Easy, fun and free activities you can do in your home to keep the kids busy
Updated: Apr 28, 2021
This weeks blog post is all about easy, fun and free activities that you can do in your home with your kids with a mix of inside and outside activities however most can be done either inside or outside depending on our beautiful Irish weather! They are all minimal prep time but with maximum engagement time with lots of learning and fun packed into them too. Hopefully they will give you that five minutes to drink your cup of coffee while its still hot or maybe join in on the fun too.
Colour Scavenger Hunt:
Scavenger hunts are a firm favourite in our house, we love all kinds of them! I loved doing these too with the kids when I was a preschool teacher. You can do them inside or outside, make them hunt a colour, shapes, insects, letter, number, really anything at all. All you need is paper, a pen or colours and a few minutes to draw, write or colour in what they have to find.
Scavenger hunts are easy to customise to your child's abilities and interests. You can adapt them to the environment you are in. They allow children to practice problem solving in a tangible way, great for building teamwork, exercise and its a fun way to interact with your child while allowing them to make discoveries by themselves.
You need a list of items to find, (nature, numbers, letters, colours, shapes, household items, really anything you can think off) we use our magnify glass from @discoveryplaytime as they love pretending to be detective's and two markers as they are easier to tick off when you are outside and off you go.
To see our reel of an outside scavenger hunt, click the link:
Lego Ice rescue:
Any type of ice rescue is always a big hit in this house. You can rescue anything it does not have to be Lego, it could be marbles, mini people, small animals, fish, dinosaurs, coins really anything that your child is interested in.
For this ice rescue I got some Lego men, took them apart and then put each body part into one ice cube part of the tray. Then filled it up with water and let it freeze over night in the freezer. This is a great one for inside or take it out side on a hot day. I always have something frozen in a tray in the freezer so that I have an activity ready if I need one. We keep the squeezy bottles like empty shampoo bottles, mayo bottles, honey bottles and even some of the spray bottles, they are great for this kind of activity. We use eye droppers, turkey basters and medicine syringes too. They are all good for helping to strengthen up all the little muscles in their hands that they need for lots of different things, holding a pencil, feeding themselves etc.
To set it up, fill up the squeezy bottle with warm water, empty the ice cubes out and let the rescue mission begin. Very little prep time but maximum play time.
You need: rocks, paint, sealer.
You could pair this up with an activity to go collect the stones first at a beach. Wash the rocks first and leave to dry. Paint the rocks and when they are dry, get the kids to think of different words and write them on the rocks. You then use the sealer to spray the stones to protect them from the rain and bad weather. Then when they are dry go for a walk and put them in places that people will find them. The intention is to spread kindness and love to people by leaving them in public places for people to see. Thanks to @little_irish_mammy_ for sharing with us.
Very simple activity in which you can use flowers that are nearly gone or what about add in an extra activity of going out and picking the flowers first for the soup.
This one is great for inside and outside. I added in some food colouring with it so that they could change the colour of the soup. I have seen a few people do flower perfume too with a similar set up.
Its a lovely sensory activity with the water, food colouring and the smell from the flowers.
Very minimal time to set up. You need flowers, some bowls for water and that's it! You can then add in extras like food colouring, bowls and spoons you could even make it into flower tea!
You need: Some card cut into fish shapes, paper clips, a stick with string tied on to the end with a magnet.
The aim of the game is to try and get as many fish! You don't need a tuff tray for this you could put them just on the floor or a rug or even in an empty blow up swimming pool.
You can extend this game too. We used it for Mr4 to find his name (name recognition) and Mr6 had to read the word that was on the fish and find it on his page and match it (tricky word recognition). You could extend this game anyway you like, colours, names, numbers, shapes really anything.
Outside painting on a sunny day:
This is one of our favourite things to do when the weather gets good. First draw lots of lovely pictures on the ground with chalk then get a bucket of water and paint brushes and paint it all off again with the water. Painting without the mess. This activity lasted over an hour and its always a big hit here every year. We used our gifted egg chalk from www.discoveryplaytime.ie.
Great for fine motor skills, cause and effect, creativity and really good fun on a warm day.
To watch our reel on this activity click the link:
Have you loads of left over Easter chocolate?
Give them a bar, it lasts 5 mins! Give them Chocolate painting and it lasts for about 20 mins! I started doing Chocolate painting back when I was a Montessori teacher as a treat every now and then for the kids and the kids loved it and mine do too!
Its a lovely sensory activity using touch with their fingers and tongues! Good for mark making, concentration, creativity, scanning skills and a nice little treat for them too.
To see how much fun this one is click the link below:
Diy bird feeders:
Diy bird feeders with fruit, cheerios, bird feed, empty toilet roll holders, peanut butter and string. Got the idea of the threading the fruit on a string from @mooandboosjournal. I used a straw to punch the holes into the grapes and apples. Spread the peanut butter onto the toilet roll then roll it on the plate of bird seeds. We used two lollypop sticks at one end so that the birds had somewhere to stand when they are eating the seeds. Took 5 mins to prepared and took us about half an hour to make them.
To watch the reel of how we made them click the link:
Add a couple of drops of food colouring to some milk, paint it on a slice of bread and toast it. Entertainment and a snack all in one! Thanks to Catherine from @play.at.home.mammy for sharing this great one with us.
Two ingredients foam: 1/4 cup of fairy washing up liquid and just less than a 1/4 cup of water and mix with the mixer till fluffy. You can add in a drop of food colouring to, to make lots of different colours of foam. Great easy sensory activity and it smells so good!
We added in some bowls, utencils, plastic glasses, cones and cookie cutters, you could add in anything to this.
Click the link to see how easy it is to make the foam
Window painting and washing:
All you need is some poster paint, paint brushes, basin with water and utensils for washing the window afterwards.
This is a good one on a sunny day on glass doors. Give them the paint and let them be creative and have some fun! Great for allowing them to express themselves creatively and experience the arts, have opportunities to use a variety of mark-making materials and implements in an enjoyable and meaningful way, and demonstrate growing confidence in being able to do things for themselves. If you are brave enough to try this one it might be best to leave this one till you know the window cleaner is coming the next day! Thanks to Triona @triona_earlyyearsinsights for sharing this one with us. You can find her page by clicking the link below.
Messy play afternoon tea outside in the sun shine. They have water in our rescued tea pot from my dads garage, strawberries, lemons, pear, apple with a range of utensils in our yellow tray, a cake made of shaving foam and rainbow rice as sprinkles (could use cream and sprinkles), tray, glasses, plates, cups and some sugar. The boys had so much fun with this one and it got quite messy. They made all sorts of tea, smoothies, cakes with the fruit and pretended to be chefs at a restaurant.
Great for role play, imagination, creativity, language, social skills, express their personalities, learn cooperation and team work, develop confidence and self-esteem.
Jelly and Ice Cream play:
This can doubled up as an activity and as a yummy treat!
They can make some ice cream for themselves and what ever is left over if there is any left over they can do some messy play with it. Lots of play opportunities to squashing it, using the fine motor tools to transfer the jelly and ice cream, mixing it up and drawing pictures and letters in the sauce. Great sensory and edible activity.
Sensory activity that is edible, using their fine motor skills, using their imagination and creativity , pre writing and writing skills with the sauce, language development and doubles up as a snackivity!
Diy heros cape:
You need: A plastic table cover, scissors, double sided tape, stickers and string.
You can use this activity to begin to create your own hero- what would their power be? What is their name? Where do they live? Do they have helpers? Is their a villain they must defeat? The possibilities are endless. you can also make a mask, cuffs, outfit etc! Superhero play is rich with creatively and imagination but it is also so helpful for kids who need some help with confidence, empowerment and resilience. Thanks to @hayleyriceplaytherapy for sharing this great one with us.
This on is great fun to do. All you need is some ice cream sauce and sprinkles and a paint brush. It is super fun, super tasty and super sticky!
Great sensory activity, its edible and they are using their creativity and imagination.
Check out our fun reel by clicking the link:
We made these back in March 2020 one rainy day for a bit of fun and boy they were so much fun. If you haven't made these DIY poppers yet I would 100% recommend you do! They are super easy and super fun!
What you need: empty toilet roll holder, a balloon cut the top off, colours for decorating, cellotape to hold the balloon in place and pompoms as your confetti FYI they are way easier to collect back up than actually confetti
Great for finger and thumb muscle strength, pincer grip and just good fun.
Elephant bubble trunks:
You need: Flat plate, thin odd sock, elastic band, empty water bottle, scissor, water and washing up liquid.
First get a flat plate with a little bit of water and washing up liquid. Take the bottle and cut the end of the bottle off. Take an odd sock one that's not too thick and put it over the bottom of the bottle tight and wrap the elastic band around the sock tight. Dip the sock end of the bottle into the water and washing up liquid solution then blow in to the top of the bottle and watch the elephant bubble trunk appear. You can also add in a few drops of food colouring and watch the bubbles change colours. Great one for outside when the weather is good.
You need: basin with water in it, 2 pieces of kitchen roll still attached, markers.
Take two pieces of kitchen roll together and open them up flat. On one piece draw your picture with the markers. When finished fold the other piece of kitchen roll over the top of your picture so that you cant see it. Gently place the kitchen roll on the top of the water and watch the picture appear!
Don't forget to follow us over on Instagram @playwithmemammy for lots more activities to keep the kids busy. Thanks to @hayleyriceplaytherapy, @triona_earlyyearsinsights, @play.at.home.mammy and @little_irish_mammy_ for contributing to our blog this week. Don't forget to check their accounts out too over on Instagram. Do tag us if you try any off these activities out and don't forget you can share this blog on Facebook or Twitter by pressing the Facebook or Twitter icon below.
Hope you all have a fun filled week ahead and that the sun shines!