We’ve all been there. Whether it’s family turning up unannounced or a last-minute change of plan leaving you completely unprepared with little ones to entertain. Finding something to keep everyone occupied can be tough- especially for a range of different ages and abilities. Trying to come up with ideas at the last minute means added stress; creating a recipe for disaster! Luckily, with just a few ideas up your sleeve, you can rescue the day by producing an engaging activity that everyone will enjoy.
1. Have a Game of Kickball
Ensuring kids get the right amount of physical activity each day can be a challenge in itself. Having a game of kickball burns a lot of energy and improves mood as fresh air is good for the soul!
Learn More: PhysEdGames
2. Make Your Own Ice Cream
Who doesn’t love ice cream? This recipe calls for simple ingredients and strangely, a bag to store it in! Pick your perfect time to enjoy this sweet treat; either at the end of the day or to reward the kids for hard work.
Learn More: 2 Little Hooligans
3. Host a Family Game Night
It’s not always possible to plan activities in advance so Happy Mom Hacks have come up with some brilliant, simple ideas for a game night. This works great as a reward for good work and can be something for kids to look forward to. Don’t forget the snacks and drinks too!
Learn More: Happy Mom Hacks
4. Create Your Own Scavenger Hunt
Kids love nothing more than a scavenger hunt. This is an awesome activity to encourage creativity and is something the entire family can get involved with! Design your own or use this free printable download if you are pushed for time.
Learn More: The Holderness Family
5. Handprint Drawing Tutorial
These sweet dinosaurs are so simple to create by using just your hand! Parents of children can get involved too and make their own bigger dinosaurs. Experiment with different designs and colors and get as creative as you wish.
Learn More: Artistro
6. Make Paper Dolls
These sweet paper dolls have been one of the top creative activities for children for many years. Simply use scissors to cut the basic shape and add as much decoration as you wish!
Learn More: Happy Hooligans
7. Video Game Night
This would work really well for youth group ideas. Kids love getting together to play a game, and you can make it extra competitive by adding a prize for your overall winner and the most improved by the end of the session!
Learn More: Shannon’s Thoughts
8. Lawn Games
By setting out a few simple yard games you can keep kids entertained for hours. Hello Little Home has compiled a list of 20 fun DIY yard games, so take your pick, and enjoy!
Learn More: Hello Little Home
9. Cardboard Box Small Word Play
This is so simple and requires hardly any prep time at all. Simply get your cardboard, and a pen and go! To make this bigger you will need a piece of tape to secure two sheets together.
Learn More: Learning and Exploring Through Play
10. Balloon Tennis
For this fun activity, you will need some paper plates, popsicle sticks, and balloons. Kids will need to try to keep their balloons in the air with their DIY tennis racquets.
Learn More: Glitter on a Dime
11. Fishbowl Game
A mixture of Charades, Password, and Taboo. This is a great youth group idea and works well as a confidence booster for shy kids. There are two teams and each team has to try and guess the other team’s words using a variety of different techniques!
Learn More: Fun-Attic
12. Lego Charades
There are tons of fun ideas out there that involve Lego, but these free printable Lego Charade cards are amazing for a quick activity to keep kids entertained and challenged. All you need is some Lego and a competitive spirit!
Learn More: Adventure in a Box
13. Keep it Up
In this great physical activity, give each child a balloon and challenge them to keep their hands behind their back. Whoever keeps their balloon off the ground the longest wins. For an added challenge, ask them to hop on one foot as well!
Learn More: Kid Friendly Things To Do
14. Cereal Puzzle
Chop up a cereal packet into jigsaw shapes pieces and scramble up. Clock time to see who can complete the puzzle the fastest. Use a variety of recycled materials to keep your kiddies interested!
Learn More: Artzy Creations
15. Create a Boredom Buster Jar
Ask everyone to write down a favorite activity on a popsicle stick; whether it’s indoor or outdoor. Pop into a jar and next time you have a spare 5 minutes, pick an activity out of the jar! You could also write down your favorite books for a peaceful quiet time activity.
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16. Paper Fortune Tellers
Kids love making these! All you need is paper, scissors, and colored pens. Follow the instructions below and let them amaze their friends and family with their fortune-telling skills.
Learn More: Easy Crafts for Kids
17. Board Games Afternoon
Perfect for a quick idea that everyone can get involved with. If turn-taking is an issue, practice those skills and praise each child for waiting their turn and joining in with the game. The winner chooses the next game you play!
Learn More: The Evil Mommy
18. Make Your Own Play-Doh
This homemade Play-Doh recipe is long-lasting when kept in an air-tight container. It’s perfect to quickly grab for a fun activity. Add in shapes and stencils as well as appropriate tools to develop those fine motor skills.
Learn More: Living Well Mom
19. Parrot Craft
This is an adorable addition to any learning space! You can use a colored card or recycled materials to make your parrot. Kids will love getting creative and will enjoy this simple activity.
Learn More: I Heart Crafty Things
20. Origami Paper Butterflies
Origami can be complicated, but these sweet butterflies are easy to make and a great idea to fill time using minimum resources. Simply follow the instructions in the video to create your own little butterflies!
Learn More: PPO
21. Roll the Dice
Physical activity is so important for kids and this roll-the-dice activity is perfect to get their little bodies moving and grooving. All you need is a die and some space to move around in. Let’s see what you roll!
Learn More: Hey, Let’s Make Stuff!
22. Learn Yoga
Cosmic Kids Yoga videos are incredible for kids, teaching them basic yoga positions as well as being fun and engaging too. As well as being good for the body, practicing yoga teaches mindfulness.
Learn More: Cosmic Kids Yoga
23. Math Twister Game
It’s always a good idea to sneak in extra math practice, and this Twister activity does just that! Colorful and engaging, it is quick and easy to set up and is sure to be enjoyed by all!
Learn More: Math Twister Game