80 ways to keep kids busy at home


By Lauren Budman, Signal Contributing Writer

With seemingly endless days passing by during L.A. County’s stay-at-home order, we’ve put together a convenient list of 80 activities to keep kids occupied at home.

Whether you’re trying to pry them away from screens or keep them busy while working from home, these ideas are sure to keep them entertained and happy:

Indoor Activities

Create your own drive-in theater: Have the kids design their own “cars” out of cardboard boxes and pull up to the screen.

Create a pretend newspaper: your family’s own version of The Signal! 

Come up with a scavenger hunt. 

Play card games: Uno, go fish, war, poker, hearts, bridge, gin or solitaire, if you’re alone.

Have a family “theme day”: Have a Talk Like a Pirate Day, an Opposite Day or a Royal Family Day. If you’re craving some quiet time in the midst of quarantine madness, try a No-Talking Day challenge. You can thank me later.

Build a house of cards.

Play classic board games like Operation, Candyland or Monopoly — or if you have it, Santa Clarita-opoly.

Play “freeze dance” — when the music stops, each player must freeze immediately and hold that position until the music begins again, or have to do 10 jumping jacks.

Partake in a game of “Head’s up” or charades.

Play “The Floor is Lava — put some older pillows on the floor and have them jump around avoiding the floor.

Work on a jigsaw puzzle.

Create a family history: Conduct family interviews by calling family members and asking them about stories from their past.

Learn how to write and perform a play.

Write a story or poetry.

Build a fort: Use pillows, chairs, blankets or other items around the house.

Play “I spy.”

Play dress up.

Tell ghost stories — next to the fireplace for that “campfire” effect.

Art Projects

Make a dreamcatcher.

Create and decorate paper airplanes — then have a race. 

Make bath bombs using recipes online, like one with citric acid and baking soda for a little self-care. 

Create a vision board.

Make a Scrapbook — bonus points if it’s about the quarantine.

Tie-dye a shirt.

Create a magazine collage.

Make a sunlit mural — use washable paints or water colors on windows or glass doors.

Make some home-made playdough — 2 ½ cups of flour; ½ cup of salt; 2 packages of Kool-Aid; 2 cups boiling water; 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil, and mix them all together.

Make thank you cards and send them to essential workers.

Paint rocks.

Learn origami design.

Create friendship bracelets.

Paint each other’s faces, or play around with temporary tattoos.

Gather old photos and put them in an album. 

Design sock puppets — be sure to have a puppet show after.

Have some slimy fun — Elmer’s glue, contact lens solution, baking soda, glitter mixed together.

Press flowers by putting them in books for a week and making crafts with them.

Make a birdhouse — check out nestwatch.org for some tips.

For those who would prefer to play outside, there’s a separate list: 

Outdoor fun

Partake in some outdoor

Camp out in the backyard.

Have a water balloon fight.

Have a picnic outside.

Make a backyard obstacle course.

Make a bird feeder out of a toilet paper roll, peanut butter and birdseed.

Create a flower arrangement. 

Play hide and seek — remember to pretend you can’t see the little ones.

Partake in some kickball or dodge ball — underrated classics.

Play jump rope games: Do you remember double-dutch?

Compete in freeze tag — a classic with a twist, now you’re it.  

Play “Marco Polo,” which can be fun with or without a pool.

Create chalk murals.

Play “Red light, green light” — ah, the nostalgia!

Run through the sprinklers — especially on those hot SCV days.

Play hopscotch and remember: Don’t get too competitive with the kids.

Blow bubbles! Everyone loves bubbles.

Take a family bike ride — and don’t forget masks and gloves for everyone.

Play a game of HORSE.

Roller hockey: Use broom sticks, if you don’t have hockey sticks.

Soccer: Make your own goal posts from buckets and pool noodles.

Conduct an egg-drop experiment.

Make a volcano erupt: Add vinegar, water and a small amount of food coloring together in an empty soda bottle — then add baking soda and run for cover.

Looking for a pastime with all that newfound free time?

Teach your dog some tricks: fetch, sit, play dead — you get the idea.

Pick up some magic tricks- or 52-card pickup (it’s a little mean, but it may tire out a small child after a couple hundred times).

Fly a kite! Make your own kite using straws string and paper. A copy of The Signal works after reading it — which also happens to be a benefit of home deliveryTo subscribe, call (661) 259-1000.

Plant a garden and earn a green thumb growing flowers and vegetables.

Pick up juggling — coordination required.

Learn to braid hair.

Practice photography and have a family photo shoot.

Listen to the music

Name that tune: Play songs for one another and guess the artist for a twist“My Sharona” or “My Corona”? 

Throw a themed dance party — dress and dance from your favorite era (‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s and so on).

Conduct a class on the classics: Teach kids about one classical composer each day and play music from that composer.

Fun in the kitchen

Bake some bread (Ednote: Banana is my favorite.)

Make some cookies and, for an extra challenge, try not to eat them all in one day (harder than it sounds).

Make some soup. It’s fun to make and keeps them healthy!

Bake a cake. Decorating is the best part.

Have a pizza night — homemade or ordered in, it’s guaranteed to be a favorite either way.


Have a “spa day” before bed.

Roast marshmallows, and you can use a candle if you don’t have a campfire handy.

Stargaze and identify the constellations, or make your own.

Put on a shadow puppet show. Co-
author a bedtime story by taking turns making up a new chapter each night.

Reminisce and look forward — peruse yearbooks or old photo albums and remind everyone that this, too, shall pass.

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