Some days, we might have the energy for homemade play-doh and watercolor painting. No doubt, some days are perfect for cookie baking, tickle fights, and fort building.
But other days? Other days, you can barely hold your eyes open long enough to finish a cup of coffee. Other days, your kids have plowed through your 25 well-planned activities before lunch.
This is a list for those days–the end of your rope, end of your energy, is-it-bedtime-yet days. Or, God forbid, the “I tested positive for COVID- 19” days.
Here are 10+ easy activities to entertain your kids while you more-or-less lie on the couch:
- Find the Magic Piece: When your floor is covered with toys, tell the kids you’ve identified a magic piece. You will watch them clean up, and whoever cleans up the “magic piece” is the winner. (I usually give my kids a quarter or some M&Ms.) The great thing is that only you know what the magic piece is, so feel free to choose something that your hardest-working kiddo picked up. 😉
- Play hair salon. Find a comfy seat. Give your kids some brushes, a spray bottle, and some clips and bows. Wrap a warm towel around your neck, and relax! Maybe flip through a magazine while you’re at it.
- Hide and Seek with a twist: Choose a toy and hide it somewhere in your house. (You could even hide one toy for your littles and another smaller item hidden extra well for the big kids.) Send them off to “seek” out their missing items while you catch up on email.
- Picture book scavenger hunts: Set out a small pile of picture books. (Maybe some they haven’t read in a while!) Give them something to hunt for: a color, a bad guy, an animal, a particular letter, etc. (The possibilities are endless.) First kid to find that item in their book wins. Swap books and play again.
- An oldie but a goodie: Play doctor! Mom, of course, is the very sick patient. (Another option: play family, and mom is a very sleepy baby.)
- Post-It Tag: You’ll arrange some post-it notes on a wall with something like letters of the alphabet written on them. Kids will line up on the other side of the room. Call out something on one of the post-its, and they will try to be the first to run and tag the correct square. (You can adapt this to almost any age: shapes and colors, letters and numbers, sight words, math facts, state capitals, or periodic table symbols!)
- Family art time: Spread out crayons and coloring books. Mom gets her own adult coloring book and whatever markers or colored pencils she’d like. Put on some music, spread out some pillows and blankets, and go to town.
- Dance Contest: Put on some good dancing music, and let the kids go to town. You are the judge! Applaud the kid with the silliest move, the highest jump, the pointiest toes, the fastest spins, etc.
- Put ‘em to work: Let them match socks, fold towels, wipe down baseboards (baby wipes to the rescue), organize the bookshelf by color, sort all the coins in the change jar, test all the pens in the junk drawer, check under every piece of furniture for lost toys.
- Classic games that allow you to sit down: Simon Says (you’re Simon), Heads Up 7 Up, Twister (you do the spinning), Red Light Green Light.
Mamas, remember: You don’t have to fill every second of every day with productivity. If your kids are watching a movie, you have every right to sit down and watch the movie, too. But if you’ve hit your screen time limits and those kiddos have more wiggles to get out, hopefully, this list of super-easy activities will help!