Alright folks, Here's my roundup of my go-to activities when there's a room full of kids and time to spend. (Please note, I'm just brain draining here - some of these are for younger children and some older. Adapt as you need them. Also, some of these are faith building and others just silly fun. )
***HELPFUL TIP : With a lot of these activities, putting a time challenge to them will make them seem extra fun. Time challenges are GOLDEN TICKETS when working with kids. If kids feel like they are in a race they will do anything. It's also how you can extend a 5 min activity to 15 min, because once the competition kicks in they'll want to do it again.
Ex: "We're going to play with legos. I'm setting a timer. You have 10 min to build the best lego battleship. Ready set go. " Do this 3 times and it'll get you to lunch or the next nap time.
1. Puppet show. Use brown bags, draw a face on a banana, it really doesn't matter. Have them create and perform for you.
2. Create cards. Cards for _____. Create a category. "Missionaries, Neighbors, Grocery Store Workers, etc." They can decorate, write an encouraging note, and then you can either mail it or deliver it as an activity.
3. Prayer Walk. Depending on the age of the child you can just go for this, take a walk around your block and pray that God's presence would be there. I also like to give a challenge, such as THE COLOR RED. Every time they see something red you pause and pray for it. This will lead to praying for birds, grocery stores, joggers wearing red jackets, etc.
4. View old home videos/pictures. What a fun time to bask in God's goodness in your family.
5. Dance. Youtube "Praise Party" or "Dance Mix" and have some fun.
6. Box creations. Give a few boxes and some art supplies and you'll be amazed how creative your kids will be.
7. Sword Drills. A church classic that works at home too. Have your children get their Bibles (this must be a scripture Bible not a picture Bible). You give a verse reference (Such as John 1:1) and the first to get there stands up.
8. Prayer or question beach ball. Get a beach ball (dollar stores or amazon has cheap ones). With a permanent marker write names, countries, places, or quetsions, depending on the "theme" of your beach ball. Then like musical chairs, you pass or volley the beach ball around. Then when the music stops, the person finds the item closest to their "Right thumb" or "Left pinkie" or whatever the adult picks at the time. They either pray for that item or answers that question.
9. Balloon Toss. Get one balloon for every child. Blow them up. Play keep the balloon up.
10. Bubbles. I mean really, do you ever outgrow bubbles? Give a few kitchen utensils and get creative on ways to blow bubbles through spoons, spatulas, etc.
11. Post-It Note Scavenger hunt. Take some post-it-notes and stick them randomly around the house. Similar to an Easter egg hunt, have the kids go around and find them.
12. Have a "themed letter day". Draw a letter from a bowl and that's the letter of the day. Then, the kids come up with creative things to eat and do with that letter. (Ex: If you drew the letter B you could
Have Breakfast in Bed.
Create a picture using only shades of Blue.
Build a leggo tower
Listen to Bing Crosby
Wear your clothes Backwards for the day
(Kids LOVE getting creative and silly with this)
13. Create an outdoor obstacle course. Have the kids use jump ropes, hula hoops, and boxes to create an obstacle course to run through.
14. Write a book. This is a fun activity and keepsake. Staple some paper together and have them write and illustrate.
15. Act out a Bible Story. This is really fun. Pick a Bible story and have the children gather props and costumes to act it out as a play production.
16. Tic Tac Toe Championship. Butcher paper works great but also a big poster board. Pre-draw a as many Tic Tac Toe grids that fit and let them go for it. Then tally up who won the most.
17. Countries and Cookies. This one is lots of fun! Have them look at the tag of their clothing for that day. Find out what country it was made it. Then using that country you can learn and pray for it. Pair this activity with making blue and green "Earth" cookies (or just normal cookies. No one is expecting you to be the Pinterest Princess here).
18. Picnic outside. Simple but lots of fun.
19. Flashlight fort. Set up a blanket fort, and read in the dark with a flashlight.
20. Chalk Four Square. Make a four-square game with sidewalk chalk, get a bouncy ball and you have hours of "contained" outdoor fun. Youtube Four Square rules if you aren't familiar.
21. Wash the car. Put on swimsuits and have a fun "learning" experience of how to wash a car.
22. Movie Marathon. When it's a scheduled event it's not nearly as bad for the brain as just a mindless day of screen time ;)
23. Glow Stick Party. Glow sticks plus a dark room is always a win.
24. Pet Rocks. Go on a walk, pick a rock, decorate it, name it, and there you go.
25. Screen time and deep breaths ;). I'm not usually an advocate for screen time (for multiple reasons) , and truly believe there are way better options. However, sometimes it's more beneficial to the mom than it is harmful to the child. (We all need a breath here and there). I just want to say, not that you need my permission, but if you are "that" mom that tries really hard to keep the tv off, you aren't failing if you need to put on some extra Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I'd encourage you to explain, "Today is a special screen time day, so we're going to have extended time with the tv" to set the example that 4 hours of tv a day is not going to be the new norm :)
Dads, Moms, Grandparents, Caregivers who find themselves with extra time with your little ones... you've got this! Children are a blessing, not a burden and Holy Spirit will give you creative ideas. Remember, YOU set the atmosphere for your home. You choose if your home will be fun and playful or tense and cranky. Enjoy the memories, deep breaths during the meltdowns, and lots of cherished moments with the giggles. Praying for you, Abby ***Don't Forget, The Cirkles are cheering you on!