You cannot spend every day outdoors, and there are certainly more fun things to do for kids than just sitting around feeling bored. Here are 20 fun activities for kids at home during the school holidays.
Run a movie marathon
Who doesn't love a good movie? Shrek, Ice Age, Barbie, Star Wars, Lord Of The Rings, The Hobbit, Harry Potter, etc. The list for possible movies to watch with your kids is endless. And with streaming services such as Netflix, Stan, Foxtel and Disney+, it has never been easier.
Why not settle down in front of the TV with some awesome family flicks? Stay tuned for our upcoming Instagram post with recommendations for the best movies to watch with kids of various ages.
Run a reading marathon - a Readathon
A spin on the previous movie marathon but with books! Perfect for bookish families, or any family that wants to get into reading.
Reading is very beneficial for children because it helps them learn vocabulary and grammar; understand the world around them; build independence and become more academically successful in the future. In addition, it makes them more creative and imaginative.
You can create a competition where the person who reads the most within a certain time limit wins a prize.
If you’re not in a mood for competition, read a book together with the family and have a book club discussion about the story, characters or any interesting themes from the book.
Make some seasonal crafts and DIY
Have a holiday or birthday coming up? Why not make some cards or decorations together with your kids? Gather some coloured paper, glue, scissors, coloured markers and stickers and get crafting!
Crafting can improve a child’s concentration and ability to follow instructions. It can also help your child develop fine motor skills.
If you’re stuck for ideas on crafts for kids, check out this Pinterest Board.
Best Ideas For Seasonal Craft Projects for Kids
Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall; there's so much inspiration in the change of seasons.
Host a fashion show
Go through all the clothing that you and your kids have, come up with a few outfits and model them in the hall or living room! Sort through clothes to see which ones fit and which ones don’t, and discover some pieces that you can wear more often.
Plus, it can be lots of fun for the kids to strike funny poses and strut on a runway. You can even grab your camera and run a photoshoot after the show.
Learn touch typing
Touch typing is a useful skill to have nowadays. With technology playing such an essential role in our lives, it’s great to teach your kids to become tech pros from a young age. Start with these two free websites:
Jungle Junior is a fun, interactive touch typing game for kids. Watch videos and practice typing different letters. Kids can learn and practice their typing skills while learning the alphabet, so this resource is perfect for younger kids who are learning to read and write.
Dance Mat Typing is another superb resource for kids to try. Better for older kids who are well and truly familiar with the alphabet, this activity from BBC combines animals with funny voices and accents (and lots of puns!) as well as fun typing activities.
Learn a new language
Learning a new language has been proven to be extremely useful for kids. According to Language Kids, language learning improves problem-solving skills, boosts brainpower and helps kids learn and appreciate different cultures.
Resources like Duolingo and Memrise are free to start learning a new language (or practice one you are currently learning) with activities and vocabulary games for various levels.
Choose from languages like French, Spanish, Italian, German, Chinese, Russian and more.
For learning and practising English, Lingokids offers a free plan of 3 videos, games or songs per day. This interactive app can be downloaded on your phone or tablet and is designed specifically for kids 2 to 8 years old.
Mindsnacks also offers many apps for learning various languages through gameplay. Loved by kids and adults worldwide, these apps are free to download but come with paid upgrades.
Play board games or guessing games
Almost every family has at least one board game at home. Sit on the couch or floor and play a game of Monopoly, Scrabble, cards or any other game you’ve got.
Aside from board games, you can also try playing a guessing game. Pick a theme, for example, animals or cartoon characters. Then have a go at giving out clues and getting the other person/people to ask questions to guess your animal/character.
You can even come up with a unique spin to the game, for example, printing out images and playing a 'Guess Who?' style game.
Make your own game
If your kids are bored with the board games you have at home, or you have no board games at home, you can sit your kids down and create your own game! Be it a card game, or a race to a hidden treasure, let your kids’ imagination soar!
Check out this wikiHow article or this YouTube video below from the National Museum of Australia for ideas on how to create your own game.
You may even choose to make a video game and learn some coding and game design skills.
How to Make Your Own Video Game
Designing a video game is no small task, but if you have an idea that is too good not to make, there is no better time than now get started.
Complete a puzzle
Sit down on the floor or at the dinner or coffee table and complete a puzzle with your kids. If you don’t have a puzzle at home, there are some free online puzzles and games you can try as well, like these:
Online Jigsaw Puzzles is a website specifically for online jigsaw puzzles that you can solve for free. Pick an animal or nature puzzle or anything else from the many available on their site.
Lovatt’s Online Puzzles include sudoku, word search and other free games.
BBC’s CBeebies also have a variety of puzzle and colouring games available for free on their website.
Write your own story
Your imagination is the limit. Come up with a character or use a family member as a protagonist, then come up with an exciting story that they are a part of. Play a word game together to build the story, or let your kids brainstorm a plot for an exciting adventure or scary tale by themselves.
It can be in the form of a book, a script for a play or movie (that you can act out or film together as a family! Check out idea number 17) or any other form of storytelling you want to try.
Storytelling can improve your child’s imagination and let them use creative thinking, problem-solving and language skills while having fun.
Make a dollhouse or mini animal house
Have some mini toys or dolls at home? Grab a box, or find a spare cupboard where you can build them a little house or apartment.
You can use materials from around the house to make furniture like beds and chairs, or even little things like cutlery, plates and food that you can sculpt out of polymer clay (if you have some at home).
I used to make dollhouses and crafts a lot as a kid, and it was my favourite crafting activity. I once even made a mini washing machine for my dollhouse.
To try this activity with your kids, check out My Froggy Stuff on YouTube. They make lots of videos on doll crafts, which are entertaining to watch and have lots of great ideas.
Explore sensory art
Put on some tunes and let your kids' creativity loose! See what masterpieces they create with the help of music. You can put on several different songs and use different materials, from crayons to paint to markers. Display those works on your fridge or frame them to hang in your kids’ bedrooms.
An extra tip: divide your piece of paper into four parts, each part being a drawing for a different song. Then run the activity and discuss any similarities you see in the artworks with your kids. How did each song differ, and how did it show in the artwork? How did each song make you feel?
Let kids come up with collage ideas
Recycle old magazines and flyers and let your kids cut out interesting images and use them to create cool collages. Display those works on your fridge when they’re finished, or frame them to hang in your kids’ bedrooms.
Paints and markers can also be used to add more interest and colour to the collages. Consider adding some glitter for extra bling, but keep in mind things can get pretty messy when glitter’s around!
Draw your fantasy
Unicorns don't exist, but they can in your imagination and your drawings. Give your kids a piece of paper and a pack of pencils and let them draw their wildest dreams. A unicorn in space? Why not?
If your child is not much of a drawer, try colouring instead. There are lots of resources online, including free printables to use with your kids.
How to Draw a Cute Unicorn in a Few Easy Steps
Learn how to draw a cute unicorn. This step-by-step tutorial makes it easy. Kids and beginners alike can now draw a great looking cartoon unicorn.
Try the Japanese art of paper folding - origami. Research has shown that origami helps develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, and it also improves concentration. There are heaps of tutorials online for your family to try, like these here:
- Cute Monster Bookmark Origami
- Koala Face Origami (easy) and Origami Koala (not easy but a great challenge for older kids)
- Craft TV - Origami has lots of easy origami tutorials
- Origami Way - Simple Origami Instructions for Kids.
Run a cooking competition
Why not let your kids learn some useful cooking skills while having fun? Hold a Masterchef style cooking contest to see who can make the healthiest meal or the most mouth-watering dessert.
Cooking with kids can have lasting impacts on their healthy eating habits, their food preparation skills, independence and teamwork skills (when cooking together with others). Raising Children have some great tips for cooking with kids of various ages to make the best out of this activity.
Ready, Set, Action... Make a movie!
Do you have an aspiring actor in the family? Or do you want to simply act out your favourite story? You don't need incredible costumes or props, a fantastic location or professional equipment and editing software to make a movie at home. Just an idea and some excited people!
The iMovie app is free and easy to use on Apple devices. Kids can try their hand at editing and putting footage together to make a film. It's great fun too, with cool templates to edit and funky music to add to your movie.
This is an excellent activity to have fun as a family and make happy memories you can look back on in the future. So grab a camera and get acting!
Organise an indoor treasure or scavenger hunt
Before trying this activity, it's a good idea to familiarise yourself with the difference between a treasure hunt and a scavenger hunt.
In a treasure hunt, a set of clues guides you to find a specific item or 'treasure'. These clues can be presented at the start of the game or hidden around the house for players to find.
In a scavenger hunt, there are items in a list that must be found. The aim of the game is to 'scavenge' and find the most items within a time limit.
You can try to run your own treasure of scavenger hunt or mash the rules together to create your own special twist. The aim is not to play the game perfectly but to have some fun.
Give the kids' bedrooms a makeover
Move the bed, hang up a picture or photo, reorganise the desk, etc. - there are so many ways you can change up your child's room. Or you can just clean together with the kids.
Either activity can be made fun and the skills learnt can be useful later in life. It's excellent teaching your kids to be tidy and organised from an early age as it will improve their habits in future study, work and everyday life.
Consider putting on a movie or some music to make the process more enjoyable.
Plan for your next trip
With so many exciting places to visit with family, why not get planning for your next holidays or weekend together? Check out our extensive directory of activities, places to go and events.
Activities for families with kids of all abilities
The best choices for your kids. Find hot deals, exclusive offers, events, activities, and school holiday programs near you.
A quick tip: consider allowing each member of the family to choose one destination they want to visit in a particular location and try to create an itinerary with those places. You can map out your adventure, and teach the kids some vital geography skills.
If you enjoyed this article, share it with your friends and family, so more kids can have fun at home!
Any questions? Feel free to get in touch.
Cheers, and enjoy your holidays.