Family Activity Ideas

With the closure of schools and daycare facilities during the COVID-19 outbreak, families are doing their part to stop the spread of COVID-19 by isolating at home. This new change has families balancing a schedule of work, childcare, distance learning and play.  

Here are some tips, resources and activities to help you and your kids navigate this new and uncertain time:

1. Create a daily plan. Creating a daily routine with your kids to outline a schedule of activities for each day can help add structure to your day. Don't forget to take breaks from schoolwork and tele-work for "fun time."

2. Stay connected. Use social media and video chat platforms for positive social interaction with family and friends during this time of social distancing. 

3. Be selective about what your children watch. Use trusted sources to find positive content, such as Common Sense Media, which has been compiling age appropriate content for families. Read their blog post about finding positive sources of media here.

4. Stay active. It's important to remember to balance screen time with physical activity. This will also help children burn energy! GoNoodle provides movement and mindfulness videos created by child development experts. 

5. Be mindful of mental health. Create space for children to talk about their emotions as they cope with stress and change in their daily routine. 

6. Stay engaged. Get creative with activities for kids of all ages! For preschoolers, good options include PBS Kids, which is sending out a daily newsletter with show and activity ideas. Below are some additional ideas to try with your family.

50 Family Activity Ideas

  1. Color! Download and print these free George the Giraffe coloring book pages. Or, learn how to draw George the Giraffe with this step-by-step video on Valley Children's YouTube channel!
  2. Challenge your kids to write a short play in 15-30 minutes, then act it out with them!
  3. Create an indoor or backyard scavenger hunt.
  4. Read your favorite books together.
  5. Make a meal inspired by your favorite children’s book (for example, cook up some green eggs and ham for Dr. Seuss or make chocolate chip cookies while you read “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”)
  6. Dance party! Challenge each family member to come up with their own “signature move.”
  7. Play your favorite board game
  8. Create your very own “Top Chef” competition in your kitchen
  9. Call friends and family on video chat
  10. Play tag in the backyard
  11. Use chalk to write positive messages on the driveway and sidewalk
  12. Paint pictures and hang them in your front windows to share with people walking by
  13. Challenge your kids to write a poem based on a theme of your choosing. Then have them perform their poems in your own “poetry café” in the living room!
  14. Challenge your kids to write a short story based on a theme of your choosing. Then have them create the cover art for their story.
  15. Backyard Olympics! Look on Pinterest for ideas on creative “Olympic sport” activities you can do right in your backyard. 
  16. Look through old photo albums together
  17. Cook your child’s favorite dish together
  18. Learn a magic trick together
  19. Karaoke night! Belt out your favorite tunes together.
  20. Watch a favorite family movie together. Make some homemade snacks to enjoy during the movie.
  21. Feeling spooky? Grab a flashlight, turn off the lights, gather ‘round and tell your spookiest stories.
  22. Take a walk around the neighborhood
  23. Create a pillow fort in the living room
  24. Debate time! Write down silly questions and throw them in a hat. Split your group into two teams and choose a judge. Then draw a topic out of the hat and debate away! After five minutes, the judge gets to determine who had the better debate. A few ideas:
    1. Which Disney princess is the best?
    2. Which is better: cookies or cake?
    3. Beach vacation or mountain vacation?
  25. Come up with new silly products and challenge your kids to “pitch” the products to you as their very own version of “Shark Tank.”
  26. Who am I? Have each player write down a person’s name on a card. Then throw them into a hat and have each player draw a card, but don’t look at it! Secure the card to your forehead, so that the writing on the card is facing out, with a headband or visor. Then ask questions of the other players to try to guess what’s written on your card!
  27. Play hide and seek
  28. Choose (or have your child choose) a period of time in history. Then research together what life would have been like for someone their age in that time period. BONUS: Make a popular dish or listen to a popular song from the era.
  29. Choose (or have your child choose) someone from history. Together, learn about them and talk about why their story is important for people today.
  30. Create a cheer, then record it and post it on social media, tagging local healthcare organizations and first responders to encourage and thank them for all they’re doing to protect our communities.
  31. Bake cookies!
  32. Send someone a smile: Write letters to friends and family, then decorate and mail them.
  33. Challenge your kids to write a letter to their future self. What would they ask them? What advice would they give them?
  34. Plant a garden!
  35. Line-by-line story time: Tell a story together, each person adding one sentence. Start the story however you like, then have each family member add a sentence to the story until you reach the end. Here are some ideas to get you started:
    1. “It was a dark and stormy night…”
    2. “Once upon a time, there was a…”
    3. “A long time ago, in a faraway land, there lived…”
  36. Create a time capsule with items from today and bury it in the backyard or hide it in a back closet to open in a year.
  37. Access your local library online and check out some fun books to read together. BONUS: After finishing a book, challenge your child to tell you what they thought of the book and if they would recommend it to other kids.
  38. Learn a new word in another language, and challenge your family to replace the word in English with the new word. For example, challenge your family to say “s’il vous plait” instead of “please” for one day.
  39. Travel the world from your kitchen! Get inspired by global flavors and cook a meal together inspired by somewhere you’ve always wanted to travel.
  40. Make a list of 10 things you're grateful for
  41. Sleep in!
  42. Educational apps are currently providing free trials -- try one out!
  43. Now is a great time to organize and clean rooms!
  44. Encourage your children to start a journal to document this unprecedented time
  45. Try YouTube exercise videos and incorporate your kids’ interests (e.g., ballet)
  46. Create a pet spa to include your four-legged loved ones
  47. Invent new and silly ways of walking and challenge your family to use them while taking a walk together
  48. Create yard signs with inspirational messages to spread positivity and kindness
  49. Are your kids crafty? Teach them how to make fabric masks and sew some together to donate
  50. Write thank you notes to local healthcare providers, first responders, mail carriers, grocery store clerks and other essential workers