There’s nothing like being at home for real comfort, right? Jane Austen was right about this one. At least, that is, until everyone starts complaining they are bored and us mamas want to hide in the corner of the closet. ;) It’s always good to have a few tricks up your sleeve, so you may want to bookmark this page so you can refer to it when you’re in need! These family activities are broken out by age-appropriateness so you can find ideas quickly.
10 Family Activities for Toddlers
The fun thing about toddlers is almost anything can be made into a family activity that’s super fun! I love the imagination this age group has. Here are some fun ideas to try out with your toddler.
1) Grab a cardboard box. Toddlers can turn anything into a game! Help them use their imagination and transform a simple cardboard box into…well, anything! They could make a house, a train, an airplane, a desk, a shopping cart…the list goes on and on. You can even hand them some toddler crayons and let them decorate their new digs.
2) Get dimensional. Practice stacking and creating shapes using soft blocks or even plastic cups. This is a great mental and physical challenge for toddlers!
3) Play with shaving cream. Did you know that shaving cream is a great activity for sensory development? Add some toddler-safe food coloring in and let your little one play! If you are out of shaving cream, you can try hair gel for a similar effect.
4) Have them toe the line. But in a fun way! Grab some painters tape and use it to tape a line on the floor. Have your toddler practice walking straight on it—forwards and backwards! You can up the challenge by taping zigzag patterns instead of straight lines.
5) Make a meal. One of the more practical family activities to try is to let your child help you make a dish together, like a salad where they can rip the lettuce or toss in carrot slices for you.
6) Make toddler-friendly stained glass. This toddler family activity from Mess for Less seems so fun! The basic idea is you add contact paper on your window and let your toddler rip up tissue paper and stick to the sheet, creating a DIY tissue stained glass window.
7) Play with stickers. Grab a set of fun stickers and create some original sticker art with your child. If you want to keep the activity more permanent, you can purchase some canvases and a clear coating spray to keep the stickers on.
8) Play with playdough. You can grab the non-toxic playdough from online or you can try this recipe for a toddler-friendly DIY version.
9) Make DIY stamps. Make DIY stamps with your toddler using plain blocks, pipe cleaners, small sticks, and popsicle sticks dipped into non-toxic paint and stamped onto construction sheets.
10) Play with water beads. Water beads are fun and squishy and a great sensory activity. You can even hide plastic animals in the water beads for your toddler to search for and practice animal names. Just be extra vigilant with this one as some sized beads could be a choking hazard.
8 Family Activities for Elementary Kids
If you have an elementary-aged child who is used to being constantly stimulated in school, the summer breaks can seem extra tough. Implement these family activities and let them learn through play!
1) Make melted bead art. If you are looking for family activities kids of all ages can enjoy, this is a good one! Use an old muffin pan or thrifted baking sheet to make melted bead art. Arrange Perler beads on the pan with your child and bake until the beads are melted and wait until they cool before popping them out.
2) Try a family board game. Some of our favorites include Sorry! and Apples to Apples, and we have a whole post dedicated to family board games HERE.
3) Create a family garden. Another great and practical family activities is to plant a vegetable or herb garden with your child. There are so many opportunities for them to be involved such as sowing seeds, mixing soil, pulling weeds and daily watering.
4) Play with Legos. Everyone in the family will enjoy building with Legos. Dump them all out and get to work creating!
5) Create a puppet show. If your child has a favorite book or story, have him or her act it out for you using hand puppets. You can allow your child to create a set, decor, and lighting too.
6) Try a DIY laser maze. Give the kids a roll of crepe paper and some wall-friendly masking tape and let them build their own maze by taping the “lasers” from wall to wall. When done they will have to try to get back across without touching any of them.
7) Let them open a family “restaurant”. Put your kids to work in the kitchen through play! Give your child an apron, notepad, tray and simple food they can easily carry. Who knew mealtime could be so fun?
8) Play Hide and Go Seek or mix it up by playing Sardines. Sardines is the opposite where one person hides and everyone else seeks. When you find the person who is hiding, you hide with him/her until all the seekers find the hider. The last person to find the hider has to hide on the next round!
6 Family Activities for Tweens and Teens
This age group may seem like they are the ones most disinterested in family activities, but don’t be fooled. Your tween or teen will absolutely love taking part in these activities—plus it will give them a healthy break from their phones!
1) Play alphabet chat. Start by choosing a letter at random. Then, you have to have a conversation for a certain amount of time with each other. The goal is to go without saying words that start with the chosen letter…as you may have guessed, this one is challenging! Have some ready to go questions or topics to spice it up.
2) Have a paper airplane contest. Get everyone to make various types of paper airplanes, then have a contest with them. Aim for longest distance or to land in a basket.
3) Host a family game show. You can try Family Feud, The Price is Right or a Jeopardy!-type game. Buy silly little prizes from the dollar store for winners or gift cards for older kids.
4) Create a fun scavenger hunt. Kids love a challenge, so give them one. Create a fun scavenger hunt for your tween or teen to solve with clues and riddles to solve along the way.
5) Cook together. Another one of my favorite family activities is to make a meal or snack with your child. Find a CopyCat recipe of your teen’s favorite meal or Starbucks drink and attempt to make it at home.
6) Research your family tree. If you have been wanting to find out more about your family’s lineage, get your teen involved! Use a service like ancestry.com to research and learn more.
Thankfully, with these family activities, you may never have to deal with boredom again! Good luck.
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