important part of science is preforming experiments again and again, after all), and trying a new experiment every day will help your kids understand the fundamentals of science in an engaging way.
12PM: Go on an Animal Walk
Next time your family goes out to walk the dog or just stretch your legs, try turning it into an animal walk. As you go, ask your kids to ‘walk’ like different animals. See if they can hop like a frog, slither like a snake, gallop like a horse, or crawl like a bear. Going on an Animal Walk is a great way to encourage your kids to get creative and is sure to make them laugh as they try to imitate different animals. To extend this activity over multiple walks, try making it into a game of charades. Have your kids imitate how different animals walk, and then see who can guess which animal the walker is imitating first! For younger kids, you can add in animal sounds to make the game a little easier to play.
1PM: Track Wildlife with Wildwatch Kenya
Wildwatch Kenya is a fascinating initiative that uses over 100 motion-activated cameras to track and document the movement of giraffes in Kenya. With so many cameras taking pictures nearly constantly, Wildwatch Kenya needs help from volunteers to review these photos and track the movement of giraffe herds. Just log onto their website, and you can start documenting giraffes (and other wildlife) with just the click of a button. There’s even a simple tutorial to help your kids learn how to identify different animals and navigate the site. Each photo is reviewed by multiple people, so no need to worry if you don’t get it perfect the first time. Best of all, they’re uploading new photos every day, so there’s literally a never-ending supply of photos to review!
2PM: Storytime with Josh Gad!
Josh Gad (or, as your kids might know him, Olaf from ‘Frozen’) has been reading kids’ books each and every day live on his Instagram and Twitter accounts. You can check out some of his previous stories here, or tune in every afternoon (he doesn’t always go live at the same time though). If your kids are young enough to still need an afternoon nap, why not let Gad’s soothing voice and excellent taste in stories lull them to sleep?
3PM: Visit Camp Hello Bello
Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard have launched a totally virtual camp that kids can tune into on weekday afternoons. Every day has multiple hours of activities ( like story time, craft projects, fort building, and more) that your family can do together or kids can do by themselves. Many of their sessions are stored online, so you can tune in whenever works best for your schedule. Or, if you’d rather add another hour free of screen-time to your kids’ schedule, check out their downloadable activities section for more easy-to-execute ideas!
4PM: Unwind with Some Meditation
At the end of a long day (or week, or month), one of the best things your family can do is take a moment to unwind together. The American Association of Pediatricians recommends Yoga, Meditation, or other Mind-Body Therapies as an excellent way to impact your kids’ overall health. You don’t have to roll out the yoga mat necessarily, either. Just taking a few minutes to have your kids concentrate on a word, thought, or image can have a positive effect on their health. Try taking an hour at the end of every day this week to sit down as a family and unwind. Pick some calming music, put a blanket on the floor, put on Fireplace for Your Home, or do whatever else you can to make your living room into a calming space. Then take a second and try to unwind yourself.
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!