75+ ideas for kids' activities
6 Ideas for Rainy-Day Fun
Puddle jump. Go ahead -- get wet. See who can make the biggest splash, jump across the widest puddle, and be the first to fill up her boots.
Create a "tie-dye" craft. Do the first part indoors: Grab some coffee filters and have the kids color them with markers (not washable ones), and lay them on a cookie sheet. Then put them outside in the rain and watch the colors run. Bring them inside, and after they dry, the kids can make flowers: Pinch each filter in the middle and twist, then wrap a green pipe cleaner around to make a stem.
Take your kids on a "rescue the worms" walk. (You don't have to touch 'em!) Stroll around the neighborhood and let your kids pick them up off the sidewalk and toss them back into the grass. When you're home, go to Yucky.discovery.com and search for cool info on earthworms.
Do a rainy-day Monet. Head outside with some sidewalk chalk. When it's wet, it works almost like paint!
Have a splash. Take a bunch of bath toys outdoors -- boats, buckets, cups -- and play in a puddle, or find a "stream" at the edge of the street (if you live on a safe one) and race a boat against a lightweight ball.
Make a rain catcher. If you just want to stay inside, have your child decorate a two-liter soda bottle, and measure and mark half-inches with a Sharpie. Then you cut off the top and put it outside a window where you can see it from inside. Set some fun goals: "When it gets to half an inch, we'll play a board game. When it gets to an inch, we'll make cookies..." etc.!
6 Games to Play With a Ball
Play Footsie Grab a big plastic ball, and have everyone lie down on the floor with their feet up. Hold the ball with your feet, and try to work together to throw and catch it.
Clean It Up To keep your older toddler or preschooler busy while you're doing stuff nearby, give her a beach ball and washable markers. Let her decorate it and then "give it a bath" and wash the marker off.
Kickerama Try this twist on classic kickball: After the pitcher rolls the ball, he yells either "Hop!" "Skip!" or "Jump!" The kicker then has to follow his direction as she makes her way to first base. But before the pitcher can run after the ball, he has to quack like a duck three times.
Toss It Pair up, with each pair holding a bath towel between them. Try to toss and catch a lightweight ball from towel to towel. (If you're indoors, use a beach ball to avoid breaking lamps!) Count how many times you can toss it before it hits the ground.
Virtual Orbs You can find lots of cool ball-related games on Miniclip.com, a free site. Click on the "Kid Games" section. Three faves: Monkey Kick Off (very simple -- an older toddler can play), Table Tennis, and Bunch (you might just get addicted to that one!).
It's Supernatural Teach your child this trick to impress her friends and family: Tell everyone you've got magical powers in your fingertips. Put a Ping-Pong ball in front of you on a table or counter, and make a big show of wiggling your fingers over it. Without touching it, it will magically start rolling away from you. The secret? While everyone's distracted by your wildly wiggling fingers, quietly and gently blow on the ball, without moving your lips.
Fun With Pasta & More
Play pasta peekaboo. Turn a colander upside down and show her how to slide spaghetti into the holes. Lift up to see where they went!
Take an empty water bottle, put in some coins, close very tightly, and voilà -- a brand-new rattle. (Just don't leave her alone with it!)
Create instant bathtime fun: Hand over your turkey baster as a squirt toy; add plastic funnels for scoop-and-pour games.
Shake, rattle, and roll. Fill a few small plastic bottles half full of water and put the caps on tightly. While you check e-mail, let your child shake 'em up -- she'll love all the splashing.
Go for color: Give your child a medicine dropper and an ice-cube tray filled with water. Add food coloring. Let him squeeze, squirt, and mix!
A good high-chair activity while you're cooking: Take an empty tissue box, throw in a few small objects -- a washcloth, a leaf, a toy car -- and let your child reach in and feel them. Then dump them out and put in a few different things.
Playing With Crayons
Start a pickup game: Put crayons or markers in a small pile. Kids can try to remove one at a time without disturbing the others.
Jazz up coloring: Print out Keith Haring's imaginative artwork
Boost ABC fun: Print out adorable alphabet coloring pages
More Family Fun
Decorate balloons. Rub one until it has a static charge. Supply your child with pieces of tissue or string to put on it, and let him see what else sticks. (Just be sure to watch him.)
Sew fun! Punch holes in an egg carton with a pen, tape on a string of yarn, and let your child thread it through the openings.
Stay cool with ice hockey. Tip over a small wastebasket in your driveway, toss some ice cubes on the ground, and use broomsticks to see who can score the most before the cubes melt!
Playdough & Stamps
Grab cookie cutters and...
- Use them for stencils
- Turn melon into stars
- Cut play dough into cool shapes.
Stamp it. Give your child things from around the house -- blocks, a wire strainer, doll's feet -- to make impressions on play dough.
A quick hide-and-seek game: Stick rows of Post-it notes on a piece of paper, put a sticker under one, and let your child guess where the sticker is. Then hide another!
Declare your floors "hot lava." Your child can move around the house only by hopping on "islands" (paper taped to the floor).
Liven up a springtime walk. Give your child a colorful lightweight scarf to hold out of the stroller and fly like a streamer in the wind.
Make pizza cookies. Give your child lumps of cold pizza dough so she can flatten them with a potato masher. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top, bake, and serve.
Play mix and match. Give him a few empty plastic bottles or jars and their caps, and let him figure out which go together (just keep an eye on him).
More Fun Activities
Have a race: Use chalk to draw a curvy course on your sidewalk for an instant trike path.
Play laundry basketball. While you sort, hand your kids rolled-up socks and an empty trash can, and promise a kiss for every "point" they make.
Make "movies." Create a flip book
Make Car Trips Fun
Launch far-out fun. Let your child play Shuttle Tac Toe, Space Bounce, and other games at NASA Kids' Club
Keep car trips fun:
- How high can your kids count before the next traffic light?
- Decide who'll listen for the words "new" and "old" on the radio. Whoever counts ten of her word first wins!
Test her memory. While you do laundry, log your child on to Playkidsgames.com -- she'll have a blast clicking on lights on the turtle's shell as they come up.
Get in the St. Paddy's Day spirit: Cover a piece of shamrock-shaped cardboard with double-sided tape. Have your child stick on green paper, leaves, and other stuff.
Print out a Dr. Seuss game from Seussville.com
Kick off a buggy summer! Your child can design a cool virtual insect with wings and antennae at Build-a-Bug
Engage in fowl play. Turn an orange into a turkey: Use toothpicks to attach a cherry tomato head, raisin eyes, a baby-carrot beak, and lettuce feathers.