88 Fun Activities for Kids for Every Occasion
Anxious. Bored. Tired. Frustrated. Curious. Creative. Dedicated.
These adjectives may describe you.
They may also describe your kids.
But at one point or another, we’ve all been there.
Been that person.
I am that person.
As a mom of four small children, I run the gamut of emotions daily.
I want to make my kids happy.
Want to keep them busy.
Want them to excel at something.
Want to spend time with them while I can… and while they want me to.
So I am constantly in search of activities for kids that will check all of these boxes.
Sometimes that means looking for things to do at home on a nasty day.
Sometimes that means venturing out for some good ol’ family fun.
Or searching for the perfect extra curricular activity after school.
I mean, maybe my daughter won’t be the next Taylor Swift… but if she wants music lessons, so be it.
Maybe my son won’t be the next Lionel Messi… but if he wants to try out for travel soccer, who am I to say no?
At the end of the day, selecting activities for kids will keep them from becoming idle.
And idle hands tend to find trouble, as the old saying goes.
If you keep your kids engaged in something they enjoy, they will become better people for it.
In this article, I will:
- Offer tips on how to get started with your search.
- Suggest activities for kids in several categories.
- Provide resources and links to help you along.
- So let’s get started, shall we?
Selecting Activities for Kids… Where Do I Begin?
First rule of thumb…
You need to read the room, so to speak.
After all, you know your kids (grandkids, nieces, nephews, godchild) better than anyone.
And that means you need to keep certain things in mind when narrowing down which activities for kids you want to embark upon.
The big ones?
How old is the child?
What is his or her personality type?
Do they have any physical or developmental limitations?
For instance, if you have a 2-year-old… a trip to the movie theater may not be the best idea, given the short attention span and frequent trips to the bathroom.
You’re just throwing money away.
Similarly, if you have a very shy child, you may not want to sign them up for an acting workshop.
Or, perhaps you have a child with ADD who seems calm when drawing in his room... he may benefit from a small art class.
Activities for kids are only as successful or enjoyable as the child views them to be.
It doesn’t matter if the activity received 5 stars on google reviews… if your child isn’t a fit for it, it will be a disaster.
That being said…
There are instances where it’s perfectly acceptable to push your child into something that you think might benefit them… encourage them… enlighten them.
We’ve all heard the stories of the star athlete who thanks their mother for making them “stick with it”... even when they wanted to give up.
More times than not, you know what is best for your child.
And that means you’ll be able to tell which activities for kids are most likely to be a hit with yours… just by doing a bit of research!
Lucky for you, I’ve done a lot of the legwork here.
Rainy Day Activities for Kids
When the forecast calls for staying in, it can cause some serious cabin fever among the kids… and you!
Here are some ways to keep busy and entertained, despite what’s going on outside.
#1: Visit a Recreational Sports Complex
Many cities will have a place that houses multiple sports, fitness equipment and activities… all under one roof. Things like an ice hockey rink, basketball courts, swimming pool, indoor mazes and climbing walls.
Recreational sports complexes are great venues for families looking to burn some energy indoors… and we all know that tired children can make for an easier night on the parents.
#2: Indoor Play Places
Depending on where you live, there are tons of these places out there… and they are on the rise!
Indoor play places typically feature arcade games, food and small rides.
Larger ones may even have laser tag.
A tumbling area or rope course.
#3: Children’s Amusement Centers
Growing in popularity, a children’s amusement center often features a slew of hands on activities for younger kids.
Places like Kidz Village offer hours of imagination play and energy burn, with things such as: dress up areas, themed playrooms, movie theaters, arcade games, climbing structures and bounces.
The best part about these places is the security!
Many will have employees staffed at the entrance to stamp your child’s hand and yours... and will not let them exit with anybody else.
That means fun for them… and a bit of much deserved relaxation for you!
#4: Rock Climbing Gyms
Most places have a minimum age requirement of 4 or 5-years-old for indoor rock climbing. It’s a great calorie burn, with potential hobby upside.
#5: Trampoline Parks
Channel your inner gymnast at one of these high intensity playgrounds.
While indoor trampoline parks are spreading like wildfire these days, the American Academy of Pediatrics has recently issued statements regarding the growing number of injuries they see yearly from these places.
So it’s really a judgement call on your part.
They may produce a risk, yes… but they also produce tons of fun!
So when considering a visit to a trampoline park, look for the following:
- Adequate staff to patron ratio
- Separate toddler and small child areas
- First aid kits on-site
- Highly trained staff, not all teenagers (no offense, but c’mon)
- Quick safety tips/training session included (how to jump/land safely)
Many of these places will have you sign a liability waiver, hand you socks, and send you on your way.
Don’t be afraid to ask to speak with a manager if you have any questions or concerns the front desk can’t help you with.
It’s your right as a paying customer. And a concerned parent.
#6: Check out an Aquarium
Most often, the entrance fee goes directly to fund the aquarium… things like upkeep, food and new exhibits.
Keep the receipt and a portion of it may be tax deductible. Paid memberships may even be fully deductible. Your tax preparer can tell you.
#7: Go to a Museum
Museums come in all shapes and sizes.
- Children’s Museums
- Art Museums
- Science Museums
- Technology Museums
- Touch Museums
- Air and Space Museums
- Film and Television Museums
- Sports Museums
The list goes on.
Chances are, if you are interested in something… there’s a museum for that!
So take advantage.
The prices are often very reasonable... small children are often free.
And many cities even offer discount cards to “museum hop”, if you will.
Making this an affordable and fun day out for the entire family.
#8: See a Movie
Not sure what you’re in the mood for… no problem.
Visit movies.com and enter your zipcode to see what’s playing in your area. Even check out trailers and reviews.
#9: See a Play
Good theater isn’t just found on Broadway anymore.
Many cities and towns have amazing community theatre programs, offering popular shows for a fraction of the price.
The venues are often super charming and kid friendly... even designating showtimes where kids are encouraged to be kids. To interact and react.
Some even offer autistic-friendly performances, where the typical “rules of attendance” have been relaxed to accommodate individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities.
Indoor Activities for Kids to Do at Home
Being stuck at home with the kids may sound like torture to a tired mom, but there is always a silver lining… and in this case, that silver lining is quality time together.
Time you can never get back.
Blink and the kids will be grown… that I promise you.
Mine were just coming home from the hospital yesterday, weren’t they?
Now they are 3, 4, 6 and 8.
How did that happen?
It goes by quick.
Before long, your kids are in middle school… high school… barely wanting to talk to you at dinner, let alone spend the day with you.
So enjoy these moments… moments when everyone is healthy and together, with nothing particularly pressing to do.
It feels good.
A happy place.
Now take this feeling and try some of these fun indoor activities for kids.
#10: Make a Craft
If you’re not the artistic type, don’t let that dissuade you from undertaking a good ol’ fashioned arts and craft project.
There are tons of ideas to be found online, websites like Pinterest offer some really great ideas.
#11: Cook or Bake with Your Kids
Maybe you’ve been dying to try out that recipe you viewed on Yummly last week…
Maybe you’re the meal plan service type…
Or maybe you inherited your grandmother’s recipe box and have a craving for her spinach ravioli…
Whichever way you slice it (pun intended), a day at home with your kids can be a wonderful chance to make some scrumptious memories together.
Crank up the music, put on the aprons and have some fun.
If you’re feeling really wild… start a food fight!
Yes, a food fight.
The kitchen won’t stay dirty for long… but the memories you’ve made will last forever.
#12: Play Games
In addition to the obvious board games, why not shake it up with an indoor obstacle course?
Or a game of musical chairs.
There’s also DIY games that can provide hours of silly fun, such as making a “laser” maze out of yarn.
With a little imagination, the possibilities are endless.
#13: Family Movie Night
A classic in my home…
Decide on a few movies that are appropriate for everyone, write them down on separate pieces of paper, and place them into a hat.
Tip: Most movies are available via streaming services. Some for free, some for a small rental or purchase fee.
Top sites include:
Now, let the youngest (or oldest) member of your family pick one of the titles.
The next person in line gets a turn to pick from the hat on the next movie night.
Not only does it add a little suspense to the movie selection, but it also gives each member of the family something to look forward to the next time.
Now get into comfy pajamas... pop some popcorn… and get set for a cuddlefest of epic proportions!
#14: Host a “VIP Screening” of Your Family’s Home Movies
Warning! I’m about to date myself here…
But when I was a kid, we had an old carousel slide projector.
As I recall, 35mm negatives were housed in these white cardboard things called slides... and my dad clicked a button attached to a cord to make it spin to the next one.
We had a pull down screen and would sit with each other laughing, mom sometimes crying, for hours.
We did this every single New Year’s Eve for about 10 years.
Me on my dad’s lap.
Remembering the old days.
The people no longer with us.
Me as a baby sitting in a laundry basket.
My brother dressed as a clown for his first halloween.
Those were some of the best times.
And while technology may have changed since then, with many people converting old photos and videos onto DVDs or else using fancy projectors, the idea of watching home movies still holds some weight among families looking to bond.
Whether you keep it in house, or invite some closer family and friends over for the screening, this can be the perfect chance to turn some older memories into special new ones.
#15: Start a Donation Box
Sometimes being stuck indoors creates the perfect opportunity to purge… get rid of those old clothes, toys, dishes, decorations, shoes, small furniture, etc.
The stuff that either doesn’t fit anymore... or just collects dust.
The stuff that is neglected or has been outgrown.
There are millions of families all across the world in need of something.
The less fortunate.
And many organizations who help these people are often forced to rely upon the holiday season to get their donation numbers up.
But why wait?
You can pick any day to sit your family down and go through your expendables.
In addition to the obvious decluttering, donating can benefit your family by:
- Encouraging selflessness
- Making you feel good
- Creating awareness and a sense of purpose
- Counting your blessings
- Going over memories
- Providing a tax deduction
I don’t know about you... but when I go through my kid’s old clothes, I get nostalgic about how little they once were.
When I look at the slightly scratched dishes my husband and I inherited when we first moved in together… I am amazed at how far we’ve come.
How things have changed.
And as much as I sometimes want to hang onto these things… I also know how much other families may appreciate them now.
So we donate.
And we teach our kids to do so as well.
At Christmas time, for instance, my children put together a pile of toys they no longer play with and place them in a sack for Santa’s elves to take back with them on Christmas Eve.
They elves fix up the toys, and recycle them.
Then they are taken to a children’s hospital.
We tell each of our children to donate a toy for each new one they want.
It may seem silly, but it works.
The kids feel good.
And their father and I feel good when we secretly drop the toys off at a charity.
Some of our favorites include:
Outdoor Activities for Kids
When the weather is cooperating, take advantage!
Exercise not only helps to keep our weight in check and our hearts healthy… but raises endorphins, which can make us feel phenomenal!
Exercise is proven to help quell anxiety, stress, self esteem issues and depression.
And... people who are active at least 20-25 minutes per day tend to sleep better at night (which means your kids likely will too, yay!).
So stop with the excuses that it’s either too hot or too cold to be outside… even if only for a short while, fresh air and movement does the body good.
Plus, what little kid doesn’t like to be told to put on galoshes and jump in muddy puddles after a rainstorm?
That being said, here are some of my favorite outdoor activities for kids….
#16: Go for a Nature Walk
Why not swap out the tablets and cell phones for a good ol’ pad and paper… maybe even a camera… and get walking.
Encourage your kids to journal what they say along the way…
Things they may want to learn more about.
Things that interest them.
Have someone be in charge of a bag for collecting cool items… such as pinecone, leaves, stones, etc.
It gets kids moving, using their brain, asking questions.
It’s a good thing.
#17: Embark on a Scavenger Hunt that “Rocks”
Shortly after Pokemon Go hit the scene... another scavenger hunt took off.
A simpler hunt, if you will… one that required no cell phone or technology of any kind; but, instead inspired hands-on acts of kindness through art and creativity.
It promoted connections among actual people.
It promoted smiles.
Enter the rock scavenger hunt.
In a nutshell... you paint rocks with positive messages or bright images and leave them someplace in public for a random stranger to find.
That stranger is to take a rock, but leave one in its place.
Today, my town is still doing this.
My kids will find rocks at parks, schools, in parking lots, outside stores, the post office, library.
The list goes on.
And they are excited every single time.
If this activity speaks to your inner artist, you can search the internet for groups in your area.
#18: Take a Hike
Not to sound mean... but, seriously, take a hike!
Get out there and explore the beauty this world has to offer.
Discover beauty in places you never knew existed… maybe even just minutes from your home.
There are tons of web resources for finding hiking trails. Just type in your zip code and voila!
Often times, these sites will even rate a hike’s difficulty level for you as well… so you can plan for the whole family.
And if you prefer an app, there are a few good ones to choose from, like:
#19: Go Camping
You didn’t have to be a Scout growing up to appreciate the appeal of camping.
And with all the advances in gear and campsites now, you don’t have to be an expert to take on an overnight in the woods.
Some campsites have showers and flushing toilets, pools… even dining halls.
Others are bare bones, with no frills to speak of.
Whichever option you choose, camping is a perfect way to unplug and unwind from the daily grind.
A way to get back to basics and catch up with one another under the stars.
You can also just do search for campgrounds in a particular state or area, if you a general spot in mind.
#20: Run a 5k for a Cause
Whether you run often… or are just starting out… 5k races are the perfect distance for anybody looking to get out and go!
And when you’re doing it for a good cause, the potential rewards far outweigh any doubts you might have.
For most people, just finishing a charity race is more important than how fast you do it in.
There are 5k races for almost anything… and if there isn’t, you can typically form your own team and run for whatever moves you.
There are websites that list 5K races by region, cause, date.
Some of the better ones are:
And if you’re looking for a twist on the traditional 5k... there are some races that incorporate things like obstacles courses, mud and body paint.
#21: Visit an Outdoor Farmers Market
Farmers Markets are a great way to support the “buy local” initiative… not to mention get your hands on some delicious, farm fresh goods.
Fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, baked items, wines, oils, soups.
Sometimes there are even crafters selling their unique items.
#22: Take a Trip to the Zoo
Ah, the zoo.
Nothing says reliving your childhood like seeing a zoo through a child’s eyes.
The sheer look of wonder and excitement on their faces when they see lions, elephants, bears, monkeys… up close and personal... is a memory you will keep with you always.
Sure, a trip to Africa would be better… but for now, this is a fun and educational outing the whole family will enjoy!
If you’re looking for suggestions as to where to visit, check out the Association of Zoos and Aquariums website.
#23: Find a Zipline or Tree Top Adventure Course
One of the fastest growing phenomenons is ziplining.
An activity that was once reserved for exotic vacations, like the rainforests and mountains of Puerto Rico or Costa Rica, zipline courses and tree top adventure grounds are now popping up all over the world.
Some even within city limits.
A simple google search for zipline courses in your area is a great place to start if you’re feeling brave.
Go Ape is another great resource for courses within the USA.
And if you’re worried about the price… why not consider putting up a zipline in your own backyard? There are tons to choose from on amazon, and reasonably priced.
#24: Plan a trip to City
A visit to a major city is a great way to spend time with the family, especially if the weather forecast is spotty.
Rain or shine, cities offer so much to do both indoors and out.
Shows, museums, gardens, shopping, tours, unique dining… it’s all at your fingertips and easy to navigate.
#25: Visit a Vineyard for some Seasonal Wine Tasting
Despite the obvious appeal for adults who enjoy a good wine tasting... many vineyards now offer exciting activities for even the youngest of visitors.
The tour in itself can be interesting to older kids, seeing how the wines are made.
But for the little ones, there are often animals to pet and feed… mazes to run through… grapes to eat… playgrounds to run around in… and a “pick your own” seasonal selection of fruits and vegetables.
Remember, many vineyards are also farms… and what kid doesn’t love a farm?
#26: Attend a Hot Air Balloon Festival
There is something magical about watching larger than life balloons fly overhead.
And we’re not just talking your standard balloon… we’re talking ones shaped like animals, airplanes and cartoon characters.
Think the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, but bigger!
Balloon festivals around the world draw millions of visitors each year… I highly recommend checking one out at least once if you get the chance.
#27: Tour A Cavern
Some tours are by boat, most are on foot… and vary in difficulty level.
But all offer promise a unique look at nature’s wonder.
#28: Go to an Amusement Park
- Thrill rides.
- Family rides.
- Water slides.
- Junk food.
Amusement parks have something for everyone… making it a fun day for the entire family.
#29: Have a Picnic in the Park
There is just something about picnics.
Sitting on a blanket.
Listening to the birds chirping all around you.
Picnics are not only a cost-friendly lunch, but pet friendly.
It’s truly something the entire family can do together… no reservations required.
#30: Visit a Historic Village
Historic villages are a great way to teach your kids (and perhaps yourself) something new… while also having some fun.
The Revolutionary and Civil Wars.
These open air living museums often showcase live demonstrations and encourage audience participation.
- Glass blowing.
- Butter churning.
- War uniforms on display.
- Antique farm equipment.
- Steam train rides.
Summer Activities for Kids
The warmth of the sun on your face.
Roasting marshmallows over the fire pit.
The kids home with you all day…
For almost 10 weeks…
The very thought of your kids lounging around the house all day, every day, has you a wee bit restless.
That is why finding the perfect summer activities for kids should be a priority.
As with any healthy relationship, a little personal space and “me” time can work wonders for the soul.
Even if it’s just for a few minutes a day…
Or a few hours each week.
Not to say you shouldn’t plan some activities together.
You absolutely should do that!
Just keep in mind that maintaining some semblance of a daily schedule is important for kids, especially in the summer.
Otherwise they will be thrown for a loop once school starts back up again.
Children cannot… and I repeat, they cannot… just sit around all summer with nobody to answer to.
So I’ve come up with a list of things to help you keep them busy, while also having some fun, this summer!
#31: Enroll them in Camp
Camps are so much more than tug of war, relay races, canoeing and making crafts these days.
And if you put in the time to research, you can find a camp that is perfect for your kids… based on his or her interests, hobbies, strengths.
Even their weaknesses.
Enrichment camps offer help in school subjects where your child may be struggling… in a laid back and non-threatening atmosphere.
Whatever camp you’re looking for, it likely exists. Even if you have to travel a bit.
There are day camps that last for one week. Others for the entire summer. There are sleepaway camps.
If you put in a search for it, you will likely find it. Literally go to google and type in summer camps. If location is turned on, it will offer pages and pages of camps in your area.
The more specific you are, the better results you’ll get. For instance, you could type in “cooking camps” or “basketball camps”.
- There are gymnastics camps.
- Cheerleading camps.
- Science camps.
- Computer camps.
- Harry Potter camps.
- Girl scout camps.
Many times, you will find theme camps sponsored by your local municipality’s recreation department… the same with local fitness clubs such as the YMCA.
Seek and ye shall find.
Not only will you get a little break during the day, but your kids will have fun… while also being required to follow camp rules and adhere to a schedule.
#32: Spend the day by the Beach
Whether you live in close proximity to an ocean or lake, or need to incorporate a trip there into your summer vacation, being by the water does a body good.
- Riding waves.
- Skipping stones.
- Building sandcastles.
- Reading a book.
- Flying kites.
There is so much to do at the beach… you’ll hardly miss your iPad!
#33: Find a Carnival or Fair
Ferris Wheels and Tilt-a-Whirl.
Most every city offers carnival or fairs during the summer months.
Usually they are to support a cause... like a local church or 4H group.
Pick up a local newspaper or go online and I’m sure you’ll find one in your town.
#34: Attend a Music Festival
Music festivals can be huge fun for the whole family.
And regardless of the type of music, there is usually something for everyone.
Many festivals today include some cool activities for kids, even the small ones, to keep them occupied while you shake your groove thang.
#35: See a Firework Display
Fireworks aren’t reserved for the 4th of July anymore.
In fact, if you look hard enough, you can likely find a firework show almost every weekend during the summer… especially in beach resort towns and amusement parks.
#36: Catch Fireflies
Catching fireflies is something every child should do… even if just one time.
It’s a right of passage, if you will.
So find a dark, open space... and set them loose with a mason jar!
#37: Go out on a Boat for the Day
Whether to fish, snorkel, dolphin watch or just lounge around… getting on a boat is a wonderful way to spend a summer day.
If you don’t have your captain’s license… don’t worry! Most places offer half and full day excursions, where you can pay to be brought out to sea by a professional crew.
#38: Grab your Telescope and Check out the Night Sky
The summer sky offers so much beauty after dark… which is great because kids typically stay up a bit later in the summer.
So why not take advantage?
According to Nasa... summer nights feature a dazzling array of stars, stretched across the sky, as the arch of the Milky Way stretches up from the south and fills the northern skies.
Classic constellations and asterisms like Scorpius, Cygnus, Cassiopeia, the Coma Cluster, Sagittarius and its Teapot, and the Summer Triangle mark the skies with their distinctive patterns catching curious eyes.
There is even a night sky planner on the Nasa website that will tell you exactly what you are looking at on a specific day, based on the location you put in.
#39: Enroll in Summer School
When I was growing up… summer school was reserved for kids in need of repeating classes to avoid being left behind a grade.
Today, many college-bound students opt to attend summer school in order to earn AP (advanced placement) credits towards their freshman year.
Summer school is a great way for kids to get ahead when they have a little down time.
The best part?
Many of these classes are offered online, so there’s no need to drive them all over.
There are also certain colleges that offer summer enrichment programs, where your high school student spends a week or more on campus… getting a true feel for college life.
#40: Take Surfing or Kiteboarding Lessons
Summer offers a great opportunity to check off some unique activities from your bucket list.
Admit it, you have a bucket list.
And it’s likely that your kids do as well.
Surf lessons are available for kids, generally starting as young as age 7… and as long as they can swim, of course.
It’s a great way to foster a love of the ocean, while also developing their core body strength and coordination.
Kiteboarding lessons are another way for your kids to challenge themselves, while also possibly facing their fear of heights.
Kiteboarding is an action sport combining aspects of wakeboarding, snowboarding, windsurfing, surfing, paragliding, skateboarding and sailing into one extreme sport.
A kiteboarder harnesses the power of the wind with a large controllable power kite to be propelled across the water.
Because of the physical upper body strength it requires, kiteboarding is recommended more for kids age 10 and up. There is also sometimes a minimum height and weight requirement.
There are a fair amount of licensed companies, like Green Hat Kiteboarding, that specialize in lessons, advice, equipment rental and sales. Green Hat even offers guided excursions throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico, among other places, for the ultimate thrill!
#41: See an Outdoor Movie
Outdoor movies are a great way to spend an inexpensive summer night together.
In fact, most of the time they are free!
Often on the beach or in a park, these family friendly titles are something everyone can enjoy.
Plus, you don’t have to worry about kids being kids and getting shushed all movie long.
Team Building Activities for Kids
What is team building?
Why it is important?
Team building is a collective term for various types of activities used to enhance social relations and define roles within teams, often involving collaborative tasks.
In layman’s terms, it’s learning how to work together.
And that is an important skill for your child to learn if they are going to succeed in life.
Sometimes, you need to play the game to get ahead.
And you need to play nicely.
Maybe your child is stubborn.
Has trust issues.
All of these characteristics can be managed through some team building activities for kids.
#42: Team Jump Rope
As simplistic as it sounds, jump rope is a great team building exercise when it involves a partner.
Assign two kids to twirl the rope - and another two to be the jumpers.
It can be hard enough at times to jump a rope successfully on your own, but having to do it with a partner forces you to work together.
#43: Human Knot
Typically 6-20 kids (depending on age) stand in a circle… and then hold hands with someone next to and across from them to form a big “knot”.
Once everyone is intertwined, the object is to become untangled... without ever letting go of anyone’s hand.
There are visual aids available online, as it can be pretty tricky to picture at first.
#44: Forehead Dots
Every child places a different color dot sticker on their forehead.
Then, without words, they walk around the room and try to figure out which color they have.
Once they do, they join other players wearing the same color to form a team.
#45: Trust Walk
Two kids… one wears a blindfold and spins around a few times, then tries to walk to the finish line through a variety of obstacles while the other child guides them using non descriptive verbal clues.
What could possibly go wrong?
#46: Fingertip Hula Hoop
A group of kids stand with both arms outstretched, extending their index finger only.
An adult then places a hula hoop on their fingers.
The kids must work together to lower the hoop to the ground without dropping it.
#47: Protect the Castle
Have a group form a large circle, placing objects in the center, along with 5 children to act as protectors.
The rest of the children stand on the outside and throw balls into the middle to try and knock the objects down.
The protectors try and catch the balls being thrown.
Once all the balls are caught, or the objects are knocked down, switch position.
#48: Doubles Tag
A twist on classic tag…
Instead of one child being “it”, two are named “it” and must work as a team to tag their opponents.
Both taggers must successfully tag a person before they are out.
#49: Three-legged Race (pre-school)
Pair up children.
Standing side by side, tie one child’s left foot to his partner’s right.
Then it’s, “ready set go” time!
First team to cross the finish line wins.
#50: Don’t Wake the Dragon
Have a group of children (at least 12 or more works best) pretend they are stuck in a village guarded by a sleeping dragon.
They can only pass through the village if they line up in the correct height order first.
Once they think they’ve got it right, have them shout “boo!” to see if they are correct.
#51: Paintball or Laser Tag (middle school and up)
Think cat and mouse meets hide and seek… with a twist.
The benefits of both include:
- Problem Solving
- Logic Skill Building
- Vital Decision Making Skills
- Effective Communication
- Team Trust
#52: Escape Room (middle school and up)
Growing in popularity... kids are thrown into the first of a series of rooms and must work together to solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, hints, and strategy to complete the objectives at hand.
Players are given a set time limit to unveil the secret plot which is hidden within the rooms.
#53: Minefield (middle school and up)
There are a few variations on this... but the basic idea is to divide kids into two teams, in which they must navigate an obstacle course while blindfolded.
Teamwork is crucial here, as teammates must help guide each other in order to successfully navigate the obstacle course.
If a mine is stepped on, the person must return to the back of the line.
STEM Activities for Kids
Science. Technology. Engineering. Math.
This collective of subjects is referred to as STEM… and is part of a nationwide initiative in the United States to increase awareness and promote jobs in these fields among the country’s youth.
According to the US Department of Education, the United States is considered to be a global leader, in large part, because of the hard work and advances we’ve made in these fields.
Hey, science can be cool. Math can be too.
It’s not just about identifying the different types of rocks or dissecting frogs nowadays.
No matter what age, if your child is curious about the way something works… why something tastes the way it does… looks the way it does…
There is a scientific explanation!
And that is pretty awesome.
Today, science encompases technology and engineering as well… making the field much more vast than most people appreciate.
Designing a computer game.
Building a suspension bridge.
Developing a new brand of gluten free bread.
It is all based in science and math.
There are ways to introduce STEM into your child’s life, without making it feel like homework.
You just need to be a bit creative.
Here are some ideas.
#54: Buy a Science Kit
Science kids come in countless varieties, depending on your child’s interest.
And websites like Geek Wrapped link you to the best science kits... and where you can buy them.
#55: Conduct At-Home Experiments Using Household Items
At home science experiments can be spontaneous, inexpensive and fun!
Mommy Poppins has a great list of 50 easy experiments with kids of all ages.
Fun experiments include:
- Build a soap powered boat
- Make your own volcano
- Make a balloon rocket
- Making rock candy
- Making slime
- Tabletop hovercraft
Science Kids at Home is another fun website to check out.
#56: Sign them up for a Camp or Class
STEM camps and classes are available in most towns.
You just have to research it a bit.
Often, these classes are offered through college campuses… which may be a good place to start.
There are also private tutor centers hopping on the STEM bandwagon, offering after school programs to help kids get ahead.
And in some instances, mobile camps and programs are made available at the elementary and middle school levels, thanks to funding by some major corporations.
#57: Go Online
When looking for STEM websites and activities for your children… look no further than Masters in Data Science.
They’ve put together a list of more than 200 sites offering cool activities, games and info for kids in grades K-12.
#58: Watch TV
True or False?
Not all television is mindless.
True or False?
Parents are “lazy” if they allow their kids to watch tv for a bit while they get some work done.
For as many years as I can recall, there have always been educational shows on television.
And the most successful ones have been those that educate AND entertain.
- Romper Room
- Captain Kangaroo
- Mister Rodgers’ Neighborhood
- Reading Rainbow
They were all great!
But today’s shows are embracing the STEM initiative by introducing characters with special talents and interests in these areas.
Some of the top STEM shows available today include:
- Sid the Science Kid
- Sci Kids
- The Magic School Bus
- Tumble Leaf
- Sesame Street
#59: Try out Mail Order Science
Kids love getting mail.
Heck! I love getting mail… unless it’s a bill.
Now imagine if your child could receive a package every month that contained a fun and educational activity?
Well, they can.
The only question is, “which one?”.
Among the hottest selling mail order kits are:
#60: Arrange to Tour a Lab
You’ll be surprised how many companies are willing to give children guided tours of their facilities.
In addition to the “Bring your Child to Work Day” campaign... many corporations offer class trips and small group tours on a weekly basis.
If your child is interested in something, why not give their headquarters a call and ask what they suggest?
You can also search the web for companies offering tours in your area… especially if you live outside a major city.
Art Activities for Kids
If your kid likes to color, draw, paint, play with clay… you may be looking at a future artist.
Or art teacher.
Regardless if they turn out to be the next Salvador Dali, encouraging them to channel their artistic side can be wonderful for their self esteem and general well-roundedness.
Kids need to be open minded.
Not everything is black and white… and art is a great way to teach them that.
#61: Sign them up an Art Class
Many communities offer classes in a variety of disciplines, typically starting as young as age 4 or 5.
Whether it’s a local artisan guild, or small paint or pottery studio, classes for your budding artists are out there.
#62: Buy them art supplies
Sure, coloring books are great… but supply boxes are better.
Craft stores have kits for all age levels (ie, crayons or washable markers are typically best for toddlers), in all price ranges.
Amazon offers a wide selection as well.
#63: Create an Artist Space in your Home
Designate a spot in your home as a “studio”.
Let your kids know that “anything goes” here… that they can be messy without worrying about ruining anything.
A basement, outdoor space, garage are all perfect examples.
#64: Buy a Blank Canvas and Have them Create Artwork to Hang in your Home
Craft stores sell blank canvases in all sizes.
Couple that with some paint, brushes and sponges… and you’ve got an awesome family craft idea.
Encourage the kids to throw, shake, stroke… use hands… whatever moves them.
Abstract art rules… especially if you create it together.
And proudly displaying it in your home afterwards makes it all the better.
#65: Take Advantage of Drop In Arts & Craft Projects at Your Local Library or Hardware Store
On any given day, a big box hardware store or library will typically feature a kid friendly craft hour.
A quick call or visit to their website should provide a schedule.
#66: Write a Story Together
A bit of imagination goes a long way.
Encourage your child to delve into their imagination and write a story with you.
Decide on the characters, location, basic plot… and go from there.
Music Activities for Kids
Whether or not your kids have shown interest in a particular instrument, singing or dancing… music is something they should be exposed to.
Music is a part of life.
It has a way of touching upon emotions we may not even know were there.
And chances are, at some point, you heard a song that reminded you of something… someone.
Maybe it made you laugh… cry… tap your feet… hum along.
But if affected you.
There are many ways to introduce your kids to the power of music.
#67: Pick and Instrument and Sign them Up for Lessons
Most music teachers recommend waiting until age 4 to start a child on an instrument. And many will attest that the best instrument to start them on is piano when they are that young.
Piano is great for their small little hands to maneuver, while introducing them to reading music.
Some instructors will even start off by assigning numbers to their fingers, rather than notes. Just to get them a feel for the keys.
If your child is older, and has a particular instrument in mind, research teachers in your area that specialize in that and give them a call. The good ones will often offer a trial lesson.
#68: Sign them up for a Dance Class
Dance is a great activity for improving coordination and burning off energy. There are many disciplines to choose from, including but not limited to:
- Hip hop
And while some of the speciality schools can be costly, especially when recitals are involved… there are often classes to be found at local community centers and health clubs.
These classes are typically a fraction of the cost and shorter in duration (6-10 weeks in length), making it the perfect way to give your child an introduction to dance without breaking the bank.
#69: Find a Mommy and Me Class
Many mommy and me classes incorporate a musical element, such as tambourines and shakers.
It grabs the child’s attention and improves their motor skills… all while keeping them entertained in a safe and friendly environment.
#70: Attend a Concert or Musical
Concerts and musicals are a great way to introduce your kids to music.
You can do a search for ones that are an appropriate length for your particular aged child. Also, many communities offer free music concerts featuring local musicians or orchestras.
Check your local newspapers or community calendars for special events.
#71: Stop and Listen to a Street Performer
The next time you’re walking through the city, take a moment to actually stop and listen to the street performer.
Not only are many of them very talented, but they will often have interesting stories to tell.
It can also be a good lesson for kids on following your passion.
#72: Play Different Types of Music at Home Often
Instead of turning on the tv, spend at least 30 minutes a day playing music for your kids.
Radio, streaming music, CD’s, mp3… whatever floats your boat.
Just be sure to give them a variety… classic rock, jazz, classical, country, rap, blues, pop, crooner, etc.
Doing so will foster an appreciation of the arts and, who knows, may even turn your family onto something you never knew you enjoyed.
#73: Show them your Vinyl Collection
No matter how much time goes by, vinyl is still king.
Their is nothing like the sound the comes from a record player… and some of the album cover artwork is frameworthy, making for a cool conversation piece.
Easter Activities for Kids
For Christians, Easter is the most holy time of the year.
For most children, Easter is about chocolate and dying Easter Eggs.
It is what it is.
You can still let them have their fun, while teaching them the true message of the season.
#74: Find an Easter Egg Hunt
Drive around your town looking for flyers or signs… check the recreation department website.
And if you’re feeling really adventurous, take a trip to Washington DC for the White House’s annual easter egg roll.
#75: Visit the Easter Bunny
You don’t typically have to travel much further than your local mall or shopping centers to find an Easter bunny to take your child’s picture with.
#76: Decorate your Eggs
Dying Easter eggs is a long standing tradition synonymous with Easter.
Whether you choose liquid dyes, wraps, stickers or cool whip… coloring eggs is fun for the whole family.
#77: Make a Craft
Easter time means pastel colors and flowers. And warmer weather means you can take the family and head outside to make some fun seasonal crafts.
If you’re looking for inspiration, fear not. The internet has tons of it.
#78: Visit a Flower Garden
Flowers are in full bloom come Easter time… lillies, tulips, roses, begonias, daisies, lilac.
Visit a flower garden and learn all about these beautiful flowers, while feasting your senses on the vibrant colors and fragrant scents.
#79: Visit a Farm to see Bunnies and Chicks
Springtime symbolizes birth.
In fact, some adorable animals born in the spring include: chipmunks, foxes, otters, black bears, white tailed deer and seals.
Taking the family to a farm to see the babies and young animals is a great way to spend an afternoon.
Christmas Activities for Kids
Christmas is a magical time of year… when people’s moods just seem to be better.
There is a sense of kindness and patience in the air.
The music is catchy.
Oh, and there are presents.
Presents are huge for kids.
Kids love getting presents!
Parents love seeing their faces when they open said presents.
There are also really fun activities for kids, typically starting right after Thanksgiving, that are guaranteed to get the whole family into the Christmas spirit!
#80: Cut Down your Own Christmas Tree
Depending on where you live, as early as the last week of November/first week of December, you can find a local Christmas tree farm selling trees.
Cutting your own tree down is a magical experience and something every child should do at least once in their life.
Based on what you are looking for, some farms allow you to select and tag the tree… then return at another time to cut it down.
Some employees cut it for you.
Some allow you to bring your own saw and cut it yourself.
There is often hayrides, hot cocoa… sometimes a visit from Santa.
#81: Go Caroling
Whether you like your voice or not… it’s hard to sound bad singing Christmas carols.
So grab your kids, some neighbors and friends… and get walking!
Lights will come on, people will come outside to listen… and you will feel wonderful inside.
#82: Make Christmas Cookies
Even if you’re not big on sweets, traditional christmas cookies are fun to make!
#83: Visit Santa’s Workshop
A trip to Santa’s Workshop is the closest you’ll likely get to visiting the North Pole at Christmas time.
Many amusement parks, such as Six Flags and Disney World, offer wonderful holiday light displays… parades… and authentic visits with Santa and his elves in his toy shop. You may even get lucky and spot a reindeer or two!
#84: Get Acquainted with the Elf on the Shelf
Most of you, I’m certain, have heard of the Elf on the Shelf.
And if by some chance you haven’t, it’s time you looked it up.
While some of my parent friends find it to be a hassle at times… most of them enjoy being creative and seeing the reactions from their children each morning when the find the family elf’s latest spot.
#85: Go for a Horse-Drawn Sleigh Ride
Nothing says Christmas like a horse-drawn sleigh ride.
Cuddling under blankets to keep warm, the jingle of the bells, the gallup of their stride, hot cocoa.
You can search the web for rides in your area… many of them will often be on Christmas tree farms.
#86: Volunteer at an Assisted Living Facility or Children’s Hospital
For many people, Christmas can actually be a lonely time… a time when they have to be someplace other than with their family.
Many elderly people in assisting living homes have little in the way of visitors, and perk up when new friends come to call. They just want somebody to talk to, share their stories with.
Same goes for children’s hospitals… where families are forced to spend the holiday together there, rather than at home.
It can raise a sick child’s spirits to make some new friends in your children… perhaps even get a surprise visit from Santa, delivering those gently used toys you’ve been wanting to part with.
#87: Adopt a Family in Need
While it’s perfectly normal for kids to get excited over presents, Christmas is the perfect time to teach them about the joys of giving… especially to the less fortunate.
Many churches, local businesses, community centers, municipalities, schools, fire departments, etc… will host a giving tree each year.
The tree features tags with a person’s gender, age and need on it. They may ask for slippers, a coat, tooth paste.
There is usually something within all price ranges, so you can select a tag you’re comfortable with. Grab one, or two, then go shopping.
The wrapped gift then gets returned to the place you took the tag from, and distributed to recipients on Christmas Eve.
#88: Invite Someone with No Place to go for Christmas Dinner
Maybe it’s a neighbor whose family lives in another state.
Or a friend of your daughter’s with a single mom that has to work on Christmas Eve.
But if you look hard enough, you will likely encounter someone with no plans on Christmas.
Inviting them into your home to share a meal is one of the best gifts you can give them… while teaching your children the importance of kindness and gratitude for their blessings.
Activities for Kids Matter, A Final Word
Years from now, when your children are grown… perhaps with children of their own… it is unlikely that they will remember the particular gift they got on their 8th birthday.
Or the sneakers you bought them for school that they just had to have.
They may not remember the tv shows you let them watch.
The prom dress they wore.
What they will remember are the trips you took together.
The time you spent together.
The spontaneous adventures you went on.
Selecting activities for kids is about spending time together as a family and enriching their lives when your aren’t together.
Exposing them to the world and all it offers.
With a little time and research, you will find activities for kids that work best for yours.
And you won’t regret it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Nicole Krause has been writing both personally and professionally for over 20 years. She holds a dual B.A. in English and Film Studies. Her work has appeared in some of the country’s top publications, major news outlets, online publications and blogs. As a happily married (and extremely busy) mother of four… her articles primarily focus on parenting, marriage, family, finance, organization and product reviews.