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Boredom Busters: 100+ Fun Things to Do with Kids at Home

Boredom Busters: 100+ Fun Things to Do with Kids at Home

Between summer camp sessions and afternoons at a water park, there will be days when you wake up and wonder what the heck to do. Here's a list of our favorite fun activities to keep your kids entertained while stuck at home.

Find more than 100 easy, fun things to do with kids at home, including arts and crafts for kids, indoor activities for kids, kid-friendly recipes, and more!

Between summer camp sessions, vacations, and afternoons at a museum or water park, there will be days when you wake up and wonder what the heck to do. We’ve got you covered, Mom and Dad! While boredom is good for kids (it allows our always-connected children to dust off and stretch those imagination skills!), you’ll want to have some boredom busters for kids on hand to add a little variety to their days.

Below you'll find dozens of fun activities for kids, arts and crafts for kids—many of which use supplies you have at home, kid-friendly recipes, and easy and fun things to do withe kids at home for low or no cost!

RELATED: Find Ideas for Summer Day Trips and Outings in the Family Fun Guide!

Thankfully, you don’t have to spend a lot of money or have a fully stocked craft area to maximize the fun—nor do you have to be a creative expert to keep the kiddos entertained at home with indoor activities for kids. If you play your cards right, you might even be able to sneak in some extra learning and family bonding time!

Click on a category below to jump to that section of ideas:

108 Boredom Busters for Kids

30 Things to Do Outside with Kids at Home

Get outside for some fresh air and much-needed vitamin D with these simple outdoor boredom busters. Whether you hit the beach for an afternoon, send the kids out at dusk with flashlights, or set them up for an afternoon of fun in the backyard, your kids will have hours of fun outside.

1. Have a sandcastle building competition. 

Points for size, creativity, and using natural items found on the beach.

2. Organize a neighborhood bike parade.

3. Play flashlight tag.

4. Organize a neighborhood scavenger hunt. 

Participating neighbors hide predetermined little treasures around their property, then open up their yards to the excitement.

5. Run through the sprinkler.

6. Relax on the beach while your kids build sandcastles. 

Make sure to slather on the sunscreen!

7. Play hopscotch. 

It’s even more fun than you remember. Draw pictures on the sidewalk with the leftover chalk.

8. Find a hidden treasure. 

Geocaching is a modern-day, real-world scavenger hunt that combines modern orienteering and the great outdoors. Learn the rules of geocaching and find a treasure hunt in your area.

9. Take your dinner outside to dine al fresco.

10. Excavate in ice! 

Running out of ideas on how to keep your wee ones busy on a sweltering day? Freeze a few small, inexpensive toys in a bucket of water, take it outside, and see who can dig one out first.

11. Have a water balloon fight. 

Don’t forget to pick up all the balloon pieces when you’re done!

12. Lay back in the grass and see what shapes you can find in the clouds.

13. Score a hole in one! 

There’s something for everyone, including indoor and outdoor facilities, fun obstacles, and courses for every skill and age level at these mini golf courses in the NY area. Up the competition and play not just for bragging rights, but for a free pass from chore duty. 

14. Mark your calendar to gaze at the stars during the Perseids meteor shower

It’ll be active July 17-Aug. 26, but peak viewing will be Aug. 11-12.

15. Catch fireflies in a jar.

16. Go camping

Pitching a tent in your backyard counts!

17. Fly a kite.

18. Go fishing.

19. Have a water pistol battle.

20. Squeeze play.

Give each of your kids two buckets—one filled with water and one empty—and a sponge. Instruct them to transfer the water from one bucket to the other using only the sponge. Race to see who does it quicker. Solo kids can also play by racing against the clock. (It’s like “52-pick-up” without cards!)

21. Wash the dog outside.

22. Set up a lemonade stand.

If you want to get all 21st-century about it, post notices on social media, not in the local laundromat.

23. Play bocce.

24. Set up a bike wash or neighborhood car wash to raise money for a local charity.

25. Have a watermelon seed spitting competition.

26. Visit a town you’ve never been to before and check out the sites.

27. Go for a boat ride!

28. Go stargazing.

And if it’s raining or cloudy—read: no visible stars—check out these equally engaging local planetariums!

29. Have an outdoor tea party.

Whether the tea is real or imaginary is up to you.

30. Plan a picnic in the park.

Skip the picnic basket and fancy napkins. Rather, keep the focus on together time by opting for a big, comfy blanket and shareable snacks such as chopped fruit and cheese and crackers. 

20 Fun Crafts for Kids to Do at Home

Not only are at-home arts and crafts fun, they are great for developing fine motor skills, sparking creativity, and bolstering self-confidence. What better reasons to make some art to brighten the day? So gather your supplies, sit with your kids, and craft together!

1. Make a family time capsule and bury it. 

Leave yourself a clue (somewhere you frequently look) with a reminder of when you hope to dig it up and where it was buried.

2. Come up with a secret handshake or a funny word that only members of your immediate family are in on.

3. Make your own hard-to-pop bubbles. 

Mix 1 cup of distilled water, 2 tablespoons of Dawn dish soap, and 1 tablespoon of glycerin. Don’t forget to make a giant bubble wand!

4. Paint with ice. 

Fill ice cube trays with washable tempera paint, freeze, and head outside with paper (or another fun painting surface—shells, tree bark, fabric) to get messy.

5. Tie-dye your T-shirts

Or perhaps just a T-shirt or beach towel—though usually, once we get started, we don’t want to stop! Tie-dye is the process of twisting, knotting, and crumpling fabric, binding it with string or elastics, and applying dye..

6. Grow a green thumb.

7. Make a home movie, costumes and all!

8. If it rains, let the raindrops help your kids create beautiful watercolor paintings

9. Build a home fit for a (fairy) queen. 

Gather twigs, leaves, shells, flowers, moss, and any other found natural item, then scope out the perfect place for a fairy house (on a tree branch, in an old stump, under the shade of a large rock or boulder) and build!

10. Craft a shell necklace.

You’ll need smallish shells and colorful dental floss. Look for shells that have a tiny hole at one end so that you won’t have to drill holes in them. Let kids string the shells onto a length of floss, tying a knot through the hole on each one to secure it in place. Tie the ends together.

11. Grow your food scraps.

Do you have an onion that has started to sprout a small green shoot and is no longer suitable for cooking? Plant it in soil; tend to it with water, sunshine, and care; and then watch the onion continue to grow! Sprouting a seed, such as the pit of an avocado, and watching it grow into an avocado tree is another great way to both reduce food waste and encourage your children to grow various skills in patience. Low-maintenance and quick growing seeds are alfalfa, sunflower seeds, mung beans, and lentils. 

12. Make macaroni necklaces and wear them proudly!

13. Become a guerrilla gardener and make seed grenades.

In the 1970s, determined to make inhospitable soil bloom, “guerrilla gardening” pioneer Liz Christy began throwing wildflower seed grenades into fenced-off vacant lots around her New York neighborhood. If you’re too impatient to tend a garden, or you don’t have a patch of dirt to call your own, this springtime experiment provides a perfect excuse to get in on the greening act.

14. Make a cardboard box oven.

Yes, you read that right—with a little tin foil and tape, you can transform a cardboard box into a working oven. Some versions call for charcoal while others depend on solar power, but whichever you choose, you should be able to bake just about anything you normally would in your kitchen at home. It’s a nifty afternoon project that could come in handy on a camping trip or on those hot summer days when you don’t want to bake indoors. 

15. Grow a grassy garden gnome.

16. Build a fort!

Forget a treehouse (that becomes a job for Dad and Mom). Challenge the children to construct a castle out of boxes from the recycling pile and found objects. Rainy day? Gather all the blankets and pillows you can find, and turn your brood loose on building their fort inside. Putting a cushion castle together will eat up a good chunk of time, and leave them just worn out enough to retreat to their masterpiece hideaway for a while.

17. Conduct a goofy family photo shoot.

Designate the day photo-worthy no matter what you do, and set up your own family photo session. Gathering and making props is half the fun—think cut-out mustaches, hats and sunglasses culled from every closet, Dad’s neckties for Mom, Mom’s handbags for baby, big sis’s hair bows for Fido…you get the idea. Taking pictures outdoors in natural light is most flattering, so you’ve got one more reason to hang out in the sun.

18. Make some mess-free moon sand!

If you can’t get to the beach to play with sand, this moon sand will bring the sand play to you! All you need is baking soda, baking powder, and dish soap! 

19. Personalize your own mugs!

Pick up some permanent markers and white mugs at the dollar store and have your kids personalize their cups for a hot cocoa treat. Bonus: These will make great presents for aunts, uncles, and grandparents, so get a headstart on holiday or birthday gifts.

20. Go low-mess by making pom-pom hand puppets.

Then have your kids flex their imaginations by creating a story to perform with the puppets.

20 Fun Indoor Activities for Kids at Home

If you don’t have a craft closet with all the necessary supplies (we’re jealous if you do!), there are plenty of fun things your kids can do for fun around the house. 

1. Play Would You Rather...? 

Kids love to choose between two bizarre options—and you’ll get addicted to this game too. Would you rather investigate scary noises in the attic by yourself or sleep outside in a sleeping bag alone? (The best thing about this game: No props required.) Need some inspo? Check out our favorite Would You Rather questions for kids.

2. Set up a “Mission Impossible” challenge. 

Thread yarn in between and around furniture, lamps, railings (anything sturdy and safe in the same room). Challenge bored kids to move from one end of the room to the other without getting “zapped” by the “laser beams.”

3. Have a family movie night. 

And don’t forget your family’s favorite movie theater treats!

4. Volunteer with your kids

Whether it’s picking up trash in the neighborhood park, making cookies for the local firehouse, or organizing a fundraiser for a charity, doing good will make your whole family feel good.

5. Go screen-free for a week. 

This is an experiment worth trying, even though it may be challenging!

6. Clean out your closets and have a rummage sale. 

Boost your kid’s math and money smarts by having him set prices, calculate a 20-percent discount on everything after 3pm, and give change. Then use the money for a family treat—or donate it to a charity the whole family agrees on.

7. Sign up for your library’s summer reading program.

8. Designate a family reading day. 

Whether you’ve all gotten too much sun at the beach or a rainy day comes along, curl up on the porch, near a fan, or around the living room with a good book each. There’s something to be said for being lost in your own story while those you love are lost right next to you.

9. Have a family slumber party in the living room.

10. Make a playlist. 

Ask your child to make one for you, and you make one for her, then dance or chill and share the stories behind your song picks.

11. Go vroom in your living room.

Put colored tape on your carpet to mimic roads for your kids’ car.

12. Learn some magic tricks, then perform them for friends and family.

13. Let them be bored.

Boredom breeds creativity (after a little restlessness!)—so sit back and watch what they come up with. Keep your ideas to yourselves, Mom and Dad.

14. Check out our online calendar, where you’ll find family activities for every day of the week.

15. Have a puzzle race.

If your kids think puzzles are a bit tame (or they’ve done the same puzzle 20 times already), try this jigsaw twist. Each member of the family chooses a puzzle (but maybe keep it to the kids’ puzzles that are less than 100 pieces). Dump all of the puzzle pieces into a pile, mix them up, then... begin! See who can find all the right pieces and finish their puzzle first!

16. Plan an egg hunt.

Your family probably has plastic Easter eggs tucked in storage, just waiting for spring. Why not break them out now? Fill the eggs with treats you’ll find on your kitchen shelves (goldfish crackers, raisins, M&Ms, coins, etc.). Take turns hiding some of the eggs around the house, and then let everyone else go on the hunt. When all the eggs have been hidden and found, it’s time to dig into the treats inside!

17. Indulge in a long bath.

If your kids love playing in the tub but never get enough time for it before bed, here’s their chance to dawdle. Try out a daytime bubble bath that can last well beyond the pruney-finger stage (if you think it’s too hot out for a warm bath, try using lukewarm or cooler water to cool the kids off). If you’re feeling creative, try combining clear dish soap with a bit of washable paint. They’ll be able to finger-paint in the tub!

18. Break out the board games!

Whether your family loves to play Monopoly, Scrabble, Jenga, Apples to Apples, or Exploding Kittens, having a midday family game session will keep the kids (and you!) entertained! 

19. Legos. Need we say more?

20. Do some chores.

Hear us out: They’re a necessary evil, but there are ways you can make chores fun for kids!

10 Cooking Activities for Kids

Learning to cook teaches kids valuable life skills while also providing math, reading, science, and health lessons—i.e. a great way to prevent summer learning loss! Have your children help read the recipes. Teach them how to read measurements and carefully follow the recipe. Discuss the nutritional benefits that different ingredients provide and what constitutes a healthy meal. But, don’t forget to make it fun for them! Once you have them hooked in the kitchen, they’ll want to come back for more cooking fun. 

1. Bake your favorite cookie recipe to make homemade ice cream sandwiches. 

Bonus points if you make your own ice cream, too!

2. Shop local at a farmers’ market

Bring your kids to help choose fresh produce, then have them help make dinner.

3. Brew a batch of sun tea. 

Everyone has a favorite recipe, but the basic one is 5 tea bags of any type + 4 cups of distilled water in a glass container, covered, for 2-4 hours in direct sunlight. Let the kids drizzle some honey in theirs.

4. Pizza party! Need we say more? 

Take it a step further and designate one day as Pizza Day and eat pizza for every meal.

5. Roast some marshmallows over the campfire for the quintessential summer treat: s’mores!

6. Pick your own berries. 

Just make sure your kids put more in the container than their mouths! Check out our roundup of the top places to go berry picking with kids.

7. Make jam with your summer berry bounty.

Crush 2 pounds of berries in batches until you have 4 cups of mashed berry. In a heavy saucepan, mix together the berries, 4 cups of sugar, and ¼ cup of lemon juice. Stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to high, and bring the mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil, stirring often, until the mixture reaches 220 degrees F. Transfer to jars.

8. Cook dinner together.

This can be a lot more fun than you might think. If your kids like to help out in the kitchen, break out the crockpot and a favorite recipe and get to work. You’ll find many simple dishes that can be completed almost entirely by kids (with adult supervision). They’ll get to measure, mix, and even spice up the feast just the way they like it.

9. Let the kids help you plan meals for the week.

Bonus: If your kids help pick and make the recipes, they’ll be more likely to try new things.

10. Teach your kids how to mix up a batch of your family’s favorite pancake recipe. 

If they’re old enough, teach them how to flip pancakes on the griddle, too.

20 Easy Ways to Get Kids Moving 

It’s important for everyone in the family to be active every day, and it’s even better when you’re having fun! Plus, if we want our kids to do as we say, we need to model these behaviors, too. So turn off the TV, put down your smartphones, and get moving as a family!

1. Learn how to Hula-Hoop.

2. Have a limbo contest

Crank up the tunes, grab a long stick, and find out how low the kids can go!

3. Go for a family bike ride. 

Looking for ideas of where to ride? Check out our favorite family-friendly bike trails in the area

4. Splash in some puddles. 

Or run around sans umbrella during a warm summer rain.

5. Go for a post-dinner walk—the whole crew!

6. Go swimming!

Whether it’s in your neighborhood’s public pool, backyard pool, or a kiddie pool, splashing in the water will get the kids moving and cool them off on a hot summer day.

7. Go for a hike

8. Go bowling.

9. Stomp on bubble wrap!

10. Climb a tree.

11. Orchestrate color wars.

Have the kids share their camp experiences with you, and together recreate a similar Olympics-like competition with neighborhood friends.

12. Get your double Dutch on.

Grab two jump ropes and show your kids that the simplest toys are still the best.

13. Practice cartwheels and somersaults on the lawn.

14. Have a dance party.

Put on your favorite Spotify playlist and groove to the music!

15. Spend an afternoon at your favorite playground. 

Or explore a little and find a playground your kids have never been to before.

16. Cool off at your local kids’ splash pad.

Pack your towels, sunscreen, bathing suits, and water shoes and head to one of our favorite water playgrounds.

17. Learn how to juggle.

18. Break out the Twister mat and watch everyone get the giggles!

19. Go rollerblading.

Inline skating, so popular when we were young(er), is still a great source of physical activity. Besides donning a helmet and proper pads, first-time skaters must be patient while learning the basics, start with a smooth surface, and understand that it’s okay to fall (they will!). Check out these expert tips on teaching the youngest skaters to stay upright and a video demonstrating the “heel stop” braking method.

20. Check out an online exercise video for kids.

8 Outdoor Activities You Can Do Indoors

I’ll never forget coming home from work one February afternoon to discover that my husband and son had set up our tent in the living room. It stretched from the couch to the opposite wall, which, given our tiny Manhattan digs, meant that we had to do a parkour routine to get into the kitchen. My kid loved it, and asked to try out the tent in the wild as soon as we could. However, you don’t have to block room access in order to have some outside fun when you can’t actually get outside. Here are eight other ways of bringing the outdoors indoors.  —Jessica Allen  

1. Use balloons for balls.

Any game that requires a ball can be modified for indoor fun using balloons. Flip over some chairs to make goals and—voilà—soccer. Tie a string across the center of the room and you have volleyball. Grab racquets, and you have tennis; whiffle ball bats, and you have baseball or, if you swing low, golf. You’ll want to establish some ground rules, hide the heirlooms, and make sure rugs are rolled up to prevent falls. After that, may the best team win!

2. Play outdoorsy board games.

Everybody knows about the board game boom. While board games might seem like the ultimate indoor activity, there are a slew of games that let you "explore" the natural world. Wingspan (10 and older) fosters an appreciation of animals as players try to create and attract birds to habitats. Younger kids will enjoy Wildcraft! (ages 4 and older), a cooperative game that requires players to collect ingredients for a huckleberry pie, learning about more than 25 different edible plants and herbs they go.

3. Make your own snow.

Dump a two-pound box of baking soda into a plastic tub or large bowl, squirt in an entire can of shaving cream, and then mix and mix and mix. According to the lifestyle blog Make Life Lovely, the result is “light and powdery.” Like regular snow, it can be molded and manipulated. Unlike the real stuff, it won’t melt all over your floor.

4. Make your own sand.

For something a little less arctic and a little more tropical, consider making your own sand. The basic recipe blends 1 cup of oil (vegetable or baby) with 8 cups of flour, yielding a crumbly, squeezable substance that mimics moist sand. Jazz things up by adding glitter, food coloring, or scents. As with the fake snow, do the mixing inside a plastic tub or large bowl. In other words, expect a bit of a mess.'

5. Make indoor s'mores.

The principle of indoor s’mores is the same as the campfire version—chocolate and marshmallow sandwiched between graham crackers, and heated. For the indoor version, you’ll want to use the broiler for a minute or two to achieve the ideal level of gooey goodness. Feel free to give my adaptation a try—subbing a peanut butter cup for a square of plain old chocolate in your s'mores. Bonus! Turning your oven on high will help heat the kitchen.

6. Have a floor picnic.

This one’s so easy, it kind of feels like cheating. Spread a blanket on the floor, cue up some crickets or summery songs on Spotify, and hand around finger foods like grapes or sandwiches. Up to you whether to don shorts and tank-tops as well. Your kids will love the novelty—and since you can toss the blanket in the wash, you’ll love not having to sweep or vacuum.

7. Compost.

By now you probably know the benefits of compositing, including reducing the release of methane by keeping organic waste out of landfills and decreasing our reliance on chemical fertilizers. You can schlep your egg shells, coffee filters, etc. to a collection site, or you can try a worm-full composting bin. The bin requires a little attention to prevent smells and discourage critters, but frankly so do kids. As the worms turn, tunnel, and twirl through the composting bin, you and your little ones just might find yourselves marveling at the miracle of life.

8. Paint rocks.

Rock painting goes back a long, long time. No doubt tiny Neanderthals painted rocks as their mommies and daddies painted cave walls. The Pinterested Parent adds even more nature to this time-honored tradition of rock painting by using leaves. ing a leaf and then gently pressing it against the rock creates a charming silhouette. You might also try ‘painting’ with twigs, blades of grass, acorns, and anything else that you find outside.

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P.S. If you're in need of a last-minute babysitter to keep your kids occupied, check out's recommended resources for where to find emergency child care providers.

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