This might be the longest in history that children have stayed indoors (2020, 2021). While adults try to juggle work from home, family responsibilities, time with kids, and personal space, children have been the most vulnerable, yet incredibly resilient.
Children have been spending more time than ever at home, away from their friends and school. Almost all their learning has been happening online. Their screen time has increased drastically while their physical activity has reduced.
So, if you are a parent worried about your child's physical and cognitive development during this stage, and you are also struggling to keep them engaged, here are a few ideas that could help.
Best Fun Activities to Keep Children Engaged at Home
1) Play Puzzles
Give your child jigsaw puzzles, color puzzles, Rubik's cubes, and other different types of puzzles ranging from easy to hard. Depending on how old your child is, you can also give them advanced puzzles like crosswords, sudoku, finding the words, and others.
Solving puzzles helps the cognitive development of children. They require children to think critically, thereby developing their problem-solving skills. It improves their concentration, awareness, motor ability, and knowledge-specific skills. When children solve puzzles they understand the concept of 'a whole' as they put together each piece of the puzzle. They also think out of the box and come up with new solutions, recognize shapes and colors and pay attention to details.
Solving a puzzle will also take some time, so if you have to work or cook and need to keep your kid busy for an hour or two, a puzzle should do the trick.
2) Learn a New Language
Children grasp things easily when they are young, and any information fed into their brains lasts for years. While learning a new language at a young age may be easy, it also has several lifelong benefits.
You do not have to know a foreign language to teach your child. You can simply enroll them into an online language class and complement their learning with YouTube videos, games, mobile apps, and others.
If you can manage to get some free time, you can also ask your child to teach you the language. It ensures they apply whatever they have learnt while they teach you.
3) Teach Them Culinary Skills
Help your child bring out the master chef hidden within them by teaching them how to cook. You do not have to teach them how to make complex curries and roasts. Teach them how to cook eggs, omelets, noodles, make custards, simple baking or desserts.
You can also make them your assistant while you cook where they do some simple stirring, make doughs and mixtures, salads, or just help you serve the food.
This activity will not only keep your child busy but will also teach them important life skills.
4) Art and Craft Sessions
Paint with them or give your children craft kits to unleash the creativity within them. Leave them with a blank paper and some colors and give them a picture to paint. See them unleash their creativity.
If you have the resources at home, you can join your kid and make some beautiful glass paintings, paint sceneries with them and hang them on the wall. It will instill a sense of accomplishment and pride in them that will, in turn, also boost their self-confidence.
5) Indoor Treasure Hunts
It can be a fun-filled Sunday activity where you hide small toys or other goodies all around the house and ask your kid to find them. You can give them hints about where to find the next treasure and let them discover all the hidden treasures.
Such treasure hunts improve children's problem-solving skills and help them think critically. If you have more than one child, making this a team activity could also instill a team spirit within the siblings.
6) Make Cleaning a Fun Activity
While most adults find it boring to clean the house but a necessary chore, you can involve your children and make it fun. Your little assistant could help you as you clean the fans, wipe the paintings, sort the old newspapers, and they can also crawl into the spaces you cannot reach.
As you do this, remember that you are also imparting important life lessons in a fun way. Your child will look and learn. So make sure you avoid shortcuts as much as possible.
7) Interest them with Storybooks
Instill the habit of reading books in your child from an early age. Introduce them to books that stir their thoughts, creativity and help them develop their reading skills.
Children watch and learn. So if you have a book that you have wanted to read for a long time, this might be the perfect opportunity to sit with your child and read it while they read theirs. Teach your child how to navigate through a dictionary and develop the habit of looking through the dictionary whenever they do not understand a word.
This simple activity will not only help them develop an affinity for the written word but will also improve their vocabulary and their thought process.
8) Animal Yoga
While children may find yoga boring, you can teach them animal yoga which involves different animal postures. This activity ensures they get their daily dose of exercise and is also a fun activity. If you can make your children enjoy yoga as a kid, chances are high that they will pick it up as a regular practice as they grow.
9) Give Them Legos to Play With
Building different structures and figures help children develop many skills. It unfurls their creativity as they build new figures. They learn more about shapes, symmetry, and structures. It also teaches them about persistence as their figures fall and break, and they have to rebuild them again.
Once they complete building something, always make it a point to appreciate their work and ask them how they did it as it boosts their self-esteem, sense of accomplishment, and confidence.
10) Watch Children's Movies with Them
The reason that you are probably looking for a list of fun-filled activities for your children is that they are glued to TV screens. Instead of limiting screen time completely, our suggestion would be to manage it effectively.
Instead of letting them watch cartoons with very less or no value at all, choose family movies or children's movies that teach your child something. Sit with your child when they watch these movies and ask them what they understood and ask for their opinion.
It teaches them to have an opinion, keeps them entertained, teaches them life lessons, and while they watch the movies, you can also get some work done.
11) Hula Hooping
Hula hooping is a wonderful fun-filled activity that is also a great way of exercising. It is also a very impressive skill that children can flaunt in their social circles.
You can buy your kid their own hula hoop and help them learn how to master the skill through YouTube videos or online instructors. Once they get into the flow, encourage them to learn tricks and record them performing. It not only ensures they practice and become perfect, but they also become natural in front of the camera and are comfortable with performing.
Hula hooping can be so positively addictive that once your child learns the tricks you will find them playing with their hoop and learning new tricks very often.
12) Play Seven Squares with Them
You do not need to be out in the open to play this all-time favorite game. You can simply make these boxes with scotch tape on the floor and join your kid while they play. It will be a fun-filled activity for you as well as it will definitely bring back some fond memories from your own childhood, and you can share them with your child.
13) Balloon Volleyball
Make sure your ceiling fans are turned off for this one. Not only can your entire family participate in the game, but it will also ensure your child has a good time and gets all the exercise he or she needs.
14) Get Together for Family Games
Playing board games like Ludo, Chess, Carrom, Scrabble, and others can be another great way to have fun as a family. These games teach your children about sportsmanship and help them develop critical thinking skills as they strategize on how to win the game.
You can also engage your children by involving them in gardening. Even if you do not have the space for a garden, you can simply give your child a pot and a few seeds and teach them how to grow a plant. Once the plant turns into a sapling, it becomes your child's responsibility to take care of it. This simple activity will not only engage them also teach many skills and qualities that will be useful throughout their life.
These activities are filled with fun and, at the same time, help in your child's cognitive development in different ways. While you try your best to keep your child engaged so that you can meet your deadlines or complete household chores, it is vital to remember that you are not alone. There are many parents in the same boat as you, who are worried about their children.
Participate in activities with them when you can, help them learn something each day, and choose activities that also teach them something new. By doing all of this, you can very easily provide them with a fun environment when they stay indoors.