10 Simple, Easy Activities to do with Kids

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Homeschool Helper

One of my biggest challenges as a homeschool mom (who now works from home full-time as well) is providing adequate supervision for my three boys. The best solution I have come up with is to employ one of my older girls as a homeschool helper. The homeschool helper has to keep the boys safe and occupied for about an hour.

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Girl and boy playing with Play-doh. Play-doh is one of our favorite easy activities to do with kids.
Even our big kids get into making stuff with Play-doh.

I typically require each girl to watch the boys once or twice a week, depending on their school work load. The girls enjoy special privileges like later bedtimes, and more freedom, so it is reasonable that they should have more responsibility than their brothers (who are all under age 10 currently).

Our boys love when their sisters play with them and spend time doing fun things with them! I love this plan because I know that the boys won’t get into anything too dangerous while their sister is with them.

@dinkumtribe Did you ever experiment with a magnifying glass and lighting paper or leaves on fire?@dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe #HomeschoolScience #MagnifyingGlass #ScienceExperiment #HomeScienceExperiment #DryLeaves #KidsExplore #HowKidsLearnBest #ExperientialLearning #HomeschoolFamily #HomeschoolKids ♬ Legends Are Made – Sam Tinnesz

I also love it because it saves me the brainpower of coming up with new activities for the boys all the time.

Appaloosa’s Activity Suggestions

My youngest daughter, Appaloosa, has become an expert on keeping her brothers happily entertained. In the rest of this post, she shares ten of her favorite ideas for keeping younger kids occupied. We are certain that babysitters and older siblings will find these easy activities to do with kids helpful!

Girl holding LEGO heart. Doing LEGO challenges, like building a heart, is one of the easy activities to do with kids.

Here’s her easy activities to do with kids:

“I have three younger brothers, and nine times out of ten, if they’re bored, they fight. And that normally includes hitting, yelling and wrecking the house. At this point, I am normally asked to play with them, so over the years I have come up with some ideas for keeping them happy. Hopefully these will be helpful and fun.

Note: most of these easy activities to do with kids are for older siblings to do to keep their brothers/ sisters happy.

1. Paper Airplanes

My brothers LOVE paper airplanes. A couple weeks ago I made a paper airplane for my youngest brother. In a couple of minutes the other two wanted me to make them some.

This activity is really easy because you can just put out colored paper and maybe markers and then fold! I think most adults know how to make a paper airplane, and if you don’t there’s always YouTube.

Your kids can decorate them with markers and name them and make lots of different kinds. I promise your kids (or brothers) will love them!

2. Puppets

Stick puppet shows are super easy activities to do with kids. All you need for this one is glue sticks, construction paper, popsicle sticks and scissors. If you have scissors with fancy edges those would work well too.

Just cut some construction paper into an oval, and cut out and decorate eyes, mouths, teeth, noses, etc. and glue them on. Glue or tape a popsicle stick to the back, and you have a puppet. If you want you can add googly eyes or ribbons to make it fun.

To make a puppet theater, set up two chairs back to back and drape a blanket half over them.

3. Rescue Team

This activity is something I kind of made up. If your kids/brothers have stuffed animals or even just toys this will work.

Take one toy from each boy and have them go to their room. Then,  tape it to something or tie it up, and hide it. Call them out and tell them what room or floor it’s on. Then watch them find and rescue their toy.

stuffed animal tapes to door. Stuffie Rescue is a favorite easy activity to do with kids.
Stuffed dragon taped to door waiting to be rescued

Every level I like to add to the number of toys I hide, or put them in elaborately dangerous situations. My brothers really like this game because they get to rescue something.

boy taking stuffed dragon off door.
Found it!

4. Elephant gifts

This is a messy but cheap activity. Normally in “white elephant gifts” you buy a gift to play the game, but we just use items from around the house.

Each player picks an item and someone starts the timer for three minutes. The goal of the game is to give the gift that is hardest to unwrap, so in those three minutes, wrap your gift as efficiently as possible. It doesn’t have to look good, it just has to be hard to open.

When the timer rings, everyone swaps their gifts and starts opening. Whoever wins gets to keep the item for half an hour. 

@dinkumtribe Plastic dinosaurs are another great option for pretend play. Kids can practice social skills, classification and creative thinking. @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe #preschoolactivities #preschoolathomeactivities #steamactivities #steamactivitiesforkids #stemlearning #homeschoolfamily #homeschoolactivities #homeschoollearning #openendedtoys #openendedplay ♬ Dinosaur Song – Blippi

5. Make a Magic Potion

All you need is water, a big bowl, and assorted household powders and liquids.[Note from Mom: get permission from an adult before using any household powders and liquids!] Such as: dish soap, baking powder, leaves, blueberries, dirt and maybe some food coloring.

Then just give them a spatula and watch the wizards work. Make sure to wave your arms, say abracadabra, and make sure they don’t drink it!

6. Secret Codes

Write down the alphabet, and then scramble it. A equals R, B equals K, however you want. Then, if you have a boy who can read, give him the key, and write him a message in code! He can teach them all the code and they can write each other messages in it! So easy, and your kids/brothers get to be spies!

7. LEGO Challenges

Zoo for the dinosaurs made out of LEGO Duplos. LEGO challenges, like building a zoo, are easy activities for kids of all ages.

My brothers love LEGOs, so I decided I would give them challenges. For example: make an Elf; make a cake; Make a giraffe. Anything that I think will get them to use their creativity.

There are also lots of websites with LEGO challenge cards if you can’t think of any ideas.

8. Play-Doh

@dinkumtribe Fun and easy activity for kids. #marblerunchallenge #playdohactivity #playdoughcreations #playdoughactivities #preschoolactivity #preschoolathome #homeschoolmomsoftiktok #preschoolactivities #marblefun #preschoolparents #homeschoolkids #homeschoolingactivity #easyscienceexperiment #easyscienceontiktok #adhdfamilytravel #familytravelcreator #familytraveltiktoker #oregonfamily #pnwfamily #pnwfamilies #oregonfamilies #familytravelvlog #familytravelblog #familytravelblogger #familytravelvlogger #familytravelinfluencer #travelwithkids ♬ Rugrats Theme (From "Rugrats") – Just Kids

Play-Doh can be messy, but you can do variations. Some ideas are: play restaurant, have them make a specific food, or make statues.

Play-doh hot dog and hamburger. Easy activities to do with kids
Almost looks good enough to eat.

Everyone loves Play-Doh, and you kinda want to collect ALL the colors and play with them forever (not that I’ve ever felt like that)! Whatever you use Play-Doh for, be sure to set aside at least 20 minutes for cleanup.

9. Fort. Really!

Grab some pillows, and fuzzy blankets, and a couple chairs, and just build something. It can be a simple (structurally unsound) lean-to, or it can be a huge, elaborate tent.

I recommend finding something like a dresser or a bunk bed to build off of. It makes it a lot easier.

So far we have had a couple ancient temples, a labyrinth, hundreds of rebel forts, and many secret labs/lairs.

fort building frame with three boys inside. Easy activities to do with kids.
Fort-building frame set.

(Note from Mom: we have also used this fort-building set, as well as play tents and leftover Costco boxes. By far, the most popular option is still the pillows-and-blankets fort Appaloosa suggests here!)

Rocket play tent. Using a play tent or creating a blanket fort are favorite, easy activities to do with kids.
Rocket play tent

10. Pretend

This hits the top of our list because this is the FAVORITE activity for all three brothers/tornadoes. Seriously. All you need to do is literally imagine. Then just go with it.

@dinkumtribe Boys finding creative uses for bookshelves… @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe #openendedplay #favoritememories #imagination #imaginativeplay #imagineering #pretendplay #kidspretendplay #creativekids ♬ original sound – DinkumTribe ADHD family travel

Some of their favorite stories are: Bears, Dragons (any kind!), Superheroes, Tigers and Jaguars, Dinos, Super Spies, Zombies or Vampires, Wolves, Policemen/Firefighters, Pilots, Scientists and anything that they see on TV.

We also often use sticks, bottles, wood cookies and anything we find around for props. After all, it’s not junk if it’s full of magic potion. 

That’s all folks!

So these are my ten best, easy activities to do with kids. Good luck entertaining your brothers/ sisters! Also please comment if these activities work.”

                     -Appaloosa

© Copyright 2022 Appaloosa and Dinkum Tribe. All rights reserved.

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Comments

  1. I love how some things never get old and are timeless! Fort-building and potions were two of my favorite activities as a kid 🙂 This is a great list!

    1. Yes, there’s a good mix of classic and new ideas here. I’m still chuckling at how the expensive toys are not preferred over the basic cardboard boxes!

  2. I love all of these ideas! We have my 11 year old home right now remote learning until we find him a new school — he gets so bored when his remote work is done and I hate to put screens on for him. I think I’m going to try the paper airplane idea right now.

  3. Another homeschooling mom here and works from home part-time. My 12 year old son keeps his little sister entertained for an hour. They do painting, fort building, and some of your daughter’s ideas too. I will be looking into the secret codes since they like role playing too. 😊 Thanks for these kids activity ideas!

    1. There’s a story about that – I once got a white elephant gift wrapped in dozens of layers of plastic wrap. It took me a full 15 minutes to unwrap it!

      1. We do a version of the elephant gift at Christmas before opening the main gifts. The adults put together a ball of plastic wrap with random coins, a few bills, candy, and whatever small trinkets we can find around the house all layered in. (Make sure to use multiple pieces of plastic wrap; otherwise it’s all over too quickly.) There’s one pair of dice which gets passed around until someone rolls doubles. Once they do, they put on a pair of oven mitts and do their best to unwrap as much of the ball as they can. They get to keep whatever falls out. Meanwhile, the dice continues to be passed around until someone else rolls doubles, at which point they get the oven mitts and start unwrapping. It’s always a hoot! For younger kids, you could modify, maybe by not using the oven mitts or setting a timer instead of passing dice.

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