THEY’RE HOOOOME! And so are you. And while you love spending time with your kids, you’ve got work to do—whether it’s paid or unpaid. And if that wasn’t challenging enough, you’ve had little time to do advance prep and stock up on things for them to do; and you also know that while screen time is tempting, too much of it is not a good thing.

Thankfully, since families have had to radically change their lifestyle as the world copes with the Coronavirus, people have been sharing fabulous ideas and sites with everything from virtual museum tours to free learn at home resources. Here’s one other approach to add to your list of possibilities while the kids are home. It’s tech-free, faith-forming, and fun!

Begin with a clear container. Those jars you bought to make jam and then never used? Perfect. Now get a sheet of paper and cut it into strips. Grab a pen and write one activity idea per strip. Fold the strips and place them in the jar. Each day your child(ren) can select a strip from the jar and do that thing. Here are 35 things; use the ones that will work in your household and add more. Let your kids come up with some ideas too!

  1. Make up a dance to a song. Teach it to an adult.
  2. Make up motions for the words of Joshua 1:9. Do them while you say the verse. Then just do the actions while you think the verse.
  3. Make up a secret handshake.
  4. Build a fort by draping a large bed sheet or blanket over a table or some chairs. Eat a snack and read a book inside it.
  5. Play I Spy.
  6. Scavenger Hunt! How many blue things can you find in your house in 15 minutes? Make your own list and keep the game going.
  7. Collect five things from nature outside. Make something with them.
  8. Make a pet rock. Create a home for it.
  9. Do a science experiment from 63 Easy Science Experiments for Kids Using Household Stuff or  25 STEM Activities Easy Enough for Preschoolers.
  10. Read Psalm 23 and illustrate it, either on your own or as a family mural.
  11. Bake something.
  12. Backwards Day! Turn your clothes around, spell and say your name backwards and eat dessert before dinner.
  13. Plan and have an indoor picnic.
  14. Play hide and seek. Or hide an object for someone to find. Tell them when they are getting warmer (closer) and colder (farther) from the hidden object.
  15. Make playdough.
  16. Create a comic strip about your family.
  17. What’s your favorite book? Make up a story about what comes next after the story ends.
  18. Read a Bible story. Use blocks or LEGO™ to build a scene from it.
  19. Make some origami “fortune tellers.” Fill some with exercises, some with ways to pray, and some with your own fun ideas!
  20. Plan a church service for your family. Then have it in your living room!
  21. Create a comic strip about a parable. (You’ll find 16 parables to choose from in Luke 7-18.)
  22. Make a list of places from A to Z. Non-readers, make a list of places you love to go.
  23. Set up an obstacle course.
  24. Build a band using instruments you make from household objects. Practice, then put on a concert for your parent(s).
  25. Build a story with a buddy. One person begins with “once upon a time” and the next person adds a sentence. Keep going, taking turns adding sentences until you get to “the end.”
  26. Think of someone you could surprise with a reminder of how much God (and your family!) loves them. Make or do something to brighten their day.
  27. Ask your parent to fill a container or baggie with 15 random things from around the house like a paper clip, piece of foil, tissue, comb, fork, rubber band, string, coin, etc. Use only those objects to create a scene from a Bible story.
  28. Puppet show! Stick paper eyes on wooden spoons or spatulas, or stick your hand into two different socks. Crouch behind the couch and tell your tale.
  29. Play Simon Says. Take turns being Simon.
  30. Play a board game. Or make your own using two sheets of paper taped side by side or the inside of a cereal box as the board.
  31. Lego Challenge Day! Choose a challenge from this list (if you’re school aged) or this list (if you’re in preschool.)
  32. Make a list of all the things you’re grateful to God for.
  33. Act out the story of Daniel in the lions’ den. Film the final play and send it to someone you haven’t seen for a while.
  34. Make invisible ink and use it to write messages to each other.
  35. Use letters to make your own Alphabet BINGO game.

“But wait,” you’re saying, “I thought you said the ideas were faith-forming! I only see six ideas that mention the Bible or involve church.” Yup. That’s because faith is also formed in the ordinary details of everyday life. The way you talk together, laugh together, and meet challenges together forms faith. 

During this time of uncertainty, as you interact with your kids—whether that’s in doing a science experiment, baking, or playing a game together—take the opportunity to weave wonder into your conversations about the amazing world God made, express gratitude for the big and small ways in which God is providing for your family, and share stories of the ways in which God has been faithful to you in the past and remains faithful to you now.

Finally, remember this: it’s okay for your kids to be bored. In fact, it’s a good thing! It’s often during those “There’s nothing to do!” moments that imagination comes alive and creativity is sparked. So have no fear when your child says, as they inevitably will during the next weeks: “I’m bored.” Try this suggestion from Dr. Vanessa Lapointe instead:

“With a knowing and swagger-filled smile, just nod and say “I love bored” and offer zero options for filling in that void of nothing. And then watch.  Watch as your child’s mind becomes quiet. Watch as their internal sense of self takes over. Watch as their sense of being comes bubbling out of them and spills over into this incredible energy to create and do and conquer.” (Huffpost 5/2/16)

How about you? What are you doing with your family during these weeks? And what have you been learning during this experience?

(Churches, feel free to share a link to this article with the families in your congregation!)

“Originally posted on The Network, a sharing website of the Christian Reformed Church in North America.”

Author Image

Karen Deboer

Karen Deboer works as the Creative Resource Developer for Faith Formation Ministries of the CRCNA.  Over the years she has worked as part of a team to shape the children’s ministry curricula Kid Connection and Dwell, published by Faith Alive Resources. She is also the author of the Home Grown Handbook for Christian Parenting and a contributing author/editor for the family devotionals You’re Invited and God’s Big Story cards.