The Ultimate Stay at Home Activity List
Most of us are stuck at home with the new government restrictions across the Australian states. Some states have it harder than others, like the more intensive lockdowns in NSW with the strong encouragement to "stay at home."
Here's a whole load of activity ideas to do with your kids while in lockdown. It's a varied list of resources that we have categorised into main headings below - peruse and use at your leisure! You'll have to check your specific restrictions based on your state before determining which activities to do with your kids.
Spend time in nature
Spending time in nature, out with the birds and the trees is our favourite way of spending time, even when you have to stay at home. You can play outside in your backyard or find your closest park to spend some time in nature with your kids.
As a child, I always remembered the games we played outside much more than any of the schoolwork I had to do! It was always much more fun and exciting to be outside, hands in the dirt, running around trees and chasing my siblings in a game of tag.
Here's a great list of 101 Nature Study Activities.
Learn maths outside the classroom
This is a great activity list to use when you want to learn a subject while having fun - and it totally counts towards education hours!
Here's a great list of stay at home activities to learn maths. There's even a downloadable pdf of all the 100 ideas, so you can print them off and use them later.
You can check out the full 100 Maths Activity Ideas list here.
Exercise ideas for your kids
Sometimes kids have so much energy they don't want to even sit still! I know one of my daughters would always be running around, doing this here and there, and it would be very hard to get her to sit down and draw.
If you need to help your kids let off some steam, here's a few ideas:
1. Run around the house 5 times
2. Mark off an area with a starting line and a finish point (e.g from the front fence to the back fence). Run from the starting line to the finish point 8 times. Count the numbers aloud as your kid runs them.
3. Do 10 pushups before dinner. They can take all day to do the pushups if they like!
4. Do 15 star jumps in a row.
5. Play a game of tag. This is especially fun with siblings or friends.
6. Ride a bike.
7. Swim in the pool
8. Go for a beach walk
9. Take the dog out for a walk (dog needed).
10. Take a walk in the park.
11. Practice shooting hoops. You'll need a basketball and a ring.
12. Walk to the shops and walk home together.
Here's a few more ideas along those lines: 31 Fitness Activites for Kids.
If you're looking for specific exercises to keep them fit and healthy through lockdown, here's 8 Easy Exercises for Kids. Having enough physical movement and exercises is as important for kids as it is for all of us!
Have to spend time indoors?
Sometimes you've exhausted your outdoors play options are have to spend some time indoors. Or, it could be rainy and cold outside and your kids don't want to play outside anyways! Here's a great list of 40+ indoor activities to do, including a great list of cooking ideas for those who like getting busy in the kitchen with their children.
You can check out the 40+ Fun Indoor Activities for Kids here.
A whole big list of boredom busters
If you have run out of ideas this far, or just want to have a few more things to do on your list, here's a hundred more ideas. Pick and choose your favourite ones and go with that - or better yet, get your kids to choose which ones they would love to do.
These 101 ideas were written by Kelly Sundstrom, an award-winning journalist, author, artist and national special needs spokesperson. There's such a varied list of activities to do here, you certainly won't be scratching your head about what to do.
1. Set up easels and paint pictures outdoors.
2. Visit your local science museum.
3. Learn how to knot friendship bracelets.
4. Go to a coffee shop and write poetry.
5. Put on an impromptu play.
6. Put together a scavenger hunt, suggests Dr. Chinappi.
7. Visit a trampoline park.
8. Bake a loaf of homemade bread.
9. Build and launch a model rocket.
10. Go on a camping trip at a campground.
11. Wash the family car together.
12. Go apple picking.
13. Go on a family bike ride.
14. Sprout beans in a jar that you can plant in the garden.
15. Weave on a loom.
16. Learn how to play musical instruments together.
17. Look at slides through a microscope.
18. Create a nature journal.
19. Embroider cloth handkerchiefs to give as gifts.
20. Dye cotton cloth using berries and tea.
21. Go roller-skating.
22. Make homemade candles out of beeswax.
23. Visit a living history museum.
24. Toast s'mores over the fireplace, which you can eat while sharing stories, as Dr. Fishel recommends.
25. Have a water balloon fight in the backyard.
26. Look at the moon with a telescope or binoculars.
27. Play 20 Questions, encourages Dr. Fishel.
28. Teach them a card trick to amaze their friends.
29. Draw a map of your neighborhood using graph paper.
30. Put together a homemade kite from newspaper and balsa wood.
31. Knit scarves.
32. Learn Double Dutch jump rope.
33. Visit a corn maze and get lost.
34. Make homemade popcorn.
35. Build unusual snowmen and take pictures.
36. Go bowling.
37. Carve a pumpkin.
38. Give each other facials.
39. Put together a time capsule and bury it in the backyard.
40. Rake leaves into a pile and jump in, Dr. Chinappi suggests.
41. Create a homemade papier-mâché globe with a balloon.
42. Build an igloo out of snow.
43. Turn a shoe box into a diorama.
44. Visit a nursing home.
45. Make a birdhouse out of wood.
46. Teach your child how to make dinner from a recipe, suggests Dr. Fishel.
47. Make beads out of clay and string them into jewelry.
48. Learn to surf.
49. Make homemade candy together.
50. Tie dye T-shirts.
51. Skip stones at a local pond or lake.
52. Paint each other's portraits.
53. Set up an outdoor obstacle course.
54. Learn how to fold different types of paper airplanes, says Dr. Chinappi.
55. Have a room-cleaning competition!
56. Put on a family talent show.
57. Go jogging together and try some squats and lunges in a park.
58. Teach them to play chess (or learn with them).
59. Use a video camera to create stop-frame animations.
60. Learn to fold origami.
61. Play Hangman.
62. Learn to juggle together.
63. Try to memorize favorite poems or verses.
64. Make a salt dough volcano.
65. Learn a few yoga moves.
66. Fill a balloon with baby powder to create a homemade stress ball.
67. Have a bake sale to raise money for charity.
68. Learn how to quilt together.
69. Make sculptures out of soap.
70. Each-tay em-thay Ig-pay Atin-lay.
71. Take a train somewhere.
72. Learn to play tennis.
73. Make your own bows and arrows, and practice archery in your backyard.
74. Host a dance-off in your living room.
75. Make something out of recycled materials.
76. Make homemade bath fizzies.
77. Take old appliances apart to see how they work.
78. Work on a puzzle together.
79. Learn to speak another (real) language.
80. Go geocaching together.
81. Set up a domino track on a large table.
82. Teach them how to do laundry.
83. Collect clothes and toys for charity.
84. Make a duct tape wallet or purse.
85. Take a trip to an amusement park.
86. Go get ice cream cones.
87. Play ping pong.
88. Play flashlight tag.
89. Go on a hike at a national park.
90. Learn Morse Code together.
91. Find a walking stick and paint it.
92. Play charades.
93. Go to the zoo.
94. Learn cup stacking.
95. Make marionette puppets and put on a puppet show, Dr. Fishel suggests.
96. Roll a pine cone in peanut butter and bird seed to create a bird feeder.
97. Set up a lemonade stand.
98. Shoot baskets at a gymnasium.
99. Decorate hats and shoes with paint pens.
100. Put on a magic show for friends and family.
101. Turn a lemon into a battery.
Are your kids ready to start gameschooling?
There's many kids out there that like gaming, whether it be using a screen (tablet, iPad or iPhone) or just getting game boards out and playing good old-fashioned Monopoly. My kids loved our board games! We had a whole cupboard full of board games and they would take turns during the week to pick their favourite one.
Many parents use gaming or "gameschooling" to teach their kids. It's still part of their learning time and can be much more engaging for some kids than using other methods.
If you want an endless list of gamschooling ideas, check out The Ultimate Guide to Gameschooling here.
When you've got bored kids
What can you do when you've got kids that are still bored, even though you've thought of a thousand things for them to do? Or what if you're busy working from home and don't have any time to find things to keep them occupied?
Here's 100+ ideas to do with your kids when they are bored. These stay at home activities are also age-range categorised, making it easy for you to come up with specific activities that will suit ALL your kids. The last suggestion on the list is our favourite:
101. Let them be bored! (As long as you can bear the complaints!) – Being bored is a natural part of life as a kid. Indeed, it’s often in times of boredom that children show their greatest creativity! So, let them be bored for a while. Try not to offer an immediate solution to their boredom and see what they come up with!
I know for our 5 kids, we always made sure there were plenty of activities for them to engage in, especially growing up on a farm and there were horses to ride, jobs to do, houses to build, but we also didn't jam-pack their days. We allowed time and space for hanging out together, in front of the fire, just simply chatting. It was good to have some rest time amongst everything else we had to do. If one of the kids were bored, they would go off and find something to bring back to the group, and we would all get involved. Those were the best games too! The spontaneity and encouragement of creative ideas is definitely something that should not be avoided, but rather encouraged.
Try it sometime, see what works with your kids when they've completed everything they "have to do" and all the other extra-curricular activities. See what happens when they sit there with nothing to do (with a screen, tablet, or iPhone) and what ideas come up out of nothing.
If you have any more activity ideas that your kids have enjoyed, let us know in the comments below and we'll add them to the list.
Hope all these activities keep your kids busy!
The Team at Maths Australia