Parents & Children: Time at Home, Activities Galore

Parents & Children: Time at Home, Activities Galore
Page content

The thing we love about children is their exuberance.  But when they are forced to stay home or consequences keep them indoors, parents begin to look for outlets for their energy.  This article has ideas to engage children, kids or teens. Some of them are easy, breezy and some events require a little more planning or set-up.  Whatever your situation, take the time to read through the various types of entertainment and see what you can muster. Most of these games or activities require little equipment or things you would normally have at home.

Games and Contests:

Ping Pong Blow

This is a fun event when a group is sitting around the kitchen table or any other generous table for that matter.  Divide up the players evenly on opposite sides. The teams can sit or kneel. Players keep their hands behind their back.  A Ping-Pong ball is dropped in the middle of the table by a leader or nonplayer. Players are instructed to blow the ball across the table and off the edge of the other side, scoring a point for their team.  All balls going off the end of the table are put back into play at the middle of the table once again. Try for a score of 21 points. To switch it up, change team members; and to make it different, use straws for blowing.

Map It Out

This is a great exercise in observing.  A large map (or multiple maps of the same city) are available for players plus pencils.  If you have a crowd or other best friends, designate a team captain for opposing players.  The leader or parent calls out the name of a city. The group or player hunts for it on the map.  When found, the team captain or individual player must draw a circle around the city and raise his or her pencil high in the air.  Obviously, the first hand to go up with the correct spot wins a point. Think about using a map of the world for a more difficult challenge.

Matchbox Cram

If kids are knocking around the house, put that to use with this activity.  Each person gets an empty matchbox. The object of this game is to fill the matchbox with the most items.  Set a timer for like 15 minutes or so and dispatch players to collect tiny items. These items can be things such as, paper clips, safety pins, rice kernels, dried beans, tacks, the backs of earrings and so on.  No article may be used more than once. At the end of time, the items are counted. You may want to declare certain areas off limits and set up a penalty for torn boxes. 

Who is This?

This takes some preparation, but it is well worth it.  Cut photographs of well-known people from newspapers, magazines or download jpegs from the Internet.  Number them first and either paste them on posterboard or just pin them up with straight pins or tacks.  Even with all-things-popular going viral, sometimes it is harder to recognize people out of context. Anyway, let children or teens write down the numbers followed by the characters’ names, and see just who in the family is world-savvy.  This can be as easy or difficult as you wish depending on whether they are celebrities, world leaders, or the more obscure.

Internet Amusements:


Download coloring books from major museums across the country and the world.  There is an Internet site called, #ColorOurCollections presented by The New York Academy of Medicine, that features many museums from all over the world, highlighting the works they hold.  You are free to download, print and create coloring treasures. Find it HERE:

Google Arts & Culture

Visit over 200 museums from around the world and look at the masterpieces and collections held.  There is no parking, no entry fee, and exploring only involves time. If you have an artist at home or someone who loves museum treasure, this is the site.  Find it HERE:

New York Times Writing Prompts

Students who are writing or thinking about journalism will find free writing prompts from The Learning Network each week.  Parents or teachers can also attend two free webinars tomorrow, Wednesday, March 18, to learn more about how to get started.  Students will create an account and receive prompts on Times articles including photographs, illustration and graphs on a wide variety of current issues.  This is completely free although students must be 13 years or older. Find out more HERE:

Khan Academy

Remote learning is available from Khan Academy—the premier lesson and search site for students.  They will be providing a Parent Quick Start Guide that will enable you to get started in supporting your child’s learning at Khan Academy and to learn about Course Mastery; and it will enable you to follow your child’s progress.  Find the Parent set up pages HERE


Try the zoo webcams across the country.  From the Smithsonian National Zoo, to the wonderful San Diego Zoo and many others such as: Houston, Memphis, Kansas, Maryland and more.  Set them up on your home computer and children can observe the Lion Cam, the Giant Panda Cam, the Elephant Cam, African Penguins, Monkeys and more.  Type in individual zoo names and live cams or webcams will be listed.


Campbell, Andrea. Great Games for Great Parties. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., 1991, 1992. Book. 

    Perfect Party Games. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., 2001. Book.


Google Arts & Culture

Khan Academy

Zoos: this is San Diego

Feature Photo