When the whole family’s staying in, it can feel overwhelming to try to come up with activities and projects to do together - but thankfully, there are many fun ways to keep everybody entertained and happy that don’t require tons of planning.
Whether you’re spending a snowy weekend by the fire, or need to stay inside due to health and safety reasons, here are some of our favorite things to do with family at home.
FUN WITH FOOD
Cooking with family is a great way to not just prepare a delicious meal, but also spend some quality time together. Get the chance to learn about preparation techniques and practice teamwork by having a little fun with food!
1. Enjoy an indoor picnic.
When spending an afternoon outside isn’t an option, lay out a large blanket and have yourself an indoor picnic. Crusty bread with butter and jam makes a picnic staple, and if you’re really able to get fancy, you can enjoy a cheese plate and charcuterie, too! Kids and adults alike will love the classic “ants on a log” recipe: celery sticks spread with nut butter and raisins for the “ants.”
2. Host a tea party.
You don’t need fancy china to have a tea party with your family! Steep some tea bags into your favorite mugs and gather around the table. Little finger sandwiches make a great, late tea party lunch.
Try some of these tasty pairings:
- cucumber and cream cheese
- egg salad or chicken salad
- ricotta and orange marmalade
- mozzarella, tomato and basil
- buttered scones
3. Bake delicious desserts.
There are many ways to allow kids of most ages to participate in family-friendly baking activities. From grandma’s famous chocolate chip cookie recipe, to cupcakes with sweet frosting, to yummy banana bread, desserts don’t have to be super complicated to still be delicious!
Here are some recipes to try:
4. Play restaurant.
If you’re home with little ones and can’t make it out to dinner, why not play “restaurant” in the kitchen or dining room? This is a great way to learn how to prepare food, practice manners and memory skills, and enjoy a fun experience with family. You can help the kids create a menu based on the ingredients you have at home - no need to get super fancy.
GAMES AND ACTIVITIES
There’s always time for games when you’re with family! From singalongs to dance parties, get creative with how to include everyone in on all the fun.
5. Make a snuggle fort.
There’s something so comforting about snuggling up inside a fort. Especially if you have little ones, this can be such a sweet way to spend time together. Drape some blankets, string some lights, and you’re all set!
6. Have an at-home spa day.
If you can’t get to the spa but want to recreate the experience at home, there are so many DIY tools to make your own relaxing oasis. Best of all, spa day activities can be adapted to suit family members of any age!
- Braid each other’s hair, and add cute barrettes to make it extra special.
- Pick fun nail polish colors for a DIY mani-pedi.
- Listen to soothing music while enjoying a face mask (bonus points for cucumber eyes!).
- Light a candle for a spa-like ambiance.
7. Host family karaoke night and/or dance party.
Music is the perfect way to express yourself, and enjoy time with your family and friends. Sing along to your favorite songs, one by one or all together. For the dance party, you can dance together with your own moves, try a choreographed routine - or even have a dance off! It’s such a great way to get some energy out.
8. Have a movie night.
Make your home feel just like a movie theater by dimming the lights, getting out the snacks, and turning up the volume! (Frozen II was recently released on Disney Plus!)
9. Go on a scavenger hunt.
You don’t need an open field to send family members on a scavenger hunt - and it doesn’t need to be an elaborate one, either. If you’d rather stay in one room of the house, I Spy is a fun way to test how observant you all are!
10. Be your own three ring circus.
If you have the space in your home, put on a show! Have everyone practice their best circus act (juggling, dancing, hula-hooping, get creative with it!) and then perform in front of one another. While this might be most entertaining for those with younger children, anyone can certainly participate!
11. Play board games, or solve puzzles.
When you’re looking for things to do with family at home, there’s honestly nothing like a good old fashioned board game. Some of our favorites are the classics: Monopoly, Scrabble, Sorry, and The Game of Life. Younger children might enjoy games with shapes - and there are many types of puzzles for all ages and interests out there! If you don’t have a game you’re particularly in the mood to play, you can even work together to make your own!
12. Have a fashion show.
Styling outfits together is a fun way to get creative - having a fashion show is an exciting way to show off your style! Prep the outfits, style your hair, and strut your stuff down the runway. Don’t forget to have a family member serve as the official photographer, so you can share the pics of the cool styles on your social media accounts afterwards!
LOTS OF LEARNING
While you’re looking for things to do with family at home, it’s the perfect time to add some learning opportunities to the list. There are so many ways to make family time not just educational, but also tons of fun!
13. Have family storytime.
Stories are the most fun when we get to share them with the people we love. Think about the different stories you loved when you were growing up, and take some time to share them with the young people in your life. You can tell stories verbally, read them together, or even take turns writing up your own! Recently, actors Amy Adams and Jennifer Garner teamed up with Save the Children and No Kid Hungry to “provide a little fun, a little education, and a little distraction for kids and parents” through their #Savewithstories initiative on Facebook and Instagram.
14. Create artwork.
Homemade artwork has a personal touch that makes it an extra special gift for loved ones, or addition to your own home. Turn on some cheerful music, and have all members of the family work together on projects that inspire both creativity and fun.
- Have little ones make artwork with finger paints in their favorite colors.
- Doily banners are adorable when strung over a window.
- Play with water colors to make art that you can hang on the fridge now, and get framed later.
- Coloring books aren’t just for kids. Adults can download free pages as well.
15. Make your own play dough.
Play dough isn’t just for little ones. The idea of squishing something soft and gooey can be extremely relaxing and soothing for anyone, especially during times of stress. We love this simple recipe that only requires five ingredients. Add food coloring and use some cookie cutters to play with fun shapes!
16. Learn at home.
Scholastic has created an amazing, free, learn at home site for children who are learning at home for an extended period of time, according to the site, it’s filled with “day-by-day projects to keep kids reading, thinking, and growing.” How wonderful is that!
17. Get organized.
Cleaning up around the house doesn’t have to feel like a big chore - and everyone can pitch in to help! If kids are little, a cleanup song or game makes the process of tidying up feel more exciting; if family members are older, offering incentives or working as a team together is a great way to feel more connected to one another.
18. Take a “tour” without leaving the house.
Google Arts and Culture teamed up with hundreds of museums and galleries all around the world to help give people the opportunity to experience the arts through virtual tours and exhibits - right from the comfort of their homes.
- Explore The National Gallery - London
- Explore The Metropolitan Museum of Art - New York
- Explore The Tokyo Fuji Art Museum
- Explore The Art Institute of Chicago
Sit around a shared screen and explore the different exhibits together. You could even take some notes and discuss them together!
Stay In, Stay Cozy
It’s not always easy to think of ways to keep the family occupied when you’re all at home, especially if it’s for a longer period of time - but we hope these ideas have helped even just a little bit!
What are some of your favorite things to do with family at home? How do you pass the time, and what are some of your most fun family activities? Tell us in the comments!