With after school time beginning, many parents may be wondering what to do to keep their kids busy after school (besides homework ). These tips are great for any time of year, however, and a few will even work for winter! The reason I took the time to come up with one hundred ideas was to help parents connect with their children AND keep kids busy without using television and video games as a means of entertainment. I strongly believe that media, video games and television are terrible for kids…especially when over used by parents as a means of keeping their kids occupied. Sure, there are times it is OK or even a great thing…however, in this techno crazy time we live in, it is WAY overdone and kids do not even play or use their God-given imagination anymore!
Anyway, use what works for you and your family. There are tips for just the kids, you with the kids, older and younger working together and family stuff too! Obviously, some are age specific and others gender specific. However, there are enough ideas listed that any Mom can find several to use and keep her children busy!
101 Tips to Keep you Children Busy without the use of Media and Technology
Note: please use caution and common sense with any activity. Make sure the activities you let your children do are age appropriate. Make sure there is proper supervision. Most important, PAY attention! Safety, caution and awareness is to be used at all times with our children.
1. Play-Doh or Clay. This is an awesome way to keep toddlers and school age children busy. You can give them an “assignment” to create something specific, give them cool tools to use, or just let their own imaginations go wild. Even some teenagers can enjoy this activity if they have younger siblings to do it with.
2. Finger Paint. This is fun…especially for younger children and elementary age kids. Be sure and put newspaper or some other alternative down to keep area they will play in clean. Get large sheets of finger paint friendly paper and let them go hog wild. This is also a great activity for outside.
3. Make them play in their room. Yes, it is OK for kids to play in their rooms with their TOYS. LOL!
4. Blow Bubbles. This is fun, indoors or out. Let them be creative when trying to find ways to make big bubbles.
5. Encourage outside play as often as possible. Of course, be safe and make sure your children are supervised. Playing outside is sadly a forgotten past time for many of today’s techno driven children. Just get them outside running and playing…sweating and good old fashioned hard playing is good for building strong bones and healthy lifestyles!
6. Music. Turn on some praise music, or other clean…but still enjoyable music and let them dance around the house. If you have a few kids…or even two, they can play musical chairs.:) This is the only idea with some sort of techno usage.
7. Read. If they can read, give them books to read on a regular basis. It is important that they read…often. If your kids are too young to read themselves, read to them…daily. Also, a good picture book will keep little non readers busy.:)
8. Write a story. This is a fun one to do with your young children…older ones too. However, if you need a little break and you have both age groups, have your older child(ren) make up fun stories with the little ones.
9. Act out the story they create in #8. After they write a story, if possible, let them put on a show for you. Make pop corn, invite the grandparents and make it an in house “Broadway” event! They are sure to feel special!
10. Mad Libs are a fun things to do and great for all ages.:)
11. Bake. You can use the older younger option with this one as well…better yet, Mom, get in the kitchen with them and have fun!
12. Make cards. This is great for holidays, get well, birthdays or just for fun. You can also have them make cards for the elderly or sick kids in the hospital and go with them to hand deliver. Another idea is to make them for soldiers!
13. Chores. LOL…yes, give them chores. Daily, weekly and seasonal. Chores are good for kids and help them learn to do things properly and be responsible. I am shocked at how many of my teenage daughters friends do not have chores. LOL. She thinks I am nuts, but I say chores are good! Kids should learn to work hard, be helpful and be doers! Little ones can do chores too…just keep them age appropriate and within their abilities.:)
14. Dress Up. My 6 year old daughter is a dress up queen. She LOVES to dress up. We have a friend with a son who dresses up too. He is super heroes of course, LOL, but hey, it occupies his time just as much as my princess dresser! This is a great activity for both genders. I would even let them raid your closet for shoes and cool outfits…of course nothing too expensive in case something happens.
15. Scrapbook a recent fun day. You can buy one of those scrapbook kits, or just pull out what you have. Get pictures developed from a recent fun time and let them create a scrapbook. You will need to help them with cutting and gluing if they are younger, but let them be creative.:)
16. Do a science project. This is great for learning and keeping busy. Visit the local library and find a book with age appropriate ideas and get busy!
17. Practice an instrument. If you have children who are learning to play an instrument, have them practice more. Or better yet, put on a special concert for the family!
18. Take a bath. This requires supervision…especially for non swimmers and younger children. However, a warm bath with some fun toys is a great way to wind kids down!
19. Go swimming. If you have a pool, let the kids go swimming (again, supervision for those who need it). If you do not have a pool, schedule a day for you and some friends with kids to go to a local pool and have fun!
20. Turn on the sprinklers. Nothing says fun like running around in the sprinklers on a hot day. Slip and slide and soap fun with the hose will work too!
21. Walk the dog. If you have a dog, let the kids walk it. It teaches responsibility and keeps them busy.
22. Play board games. Good old fashioned fun plain and simple!
23. Ride bike.
24. Skateboard, roller skate or rollerblading are fun to do.
25. Sledding in the winter is a fun time killer too.
26. Draw. Pull out some paper, crayons, colored pencils, etc. Let them draw on their own or give them ideas.
27. Dust. Little ones LOVE to dust…at least mine did! LOL! Give them a duster and let them dust your furniture and such.
28. Charity. Have them go through their toys and find things to give to less fortunate kids then themselves.
29. Let them have their own garage sale with old stuff they no longer use. Take them for ice cream, or something with the money they earn!
30. Summer business. Help them create a neighborhood lemonade stand, snow cones, or whatever. Use it as an opportunity to teach them how to handle money. Tithe, save and spend.
31. Play with pets. If they have a pet(s), make them PLAY with it!
32. Feed their pets. Yes, they need reminding. LOL!
33. Plant an herb garden. This can work even if you do not have a yard…just use pots. Once their herbs begin to grow, use them to make a special dinner together.
34. Color. The dollar store and dollar section at Target sell huge coloring books…cheap. Buy some and let them color. Better yet, color with them.
35. Scavenger hunt. Create one yourself, or enlist a teenager to help you. Make it fun and some sort of goody at the end.
36. Go to the park.
37. Go to the beach.
38. Hula Hoop. Super fun and to make it even more fun, use more than one! Have a “competition.”
39. Backyard Olympics. This is good for getting several children together. Invite some friends over, pot luck lunch style or BBQ. Set up some games for healthy competition (age appropriate). Give fun medals to the winners…and even something for the losers. You can even have the kids help with planning and let them make the “medals,” with foil, yarn and markers.
40. Jump rope.
41. Mow the lawn. this is a great option for older kids. You can also encourage them to make it a summer neighborhood business.
42. Puppet show. Get out those old socks you know will never see their match again, markers, squiggly eyes and whatever else you can come up with. Help them create cute sock puppets and let them put on a puppet show! Another great reason to get the grandparents over.
43. Play tag.
44. Play a sport. Get them involved in some sort of sport.
45. Puzzles. These can take hours depending on age and how many pieces. Great activity.
46. Take a nap. We all know little ones are MUCH nicer when they get a nice nap! LOL!
47. Do homework or study. During school, make sure they spend enough time doing homework and studying.
48. Take pictures. Buy a cheap disposable camera and give it to your little one. Tell them to find things to take pictures of. You can make it educational too. Have them look for specific colors, sounds, letters, etc.
49. Make jewelry. This can be simple with yarn and beads, or more complicated with wires and tools. It all depends on your child’s age and abilities.
50. Paint nails. If you have girls, let them paint their nails.
52. Chalk. Let them go hog wild on the driveway or sidewalk.
53. Quiet time. Yes, it is OK to just have quiet time. You can play the quiet game!
54. Play catch.
55. Simon says. This can be a lot of fun.
56. Paper Mache.
57. Create a collage. You can use what you have around the house, or go for a walk and find things to make a nature collage…whatever you can think up.
58. Play cards. This can be done with you, each other if you have more than one child, or, teach them to play solitaire.
59. Build fort. They can do this indoors or out. Outside may require Dad. However, some old boxes from a local store can work wonders. Inside they can use sheets and chairs…whatever.
60. Start a club. They can start their own club. Princess club, super here club, or something more mature for older ones.
61. Race. Have them race outside. Make it fun. Have them do different kids of races…maybe holding an egg on a spoon, backwards, somersaults…use your…er…let them use their imaginations!
62. Make a care package. This is great if you know someone sick…or take one to a terminally ill children’s hospital.
63. Volunteer. This is a great idea for the whole family.
64. Exercise. It’s good for children too…and if Mom gets involved she may just lose some flab!;)
65. Origami. You may need a book for this one.
66. Journal. Teach them to journal. It is a good way for them to learn to process and analyze their thoughts and feelings. It can also be a creative writing journal.
67. Dictate. I do this with my 6 year old. Give your child a special notebook. While you are working around the house, cooking, whatever, have them pull out the book. Dictate words for them to write. This is a great way to teach spelling and reinforce phonics. Keep the words within their capability of course!
68. Dry flowers.
69. Play with Lego’s or blocks.
70. Do a craft.
71. Make paper air planes. Race them!
72. Make rubbings. This is great for after a walk with things like leaves you find. However, you can also use what is around the house. Example: place newspaper on table. Put item to be rubbed on it…like a leaf. Place white computer paper or some other paper over it. Use crayon and rub (color) over it. The details from the leaf will show up on the paper. You can use just about anything…leaves, coins, etc.
73. Earlier I mentioned doing mad libs…another idea is to have them make up their OWN!
74. Wash the dog.
75. Talent show. Have them organize and put on a neighborhood talent show.
76. Or an art show.
77. Raise money. Help them come up with ways to raise money for the church or local charity. This teaches them to think and care for others.
78. Plant a tree.
79. Join a book club…or start one.
80. Grow a bonsai.
81. Home Depot. Many Home Depot’s host monthly craft days for kids. They are free or low cost and the kids go home with something cool they made! The one in our town has made bird houses, door hangers and many other cool things with the kids. Call your local Home Depot to find out.
82. Fly a kite.
83. Take a family road trip.
84. Rake the leaves.
85. Build a snowman, snow angels, just play in the snow in the winter.
86. Have a snowball fight.
87. Make a picture book of favorite things. You may need to help them out, but this can be a fun activity.
88. Help cook. Give them a job to do to help you make dinner.
89. Play school. Have your child get their stuffed animals out and teach them what they are learning in school.
90. Take a media free vacation.
91. Make Popsicles with juice.
92. Create a bird feeder and have them bird watch. They can make an easy bird feeder with an old soda bottle and bird seeds, or even use peanut butter and birdseed. Google easy to make bird feeder online for some ideas. After it is made, have them watch for what kind of birds come to eat. You can even make it a project for older kids…maybe statistic of what kind of bids come…Be creative. Think outside the box.
93. Memorize Scripture. This is probably one of the most important things they can ever learn to do!
94. Read the Bible. As Christian Moms, we need to help our children make this choice, so when they grow up, they will do it on their own!
95. Act out a favorite story.
96. Creative eating. Pull out some fruit, sprinkles, pretzel sticks, raisins, etc. Sit them down and have them make silly animals to eat as a snack. They will not only have fun making them, they will have something healthy to eat!
97. Refrigerator magnets. When you are busy in the kitchen and cannot use the kids for help, throw some magnets on the fridge and let them play with them. It will keep them close by and busy.
98. Chalk board paint. Paint an area in their rooms or the play room with chalk board paint. Let them make a different picture each day that represents what the weather is outside.
99. Tye die. Shirts, socks, whatever.
100. Make a shirt. Go to the local craft store and buy a plain white shirt and different tools for writing/decorating cloth with. Make shirts. You can do this for holidays, special occasions, praise the Lord shirts, family vacations, etc. It is fun and time consuming.
101. Go on a nature walk.
Well, I hope these 100 tips give you something to think about. I am certain that you will be able to use many of the ideas above…or even your own versions of them! And, keep in mind…most of these ideas can be modified to fit your child’s age and capabilities.
Copyright © Lara Velez, Moms of Faith, All Rights Reserved
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About the Author: Lara Velez is a Christian wife and homeschooling Mother of two. She is a published writer, web designer, business owner ( http://www.mythirtyone.com/prv31/ ) and Mom of Faith ( http://momsoffaith.com/ ). She enjoys cooking, writing, scrapbooking, and web design.