20 Fun Play Activities for the Whole Family
Fun family activities at home have been one of the main ways you’ve been able to enjoy the past year, especially with stay at home orders and social distancing rules. You may have reached the point where you’ve drawn a blank when it comes to thinking up some fresh and fun ideas. Even when we’re not living in a global pandemic, finding activities that keep your kids entertained at home can be a difficult task!
If you find yourself bored with the activities you’ve been doing, it's likely your kids are as well. Well, look no further!
Here are some entertaining, low-maintenance activities that will engage all members of the family and bring fun back into your home!
1. Floor is lava
Floor is lava is a classic at home activity that can be played nearly anywhere in your house. The premise is simple. The floor has suddenly become lava and if you step on it not only do you get burnt, but you lose!
Using your furniture as “land”, use pillows and miscellaneous objects to safely cross the room.
Feel free to get creative and add fun rules to this classic game as well. For example, set a timer and when the timer goes off, a volcano erupts and, in this eruption, random pillows and/or furniture are no longer safe to stand on!
The last one standing wins!
2. Go “fishing”
This is a personal childhood favorite. As a kid, my siblings would love to go fish both in real life and when playing pretend.
Using your stuffed animals or favorite toys, lay them out behind a couch or object of furniture. Have one person go fishing and the other decide what animal is going to be caught by the fisherperson!
Using a pencil, ruler, or any longer object that could be held onto, attach tape or string to the end of it, making it look like the string of a fishing pole.
Then, go “fish”! Have the person behind the furniture attach a stuffed animal to the end of the tape or the string.
As a fun addition, hold on to the stuffed animal while the other “reels” it in to mimic the struggle of real life fishing. Add or ease the tension on the string to add a real life touch!
3. Create a weekly theme
Whether you want to make it every day of a week or simply on one specific day, add a bit of fun to your week by creating a theme to either dress up for or create activities around.
For example, if you choose the theme “rainbow”, you can focus on learning colors, dressing up in specific colors, finding fun rainbow themed crafts, and/or making a meal with all the colors of the rainbow!
Alternate who chooses the theme, allowing everyone in your family the chance to pick and feel involved in the process. You’ll learn more about each other's interests while having something to look forward to every week!
By choosing a theme, your family is able to have a reason to dress up or do a new activity that brings everyone together!
4. Create an obstacle course
This is a classic activity that stays fun no matter what your age is! Using what you already have, create an obstacle course, a course with a series of challenges that must be passed in order to succeed!
To add an element of competition, time each person. Whoever has the fastest time, wins!
If you have enough people, create two identical courses and compete against one another.
Feel free to complete this activity inside or outside depending on what you are comfortable with and have access to!
Some ideas for an obstacle course include…
- Use couch pillows as stepping stones
- Use tables to go under or crawl beneath
- Use any toys that add a challenge such as a play tunnel or a miniature trampoline
- Work on balance by drawing or placing a line that must be walked on
- Get creative! Have your kids design their own course!
5. Make sensory boxes
A sensory box is a great way for your child to play and work on their senses!
If you haven’t heard of what a sensory box is, essentially it is a box that is filled with a variety of objects that stimulate your child’s five senses.
Sensory boxes are a form of sensory play, play that uses your child’s senses to help them work on their development hands on.
Common fillers for sensory boxes are rice, sand, noodles, shaving cream, rice, popcorn kernels, or any object that has a clear and unique texture that your child is able to play around with!
Sensory boxes can be especially fun if you pick a theme for your box! You can choose a favorite holiday, season, place, or hobby to focus on within your box!
6. Play dress up
I have fond memories of dressing up as a kid. It’s a way to use your imagination while physically having the appearance of who you’re pretending to be!
Like other activities, you can pick a theme to dress up for! Here are some ideas of potential themes…
- Dream job
- Favorite character
- Favorite food
- Dress like Mom, dad, or guardian
7. Have a “YES” day
This is a recent trend many families have been trying! In life, saying “no” is important. However, sometimes saying yes can create fun and new memories that would have been squashed with the typical “no”.
So, take a day and have a “yes” day. Within reason, whatever your family wants to do, say yes!
Your child wants pizza for breakfast? Yes! Your partner wants to take a walk at your local state park? Absolutely. You all want to stay up watching your favorite movies? Of course!
Sometimes, it’s hard to say yes no matter how much you want to. Real life doesn’t always allow the freedom to do whatever you want.
So, take a day and focus on enjoying each other and the new foods and activities your family comes up with!
8. Create a family mural
Embrace your inner picasso and have a family painting night!
Using one large canvas, have each family member paint their own design. Use each other as inspiration, eventually creating a canvas full of love and creativity.
You can also paint individual canvases. Whatever you prefer! By working all on one canvas, you use teamwork and create a masterpiece all at once!
9. Have a cook off
Make mealtime fun with a bit of competition! Team up and safely work to create a delicious meal. Taste each other’s creations and decide who takes the victory!
Choose a theme and make sure you each have the same ingredients to see what you all come up with!
10. Create a scavenger hunt
Whether you want to be a part of the scavenger hunt or not, come up with a list of things for your child or children to find! In a scavenger hunt, your family will have to think of answers that work for the list of things they need to find!
If you need a bit of alone time, this is a great activity for your child to do with friends or siblings. It’ll keep them occupied and moving!
If you also want to participate, you can come up with the list or find one online so you too are surprised about what you’ll need to find!
11. Create a fort
Use your blankets, sheets, furniture, and chairs to create a cozy fort for your family to snuggle in! Simply create a shelter like structure with your supplies by tucking and laying blankets and sheets on top of your furniture!
If you can, have a cozy movie night in your fort! Don’t forget your popcorn!
12. Game night with a twist
Family game night is a classic go to activity. Use your creativity and come up with an original game! Make your own rules and work together to come up with a game unlike anything else you’ve played!
Also, look into popular games around the world! There are so many games out there that are waiting to be discovered! Take the time to research and both you and your family can learn something new!
13. Guess what's in the box
Have any old shoe boxes laying around? Have a fun night of laughter and mystery by filling each box with a different mystery item. Cut a hole on one side but making sure no one can see what’s inside. Then, have each person put a hand in and try to guess what the mystery object is!
Try playing with textures in this activity! Cold spaghetti noodles or fruits are both fun and surprising textures that will add giggles and mystery to your play!
14. Movie night
An easy but time filling solution! Try showing your family your favorite film as a kid!
Alternate who chooses the movie, keeping everyone happy and a variety of movies to be enjoyed!
15. Finger painting
A hands-on activity that allows your child to get messy and create fun memories.
Use a unique medium such as rocks to paint on to add a fun twist!
16. Have your own Olympics
With the 2021 Olympics in full swing, get in the spirit! Have each person pick a country to represent and have your own mini Olympics!
Some activities could include…
- Paper airplane throwing contest
- Relay Race
- Tug of War
These are just a few of many potential ideas! Think of ways you can replicate the actual events themselves in your home!
As a fun bonus, craft gold, silver, and bronze medals for the winners!
17. Travel around the world night
After looking up games around the world, you may be inspired to learn even more about these countries!
Look more into a specific country and try to learn more about their culture! Try making an authentic dish for a meal or learn about its history!
18. Play restaurant
Switch things up and have your kids play a more hands on role in the meal making process!
Have them play chef or waiter, helping cut vegetables or by serving you the meal!
Use this activity as a way to teach manners such as saying “thank you” and “you’re welcome” and how to behave in a public setting!
19. Try free play
Free play gives your child the independence to explore their environment! Essentially, you allow your child to do whatever they choose.
Structure is so important, but sometimes your child can benefit from having the freedom to explore as well!
By giving them control, they are able to work on a variety of important skills. Interested in these skills? Read all about them on our own blog post about the benefits of free play linked here.
20. Have a treasure hunt
A treasure hunt is a fun way for your child or children to think critically, follow orders, and feel a sense of accomplishment once they find the treasure!
Having a treasure hunt can be fun for all, especially if you get into it and dress in pirate gear!
In a treasure hunt, you strategically place hints, one leading to the next, eventually reaching the end goal of finding the treasure! Work on rhyming by having each clue rhyme and talking with your child about what words rhyme and what rhyming is!
And of course, don’t forget to fill the treasure with treats and goodies!
After reading this list, we hope you are inspired to try some activities out and continue to make memories with your family!
Comment below if you try any out and let us know how it went!
- Summer Activities for Toddlers
- Ways to Encourage Creativity in Children
- Independent Play Ideas for Preschoolers