Surviving & Thriving Quarantine with Children

“Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning.” ~ Mr. Rogers

Right around the time when quarantine madness started happening, I was on the phone with a friend who has four children. She told me how excited she was about an activity she had set up for her children, but how her husband had laughed about her enthusiasm for it. He said something along the lines of, “Why are you trying to do this activity right now? Should we not wait a couple weeks for the time when they are bored and needing something new and exciting to do?!” My friend saw the wisdom in his question and immediately stored said activity for a later time of desperation.

Can you relate? Although I do not personally have children, I am lucky to see my nieces and nephews regularly. I have heard many of my clients share their frustrations that their children are bored of being home, and summer has not even started yet. To those of you needing some fresh and fun ideas to keep children entertained as quarantine continues, this post is for you! These activities can be done at home with what you have on hand, and for little to no extra money. And most of these are screen-free!

Without further ado, may I present 65 ideas to survive quarantine with children of any age:

  1. Put on a play or skit
  2. Create a poster
  3. Design a magazine cover
  4. Talk about stress as well as coping mechanisms
  5. Write a creative story or poem
  6. Do Mad Libs together (thanks, Google!)
  7. Cook or bake
  8. Hold an indoor scavenger hunt
  9. Do Just Dance, Wii Sports, or other active video games
  10. Do YouTube exercise videos for kids
  11. Hold a cup stacking competition
  12. Play balloon games (Google it!)
  13. Do target practice
  14. Make sock puppets and have a puppet show
  15. Make a photo collage (either with printed photos or digitally)
  16. Play games: Monopoly, pictionary, etc
  17. Play cards games
  18. Do a puzzle
  19. Make bracelets or necklaces with on-hand supplies (beads, noodles, etc)
  20. Indoor/outdoor movie night complete with snacks
  21. Create treasure maps leading to a surprise
  22. Teach your pet a new trick
  23. Give said pet a spa day–bathe, brush, blow-dry your animal (where applicable)
  24. Build a fort
  25. Play hide and seek
  26. Put on a themed fashion show
  27. Read together
  28. Play Simon Says
  29. Build Legos
  30. Create an indoor obstacle course with painters tape
  31. Have a picnic
  32. Use technology to contact friends/family
  33. Play a boardgame like Battleship to play virtually over video chat with family
  34. Use Google Slides to document a family vacation
  35. Start a family newspaper
  36. Sort through children’s clothing to donate
  37. Create Origami 
  38. Use ARt for Kids Hub on YouTube for drawing tutorials
  39. Have your children create a playlist and have a dance party
  40. Hold a paper airplane folding and flying contest
  41. Go on a virtual field trip to a destination of your choice
  42. Write a letter to a loved one or friend
  43. Go “camping” in your backyard
  44. Have a lip sync/karaoke night (your littles know Disney songs!)
  45. Do a virtual museum tour and show your children famous art pieces
  46. Have a tea party
  47. Listen to Audio Books (Audible offers a free trial!)
  48. Create armor out of cardboard boxes and have a nerf gun battle
  49. Build a house of cards
  50. Make a music video
  51. Start learning a foreign language
  52. Create a hopscotch game out of painters tape in your home or yard
  53. Chalk your friend, family or neighbor’s driveway
  54. Watercolor painting
  55. Plant/pot flowers
  56. Disney themed food and movie nights (Disneyland is even releasing some of their famous recipes…like their churros!)
  57. Paint rocks
  58. Science experiments (Google and Pinterest to the rescue for specifics!)
  59. Catch bugs
  60. Go star gazing
  61. Spend time outside–biking, walking, hiking, roller blading, riding bikes, scootering, etc
  62. Turn on Cosmo Yoga for kids
  63. Sensory bins
  64. Any activity from @BusyToddler on Instagram
  65. Celebrate someone’s half birthday

As I did the research for this blog, I found a plethora of amazing resources that gave fantastic ideas I incorporated as I wrote. I highly encourage you to view the resources included below in the “References” section, or conduct your own Google search to find a myriad of possibilities! It can be so easy to get into a quarantine slump and do the same things over and over…so mix it up with some of these fun ideas!

Quarantine is hard. As it continues to go on and on, you may be losing steam. If you have children, I hope some of these ideas prove helpful to help you make it another hour and another day during this difficult time. Regardless of whether you have children or not, I urge you to take care of your mental health by trying new things. If you feel that you need help or guidance, or someone to talk to, please do not hesitate to reach out and schedule a virtual session with me. Although things are hard, I know we can make it through this!
Melissa Cluffis a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist based in North Texas, providing face-to-face and telehealth therapy options to clients in Texas.


Wall Street Journal: “Put Down the Phone: 100 (Nonscreen) Activities to Occupy Your Kids in Quarantine”

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Melissa Cluff, MS, LMFT, CSAT

Melissa Cluff is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist based in North Texas, providing face-to-face and telehealth therapy options to clients in Texas.