60 Fun Things To Do With Young Children
Wondering how to keep your little ones entertained during 'corona' lockdown? Well, you’ve got to read this. Here are 60 fun activity ideas to liven your family time!
By Deepthi Balasunder
Age group: 4 to 9
You will never look back on life and think ‘I spent too much time with my kids.’ — Kimberley Milead
Happiness is homemade! So, while you are at home together, indulge in some fun activities as a family. It could be one or a combination of different activities that we have curated for you. Watch time fly by as you create memories of a lifetime!
1. Balloon ping-pong: All you need for this fun family game are some inflated balloons and table tennis rackets (or make your own racket using paper plates and popsicle sticks for handles. Remember the paper ball you used to make when you were a child). Clear some space and off you go!
2. Paper rockets: Make some cool paper rockets from coloured sheets of paper or simply old newspapers. Have a flying contest! Each family member can give his or her best shot to make the rocket fly the farthest. A little prize for the winner?
3. Backward: Remember the famous Hindi phrase ulta pulta. Time to play that game. Do things backwards. Let your child wear his clothes backward, walk backwards and let dinner time be backward – Wondering what that means? Well, start with dessert and end with the main course! Your world will sure turn upside down with a laugh riot that will follow.
4. Imagine this: Ask your child questions which give flight to his imagination – What would you do if you were a squirrel? If you could become invisible? If you had superpowers? If you were a chair? If you had no shoes? Keep the questions rolling and join him in coming up with creative answers!
5. Blow and toss: Blow up some balloons, toss 'em in the air, and don't let them touch the ground. Keep on tapping, tapping, tapping! Find out who can keep it floating in the air the longest! To make it more challenging, juggle more than one balloon, or have everyone tie one hand behind their backs.
6. Makeover: You and your child can try doing a hairdo or applying makeup on each other. Look at yourselves in the mirror for some good dose of laughter! Pose for a selfie together. This is one moment we are allowing you to use your gadget – to build a lifetime of memories. One day, you will look back on these clicks ever-so-fondly!
7. Waddle waddle: Place a fully blown balloon between your knees and waddle across the room without dropping it. Make it more challenging by going around a few obstacles. If you drop the balloon, oh oh! Back to the starting line! Plenty of giggles guaranteed!
8. Family band: Make your own musical instruments using things around the house, or pretend to play one. Then, lead a marching band parade across the living room, and maybe through every room in the house!
9. Move’n groove: A few minutes of dancing is a great way to unwind, de-stress, and get a little exercise together as a family. Plus, it’s just lots of fun to wiggle and giggle! Make it more fun by screaming ‘freeze’ and just look at the way everyone freezes and when you scream ‘melt’, everyone melts back into their moves.
10. Escape: Scatter a couple of rubber mats or sheets of paper on the floor (representing rocks on a river) and jump from one piece of paper to the other. Try not to fall into the ‘water’ and risk being eaten by a hungry crocodile. If you do miss landing on a paper sheet and fall into the ‘water’ – then scream and squeal as if Mr Croc got you!
11. Moon walk: Head out for a walk with the family either before dinner or after. Go on a moonlit walk under a starry night sky and just talk!
12. Shadow play: Turn off the lights, close the curtains and with the help of a torch and create shadows on a wall. Use your imagination and create some animals and interesting characters. Watch out as horses, zebras, giraffes and goats make their grand entry into your household. Name the characters and make a story. Ask your child to continue with the storytelling!
13. Mindfulness: Close your eyes but keep your ears open. Listen keenly to the various sounds around you. When you hear something, say it out. Was that a lorry going by? A frog croaking in the distance? Or grandma reciting prayers in the other room? You will quietly realise your child is as sharp as she can be.
14. Star watch: Go to the terrace or the balcony and spend some time together gazing at the twinkling stars. You could count the number of stars, try to spot and name different constellations or simply go philosophical about the universe!
15. Family circus: Pretend to be a new circus that has come to town. Each family member can perform an ‘original’ act – magic, juggling, or simply clown around!
16. Walk the line: Put on some music, and all of you can take turns to walk one-foot-over-the-other across a straight line of duct tape. Make the game more challenging by trying to walk backwards or trying to balance with one foot on the line!
17. Stack 'em up: Race against time to stack up 10 random household items one on top of the other. The one to make the tallest tower in the shortest possible time wins!
18. Picnic time: How about a samosa party at 5 pm on your terrace? Spread a pretty bedsheet, lay out the cutlery and enjoy a family mealtime. Add some music and liven up the mood. Don’t miss the orange skyline. A treat to watch.
19. Bond over photos: Pull out old family albums or your child’s baby albums and look through the memories together. Recollect stories and fondly narrate them to your child. Some hilarious ones are sure to jump out. Have a hearty laugh together!
20. Playing cards: Remember the card games you used to play as a child, and how much fun they used to be? Why not teach your children how to play the same card games and see if you have a little card shark amongst you!
21. Obstacle course: Use cushions, mats, pillows, stools, boxes, ropes to create an indoor obstacle course. Let your kids go mad climbing, crawling, hopping, jumping and falling as they try to beat each other to the finish line.
22. Reverse role play: How about reversing roles for a change? You be the child, and let your child be the parent. It will be fun to see how it plays out! Get ready for some tough questions.
23. Carrom time: Carrom was a staple game in every household once upon a time. Revive the magic of this game for your child. Both entertaining and challenging, it promises hours of amazing family fun!
24. Dumb charades: A family classic, this game uses simple hand gestures, actions and facial expressions (and no talking) to make the others guess the movie/cartoon/character name he is enacting. It’s a great game for challenging young minds and creating hours of indoor fun!
25. Indoor bowling: Create your very own bowling alley. Line up around six to ten old water bottles in bowling style, and then take turns to tumble it down with a ball. Keep score and make some noise!
26. Tug of war: Have a friendly battle with a good game of tug of war. This is sure to get you in splits. Nothing like laughing and having fun together!
27. Dark room: Turn out all the lights of a room and make it pitch black. Pick someone to be the seeker who counts to 10 outside the room. Once done, step into the room to find everyone’s secret hiding place. Prepare for some very eerie fun!
28. Build it up: You don’t need a fancy building set for this. Popsicle stick cities, card towers, even buildings out of blocks, or indoor forts out of boxes or pillows, will do just fine. Want to make it competitive? The maker of the tallest tower wins.
29. Board games: Challenge one another to some classic board games such as Ludo, Monopoly, Pictionary and Snakes & Ladders. An exciting way to pass time and bond as a family. You can never get bored with these.
30. Dine together: Eat around your dining table together as a family. During dinner time, come up with a random ‘topic of the night’ to talk about. It could be ‘unicorns’ or ‘schools back then’ or ‘yesteryear superheroes’ – anything at all! Just get into your child’s world. You can make this a part of your daily dinner time routine.
31. Sing-song: Just sing your hearts out. For added creativity, encourage kids to make up their own, personalised lyrics to familiar tunes. It can be goofy, sappy or cute! And if someone knows to play a musical instrument, even better! Let’s serenade!
32. Stare and laugh contest: Do nothing but stare at each other and get the other one to laugh out first. Take this moment to also discover who has the loudest laugh!
33. The kind pebble: Paint a pebble and write an uplifting message on it. The next time you go to a park or a beach, leave the painted pebble around for someone to find. A kind act to bring a smile on a stranger’s face!
34. Balloon story: Blow colourful balloons and draw goofy characters on them. Do a play, have a conversation or act out scenes with these bouncy, wobbly folks!
35. Pillow fight: Have a crazy fun-filled night with a pillow fight. Jump around the bed and punch each other out… softly with pillows. Add to this, some roughhousing fun! Laugh and make merry. Be watchful though. These pillow fights can get out of hand, at times.
36. Blind man’s buff: Choose one person to be the seeker and blindfold her. Spin around five times and then set out to catch the others.
37. Jigsaw time: Do a jigsaw puzzle together! And as you do, engage, converse and connect with each other. You could either do the puzzle in one go or little by little every day. Once done, you can frame it and put it up on the wall! A fond memory of a good time that’ll stay with you for a lifetime.
38. Build a fort: Build a cosy little fort with cardboard boxes, blankets, pillows, cushions and bedsheets. Let your child put her favourite soft toys inside the fort. This blanket-based private lair is perfect for playtime and naptime!
39. Reading made fun: Read a book together. But make it more fun and engaging with each family member enacting the different character roles and ‘literally’ bring the story alive!
40. Sock puppets: Gather some old colourful pairs of socks that your child has outgrown. You can use buttons for eyes, pieces of fabric for noses, and things like string, wool, ribbon, or even cotton wool for hair. Your ‘sock puppet’ is ready to use. Now, take turns putting your hands in and lending the characters your voice!
41. School games: How about a nice ol’ game of ‘name place animal thing’, ‘dots’, ‘book cricket’ or ‘hangman’? Revive the magic of games you once played during your childhood days or at school.
42. Art from waste: Hunt through your house, collect any three items you are planning to throw away and make something good out of it. Perhaps, a painted bottle for your coffee table or a bird feeder for your garden! The ideas are plenty out there.
43. Splash of colours: Spread sheets of paper on the floor. You and your kiddo can splash paint on these sheets. Use your hands and spread it if you like, or make some handprints or just turn it into an abstract piece of art.
44. Bedazzled: If you don’t have jewellery craft kits at home, no worries! You and your children can use everyday items, like pasta, noodles, straw bits, beads, paint, string, wool, bottle tops, shells and other things to make some fun jewellery. Consider wearing it for the next party you attend.
45. Bookmark this: Sit together and make your own bookmarks. You can add some colours and glitter, stick some pressed flowers, write a quote on it, draw something cute, add some stickers – use it for your own books or gift it to someone who loves reading!
46. Vegetable art: Children can never get bored of vegetable printing. Let the kids get busy (and a little bit messy) creating a veggie masterpiece. For instance, cut an okra in half, dip the open cut end in non-toxic paint and print with it on paper. Make patterns and designs. Do it together!
47. ‘Dough’ it out: Knead, mould and sculpt something fun with play dough. Create an entire scene based on a jungle or underwater theme. You can roll it flat with a roller and then use cookie cutters to cut shapes out of it. Get creative and just enjoy your time together!
48. Origami fun: Children simply love origami. How about a boat, a cup or a dog? Go on, make some creative paper crafts together and then, simply decorate your child’s room with the new collection. Your child’s going to talk about it for the next week, at least.
49. Cake or pizza: Two-minute microwave mug cakes are a lot of fun to make. Plus, they are quick and absolutely yummy to taste. You could also try mini homemade pizzas or a batch of cookies!
50. Photo collage: Obtain prints of some wonderful family photos and make a collage of it. Involve your child in choosing the photos, or adding some ribbons, glitter or buttons to enhance the collage.
51. Fruit salad: While mommy or daddy does the cutting, the kids can arrange the pieces creatively to make beautiful shapes or interesting cartoon faces.
52. Spooky time: Tell each other ghost stories in the dark with flashlights and eerie voiceovers. Preferably, for older children.
53. Magic show: Abracadabra! Everyone loves magic. You can have each member of the family learn a different trick beforehand, practise and then put up a magic show together!
54. Play Dress Up: Let your children raid your wardrobe and put up a fashion show. Not only does playing dress up make them use their imagination – it is a fun family thing to do as well.
55. Fair and square: Every other house has a tiled floor. And, don’t we love walking in patterns or hopping and skipping on the squares? So, create your own games with your kids and have some fun hopping around.
56. Scream for ice cream: If it’s not too late, take a walk or go for a bike ride, feel the rush of air, and find an ice cream cart on the way. Treat yourselves to some yummy ice cream! And yes, don’t miss the scream – ‘I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream’. What a tongue twister!
57. Tongue twisters and riddles: Talking about tongue twisters, that’s another great way to get your child engaged. Take turns and give each other some tongue twisters to try. These are bound to make all of you laugh. You can also ask each other some witty riddles and see who gets the answers right. A nice, laid back way to have some family fun! For now, try this – She sells seashells on the seashore…
58. Theme night: If the theme is ‘red’, then all family members must dress in red and the dinner cooked will predominantly be ‘red’ food – tomato rice and beetroot side dish for instance. Yes, we know your child may not get too excited about beetroot. But, this is a great way to get her to like it too.
59. Pretend play: What does your child want to be? Zookeeper? Princess? Vampire? Scientist? Chef? Let her be whatever she wants and then indulge in some imaginative play and make her story come to life. Act out scenes together. There are plenty of play sets you can buy – doctor set, vanity set, tool set, cooking set, etc. Or simply use things around the house as props.
60. Scavenger hunt: It’s an easy way to add fun to an ordinary evening and beat the boredom blues. Each family member can make a list of things for the other to find around the house. The winner is the one who finds the most objects in the shortest time. Let’s scavenge!
Yes, it’s as simple as that! Spending quality time to connect with each other can’t be easier. Let’s promise to give up our screen time and gadgets for at least an hour to enjoy and experience the happiness of connecting as a family.
About the author:
Written by Deepthi Balasunder on 30 October 2019, updated on 23 March 2020.
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