35 Things to Do At Home With Little Kids | Olive and Tate

35 Things to Do At Home With Little Kids



Our personal activity list over the past few weeks has been full of activities that are low impact for me - as I am clearly not a Pinterest Mom - but full of at-home fun for my little kids.

If you have toddlers, preschoolers or kindergarteners at home, this list will absolutely have activities that you can throw together (with what you have!) to burn the minutes until nap time.

I've got you covered with everything from indoor chores to educational activities and outside splash time!

1. Bike Wash

With everything covered in pollen, pull out the bikes, scooters, wagons etc and let the kid's have at it with a bucket of water and some suds. We used dish soap but if you're conserving, a bit of body wash will make things bubbly. 

A free printable is linked here! We did a similar one while we were home in Virginia and the kids were really into it. Gray is five and Georgia is two and a half, and they were both excited to find and cross things off of their sheet! I made sure the printable had both pictures and words so kiddos of all ages can use it. 

3. ABC Mouse

My 5 year old is newly obsessed with ABC Mouse. He likes the map style progression and the different landscapes. I like that he considers it "screen time". 

4. Kid's Story Podcasts

I found children's story podcasts in a moment of desperation - the kids had been bickering endlessly and I just needed them to HUSH. I randomly searched "kid stories" in the podcast app and scrolled through.

There are actually a ton of podcasts where authors and actors read story books, but be sure that you don't end up on a podcast that actually interviews children's authors. 

My five year old loves, loves, loves this one - we started with the space episode and moved onto the dino series. The jokes are cheesy and the story telling is interactive, asking the listeners to imagine certain body movements or to take deep breaths to propel the rocket ship forward etc.

It's available on Spotfiy and Apple podcasts.

Georgia really likes this one - full of classic fables that she's never heard before. 

I suggest turning one on during meal time to calm things down and encourage everyone to keep their minds on the story and their hands to themselves.

5. Bounce House

My love for the bounce house knows no bounds. We've owned ours for years and use it outdoors, but it can be brought inside and is the perfect size for a basement.

If we hit a patch of rainy weather, I will absolutely bring it indoors and into our playroom, just to spice things up! 


6. Sidewalk Chalk ABC's

Depending on the age of your kids, you can rock this two ways:
I had Gray write the alphabet in rainbow color order around our patio - the rainbow order slowed him down and made him re-grip the chalk every time, working those handwriting muscles.

If you're babe is a bit younger, you could write the ABC's in small groups around your yard/driveway and have the kids "hunt" for them in order.


7. Tailgate Lunch

This is our current fave: my husband brings home local take out and we spread out a blanket in the trunk of my car for a tailgate meal. The kids and my car never leave our driveway but the novelty of having lunch in the trunk seems to really be a hit.

It also gets us outside and marks a major change of pace from "school" mornings, perfectly breaking up the pace until Quiet Rest time. 

8. Picnic Dinner

My children also love a picnic. We've taken to having picnic dinners and snacks whenever we can. They seem to eat more, I'm less concerned with wiggly table manners and they spend those last minutes in the evening get out the last of their energy just by being outdoors.

We've also had indoor picnics on the floor of our playroom when the weather was gross and love a screen porch picnic for a change of pace.


9. Draw Me
Unroll a giant piece of craft paper, have the kids lay down on it, trace them with a marker and let them decorate "themselves"!

10. Printable Rainbow Learning Activity

I love this rainbow learning activity from my friend Arin. It includes writing practice, color recognition, counting and more.

 If you're all out of ideas and need a few more minutes of screen free time during the day, this is definitely worth printing out!

11. Find The Patterns

We like to do this on our walks, you know, instead of bickering with each other.

I ask the kids to look out for something that creates a pattern - sometimes we spot them in the cracks on the sidewalk or the bark on the trees and usually we spot them in the bricks on houses

12. Group It

I needed a few minutes to unload the dishwasher so I asked my five year old to run to his room and group together 5 things that were soft and 4 things that were hard.

He loved it so much he made his own groupings by color and I was able to finish a chore or two. 

13. Laundry Game (sort the laundry)

Georgia, who is two and a half, is a big fan of helping with the laundry. I ask my five year old to bring in both their laundry baskets and she loads the laundry and helps to start the wash.

Once it's ready to fold, she helps me make piles of her clothes versus his and also is in charge of putting away things that aren't folded (mainly, undies!).


14. Counting Wiggles

I adapted this from something my son's teachers asked us to do inside. We needed to get the wiggles out so we went outside and I drew a line up of fun exercises and the number of time to do each one.

We've done things like 10 frog jumps, 15 dance moves, 5 jumping jacks and 10 solider walks.
We change it up regularly and it's a great way to change the scenery and our energy.

15. Bubble Machine

Bubbles for life. We have this one, just make sure you stock up on batteries and a giant jug of bubbles because the bubble machines use them up at an alarming rate.

16. Baking

Nothing fancy, but box mix brownies, bread and cinnamon coffee cake have been in rotation around here. The kids help with cracking eggs, pouring ingredient, watching the contents of the oven and sampling.



17. Fairy Gardens

My mom loves to set up Fairy Gardens with the kids. The concept is to turn a small space like an empty flower planter, spot at the base of the tree or a sandbox to create a small world for woodland fairies.

You can use your imagination and things found in the yard (like flowers, gumballs, sticks etc) or Amazon has great miniatures.

18. Dress Up Tea Party
Seeing as my two year old is always in costume, it feels like I should take advantage and set up a tea party. You can either participate or tell your little to set on up for her dolls and babies.

19. Chalk Track

Gray created a "road" out of chalk and then rode his bike and scooter on it. His sister followed on her trike and they worked hard together adding on to the road, decorating it and then riding the new routes they made.

You could also set up a chalk track yourself out of chalk and challenge your kids to drive their matchbox cars on it without going "off course".

20. Ice Shuffle

We came up with this one on accident but my kids did this for what felt like hours. We put ice into a large plastic bowl and they loaded and unloaded the ice into a small cooler.

You could use two plastic bowls, a bowl and bucket, an empty water table and bucket - hell, you could get wild and throw in some plastic spoons and tongs to keep things interesting.


21. Play Doh Kits

I ordered a 4 pack of mixed mini play doh kits and have been dolling them out to the kids. Both ages (5 and 2.5) play with them, but my 5 year old definitely has a longer tolerance for sitting still and playing with them.

 Less expensive options here and here.

22. Glow Stick Bath

As simple as it sounds, toss a few glow stick bracelets into a bath and watch the mini rave unfold in front of you! 


23. Goggle Bath

Hold the bubbles, toss in a few fish pool toys and let your swimmers "dive" for the fish! Goggles and swimsuits are a must! 

24. Grandparent Story Time

When things have really gone off the rails - or I need the toddler distracted for like five minutes - I ask my mom to read a book to my daughter via FaceTime.

Any special friend who doesn't have littles at home can hop on this one for you, they can even download a story book if they don't have one at home.


25. Indoor Camping

There is currently a tent in the middle of our playroom - if you have one, bring it out! My five year old drew and cut out a fire, marshmallows and a stick and now loves to build Legos in the tent, too.

26. Book Sorting

A task I had been meaning to check off my own list was to go through all of the books in our kid's rooms and playroom to see if there were books we've outgrown. I had my son help me with his room and we sorted the books into two piles: big boy and baby.

The baby books went to his sister room and he was amazed and the books that were in the big boy pile. He literally forgot so many of them existed, it was like he'd hit the jackpot.

He was entertained for the rest of the day with the books we found *in his own room*. As a bonus, his sister was entertained with her new hand me down books!

27. Breakfast Date

Another great activity for the grandparents, schedule a FaceTime breakfast date for your kids! My Dad particularly likes this one and will chat with the kids while they sit at the breakfast table and start their morning.

It gives me a minute to get my mind right for the day and the kids like to pretend to "share" their breakfast through the video screen with their grandfather. 

28. "Fashion Show"

Otherwise known as try on all the clothes from last season to see if they fit! A task I normally avoid, we've made an event out of it this year! The kids try on the warm weather stuff from last year to see if it still fits - if it doesn't, I make a fuss over how strong they've gotten, how much they've grown and how exciting it is that they're getting so big.

Clothes go in the "donate" or "keep" pile and we know where we stand for this Spring and Summer

29. Toy Bath

Literally dump all of the water friendly toys into the tub and let the kiddos gi

ve them a good washing (bath soap can be used for plastic or rubber toys and plain water for the rest). You can toss the kiddos into the tub or let them lean over the side. Another option is to do this outside with plastic tubs - that will keep your house dry!

30. Cardboard City

Put all of those Amazon shipping boxes to good use. I handed my 5 year old a roll of painter's tape (less adhesive/more gentle, in case it gets stuck to him, the dog, the walls, etc) and a handful of boxes and told him to see if he could build a skyscraper.

He ended up building and re-building with those boxes for the entire afternoon.

31. Stuffed Animal Houses

Another used for the cardboard boxes - build and decorate houses for their favorite stuffed animals!

They can decorate with stickers, crayons, washi tape, colored paper, whatever they think their stuffed animal would love as home decor. 

32. Flashlight Reading

It's amazing how small simple changes can really engage and entertain little kids. Try a little flashlight reading - we hide out in our tent, in our room with the shutters closed or under the covers. 

33. Hopscotch Races

As simple as it sounds, each member of our family creates their own super charged hopscotch course and we teach each other how to use it. Once we get the hang of it, we're off to racing!


34. Taste Test

You've seen it before, but the taste test is the very best way to 1. get kiddos to try new foods and, 2. to clean out the fridge! 

35. Obstacle Course

Literally grab anything close by (I like Tupperware containers, Amazon boxes in all sizes, outdoor toys) and set up an obstacle course either indoors or outdoors.

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