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23 Fun Things to Do With Your Kids While Quarantined

Apr. 6, 2020Check out this list full of busy body activities designed to burn off that energy and help you all blow off some steam.

The coronavirus pandemic has plenty of scary ramifications. Many are out of work. People are getting really sick. Some are dying.

On a less pressing level, parents are going crazy. The consensus among my parent friends is clear: We are not okay.

Being with our tiny humans all day might seem amazing, but after a certain point, even the best moms and dads need a break — and this quarantine means we are not getting it. 

We’re going stir crazy, being asked for snacks 47 million times per day, and in the middle of all of this, wondering if it’s too early for that glass of wine.

It’s a mess.

What we can do though is start each day with one focus: life is a party, and if we’re stuck together, we might as well have fun.

Whether you want an activity with as little parental involvement as possible, or are just wanting to try something new to break up the monotony of being under quarantine, this list is sure to break up your routine enough to get you through another 30-plus days of family-style isolation

#1 — Start a Garden

Let’s preface this by saying that everyone is onto this idea, and seed catalogues are selling out quickly. That said, as they’re scrambling to restock, you can definitely get in on the action by planning your first ever family food garden.

Decide on whether you’re going to opt for no-till beds, raised beds, or container gardens (depending on your housing situation), and get to work gathering supplies.

This article from the Family Food Garden gives a great overview of permaculture and polyculture, two natural gardening principles that will teach your children about sustainable agricultural systems that mimic nature.




# 2 — Or Start Some Seeds In the Kitchen Window

If you decide you can’t handle starting a full-blown garden with your tiny tribe, consider setting up a window garden instead. Small indoor container gardens are easy to grow, and can be a great way to create green spaces indoors. And kids love watching their baby plants grow.

Super Sprouter makes these great all-inclusive seed starting kits, which include lights to get your seed plantings going.




#3 — Create a Chalk Obstacle Course

Just because you’re self-isolating doesn’t mean you can’t go outside. Using chalk and some sensible social distancing, create an obstacle course through the sidewalks in your neighborhood and walk with your kids through it. 

Draw stones in an alligator-infested river for them to hop across, a log for them to tip-toe on, and a hopscotch style course to get them started.


#4 — Have a Touch-Free Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt

Create a neighborhood Facebook group if you don’t have one already, and ask your neighbors to participate by putting things on their porches, driveways, and windows. Then make a list for your kids, and have them walk around the neighborhood checking them off.

At the end, give them a prize for however many they’re able to locate.


#5 — Use Painter’s Tape to Create An Indoor Obstacle Course

Painter’s tape may be your best friend during this pandemic. Using its damage-free stickiness, you can create an indoor obstacle course on your floor in much the same way you would with chalk, mapping out directions with arrows, and creating lines for them to tiptoe on to reach a destination.

Put cushions on the floor for them to jump over, and make it challenging by asking them to jump from one square to another without touching the space in between.

Photo by Crystal de Passillé-Chabot on Unsplash

#6 — Stage a Treasure Hunt

Hide treasure in your house, yard, or neighborhood, and create a map for your kids to follow to find it. Be sure to hide it well and not tell anyone about it if you choose to place it outside of your property, so nobody else puts their hands on it.


#7 — Play Biologists In the Backyard

If you have younger kids, turn their education into pretend play by playing biologist in the backyard. Give them a notebook and pen, magnifying glass, and a set of binoculars, and have them make a note of everything they see.

Turn it into a paleontology exercise by playing Jurassic Park instead, and hiding plastic toy dinosaurs all over your yard.


#8 — Blow Up Some Balloons

Balloons are the ultimate time-killer. Blow a few up and use them to play games like “don’t let it touch the ground,” or ask your kids to have a race with the balloon between their legs while they waddle to the finish line.


#9 — Camp In the Backyard

The best self-isolation activity yet — grab your camping gear and make a night of it under the stars. The best part about backyard camping is you can always go back inside if the kids get scared.

Photo by Kiana Bosman on Unsplash

#10 — Play Catch With Cups and Ping-Pong Balls

Grab a few plastic cups and ping-pong balls and make a game out of tossing them back and forth to each other. 


#11 — Settle In For a Backyard Movie

If you’ve been holding out on investing in a bluetooth projector, now’s the time to try one out. Grab one from Amazon while you still can (they’re limiting shipments of nonessential items). This one from LG is perfect for streaming directly from your phone.

Throw down some blankets or outdoor rugs, pile your pillows up on it, or use your garage door as your screen and sit in the car to watch a movie.




#12 — Play “The Floor Is Lava”

An oldie but a goodie, this one will keep you busy for hours. Clear the toys off the floors and use pillows to create life-saving stones in the midst of an imaginary fiery inferno. It’s better with music — be sure to turn up some John Williams adventure tracks on YouTube while you play.


#13 — Play Cornhole With a Laundry Basket

You can use bean bags or you can use toilet paper and play cornhole quarantine style in your living room.


#14 — Teach Them Practical Life Skills

Does homeschooling have you overwhelmed? Diversify how you spend their educational time by incorporating some practical life skills into your daily routine with your kids. 

Teach them how to create a household budget, how to do the laundry, how to troubleshoot a finicky lawnmower. There are a million things you can do in the real world that bear an applicable educational correlation to coursework.

Use this time at home with them to round out your kids’ education in a way you can only idealize in a normal situation, and you may just find the silver lining.

#15 — Cook Together

One thing parents will tell you about quarantining with kids is that there is way too much cooking. Aside from getting all of the local carryout you can afford, try to break things up by creating simple dishes with your kids, even if it’s just teaching them how to make a decent sandwich.

Once they learn how to make their own food, the bonus is that they may think twice before bugging you for so many snacks when they have to make it themselves. WINNING.

#16 — Build a Box Fort

Ordering stuff online at a fever pitch these days? Join the club, and in the meantime, hoard those boxes. Open the bottom flaps to turn them into tunnels, and use duct tape to create makeshift connections, walls, or even hamster-like tubes to snake all around your living room.

When you’re done, have the kids color on them and add blankets and flashlights so they can sleep in them. 


#17 — Play Reporter

Give your kids a reason to wear a cute suit and let them play reporter. Turn a box into a TV, and give them a piece of paper to refer to for their notes. Their only rule? They have to report a positive spin on all of their news.

Use an old remote to pretend to change the channel when they get negative if you really want to rile them up.


#18 — Get Them Involved In Your Workouts

Doing anything with kids around is hard, but exercising can be especially tricky. There’s no keeping a kid distracted sometimes, so just involve them. Have them run sprints with you in the driveway, do pushups with one of them on your back, and use your baby as a medicine ball for your squats and Russian twists.

You’ll feel more of a burn this way, and they’ll get worn out with you (and hopefully give you a calmer afternoon).


#19 — Color the Fence With Chalk

This one’s making waves on Facebook, and it’s too cute. Use painter’s tape for a mosaic effect, or just create a mural freehand. The rain should wash most of it off, but if you’re renting, exercise a little more caution just in case it takes time to wash away and your landlord isn’t crazy about it.


#20 — Have An Actual Tea Party

What, you have somewhere else to be?

Put on a dress, serve some cookies, and let your kids host you for tea. It’s not like you have anything better to do.

Photo by Mathilde Merlin on Unsplash

#21 — Play Uno On Zoom With the Grandparents

It may be easier to cheat when you play Uno remotely, but it’s still crazy fun. Set up a computer and a deck of cards with your parents and have a family game together. Make each player show the card they lay on top of the deck before they lay it down so you know nobody’s lying.


#22 — Paint Rocks for the Garden

Rock painting kits abound, but all you need to do is pick up some tiny pain brushes and acrylic paints to get started. Cover your table in newspaper and create designs you can seal and place throughout your garden.


#23 — Grow Crystals In the Window

Growing your own crystals is a great science experiment and is super easy to do. Order your supplies online and create a crystal garden in your window.




What are you doing with your kids to stay busy during a shelter in place order? Share your ideas with us on Facebook and Instagram and tag us in the post! @AvocadoMattress

Destiny Hagest

By Destiny Hagest

 —  Destiny is a freelance writer with a background in sustainability and natural health. She lives in the mountains of central Montana with her husband and young son. When she's not writing or chasing her toddler, you can find her wandering the quiet wilderness in search of wild herbs and antler sheds.

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