Brainstorming Boredom Busters While Stuck at Home

I love a good challenge, but at least four weeks (eight weeks?) at home with my girls, ages 8 and almost-4, may be my biggest mama challenge to date. I am committed to doing our part for public health and staying home as much as we possibly can. I am so fortunate to be able to do so as a work-from-home mom (let’s see how much work I can actually get done though, sorry to my editor!). 

We have a backyard and live in a walkable neighborhood (as long as we don’t get close to other people bike rides especially should be doable), but most of our time will be spent inside our house to avoid becoming sick or spreading the novel coronavirus to others. Lives are at stake, so it’s almost like we’re superheroes! Challenge accepted.

Lots of suggested schedule graphics are flying around social media (some forget to include snack time, and I didn’t skimp on the snacks in my preparations), and many websites offer free learning opportunities. My second grader came home with workbooks and worksheets, and we have access to Google Classroom, so hopefully her learning can continue at the direction of her teachers at least somewhat. But school work can only take up so much time. I know we will be filling much of our own time. 

We’ve been through a few short storms–Hurricane Isaac and the August 2016 floods–but of course, nothing like what we’re facing now. During our sabbatical in Minneapolis two years ago, we were stuck inside due to several big snowstorms, and I started a list of things we could do while homebound. There we were in a small, two-bedroom apartment without access to all our toys, but snow would only keep us in for a day or two at a time. This next month or more will be a completely different beast, even with more space in our house and access to the outdoors. 

Since the announcement of all public schools closing in Louisiana, I have revisited my list and started brainstorming others with my girls. Here’s what we’ve got so far, basically in the order we thought of them, and I’d be VERY interested in your additions. Hit me up in the comments!

  • Manicures & pedicures
  • Baking cookies, muffins, banana bread and other treats
  • Coloring, painting, drawing, stickers
  • Skype with relatives (and friends who are home!)
  • Legos + Duplos + blocks (separately and together in one giant build)–it’s fun to put little toys in there, too
  • Baby dolls
  • Doll magnets (like paper dolls but with magnets–we have too many sets)
  • Playing restaurant or kitchen
  • Playing school together
  • Board games & cards (UNO!)
  • Puzzles (I went to Ollie’s last week and got some new ones!)
  • Movies and shows on TV
  • Kindle games
  • Books! Books! Books!
  • Frozen Dolls & Castle
  • Build a fort
  • Hula hoop
  • Soccer drills
  • Sand box
  • Bikes, scooters & roller blades
  • Bubbles
  • Chalk
  • Garden/plant seeds (I have to get some first!)
  • Dress up clothes
  • Sort through clothes in closet and drawers, and have a fashion show
  • Look through photo albums (print and digital)
  • Have a family party with decorations
  • Dungeons & Dragons (second grader and her dad do this together, and technically it’s a board game!)
  • Piano practice
  • Write letters and cards to family and friends
  • Play-Doh
  • Make slime or oobleck (corn starch + water)
  • YouTube drawing videos
  • Yoga videos
  • Gymnastics moves 
  • Scavenger hunt
  • Sort toys by size, shape, color
  • Catch outside/dribbling the basketball/ante over (tossing a ball over the house)
  • Velcro vest game (they won this at a Christmas event a couple years ago–balls stick to the velcro and it must be played outside at our house)
  • Tie dye kit (a birthday gift I did NOT want, no offense to that mom)
  • Sand art kit (same)
  • Pom poms, pipe cleaners, paper plates (crafty stuff)
  • YouTube ukulele videos (we have $5 ukuleles from Five Below)
  • Collage with old magazines or coloring pages
  • Paper Mache
  • Cleaning/chores
  • Stop motion animation
  • Film videos (be sure to like and subscribe!)
  • Take pictures
  • Dance party with upbeat music
  • Listen to relaxing music
  • Write and illustrate stories
  • Friendship bracelets
  • Loom weaving
  • Crochet (this is something I do. 8 has tried to learn before, but maybe she’s ready to try again)
  • String beads
  • Running laps (we have a natural loop in our house)
  • Jumping jacks/other exercise moves
  • Stuffed animal parade or train with boxes (thank you Girl Scout cookies!)
  • Sort Mardi Gras loot (maybe some art hot gluing the beads to cardboard?)
  • Bubble baths
  • Go Noodle or other active websites
  • Listen to podcasts (Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, Story Pirates, Smash Boom–other ideas?)
  • Sort books and toys from closet and utility room
  • Hangman, tic tac toe, other notebook-type games
  • and other learn-from-home websites
  • Church activities (we have Lent in a Bag and will receive some supplemental activities from Sunday school teachers)
  • Heart affirmations–things we love about each other written on construction paper hearts and taped to bedroom doors
  • Cooking dinner/making snacks
  • Melting crayons into other shapes (I have some LEGO-shaped molds), although the resulting crayons aren’t actually that usable
  • Test all the pens and markers in the house–toss/recycle those that are dead
  • Sprinkler and baby pool (not too many days before it’s hot enough for that)
  • Beauty salon–get out those hot rollers!

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16 Mar 2020

By Mari Walker

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