When you find yourself in a position where you have to stay home, things can go bad and spiral down quickly. Boost spirits and have some fun when you try these games to play when you’re bored at home.
There are times when you just have to stay home. As a parent with young kids, staying home can be harder than being able to go out in the community and follow a routine.
In fact, having to stay at home can almost feel unbearable for parents with kids who are bouncing off the walls and yet complaining that they are bored. Especially when you’re talking about staying home for long periods of time (like social distancing).
What’s a parent to do?
I’ve been there. I understand just how hard days like that can be! So we came up with a list of ideas of games you can play when you’re bored and need to stick close to home for longer periods of time.
Ideas for Kids: Games to Play When Bored at Home
This list is focused mainly on games you can play with your kids while you’re social distancing. Think of this as games to play in real life when you need to add a little brightness to a tough day or while taking walks.
Have you seen this game that’s all over social media? It was inspired by the adorable children's book We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury, which tells the story of a family adventure of overcoming obstacles during their search for a bear.
How to play:
This is a way to add adventure and keep kids engaged as you go on your daily walk to get outside. Do you have NextDoor, Facebook or some other way to contact a bunch of neighbors? Issue an invitation to put a stuffed bear in a window, on a porch, or in the yard.
Then think of Bear Hunt as an in-person game of I-Spy or a scavenger hunt. Go for a walk through your neighborhood and look for stuffed bears in the windows as you pass by. Count how many you see; keep track of the different types or colors of bears that you find.
Here’s another top game to play when bored at home. Turn your “bear hunt” into a neighborhood “Zoo”. Issue and invitation and this time specify that it can be a bear, glass fish, cement deer, or ANY animal to put on display.
Homes can display any animals they want or create new, fun ones. While taking your walks encourage kids to search for them.
Once you and your kids find them, here what you can do with them:
- Make a list of what you find
- Suggest names for them
- Use them to stir the imagination to make their own new animal
Take Theme Pictures
Choose a theme for your walk. Then let kids use phones or cameras to take pictures of items fitting your theme on your walks. Take pictures in the yard, around the neighborhood, and in the house.
Display them online. You could even add them to Facebook or Instagram. Encourage friends to vote on the:
- Most awesome
- Most colorful
- Anything else
Some theme ideas include:
- Nature pics
- Spring is popping pics
- Pet pics
- “What is this object” pics
- All things blue, etc
- Anything else
Chalk Your Walk
Here's another fun idea of games to play when bored at home. While it may not be an inside game, it is social distancing approved.
Use sidewalk chalk to draw or leave encouraging messages all over the neighborhood. So childlike and so perfectly uplifting, and just what everyone needs right now.
While it may not immediately seem like a game to play when bored, it is definitely a fun activity that can help encourage imagination in kids as they come up with things to say.
This is a time when, now more than any other time in our lives, others need help. Because of that, it’s a really good time to focus the kids, and ourselves, on the needs of others.
- Are there elderly or infirm neighbors they can think about and consider ways of helping?
- Are there people who are alone or who have suffered a loss who might enjoy a balloon bouquet tied to their mailbox?
- Could someone use a little help getting a chore or errand done?
- Or just get an email or colorful message cutout taped to a window with a “thinking of you” note.
- Send a large hand-colored “card” or a video to a grandparent or other loved one.
People need a little extra cheering up as well as some real help. Take a little time to help and think of others. Not only does it help those who need help, but it also teaches our kids to think of and be of service to others.
Create a neighborhood story using sidewalk chalk!
Someone starts a storyline and leaves it unfinished. Each person adds a little bit. It almost always turns out to be silly and fun – just what everyone needs right now.
This activity can be interesting and fun for all if neighbors of all ages get in on the game. So join in!
Games to Play When Bored: Play Telephone
Remember that classic kids game called “Telephone” where one kid whispers something to another kid and that kid passes it on to another and so on until you reach the end of the line. The last kiddo to receive the message says out loud what they heard for the whole group to hear. It’s usually VERY different from the original message and VERY FUNNY!
Here’s a social distancing version that’s just as fun:
Same idea but this time it’s actually on the phone. Whisper something to another, pass it on to 10-12 people and see what the last person understands the message to be.
Fantastic Resource! Amazon Audible
Audible is Amazon's audiobook subscription. Right now they are helping parents everywhere by offering a HUGE number of free and discounted children’s books. Audiobooks are perfect for listening to when bored – or even doing a puzzle! You can download the app for free and then search 1000s of titles to download. Check it out!
Make decorations out of anything – let your imagination go wild. Hang them on front yard trees, light posts, porch rails, even a stick poked into the ground. This provides something fun to look at when you’re out walking.
Let kids use washable paint or window markers to decorate your windows. They can display art or messages they want others to see. They can also turn your windows into “stained glass” works of art.
Maybe some neighbors would like to share their guitar, cello, flute or bagpipe talents from their porches during happy hour, or any time. Try putting the idea out on Nextdoor or through Facebook friends. You could even turn this into a sing-a-long.
More Help For Social-Distancing:
Online Fashion Show
Have an online fashion show for your kids. young kid fashion show. It could involve:
- dressing up in Mom’s clothes
- doing superheroes or other character costumes
- dressing up like famous people
- each kid putting together what makes him or her feel great.
Take pics and share with their friends or the whole neighborhood.
Get kids involved in the spring activity of planning and creating a garden! Have them help to decide what to grow and where to grow it (considering light, water, drainage, heat, and other factors).
Young or older, large garden or small, kids can help make the choices and begin preparing the soil. The physical labor makes for busy, tired kids and a good night's sleep (my goal every single day!).
Let kids start a neighborhood online newsletter. Ok, this may not exactly be a game to play when bored, but it’s definitely a fun activity to do when bored.
This will let them practice their writing, organizing, researching, computer, and other skills. This might also help them make new friends and keep up with others in the neighborhood.
Think of some way, even if it’s very small, to thank the people who are keeping our community going during a really difficult time.
With care to avoid passing on any germs, leave a cheerful note of gratitude where the mail carrier or trash collector can see it. Can you think of some way to thank the police officers, doctors, and nurses? Make a big, big banner to hang in a really visible place?
Maybe even thank the grocery store and restaurant workers for being there to help others.
This is another way of thinking of others and the risk they are taking as well as the sacrifices they are making.
Final Thoughts on Games to Play When Bored at Home
When you’re trying to come up with games to play when your kids are bored at home, I hope this list of ideas helps you. While not every single activity may seem like a game at first, almost any activity can be fun and educational or helping others.
Tell us in the comments: What other ideas have you seen or heard about others doing? What would you like to see in your own neighborhood?
Pin for Later:
More From Made in a Pinch:
- 75+ Fun Things to do With Kids at Home (updated for self-isolation)
- The 28 Best Podcasts For Kids That Parents Will Love Too
- 5 Simple family activities to get and stay healthy