Quarantine with Kids: 100+ Things to Do When School Is Cancelled

100+ ideas for things to do at home - both inside and outside

With the "the virus that shall not be named" shutting down school systems around the United States (as of this writing seven states plus Washington DC have closed all schools for two weeks or more) and families being urged to stay at home, parents are suddenly left trying to figure out what can I do with my kids while school is canceled???

While it's easy to turn to screen time, kids are definitely going to need more than hours and hours of movies and minecraft to make it through.

My goal during this time is to keep their brains engaged and active even if they aren't doing formal learning. This includes lots of innovating, art, building things with sticks and recyclables and more.

Your learning time doesn't have to look like school to be valuable!
Need some suggestions for what to do? I've got your back! From outdoor activities, crafts to STEM projects, I have more than 100 great ideas for kid activities to keep your kiddos busy during their time off school!

100+ Activity Ideas to Keep Kids Busy While School is Closed

100+ things to do with kids that are cheap of free while school is closed. You can use these ideas during extending quarantines like for COVID-19 / corona virus school closures, on the weekend, on a rainty day or during the summer. Includes indoor and outdoor activities, crafts, learning apps and more. #schoolclosure #quarantine #kidsactivities #homeschool

Things Kids Can Do Outside

Even during social distancing and stay-home orders, kids are still encouraged to spend time outside in fresh air but need to avoid groups of people and are asked to use social distancing measures such as keeping at least 6 feet away from others. 

Don't forget to have them spend at least 20 seconds washing their hands when they come back inside!

1. Ride a bike (don't forget your helmet!)
2. Climb a tree
3. Draw with chalk on the sidewalk (this is my favorite chalk!)
4. Race with friends or siblings
5. Blow bubbles
6. Plant flowers
7. Catch bugs (try making this cute bug jar!)
Make a DIY bug jar and 99 other screen free summer activity ideas for kids!
8. Plant a garden (this is a great book for gardening beginners!)
9. Go for a walk
10. Play soccer
11. Jump in puddles
12. Go for a trail walk
13. Go on a scavenger hunt
14. Jump on a trampoline
15. Make fairy bracelets (learn how here!)
Go for a hike and learn how to make a fairy bracelet: and 99  other screen free summer activities for kids
16. Read a book in the grass or in a tree
17. Built houses for the fairies out of sticks
18. Go fishing
19. Hopscotch
Make a daisy chain flower crown
Learn how to make a daisy chain crown and 99 other summer activity ideas for kids
21. Walk the dog
22. Bubble snakes
Go for a hike
Turn pinecones and sticks into a cool rose craft - and 99 other screen free summer activity ideas for kids

Screen-Free Things to Do Inside With Kids

1. Bake something
2. Do a craft project (see next section below!)
3. Write a letter to a friend or grandparent
4. Make postcards from empty boxes
5. Build a personal sized blanket fort
6. Coloring books
7. Play a board game
8. Read a book
9. Put on a play
10. Make smoothies or smoothie bowls
Learn how to make a smoothie bowl - and 99 other summer fun activities for kids
11. Play dress up
12. Organize stuffed animals
13. Turn all the artwork from school into a book
14. Learn to sew (I love this Klutz kit!)
15. Make crafts from items in the recycling bin
16. Put together a puzzle
17. Play a card game
Play doctor
Make your own doctor kit at home with a working stethescope
19. Fold laundry
20. Paint a picture
21. Build with LEGOs
22. Play an instrument
23. Learn to Cook (this book is my favorite!)
24. Play teacher

empower your kids to play teacher with this easy build-it-yourself kids teacher kit
25. Draw a picture
26. Make superhero capes
27. Make a scrapbook
28. Write a story
29. Work on activity books
Raise baby caterpillars into butterflies
painted lady butterflies
31. Learn how to play chess
32. Tic tac toe

33. Sculpt with clay
34. Learn how to make bath bombs
35. Origami (check out lots of great books and papers on Amazon)
36. Raise baby chicks
baby chickens

Crafts for Kids to Make While School is Canceled

Make your own fidget spinner from Legos -- and 99 other summer activities for kids
how to make a bag from a t-shirt
How to make dollar store glowsticks into a cool lantern - and 99 other fun summer activities for kids
21. Make envelopes from old magazines (then send a letter!)
22. Fruit and veggie stamping
23. Make bouncy balls
24. Build something with popsicle sticks
25. Make a sock puppet
Create plant markers from can lids
recycled craft idea: turn can lids into plant markers with paint and stamps
27. Make a suncatcher
29. Create a bird feeder

Educational Screentime Ideas

The truth is a lot of us are going to be spending at least some time on devices. Here are my top suggestions for educational apps and games for your elementary age kids. 

Many have free trials long enough to help you ride out the quarantine period!

(a big thanks to my aunt, Kathy Smith, a teacher with decades of experience teaching elementary school for helping me find some of these resources)

1. Khan Academy - free lessons in math, reading, history, science and more. For ages preschool through high school.

2. Reading Eggs and Math Seeds - learn how to read, build reading skills, learn math, building writing skills and more. For ages preschool through approximately 3rd grade. (get a free trial- no credit card required!)

3. Prodigy - A fun videogame style game math game. For Kindergarten through 8th grade. This program is free but has a paid upgrade that lets you child earn cooler (virtual) prizes.

4. Beast Academy - a fun math learning platform for kids ages 8-13. If you have kids who are advanced at math, this is a great way to keep fast learners engaged in learning how numbers work in new ways.

5. Imagine Learning - Math, literacy and assessment for personalized learning programs for kids in preschool through 8th grade. Currently offering free access during the massive school closures

6. SumDog - spelling and math practice that adapts with your child. For kindergarten through 8th grade.

7. STmath - a gamified math learning platform that uses a spacial-temporal approach to helping kids understand math concepts. For preschool through middleschool. They are offering free access through June 30, 2020 to help support students out of school.

8. ABC Mouse - a virtual classroom for preschool through 1st grade students to learn reading, practice writing, learn basic science and more. Subscribers can access an entire suite of apps for free in addition to the ABC Mouse apps. Winter special: 2 months for $5

9. Adventure Academy - Learning games and videos that teach language arts, math, science and social science to kids ages 8-13. Get a free one month trial.

100+ things to do with kids that are cheap of free while school is closed. You can use these ideas during extending quarantines like for COVID-19 / corona virus school closures, on the weekend, on a rainty day or during the summer. Includes indoor and outdoor activities, crafts, learning apps and more. #schoolclosure #quarantine #kidsactivities #homeschool

Carissa Bonham

About the Author:

Carissa Bonham is a lifelong crafter and mom of two creative boys. Her goal is to empower families to make easy projects and healthier choices that are beautiful and delicious! 

The owner and lead writer at Creative Green Living, she is an award-winning blogger and most recently won the ShiftCon Media "Best Green Lifestyle Blogger" award in 2019.

She is also the author of several books including Beautiful Smoothie Bowls (Skyhorse, 2017), Proven Techniques for Keeping Healthy Chickens (Skyhorse, 2018) and The Little Green Book of Mothers' Wisdom (Skyhorse, 2020).

Her projects have been featured in magazines like Kids Crafts 1-2-3, Capper's Farmer and Urban Farm Magazine. Follow her on PinterestInstagramTwitter or join the Creative Green Living Tribe.
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