The great indoors: Bring camping fun inside and other fun tips to keep kids entertained
Crafts, science experiments, YouTube channels and more to keep kids entertained all day
Parents across Ontario are scrambling for ways to keep kids busy and entertained while they’re stuck at home for the next few weeks — at least. We’ve got your back with a growing list of great ideas, from science experiments you can do with stuff found around the house to YouTube channels that you won’t feel guilty switching on.
– Turn snack-time into an activity by having your kids help make these easy no-bake snack bars.
– Enjoy homemade bread simple enough for kids to help with using just a few simple ingredients.
– Have the kids make their own treats with these no-bake cookies and cream bars.
– Salute the warm weather and break out the popsicle molds to make fun frozen treats like these easy jello ice pops.
– Enjoy easy, three-ingredient Nutella brownies.
– Bring back taco Tuesdays with a new twist with easy Taco Pizzas.
– Have kids create their own toy with homemade fluffy slime.
-Set up a topping bar and let kids get creative with easy homemade pizzas on french bread, hamburger buns, pitas or whatever you have on hand!
– Let kids get hands on at snack time with peanut butter banana quesadillas.
-Get kids ready for a mother’s day breakfast in bed with this easy toast cupsrecipe.
-Can’t get out to the campground? No problem. Forget the campfire and craft some delicious indoor s’mores at home.
GAMES AND ACTIVITIES
– Make an obstacle course in the house or outside. Try masking tape on the floor or chalk marks outside to mark the course, and use things you have on hand for obstacles. Jump over a pillow or wind your way around cans of soup. Hula hoops, pool noodles, buckets, balloons, there’s no limit to what you can use. This website and this video have some fun ideas.
– Did you know your kids can play games with Amazon Alexa devices and Google Home devices? Trivia games, choose your own adventure games, classics like Mad Libs. There are tons. Here’s a list of some Alexa options and some for Google.
– Many GTA seed producers offer seeds than can be delivered to your door. Get your garden started indoors, then move it to a balcony or backyard as the weather warms up. Check out websites like Richter’s Herbs, Urban Harvest and The Incredible Seed
– Going to the grocery store is a little scary these days — what about making your own store at home? Grab some spare change out of the piggy banks or use Monopoly money. Stock your shelves with play food or make some out of construction paper. Add prices to things and let your kids shop with baskets or buckets. A great way to sneak in some counting and money math.
-Bring the great outdoors indoors with a viewing of the Northern Lights.
-Have fun, get outside and get active by colouring fun chalk obstacle courseson the sidewalk for the whole neighbourhood to enjoy.
-Enjoy some delicious STEM learning with a marshmallow toothpick building challenge.
– The weather may be warming up outside but you can still craft your own snowman with homemade Snow Fluff.
– Make numbers fun with an easy to create and easy to play Dice Game.
– Hone that hand-eye coordination from the comfort of your own home with a fun, easy target practice set up
– Grab some small toy dinosaurs, put them in a container of water, add a few drops of food colouring and pop it in the freezer for about 12 hours. Once your ice is ready, let the kids chisel away
– From volcanoes to bath fizzies to sneaker peekers, there’s lots of fun at home activities you can do with baking soda.
-Help reinforce letter learning with fun alphabet bingo.
– Make your own kids foosball table.
-Set up a tent and create your own indoor camping experience.
EASY SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS
– Melting ice with salt. If you have water, a freezer, food colouring and salt you can do this simple experiment that teaches kids about how salt dissolves in water, adding ions that increase the temperature at which the water could re-freeze.
– Learn how the veins in leaves draw up water and nutrients with this experiment that requires leaves, water and food colouring. You can also use flowers or celery.
– The baking soda volcano is an absolute classic – and for good reason. Make your volcano in an empty jar or pop bottle, or get more elaborate and construct one out of play doh or aluminum foil All you need for the eruption is baking soda and vinegar, but you can also add dish soap for extra foam and food colouring for a more realistic lava.
– Turn a couple of empty pop bottles into a turbulent twister with this easy at-home experiment.
– Animate a simple drawing using water and dry erase markers.
– Create your own groovy lava lamp.
– Learn about the weather by creating a storm in a glass.
– Create a colourful rainbow using Skittles.
-Explore pressure and chemical reactions with a controlled Explosion in a bag.
– Keep dino lovers engaged with make-your-own fossils.
– Take paper airplanes to the next level with paper hovercrafts.
– Learn about the water cycle by making your very own storm jar.
– Learn about the science of blue lights with fun blue light beverages.
-Get hands on while learning about geology with your very own squeeze box.
-Examine ratios and textures while learning about food science to make your own marshmallows.
– All you need to make these beautiful nebula jars is some paint, glitter, cotton balls and an empty jar with a lid. Mashing up all the cotton is super fun for kids and watching the glitter float through the jar after is calming
– Did you know you can paint with Lego? Neither did we! Grab a few pieces — smaller ones work best — dip them in some paint and stamp the brick design on paper. Kids of any age can make neat looking patterns and don’t worry, it washes off easily
– Put that toilet paper hoard to good use by turning empty rolls into fire breathing dragons.
– Had to cancel that tropical vacation? Ramp up the beach vibes at home with a paper plate jellyfish craft.
– Most kids have tons of rocks lying around. You can make them into adorable bugs to decorate your spring garden.
– Cookie cutter bird feeders are super easy and will attract feathered friends to your yard for the kids to watch
– Enjoy a practical craft that kids can put to good use with DIY paper kites.
– Enjoy the beauty of spring with cotton ball cherry blossom painting.
– Painting with forks is a technique that creates cool textures and lines. Make animals, fireworks, flowers — there are tons of possibilities. We tired lions and chicks. This website has some great suggestions.
-Dust off those Dr. Seuss books and read and play with a variety of Dr. Seuss-themed crafts.
– Enjoy a DIY puppet show with clothes pin puppets.
– Enjoy creative fun with homemade paper spinners.
– Enjoy all the fun of finger painting with none of the mess with Rainbow in a bag.
– Have a couple empty cardboard boxes laying around? Fire up the imagination by creating a mailbox for hours of imaginative play.
– Create beautiful surface tension art with paint, water and dish soap.
– Make reading time fun with easy, printable origami bookmarks.
–Fingerprint art is an easy, minimal mess activity that makes adorable keepsake art.
-Celebrate the great outdoors with a variety of fun camping crafts.
YOUTUBE CHANNELS TO CHECK OUT
Dozens of videos that lead kids through fun yoga routines based on popular characters, books and movies including Frozen, Pokemon, Star Wars and Harry Potter.
Short videos that teach kids reading, math and science while incorporating movement, dancing and fitness. Get fit while counting by fives or play freeze dance with rhyming words.
Songs and nursery rhymes for toddlers and young kids with lots of active participation. Everything from the Hokey Pokey, to the Funky Monkey Dance. Most of the videos are short, great for a quick brain break.
The zoo may be closed for now, but the Youtube channel is packed with videos and playlists that are educational, interesting and adorable. Watch a polar bear cub take its first steps, see a hippo get its tooth trimmed or cheer for penguin chicks learning to swim.
Enjoy popular children’s stories read by celebrities.
Join professor Doc Binocs for a series of entertaining educational cartoons covering a wide variety of topics from thirst to magnets to gravity.
Join the Smithsonian as they explore different projects and topics across America, from Sea Turtle Rescue to the Bayou ecosystem.
Choose from a wide range of topics and get an in-depth crash course with video tutorials.
A collection of videos to help empower young people.
Get a peek behind the scenes at The Field Museum in Chicago.
Learn something new every day with fun videos on a variety of science topics.
Add some fun to storytime with Dr. Seuss’s classic childrens stories set to modern beats.
This fluffy friend helps kids learn emotional literacy.
Let the Kiboomers Kids Music Channel lead you through an at-home campfire singalong, sans campfire.
EDUCATIONAL WEBSITES AND APPS
– Head to Scholastic for a variety of educational units on fun, age-appropriate topics including seasons, dinosaurs, baby animals and more.
– Educational app Epic! offers a digital library of more than 35,000 books, learnng videos, quizzes and more for school-age children. They are now offering one month of free access.
– Outschool offers live online classes for ages three to 18 via video chat. There are more than 10,000 classes in everything from life skills and math to science and social studies. Cost for classes ranges from $5 US for some one-time classes to $220 US for a 29-lesson, college level calculus class.
– The National Geographic Kids website has free videos, games, quizzes and weird but true facts about animals, science and history. Build your own telescope, check out photos of strange birds, take a shark quiz or play a game that lets you become a master code breaker.
– Enjoy a new experience virtually, from an under the sea adventure to an African safari, with the collection of live cam footage at www.explore.org.
– Find colouring pages, printables, games, activities, crafts and more at www.pbs.org.
– With videos, projects, and activities covering subjects from math to health to science, there’s something for every child on www.brainpop.com.
– For curious kids who want to learn more about current events try www.dogonews.com, which offers simplified, kid-friendly articles on everyday events, including the Coronavirus.
– Turn STEM time into question time with www.howstuffworks.com, with answers to every mechanical question your child can ask.
-Get those little would-be astronauts excited as they learn about space from the pros with the Nasa Kids Club.
-Make math learning fun with Cool Math Games.
– Do fun science exploration at home with experiments, guides and more from Science Bob.
– Work out those brain muscles with fun educational games at www.starfall.com.
– Help develop math, literacy and learning skills with fun games at www.funbrain.com.
– Get hands on with learning at www.agnitus.com, where kids can trace numbers, learn about size relationships, read books and more.
-Build a lesson around any existing Ted Talk at Ted Ed.
– Find fun science activities and more at www.exploratorium.edu.
-Promote a greater understand of Earth, animals and nature at www.childrenoftheearth.org.