Kids (and adults, too) will spend lots of those hours in front of screens, unless you pull them away. Once you do, you’ve got to find some way to keep them busy, and preferably active. Which can be a challenge, especially if your home is on the smaller side.
Here are some ideas to start with. We bet they’ll provide inspiration for dozens more.
You’ll Never Be Bored With Cardboard
Cardboard boxes are the perfect material for indoor fun. A large carton can be a playhouse, a train, a fruit stand, and much more. Smaller boxes are perfect for building a robot army, playing store, or constructing a complicated marble maze. When the fun is over, the leftovers go into the recycling.
There are numerous ways to design your paper flyer. All it takes are sheets of paper, and maybe a pair of scissors. Once your crew has tricked out and decorated a sizable fleet, hold a double-elimination tournament to determine the farthest flyer. Retrieve and repeat. Fly down stairs if your home has them for an added dose of aerobic exercise.
Why watch a movie when you can make a movie? Our smartphones and tablets double as hi-tech video cameras, and many come equipped with basic movie-editing apps. Plastic plates and saucers can become flying saucers in the alien invasion movie your family writes and directs. Or maybe a killer shark is loose in your bathtub (with smartphone sealed in a plastic baggie to protect it from stunt falls). The only limit is your imagination. And your phone storage.
If your kids are a certain age, there’s a pretty good chance they’re already wrestling with each other. Like, right now, while you’re reading this. Put that energy to better (and safer) use. Add pillows, a few extra-large t-shirts, and you’ve got yourself some homemade sumo suits. Tape extra pillows around sharp corners and make sure you have an adult refereeing the bout.
The Places You’ll Go—With Masking Tape
Most masking tape is safe for carpet, but if you’re using it on finished floors, make sure to get the low-stick kind that’s made for delicate surfaces—and test on an out-of-the-way spot to make sure it’s truly low-stick.
Paper Plate Polyhedron
Here’s an activity where the preparation is half the fun: With twenty plain paper plates and a stapler, your family can assemble this 20-sided polyhedron (from the Greek, meaning many-sided figure). What do you do with a paper plate polyhedron? You can write numbers on the side and create a giant board game (see masking tape, above), or just clear some space for a game of catch (watch out for loose staples).
Got a few extra plates? Add a few craft sticks or paint stirrers and put together a balloon ping pong set.