35 Easy Activity Ideas To Keep Kids Happy And Occupied
Children are blessings from heaven. They’re absolute sweethearts, but they require extra care as well as constant entertainment, which is quite the problem when we have a busy schedule filled with errands, work, and household chores. No matter how cute children are, their endless energy is hard to match, and we occasionally need some alone time to complete essential tasks.
Activities are the perfect way to entertain our kids while we deal with the boring adult chores, thus keeping everyone happy. Luckily for our readers, we have a few fun and safe activities to keep the kids occupied while the parents do what they need (or want!) to do. Try some of the things on this list, and you might find that hours of unoccupied time magically appear in your day!
The easiest way to keep your children from bothering you is to tire them out; usually, this involves running around in the park or acting like monkeys at the playground. But on rainy days, outdoor activities are usually out of the question.
To satisfy their urge to go outside, purchase a foamnasium for your little ones so that they can climb and jump up and down indoors, regardless of the weather outside. However, these can be pricey, so don’t disregard second-hand ones.
2. Mini Trampolines
Trampolines are another great way to tire out your children for some peaceful alone time; this is especially great if you have a backyard. With a combination of a trampoline and a yard, your kids can switch between running around and jumping, keeping them entertained for longer.
If you don’t have a backyard, it’s okay because you can always get a mini version that can fit in your living room. A mini trampoline may not be sufficient for distracting your children for a whole day, but it’s enough to keep them busy for a short period of time.
3. Play in Puddles
Another bouncy activity is playing in puddles. It’s pretty tiring, and with your kids all worn out, they’ll definitely need naps — which is the perfect time to get your tasks and housework done. Admittedly, that housework may include drying off a small puddle by your front door.
However, if it hasn’t been raining for some time, there may not be puddles to play with. But don’t worry because you can make your own! Simply use a bucket or hose to create some puddles for your children to play in.
4. Outdoor or Indoor Swings
Speaking of being outdoors, installing swings in your backyard is another option for occupying kids who have high energy. High energy babies and toddlers love the repetitive swinging motion, so the swing would undoubtedly entertain them for quite some time.
However, for countries that are rainy most of the time, being outdoors may not always be possible. So, try to install a swing indoors as an alternative. This way, your children would get to swing back and forth to their heart’s desire despite the lousy weather.
5. Indoor Snowmen
Building a snowman is an activity that every child should do at least once. However, this activity can only be done during wintertime, and the cold weather may take away some of the fun. Fortunately, we can build a snowman indoors!
Bring in the snow from outdoors, lay down a sheet, build the snowman and decorate with candy such as M&Ms, candy corn, and chocolate chips, too. Now, go and ask your children if they want to build a snowman — bonus points for playing the song to get them in the mood.
6. Painting Cardboard Boxes
It’s safe to say that the most common activity for keeping kids occupied is painting, but this particular activity is incredibly messy. After a tiring afternoon of getting your tasks done, it’s a headache to be left scrubbing the walls clean.
To avoid yet another cleaning task to your to-do list, let your kids paint inside a box. This way, all the messiness will be contained within the box, rather than getting all over the place. As a plus, kids will enjoy the world of imagination an empty box can provide.
7. Bath Paint
Another way of containing the mess your children may make when they’re painting is to let them paint in the bath, or better yet, paint the tub. Of course, the children wouldn’t literally be painting the tub because they’d be using bathtub-safe fingerpaint soap.
Bathtub fingerpaint soaps come in various colors for you to choose from, not to mention that the soaps are gentle enough to be painted on children’s skin, and parents need not worry about the mess because they can be cleaned easily with warm water.
8. Experimenting with Colors
In any art and crafts project, colors are the most important element. This next activity is a great activity that allows kids to explore and learn about various colors, not to mention that your children would be occupied for quite some time.
For this activity, set out a turkey baster along with a few clear mason jars or Tupperware filled with colored water. Then, let your kids mix the colors around and discover as well as create new colors along the way!
9. Arrange Flowers
Kids love to decorate the house, especially if they get to show off their artwork where the whole family will see it. This one may seem silly, but you can have your child do some flower arranging that they can proudly display on the kitchen table.
You’ll need to get rid of the thorns to prevent your toddlers or children from pricking themselves. Let them choose a vase, pour some water into it, and let them help arrange the flowers. If you don’t have flowers in your home, you could substitute them with branches, sticks, grass, weeds, or wildflowers growing outside.
Another way parents can encourage the creative side of their children is with a bucket and some clothespins but be sure to use child-friendly clothespins that don’t snap violently on your fingers. Then, let your kids decorate the bucket with the clothespins.
For an extra layer of fun, have your kids decorate the clothespins themselves. Let them paint over plain wooden clothespins, and when they’re dry, your kids will have fun displaying their painted works in a colorful pattern of their own design.
11. Crafts Box
As mentioned above, kids love painting and doing arts and crafts, so why not encourage the creative side of your children by letting them get crazy with art? For this, prepare a crafts box filled with crayons, pipe cleaners, glue sticks, pom poms, markers, and paint.
Whenever you need some alone time, simply cover the table with plastic wrap or reusable cloth and let your kids go crazy creating art with supplies from the crafts box. The table cover will help contain some of the mess and make cleanup later easier.
Another creativity-inducing activity is Play-Doh. You probably had plenty of experience with it in your childhood, so you remember how much fun you had making a world of creations. One thing that we don’t particularly remember is how messy it can get, so lay down a cloth or mat for your kids to play on.
And, of course, make sure to keep this activity away from the furniture. Younger kids need closer supervision to prevent them from eating their food-shaped clay creations. While it seems like a hassle, it’s relatively easy. Just don’t forget to properly seal the containers after each use.
A less messy activity that helps get your children’s creative juices flowing is Magna-Tiles. It’s a fun game that involves constructing geometric structures; these were invented to help kids learn geometric concepts easily and, most importantly, in a fun way.
Magna-Tiles are somewhat pricey, though, so buying an off-brand version would be a much better alternative. Simply set up a corner in the room with some cushions and Magna-Tiles, and let your children play while you get some work done.
14. Window Gel
This next activity is perfect if you want to fill up empty walls or doors; it only requires some window gels and your children’s creativity. Simply task your kids with sticking the window gels onto the walls or patio door.
Window gels come in different shapes and sizes, so decorating empty walls and doors with them would be a great way to add color to a plain surface. Don’t worry about cleaning up because window gels can be easily removed.
15. Activity Cube
Activity cubes offer educational games such as sorting shapes or moving beads through a maze; it engages your baby or toddler in crucial developmental skills like improving their fine motor skills. Activity cubes are typically aimed at children 12 months and older.
Of course, activity cubes can be DIY-ed, so they can be customed to suit toddlers of all ages. Here, we see a fantastic homemade activity cube made with a magnetic sheet, some magnets, a lock board, as well as a chalkboard.
16. Indoor Ball Pit
Aside from boxes and paint, ball pits are another childhood favorite. Children can stay inside ball pits for a long period of time without getting bored, and even longer if they have a friend playing with them inside the ball pit.
You don’t need an expensive ball pit “kit” from a store. A tent, playpen, or even an inflatable kiddie pool are all perfect for a DIY ball pit. Just fill it up with the toy balls and let your kids play and work out their energy.
Most children tend to get extra excited and want to “help out” when their parents cook. This can be extremely dangerous; even without kids in the kitchen, things can spiral out of control pretty quickly. Having a child to watch out for can make certain foods more difficult to prepare.
So, one simple way of keeping your kids out of the kitchen, full of potential hazards, is to let them “cook” a meal alongside you. Well, not really. Prepare a bowl of water, flour, a baking sheet, some scoops, and a whisk, and let your children cook to their heart’s content.
18. Wash Dishes and Veggies
However, some parents may think that letting children play with water and flour is a waste of food. So, instead of letting the kids “cook” while you are cooking, let them help out by washing the dishes or fruits and vegetables.
Most children won’t be tall enough to reach the sink, so this activity requires a kid-safe stool. If you don’t have one at home or don’t want to purchase one, make sure that whatever furniture they use to stand on is sturdy.
19. Sensory Activity
Another kitchen activity that doesn’t waste flour and water is to have them play with rice — in a contained space, of course. Just set out a baking pan, a small jug, and a cup of rice. They can have fun pouring it back and forth or even into different-sized containers for some extra fun.
To make this an outdoor activity, simply substitute the rice with pebbles or sand; this is a great sensory activity for young kids and toddlers. Sensory activities encourage children to explore and investigate the world around them with all their senses.
20. Make Popsicles
We’re not done with kitchen activities just yet. For an edible creation, let your kids make popsicles and eat them afterward. Popsicles are relatively easy to make, and eating them will occupy your children for quite some time. Of course, younger kids will require guidance.
To make popsicles, first, choose a fruit juice. Then, combine water and sugar in a saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Once the sugar is entirely dissolved, remove from heat, and stir in fruit juices. Then, freeze them and enjoy them!
21. Ice Cubes
Yes, you heard us right; ice cubes can occupy your children for a while. While this might not work for every kid, some enjoy playing with ice, and it will last them a while, occupying their attention until the cubes melt.
Use unconventional ice trays that mold ice into different shapes and sizes to better attract your children’s interest. Pop the cubes out of the mold and put them on waterproof trays; let your kits use the melted ice for some water painting.
22. Sensory Tables
Sensory activities are any type of activities that allows stimulation to your senses. These are great for toddlers and babies because they build nerve connections in the brain’s pathways which lead to the child’s ability to complete more complex tasks.
Well, you can create your very own sensory table using a sandbox with a lid; simply fill the sandbox with dried beans and let your children play with them; you could even add beach toys in the sandbox! Beans are the perfect filler as they won’t crumble like Cheerios or make a mess like sand.
23. Learning Tower
Children are interested in pretty much everything their parents do; while this interest of theirs benefits their learning, it can, at the same time, be rather problematic as they may get in the way of their parents trying to get things done.
To keep kids from getting underfoot, simply set up a learning tower where they can observe and learn from a safe distance. Learning towers can be purchased at most furniture stores, but they are rather pricey, so, it’s better to make one yourself.
24. Practice Mopping
As mentioned, children are interested in practically everything their parents are doing; this includes cooking and sometimes even housework. Unfortunately, that curiosity can get in the way of said housework. So, what better way to distract your kids than letting them do what they’re interested in?
Simply set out a mini mop and fill a bucket with water and have your kids “practice” mopping while you set off to get some (real) housework done. This doubles as a great way to get your kids learning about chores and responsibilities while it’s still fun at a young age.
25. Practice Cleaning!
Other than mopping the floors, cleaning, in general, is a great way to occupy your kids. Activities like this provide double the free time as they are occupied while you’re doing chores, and they get tired and need a nap, giving you even more time to get your work done.
So, encourage your children to do some housework by giving your toddler a squeegee along with a spray bottle filled with water; have them spray the water across dirty surfaces like bathroom mirrors, counters, or windows and let them practice wiping the dirt away.
26. Painting the Fence
If you have a fence, especially a wooden one, let your kids “paint” it with some water. While it’s wet, the fence will have the patterns that they designed, but it’ll dry up on its own, leaving you with no cleanup to take care of.
Alternatively, you can let your children paint the fences with colors, but this is a job more suited for older kids because younger kids may paint messily, which isn’t something that we want for the part of our house that everyone sees.
27. Shoveling Snow
Wintertime is magical, and we absolutely love everything about it — except for the snow piling up in our driveway and sidewalk. One easy solution is to encourage your children to help you shovel the snow off of your property.
In addition to a clear sidewalk, you’d get some peaceful and quiet alone time to do your own things. Your kids would be so tired after shoveling all the snow that they’d definitely need some rest, so while they rest, enjoy your alone time!
28. Cut Grass
During the summertime, there’ll be no snow for you to shovel, but there is grass for you to cut. That’s right, cutting grass is another activity that you can encourage your kid to do to occupy them for some time.
Of course, this activity is rather dangerous, given the tools, but a kiddie version of a lawnmower will feel just as real to them. Not only that, but it’s a great way to spend time with your kid while still getting housework done. Have them work near you, but not too close so they don’t get hurt.
Last on the list of housework children can do to keep themselves occupied is help out with laundry. Of course, toddlers wouldn’t be able to hang the clothes or fold them, so the only way they can help is by taking the clothes in and out of the washing machine.
If you use a dryer, they can also help load and unload that, too. For babies who can’t help out, put them in the laundry basket along with the clothes and play peak-a-boo with them. And for some added fun, turn the laundry basket into a rollercoaster.
30. “Fixing Cars”
Of course, there are things that children, especially toddlers, won’t be able to do. For example, if you’re fixing your car in the garage, young kids won’t be able to “help out” at all, so, it’s essential to distract them during these times.
One easy way to distract them would be to let them “help out” by giving them some tools and asking them to fix their toy car. This way, they’ll be occupied with fixing their own car while you fix yours!
31. Toys Basket
On some occasions, toddlers seem totally uninterested in their own toys and don’t seem to want to play with them. So, one simple solution is to throw all their toys in their toy basket and let them pull their toys out, one by one.
Though your child may be the exact opposite and they can’t get enough of their toys, but despise the cleaning up process. Why not let your toddlers practice cleaning up by spreading their toys on the floor and making them pick their toys up instead.
32. Build a Fort
Forts are great at keeping children occupied for a long period of time; with all the toys and gadgets that the fort is “equipped” with, the fort is just like their secret hiding spot that they would never want to leave.
So, if you need to keep your kids occupied, first build a fort with them, fill it with all their favorite toys as well as their favorite snacks and let them play in it! However, you’d need to think of a way to get them out of the fort once playtime is over.
Picnics are another great way for occupying children; whether it’s a real picnic with their friends or a fake one with their stuffed toys, picnics will surely keep them in one place for quite a while. If you have a yard, you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your own home for this activity.
For an easy but realistic picnic, buy some pastries along with some drinks, and set out a cloth out in the garden. If you don’t want your kid to eat too much before mealtime, set up a fake picnic using toy foods and “invite” your children’s stuffed toys to join you.
34. Science Experiments
For activities that can occupy your children as well as educate them, encourage them to try out different science experiments. This way, you can feed their curiosity and encourage them to develop an interest in the sciences from a young age.
There are so many science experiments for children to try out. Some are a little bit more dangerous than others, so be sure to keep an eye on your children when they’re experimenting to prevent any unnecessary accidents and keep the fun going.
35. Fisher Price Sit Me Up
Babies are just as curious as toddlers, but they can’t do many of the activities by themselves, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t learn while you try to occupy them. Use activities like Fisher Price’s Sit Me Up to help your baby learn to, well, sit upright.
Babies tend to crawl all around the house, which is trouble to those who have their plates full of work and household chores. The Sit Me Up chair works wonders in keeping the baby in one spot while you get things done.