Who else is always on the hunt for easy activities to entertain the littles? Meghan has 10 easy things to do with kids coming at you today. These activities are not only cheap, but they're fun, too!
Calling all Freebs! I'm Meghan Kingsford, and I'm so excited to be here with you today! I love doing fun things with my kids and I wanted to share a few ideas with you today. If you love what I'm bringing to you, then follow along with me on YouTube and Instagram so we can hang out some more. I’d love to see you there.
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Today, we are talking about my favorite things to do with kids to beat the boredom that often hits when you're at home with your kids. Because you’re not tired and you’d just love to entertain them all day, RIGHT?!
Well, welcome to my ten easy and cheap things to do with kids that need few supplies and even less planning. Let’s get to it!
THINGS TO DO WITH KIDS & WATER
Kids and water just go together, right? There's something about water that just makes a kid want to play with it as long as possible. While water by itself is fun, I like to add some different elements to our water play. This changes things up and let's them focus on different things while having fun!
ICE AND POURING
This easy activity is perfect for when its warmer outside but you don’t have the time or energy to pack everyone up for a swimming adventure.
Simply fill up any size bowl with ice and water. Grab some small medicine cups, funnels, measuring spoons, and anything else that you can think of that would be fun. Put this activity outside, if you can, for maximum fun and minimum stress!
My three-year-old daughter particularly likes the pouring aspect of this fun and easy activity, so I give her a second empty bowl for her to separate the ice cubes back into. The great thing about this activity is you can suit it to fit your needs!
You could also grab some jumbo tweezers for them to pick up the ice with. It's not only a fun challenge, but it helps your kids with their fine motor skills!
- Mixing bowl to hold ice and water
- Pouring cups, funnels, etc.
TOY WASHING STATIONS
These are not only fun things to do with kids, but they also get all of your toys squeaky clean! There are a few ways that this can go down.
You can grab a couple of buckets to separate the water and the toys that your little one is going to clean. Then put them outside so that the kids can go to town with the water! You don't have to worry about soap and water going everywhere when they're outside and it's ok if they get soaked while they're doing it.
You can also fill up your sink with soap and water and dump the toys in like the classy mama you are! Or even better, you can put them in the bathtub with their toys! You end up with clean toys AND clean kids, now that's a win-win! Don’t forget to hand over any sponges or brushes they may need and bask in the glow of the mostly quiet toy wash.
- Toys that like soap and water
- Sponges, silicone brushes, dishwashing brushes, wash rags, etc.
If you haven’t seen these little babies yet, you are in for a real treat! Water beads were originally made to fill vases and be decoration, but someone along the way realized what a fabulous sensory activity they made for kids and I can attest that this is true! My kids love these beautiful, water-filled marbles and, honestly, so do I.
I have seen other moms fill water tables with these, which looks like such a good time. I usually stick to a large mixing bowl and some cups for scooping and pouring. These tools are also really fun to use with the water beads and they add an extra fine motor skills aspect.
Just a note, these are not for eating and are a choking hazard. Supervise your kids well and don’t let young babies play with them if you are concerned about the potential risk.
- Water beads – these are my favorite kind
- Mixing bowl, water table, kiddie pool, whatever brings you the most joy!
- Fun cups and tools
THINGS TO DO WITH KIDS AROUND THE HOUSE
If you're looking for some fun things to do with kids that don't involve water, then I've got you covered! Maybe you just don't feel like dealing with the water mess. Or maybe your kids are wanting something different to do. Whatever the reason, try these fun activities that your kids are sure to love!
I know there are some of you who successfully potty trained with stickers instead of candy bribery, and that’s so great! But, the others of you (ahem, me) that had to bring out the Skittles, gummy worms, and M&M’s, were left with a lot of packs of stickers.
This is the moment to make them work for you! Gather up any stickers you have – leftover and half-empty sheets are exactly what we are looking for here. Give the stickers and a few sheets of paper to your kids and back away slowly. Just make sure that you don't go too far, since supervision is still definitely recommended.
- Any stickers that you have. The more, the merrier!
Pro tip! Put a plastic tablecloth down before letting the free-reign stickering begin, so that you don't have any stickers accidentally applied to your table.
PAINT IN A BUCKET
Anyone else have a kid obsessed with painting, but you are majorly un-obsessed with the necessary prep or worse yet, the clean up? Let me solve your woes with this handy little number I like to call “paint in a bucket.” Yup, it’s basically what it sounds like.
I usually go around the house and find random things for my kids to paint. We had a couple of dinosaurs that my three have not been totally jazzed about lately and I decided that they would look a bit better with a little paint, anyways. You can use old matchbox cars, leftover paper towel rolls, basically anything you think might be fun to paint, and put that in a bucket.
Now, I’m guessing you already know what the second step is, but let me give you all the deets. We use leftover dollar store paint and brushes to give these darling dinos a major rainbow upgrade. By keeping the objects in a bucket, I find that much less paint ends up everywhere else, which is ALWAYS a win.
- A bucket or tote that you don't mind getting paint on
- Leftover or dollar store paint
- Paint brushes
- Unloved hard toys (i.e. dinosaurs, trucks, cars, etc.)
Pro tip! Move this activity outside for an even easier clean-up, but don’t forget to add a tarp if you’re feeling particularly concerned.
TONG TOY CLEAN UP
Okay, I can see it now, y’all are not going to buy that this works. But I stand by it! In a desperate moment, when I had two things I dislike very much in abundance – a messy house and fussy, bored kids, I handed out kitchen tongs. I then asked my kids in a super-excited voice to pick up toys with them. AND THEY DID.
I find that this activity is especially good for Lego clean-up, which I personally detest more than folding laundry. Now that is saying something!
- A messy house
- Organizational toy cabinets, baskets or buckets
Pro tip! Turn on some dancing music, like the Trolls soundtrack, and watch how quickly your house is cleaned by your happy kids!
ABC OR COLOR MATCHING
This is a great one for those of you who, like me, have preschool-aged children. I think most moms of young children own some kind of ABC flashcard set. If not, have no fear, a few pieces of paper cut into four pieces with the alphabet written on them will do just fine for this activity. We love handmade!
In addition to ABC flashcards, you’ll need something in the ballpark of ABC fridge magnets, or ABC robots like we like to use! But if you don’t have anything of the sort, you could even use pipe cleaners to make letters – it's an activity open for creativity! Don’t let not having the exact item slow you down here!
Pro Tip! A simple version of this activity is to do color matching instead. This is great for younger children. I like to color on quarter-pieces of paper and help my children (as needed) find items around the house to match to each color!
How many of you out there have attempted to make slime on a rainy day from Pinterest and had it go, let’s say, poorly? Girl, same. Which is why I’m sharing this one with you. I love that this “recipe” has only two ingredients.
Cornstarch and water mixed at the correct ratio (don’t worry, it’s pretty foolproof!) makes a fabulously fun concoction that we in this house lovingly refer to as white slime. Begin adding cornstarch to a large mixing bowl. I generally start with around 1 cup and add water slowly, a few tablespoons at a time. The key here is to not add too much water or you’ll be left with a milky-colored water that is very much not slime. Stir as you go!
- Optional: Small toys, cups, etc.
Pro tip! You can also add glitter to make a sparkly kind of slime. *Note* this version does not clean up as easily as the mixture without glitter.
THINGS TO DO WITH KIDS TO GET YOU OUT OF THE HOUSE
Sometimes you just need to get out of the house, but you don't necessarily want to spend any money. Here are a few fun things to do with kids that will work their brains without touching the wallet!
NATURE WALK OR BACKYARD HUNT
Sometimes the only thing to do to survive the long afternoon is to get moving and head outside. I love making a list of items we’d like to find while we are out such as little rocks, small flowers, and leaves of different varieties!
I bring along baggies for my kids to collect their own items. If not, then you're guaranteed to be holding it all for them. You know what I'm talking about! They feel so much pride in creating a collection of items they find beautiful and interesting along the walk.
If you are like me, and have a baby napping in the afternoon, then you can also do this activity in the backyard so as to avoid the need to leave the house!
- Optional: Paper and pen(cil) for list making
- Optional: Small baggies for each child to keep treasures they find along the way
Pro tip! Don’t forget to label the baggies, or you might encounter some sibling squabbling if the bags get mixed up. I may or may not know this from experience!
Now, it’s possible you may have heard of this place with air conditioning and free books… I like to call it the library. Ha! My kids are book obsessed and though we own so, so, so many, there’s nothing quite like the allure of the NEW. So, we head over to our local library quite a bit.
My favorite books to help the kids find are actually non-fiction rather than storybooks. The more pictures, the better, since we are not at the reading stage yet. These kinds of books are more fun for my little ones to look at. We particularly love books about animals, Legos, and nature.
- Library card
Pro tip! Bring individual book bags for each child to carry their own books (assuming they are old enough to handle the weight). I find it helps my older ones put more thought into their selections when they have to carry the books themselves.
That’s it! You made it through! If you need more cheap and easy things to do with kids, check out Jordan's post. What are you favorite things to do with kids? I'd love to hear more ideas in the comments!
Do you need more kid-related ideas from Jordan?
- Learn how she does extracurricular activities for her kids.
- She has 6 kids, these are her morning survival tips!
- She has some GREAT tips for how she gets her baby to sleep through the night without crying it out.