Is working from home and taking care of your kids at the same time becoming a real challenge? Then here are some fun kid activities at home to keep your kids happy, learning and busy minus the screen time.
Taking care of our children is one of the greatest joys in the world. But when you’re trying to work from home, their constant need for attention, tantrums and crying can be a bit difficult to deal with. So how can you get some stuff done and take good care of your children without keeping them glued to the screen?
Fun kid activities to keep your children engaged at home
If you have run out of fun ideas to keep your children busy, then you will be glad to know that there are many tech-free ways to keep children entertained with something constructive, educational and enjoyable.
Here are some helpful ideas to get you started with kid activities at home to keep them happy without much screen time.
1. Follow a routine
According to a TIME article, creating and sticking to a routine is the key to managing kids while working at home. Author and former teacher Susie Allison explains “Kids are used to following a schedule, so making a blueprint for the day will help everything fall into place. It’s a lot easier than you might think. Grab a pen, paper and actually map out how the days will look at home.”
The primary objective of making a routine is to keep your children busy in a productive way and allowing yourself the time and space to focus on other things as well. Another post published by The Conversation states “Children and teenagers thrive on routine. Some children may also experience anxiety about what is happening, and a new routine can help provide them with a sense of normalcy.”
Is your parenting style effective? Read 10 Parenting Habits That Harm Our Kids
Authors Erin Mackenzie, Lecturer in Education and Penny Van Bergen, Associate Professor in Educational Psychology, believe making a rough routine on a daily basis helps your children know what they can expect from the day. So make sure you include various kid activities into your routine, like-
- School work
- Indoor sports and exercise
- Creativity or free play
- Time outdoors
In fact, studies have found that negotiating routines help to empower children. This will help you to show your “children the times you will be fully available to them and the times you will be working or busy,” add the authors.
2. Have some dedicated play time
Once you have a set routine for schoolwork and other kid activities, it is also crucial to plan for some dedicated play time. According to author Susie Allison, “When a child is imagining, creating, building or inventing, they are doing some serious learning.”
When you are creating the new daily routine for your child, include different blocks of play time, usually 15 to 30 minutes, to keep them excited and engaged. “The more a child plays, the more they learn to play,” adds Susie. However, make sure to limit your or other adults’ involvement in play time as your goal is also to get things done for yourself. But, as Susie puts it, “independent doesn’t mean unsupervised.”
3. Get some physical exercise
Physical activities and exercise is crucial for the physical development of children and young people. Moreover, it is also important for their mental health. According to a Healthline article, physical activity enables children to develop a positive perspective about life. It allows children to build confidence, self-esteem, cognitive skills and to manage stress, anxiety & depression. Physical health educator Len Saunders explains “Exercise also releases endorphins, which correlates to a happy child.”
Is your child depressed? Read 7 Things Every Parent Must Know About Childhood Depression
A study by Tonje Zahl, MSC, of NTNU Social Research, found that “moderate to vigorous physical activity at ages 6 and 8 is linked to fewer symptoms of depression two years later.” So coming up with some physically demanding kid activities at home can help them get the exercise they need. You can refer to some dance, fitness, boxing classes for kids on YouTube or you may plan for some activity in the backyard.
4. Read with your children
One of the best and most beneficial kid activities is reading to kids. And working from home provides you the best opportunity to make the most of this excellent practice. Former teacher Susie Allison writes “Put in reading blocks. Fifteen to 20 minutes a day is a great place to start.” You can plan this in multiple ways – You can read aloud to your kid, you may ask your child to read aloud, if they can, or all of you may enjoy a “silent reading time.”
According to an article from The Washington Post, “One of the most important things parents can do, beyond keeping kids healthy and safe, is to read with them.” Liza Baker, executive editorial director at Scholastic, explains “We’re blown away that kids time and again said the most special time they recall spending with a parent is reading together.”
Wondering what to read? Read 3 Reasons Why Kids and Adults Should Read Stephen Kings’ Books
5. Follow strict screen time rules
Technology is an undeniable part of our life. You can choose to make screens completely unavailable to your kids. However, that may not be the wisest thing to do as digital media can be an excellent parenting and educational tool, provided you use it smartly.
According to a 2017 study, digital media use and screen time can help in children’s physical activity. The study found that “children respond to activity-based programming when it is fun, designed for them and encourages imitation or participation.” It added “Families and child care programs may consider using fun, age-appropriate movement (e.g., yoga or dance) and fitness apps or console games to integrate more PA into daily routines. Mobile devices with apps for exploring the natural world can enhance outdoor PA (50). Quality content connects on- with off-screen experiences, fosters engagement with caregivers and peers and supports active, imaginative play.”
However another 2019 study revealed that “higher levels of screentime is associated with a variety of health harms” for children and young people. It concluded that there is enough evidence that screen time can lead to “adiposity, unhealthy diet, depressive symptoms and quality of life.”
So following a strict screen time schedule for your children is crucial, if you want to include digital media in your list of kid activities. The key is to “have a set time in the schedule so children know when to expect screen time and for how long,” believes Susie Allison. She suggests it’s best to use “screens for big moments, like when you have a conference call or dinner prep isn’t going well.”
Limit your own screen time. Read The Dangers of Distracted Parenting: Why Parents Need To Put Down Their Phones
However, if you are still looking for some more fun kid activities at home, then here are some more amazing ideas you can try:
- DIY projects are a really good way to keep your child busy and make sure they have fun. These fun kid activities can be created with absolutely anything in your home and will get those creative juices flowing.
- Creative toys like puzzles, Legos or Play-Dough are a great way to keep your kids engaged for a good amount of time. Moreover, it will also help to improve their spatial reasoning.
- Doing arts and crafts is another excellent creative way to keep your kids engaged while you get your work done. There are numerous arts and crafts ideas that you can find online which can be completed without any additional supplies.
- Give them household tasks. Asking your children to do some chores can also be a fun activity. By helping you with housework, they will feel pride and joy and learn about being responsible around the house.
- Conducting a science experiment is one of the most educational and exciting kid activities to do at home. These can be interactive and fun. Moreover, it can be an excellent bonding and learning experience as well. Just make sure the experiment is safe to do at home.
- Go on a treasure hunt or a scavenger hunt. Hide something simple like a toy or a treat in the house and give some clues to your children and ask them to find the treasure. The trickier it is, the more fun it will be.
- Challenge your kids to build a fort with pillows and blankets or even cardboards. Tell them it can be their secret hideout and they can be their favorite superheroes. This is one of the best independent kid activities to do while you are stuck at home.
Is your kid creative? Read Raising Creative Kids: What Parents Need To Know
Build a closer bond
The tips and suggestions on kid activities at home mentioned above will certainly help you a lot to keep you children out of your hair, while making sure they’re having a great time. However, as things can be, even the best plans can sometimes fail and there can be days you might be tempted to resort to TV, Netflix or YouTube to keep your kids busy.
Just know that it’s okay. Keeping children occupied can be challenging. And it’s fine if you can’t come up with new screen-free activities on a particular day. However, make sure you stick to the routine you created and start all over again the next day.
Raising children is difficult. But that’s what parents excel at. Just give your children lots of attention, let them know you love them, understand what keeps them happy, and let them know when you’re available.
Take this time as a period to strengthen the bond you share with your children and you will be able to build a happier family in no time.
Want more? Read Mental Health Wellness Guide For Your Child
Here’s an interesting video that you may like: