Today I’d like to do something a little different and share with you fun things to do at home with kids – and BEFORE you think this doesn’t apply to you because you don’t have little ones at home, this might actually help you, too! If you know any kids (or have grandkids), they’re probably stuck at home right now with their parents. Let me tell you, one of the best things you could do to brighten their day (both kids and parents) would be to send them an activity for the kids to do.
Some things are free and others require a purchase – but everything can be purchased online without having to go into a store. Here are my favorite kid’s activities:
Fun Things to Do at Home with Kids from Amazon
Amazon is a great place to lots of affordable things to do with kids. It’s easy to order and most things arrive quickly. It’s also easy to gift things from Amazon and have them sent straight to the recipient. Note that I use affiliate or referral links throughout the post where applicable at no extra cost to you.
These aquabeads have provided hours of fun for my five year old (and even my 3 year old loves helping). I love how there is no mess – you literally just spray the designs with a bit of water. It’s also takes up minimal space. It comes in a thoughtfully designed case with room to store everything. You simply place a design sheet under the grid, use their little tool to pick up the proper color of bead, and drop it on the design. Then spray it with water, wait 10 minutes, and remove it. They recommend another hour to play with the finished item so that it’s fully dry. My kids have made so many of these, and you can buy whole sets of design sheets to make all sorts of things. Or you can be creative and make your own. Refill beads are also available. We go through them so fast, I started buying the cheap knock off beads on Amazon, and they also work fine. The colors are less vibrant, but they still work overall.
Greedy Granny Game
We all love this Greedy Granny game. It’s super fun and easy. There’s not a lot of complicated rules, and even my 3 year old can play it well.
These water wows are a total game changer when you need quiet time from your toddler! Using only water, they can “paint” pictures! The mess is minimal (absolute worst case: they spill water on themselves, but this is very hard to do!) and my kids LOVE theirs. Plus there are lots of choices. The same brush works on every Water Wow, so you can take one brush and multiple books on the go with you! These are also great for travel (plane or car) or church. I also keep 3-4 brushes in a little baggie when we’re traveling so that we don’t have to refill them (although one water brush marker thing will last for a surprisingly long time).
These color wonders are definitely the ultimate in mess free coloring. The markers are completely clear so if the child colors on something other than the special color wonder paper, nothing happens! They literally can’t draw on themselves or make a mess of any kind. There are lots of marker sets available along with blank pages or a variety of coloring pages.
Play Akinator on Alexa
In general our Amazon Alexa Echo has provided us and the kids with so much screen free fun! One of our favorite (free) games on Alexa is called Akinator. It is a strange name if you ask me, but you think of a person (can be a real person like a celebrity or political figure or a character from a show or book) and it asks you a bunch of yes or no questions and guesses who you are thinking of. It’s surprisingly accurate and knows a lot of characters. We’ve done paw patrol characters, sesame street characters, kid’s book characters, and Bible characters. The kids LOVE this.
Play Classic Games
Fun Things to Do at Home with Kids from Usborne
One of my favorite places to get books, learning items, and activities for kids is from Usborne Books. (And, no, I don’t sell Usborne – just a happy customer.) I love pretty much everything I’ve ordered from there, and these are some of our favorites:
Little Sticker Books
If I were forced to pick just one Usborne favorite these sticker books would be it. Their sticker books are so fun and imaginative. First of all, the little books are the perfect size for carrying around. It comes with several, thick glossy of pages of scenes. Then there is a page of stickers to go with each scene. The quality is very good, which is important, because if the stickers are constantly tearing or the pages aren’t glossy so the stickers don’t reposition, it ends up being a frustrating activity. (Ask me how I know – I’ve had that experience with some other sticker products from other places.) My son is using this aquarium one right now, and my daughter is using this little sparkly one, but I have a stash of 10 of them. They also make great gifts.
Math Workbook (Activity Book)
I was pleasantly surprised by this adding & subtracting workbook (which they technically call an “activity book”). We love how colorful the pages are, and the activities are fun instead of just using a black and white, drill style worksheet. My daughter is actually asking me every day if she can do another page! (Sidenote: We don’t homeschool per se, but I’m teaching my 5 year old a lot at home because she is ready and is starting kindergarten when she’s almost 6. I think they can never learn too much or too early. It’s also really fun to watch her learn.) I’m definitely going to get some more of this style of workbook in my next order.
Wipe Clean Activity Books
I love these wipe clean activity books. You use a dry erase maker (included) to write in them, and then erase and start over. Kids can use them over and over again, and you can use them for multiple kids. Pro tip: Use them with Crayola washable dry erase markers to prevent accidental marks on surfaces.
I got this puzzle kit for my daughter, and we’ve been loving it. It has 100 pieces, which is the perfect level of difficulty for her. All her 24 and 48 piece puzzles were so easy for her, so it’s fun to see her work on something challenging. It also comes with a book which she loves. It’s a find and seek type book. The pieces are super sturdy – probably one of the sturdiest puzzles we’ve had.
Usborne’s First Reading Library
One of the challenges I’ve found as my daughter is learning to read is finding books that are both fun but also at her level. These books are perfect for that. It’s an entire set of books at different learning to read levels. The first books start out with the parent reading most of it with little sections for the kids to read. That makes it fun, but still gets them some practice. This will last us a long time. Plus each book has activities in the back about the story that my daughter and son love.
Where Happiness Lives
Our family has been loving this new to us book. It’s such a cute, fun story that is well written. I really appreciate children books that are written with a rhythm and rhyming – especially when the author can make that happen without taking away from the flow of the story. This book has such a positive message about contentment. Even though it’s written for kids, the message actually helps me with appreciating what I have as much as it does the kids.
Lift the Flap Books
Probably one of Usborne’s biggest claims to fame is their lift the flap backs. They are super and very educational. Many of them have hundreds of flaps for kids to lift, and they are super educational. I’ve learned so much from them. The bugs and butterflies book is one of our favorites.
Educational Fun Things to Do at Home with Kids
There are so many fun things to do that are educational and fun. Here are some of my favorites:
Crayola Dry Erase Markers
These washable dry erase markers are a must have for educational wipe clean books or practicing handwriting. I got a little marker board for my kids and they love just drawing or writing on it. It makes handwriting practice so much more fun.
My kids love these hot dots books. It comes with a little pen thing. You place the pen on the dot that’s next to the answer. The dog tells you if you got it right or wrong. I love that this is fairly affordable and doesn’t require me to be right there with the kids. They can do it on their own.
Learn to Read in 4 Weeks
I can’t tell you how much I love this Learn to Read in 4 Weeks kit. I had tried this method with my daughter, and it didn’t work so well. It was more boring and as she advanced, the stories got longer, and I think she was overwhelmed by the long pages of words. With this system, you learn one letter sound in each lesson. Then you start reading the books, and that is the beauty of the system. They get progressively harder and ONLY have sounds the child has already learned. That means they have a whole library of short, fun books they can actually read. My daughter made so much fast progress through this set, because it was fun and built her confidence. My 3 year old even learned a lot of letter sounds just by watching us. (You can get 10% off the system by using this link.)
Free Fun Things to Do at Home with Kids
There are tons of things you can do at home with kids without spending a dime (or spending very little). Here are just a few of my favorites:
Host a Family Game Tournament
Monopoly, Tic Tac Toe, Ticket to Ride, Freeze Tag – whatever games it is that your family likes to play, make an ongoing competition and keep score with this free downloadable Family Game Tournament scorecard! Click the image to download.
Play dance songs on Alexa (or any other device)
Since I’ve pretty much always lived in the midwest where you can’t play outside for weeks at a time in the winter, I’m always looking for ways me and the kids can get our energy out indoors. One of the best ways to do that is with an indoor dance party. We tell Alexa to play “The Elmo Slide” and it’s great exercise for everyone. Also (and I can’t believe I’m telling you this 😳) when the kids were really little, I would play my favorite songs, and walk back and forth through our house (I was desperate for exercise) randomly running into walls. They thought it was absolutely hilarious and would do it with me. I got thousands of steps this way. Obviously, you don’t have to have Alexa for this – you can use anything that plays music.
Play Hide and Go Seek
This classic game is fun, free, and perfect for indoor play. Again, can you tell I live where we can’t play outside in the winter? Active indoor activities are a must.
Print Coloring Pages
There are loads of coloring pages available on the internet that you can download and print for free. Make sure you’re using HP Instant Ink so you don’t spend too much on printing costs. I usually search Pinterest or Google for something specific my kids want. Recently, I printed out several Paw Patrol coloring pages for them, and they LOVED it. They feel extra special because I printed something just for them.
My kids love making booklets. We just take blank paper, fold it in half, and use this long arm stapler to staple it like a little booklet. They draw in them, put stickers on them, cut and paste pictures into them, etc. They’ll often make a little book for someone else by drawing or pasting in their favorite things. If you don’t have a long arm stapler, you can hole punch pages and tie them together with yarn or string.
My kids love setting up animal school. They line up all their animals and teach them. The cool thing about this is that you can sneak in a lot of actual learning, plus when they are the teacher it really helps solidify their learning.
Bake and Cook
Most kids love to help in the kitchen with baking or cooking. My favorite place for recipes is Sally’s Baking Addiction. She has so many yummy cookie recipes.
Let Them Be a Photographer
My daughter loves taking her own pictures or videos. She’ll set up little scenes to photograph. I just give her my phone to use. She also does her own little video tutorials like she sees me do.