Innovative and Free Family Activities

on September 28, 2020

Odds are you've found yourself with more family time these days, and with that comes the question: What can I do to entertain the kids without totally burning out? Of course, some strategic screen time can take the edge off, but extra time together can also be an opportunity to make some memories. 

So if you’re on the hunt for some creative, free activities that’ll keep your family busy for hours, we’ve got your back. From DIY games to easy crafts that won’t leave you vacuuming up glitter for the rest of the year, we’ve compiled some out-of-the-box ways to hang with your squad.  ”Our family loves all kinds of games: card games, board games, charades, and our favorite, Qwirkle! It’s the perfect game for all ages and it helps get the wiggles out of your little ones,” says Chatbooks co-founder Vanessa Quigley.

Here are some of the most popular boredom busters, recommended by parents who have been there...

Pro tip: Now would be a great time to send your latest Photo Book Series to print... just sayin'.

  1. Reset your tech habits. Quarantine time can mean screen time, but it doesn't have to! The Tech Reset Project helps families reset their relationship with technology through simple adjustments. Want to get your family in sync with their screen time tendencies? Download a free tech reset book here.
  2. Go for a walk. Bring a baggie and pick up litter you might find along the way.
  3. Make a sensory bin. Fill a shoebox or large tupperware with rice. Add marbles, toys, or race cars for a fun, tactile experience to keep little ones mesmerized for hours.
  4. Concoct slime from scratch. Use food coloring to personalize your slime creation.
  5. Do a TikTok challenge. Get your teen to teach you iconic TikTok dances and just try to keep up.
  6. Bake cookies. Younger kids can gather ingredients, older kids can help measure them out.
  7. Paint or draw together. Use old newspapers to protect your surfaces.
  8. Create a fort in your living room out of blankets. Flat sheets work great for forts!
  9. Have family movie night during the day. Pop some popcorn and snuggle on the couch.
  10. Facetime a family member. Grandparents will definitely appreciate seeing everyone.
  11. Stage a family photo shoot. Pick a theme (like princess glam or crazy colors) and have the kids come up with their own looks to photograph for a printable mini magazine.
  12. Create a treasure hunt. Leave clues all around your house. Use picture clues for younger kids.
  13. Write a play. You can use Halloween costumes to get into character. Perform it for other family members. 
  14. Learn a new skill like latch hooking. YouTube has endless tutorials for all stages of learners.
  15. Play a board game. Monopoly and Scrabble are perfect for older kids, while Candyland is a good option for younger kids.
  16. Write and illustrate a “book” or comic. Use characters from your favorite show or book for inspiration.
  17. Draw outside with sidewalk chalk. If you have empty spray bottles, fill them with crushed chalk, add water and now it’s “spray paint.”
  18. Plan and create a family herb garden. Create a diagram of where all of the plants will go in your yard and then let little ones help you dig out the holes. You can also try this out with an indoor flower pot.
  19. Organize dressers and closets. Kids can sort out some clothes and toys that they don’t use and you can donate them.
  20. Build paper airplanes and have a flying contest. Whoever makes a plane that can stay airborne the longest, wins!
  21. Put together a time capsule. Include family photographs and handwriting samples.
  22. Listen to audiobooks. Most local libraries have audiobooks online that you can listen to for free.
  23. Tell ghost stories in the dark with a flashlight. If you have little ones that scare easily, opt for fairytales.
  24. Research a favorite animal and give a presentation to your family. Give them a pop quiz to see who paid attention.
  25. Collect rocks and decorate them. Write inspirational words on them with paint pens for cute memory stones.
  26. Look up funny jokes. Put on a comedy show for family members.
  27. Tackle a household project together. It’s the perfect opportunity to teach kids how to use basic tools properly.
  28. Make homemade playdough. Then, use the dough to create an animal kingdom or fun fairytale characters.
  29. Do a puzzle together. Put little kids in charge of finding all of the edge pieces.
  30. Have a dance party. Make up your own dance routine to your favorite music.
  31. Do yoga. Check YouTube for kid-friendly yoga sequences. Use bath towels for mats.
  32. Write a letter to a family member. Younger kids can draw a picture to include.
  33. Create a gratitude or vision board. Use old magazines or newspapers. 
  34. Have an indoor teddy bear picnic. Older kids can help make the food. Younger kids can choose their stuffed animals.
  35. Do an act of kindness for a family member. Make their bed or fold their laundry.
  36. Let them be bored! It’s ok for kids to get bored. It forces them to use their own imagination to come up with ideas for how to entertain themselves. Offer up some suggestions and watch them run it!

Check out this MomForce Podcast episode for Vanessa Quigley, co-founder of Chatbooks and her sister/co-host take on simple things to do while social distancing.